10 amazing Canon DSLR accessories
Ask an average person on the street what’s in their bag and – at best – it’s likely you’ll receive a peculiar look.
But ask a photographer what’s in his or her camera bag and chances are you’re set for an evening of impassioned discourse on the relative merits of light meters and a white-balancing lens cap.
Whether you’re keen to weather-seal your lenses or super-size your Speedlites, there’s a bewildering assortment of accessories for the discerning photographer looking to pimp out their kit bag. But what if you don’t have a whole evening to geek-out with a professional paparazzo?
Whatever type of photos you take with your Canon DSLR, we’ve found 10 amazing add-ons that will help you to power up your pictures – but be warned, these aren’t for those without deep pockets or willing to spend a few months without food to acquire…
1. Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
The Speedlite 600EX II-RT is the most powerful flashgun in the Canon canon, with a guide number of 60m at ISO100 and 50% more continuous flashes than the 600EX-RT it replaces.
As befits an accessory intended for Canon’s professional camera range the 600EX II-RT is dust- and water-resistant, and has a 2.4 GHz wireless transmitter primed for operation in the studio.
One flash not enough? The 600EX II-RT can act as ringleader for up to five groups of flashguns. To top things off, an illuminated dot-matrix LCD panel sits at the rear to help you command, control and conquer the most dimly-lit of scenes.
2. Manfrotto Digital Director
The Manfrotto Digital Director tethers your iPad to your DSLR to give you almost total creative remote control over your camera, with the added benefit of the tablet’s generous viewfinder screen.
Compatible with the majority of the EOS range and the most recent iPad Air and iPad Mini tablets, the Apple-certified Digital Director sled connects to your camera’s USB port, and works best when clamped to your tripod.
Finding focus is as simple as tapping your tablet screen; in fact, almost every camera setting can be controlled from the Digital Director app. It’ll even wirelessly control lighting on a range of compatible Manfrotto LED panels.
The Digital Director is an essential companion to help keep clients in the picture on a shoot, and while the field monitor-like iPad screen is ideal in the studio, an optional sun hood kills glare out on location too.
What’s more, full-resolution images can be downloaded from camera to the tablet, a real boon for fans of an efficient workflow.
3. Canon Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1
For those who like to shoot video on their DSLR (and many do) this nifty accessory adds a motorised zoom rocker for those oh-so-smooth developing shots that can prove oh-so-difficult to pull off with manual zoom rings.
Of course, this feature is nothing new to those with dedicated camcorders, but for DSLR shooters this marks a first, offering up to 10 different speeds of silent zoom. What’s more, when used with the excellent Canon EOS 80D the PZ-E1 can be remotely controlled with the Canon Camera Connect smartphone app (iOS/Android).
If there is any bad news it’s that at launch the Power Zoom is only compatible with a single Canon lens, although that is the impressive EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. Word is that Canon will extend support to further lenses in the future.
4. 3 Legged Thing Winston
British brand 3 Legged Thing makes performance tripods with attitude. Take Winston, for example: he may be precision-engineered with aircraft-grade magnesium alloy and no less than eight layers of tightly-woven carbon fibre, but that doesn’t stop him from showing off his multi-coloured glory like a peacock on heat.
Modular to a fault, Winston will support your DSLR all the way from ground level up to over two meters and, with his detachable legs, can also transform into a monopod, microphone boom or selfie stick.
To top it off, Winston can be configured with 3LT’s AirHed 360 ball head with integral pano clamp, for level panning even on uneven terrain.
5. Canon Extender EF 2x III
Of course, the camera body is only part of the story when it comes to capturing an image, the lens in front sharing some of the glory, alongside the photographer’s own skill.
And while there’s a certain degree of truth to the maxim that a photographer is only as good as their glass, there are ways to extend your lens collection without emptying your bank account.
Take the Canon EF 2x III Extender tube. This effectively doubles the focal length of your existing lens line-up without sacrificing quality.
Compatible with Canon’s L-series professional telephoto lenses, the Extender, like those lenses, is dust- and water-resistant, making it ideal for nature, sports and celebrity stake-outs.
6. Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x
Suited to those who shoot moving pictures as well as stills, the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x optical viewfinder clamps to the bottom of your Canon EOS 5D Mk III or 7D Mk II to provide a 2.5x magnified view of your live view LCD display.
Essential for pin-sharp pictures when autofocus is off, the Z-Finder Pro blocks out even the most glaring of sunlight and, importantly for DSLR videographers, provides a rock-solid additional point of body contact for added shot stability.
The large eye cup is comfortable, the two coated protective lens covers keep your vision fog-free, and the adjustable dioptre makes sure images stay sharp even for the short-sighted.
Yes, there are cheaper loupes available for your DSLR, but the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro is the undisputed king.
7. Canon MR-14EX II Macro Ring Lite
Macro photography is all about getting up close to your subject, to capture minute detail often unseen by the naked eye.
Among the practical challenges faced by your average photomacrographer (yes, that’s a real word) is lack of light – in tight spaces with a camera lens up close sometimes there just isn’t enough illumination, which can lead to flat or noisy shots.
That’s where top-notch accessories like the Canon MR-14EX II Macro Ring Lite come in.
Why the ring instead of a standard single flash? Sometimes a single light source just isn’t enough to ensure even coverage of the subject. In fact, the MR-14X II features two independently-adjustable flash tubes for even more creative control.
The attachment ring simply attaches to the end lenses such as the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM and, once you’ve plugged the master unit into your camera’s accessory shoe, you’re good to go.
Half a dozen or so Canon lenses are officially supported, and even more with the help of a Canon Macrolite adapter.
Kickstarter success story TurnsPro is an easy-to-use timelapse camera mount best suited for DSLRs at the lighter end of the Canon EOS range – 760D and 1300D, we’re looking at you – as well as compact, CSC and smartphone cameras.
Its head is capable of full 360-degree rotation in either direction at configurable speeds between 20 seconds and 10 hours. Handily, it’ll mount securely on a tripod or sit safely on a table top.
Time-lapse videos are just one application for the TurnsPro – it can also help you to create super-smooth photo panoramas, and even great fun #panoselfies.
9. Canon LC-5 Wireless Remote Controller Set
The Canon LC-5 Wireless Remote Controller might just be the intrepid wildlife photographer’s best friend, handy for when getting too close to your subject might be bad news for your shot (or your health).
The substantial LC-5 head unit attaches to the camera’s accessory shoe, and enables you to fire off your camera in single, continuous drive or delay modes. As it uses infra-red communication you do need to have line of sight between remote and camera, but the range is a reassuring 100 meters.
Just like the on-cam shutter release, a half press of the remote’s trigger will activate autofocus and a full press starts the shutter clicking – the LC-5 can also operate in bulb mode for rock-steady long exposures without mirror bounce.
10. Canon BG-E14 Battery Grip
This is almost certainly not the coolest of camera accessories, but it might be one of the most important.
Imagine the scene: you’re camped out in the wilderness for days on end, waiting for the shot. Then, just as the world’s only remaining unicorn peeks its behorned head out from behind its rainbow nest you press your camera shutter button and… BATTERY EMPTY.
Honestly, it could happen to anyone. Don’t let it happen to you.
The BG-E14 takes two standard LP-E6 or E6N batteries to prolong your shoot, and lets you add further juice with standard AA batteries if needed. But it’s not just about power – it serves as an alternative grip to help you keep your camera steady when shooting in portrait orientation, complete with an extra portrait-oriented shutter release.