5 must have camera accessories for 2021

This list of camera accessories is a little different from many lists you see of camera straps, bags, tripods etc.

I’ve been doing research on camera accessories that I need/want personally, so I thought that it’s probably something you’d want to know about too.

Because photography is fun, I’ve added in a really fun camera accessory at the end that will impress your friends and family!

1. Camera raincoat

Even though I’m a portrait photographer, when I unwind with my camera and photograph just for fun, I love photographing in the rain. Luckily, I live in England, so I never have to wait long for a rainy day.

Even though I have a high end camera with great weather sealing, I’m not keen on testing just how well it’s weather sealed. So rain is always a worry and a plastic bag is just not going to do the job (I have actually used a plastic bag in an emergency).

If you have a mid-range camera, chances are it also has weather seals. But it’s still not worth the risk. Entry level cameras are definitely not built for anything other than a pleasant, dry, dust free day.

It doesn’t matter how great your camera’s weather sealing is, changing lenses, memory cards or batteries when your camera is dripping is just asking for trouble. If you feel the need for a raincoat, then so does your camera.

(PS- Buying something through one of these affiliate links won’t cost you anything extra, but we may get a small commission.)

Camera coat tips…

1. Use a lens hood

A lens hood does more than just shield the front of your lens from direct sunlight to prevent hazy photos. It protects the front of your lens from rain.

Plus, if the camera coat is fitted around the lens hood, rather than the actually lens, you’ll protect the lens better.

Obviously, a torrential downpour in gale force winds is no competition for a humble little lens hood. But in normal light rain conditions, a lens hood is your second best friend. Your best friend is a camera cover.

Further reading: What is the purpose of a lens hood?

2. Get the right cover size

Camera covers are made for bigger, pro cameras and longer lenses generally. So they ideally suit a pro DSLR fitted with a 70-200mm lens.

If your camera and lens are smaller in size, make sure you look for a smaller sized cover so that it doesn’t get lost in the excess material as this will be cumbersome and make camera operation difficult.

If you use longer lenses, you can get covers that fit. Just make sure to look for a bigger camera cover that will protect the lens adequately.

3. Watch that camera strap

It helps to get a cover that is fitted with a camera strap so that you can tuck your camera strap inside the camera cover.

A dry camera with a wet strap attached to it isn’t going to stay dry.

4. You need a window

It seems obvious to me that you’d need a clear plastic window on the back of the camera cover so that you can see the controls and LCD screen. But that’s not always the case.

Make sure you get a camera cover with a window if you want to actually see what you’re doing when photographing in the rain.

5. It’s not a tank

Don’t expect too much of your camera cover. Make sure that it can handle the conditions you’re photographing in. Some are better at keeping out the rain than others.

My choice of camera coat is…

Manfrotto Pro Light E-702


  • It’s really lightweight, so is an unnoticeable item in your bag.
  • It has a large clear window so you can see what you’re doing.
  • It has a slot underneath with a velcro fastening for a tripod to fit through.
  • Drawstrings ensure a tight fit around the camera for better protection.

2. Camera cleaning

Dust specks are unavoidable. No matter how careful you are, at some point, you’ll end up with dust specks on your sensor.

Luckily, most instances of specks on the sensor are not a great big expensive deal to fix.

But before we get into what to use to clean dust from the sensor, you need to know…

Very important tips for avoiding and cleaning dust on the sensor

  • When changing lenses, hold your camera so that the lens opening is facing down.
  • Don’t change lenses in windy conditions.
  • If at all possible, don’t change lenses in dusty conditions or at the beach.
  • If you have to change lenses and the conditions aren’t ideal, do it inside a lens exchanger bag, or step inside if you can.
  • Cleaning dry dust specks from a sensor is going to be much easier than wet or greasy specks.
  • With DSLRs you’ll have to lock up the mirror before you can access the sensor, so make sure the battery is well charged before doing this.
  • The more light the better, but you don’t need a fancy kit with a torch fitted. Use a head torch. A magnifying glass with help too.
  • Never open your camera up for cleaning when outside or in a dusty environment.
  • Be very, very, very careful any time you go anywhere near the sensor – your movements must be extremely gentle so that you don’t damage the sensor.

Before going anywhere near the sensor, gently use a hurricane dust blower to dislodge dust first. Very often this is all you need to do. Avoid canned air – the air blast is too strong.

Read the sensor cleaning instructions very carefully before attempting to clean your sensor!

My camera sensor cleaning kit choice is…

Photographic Solutions SensorSwab Ultra kit


  • It’s really good at cleaning dust, oil and smudges.
  • The swabs area available in three sizes for different sensor sizes.
  • The included liquid and lint-free cloths are also great for cleaning lenses.
  • I like that it’s supplied in a handy little case.

3. Card readers

I’ve been using the same card reader since I first started in digital 12 years ago.

Well, that’s just crazy, because technology has move on (loads!) and time is still tight. The faster I can download my images the better.

Tips for choosing a card reader…

1. Connection type

A USB-C connection is better than the normal USB connection.

2. USB speed

The reader should be compatible with your memory cards. Although UHS-I card readers will read UHS-II cards, it will be slower, so for speed, make sure your card reader can handle UHS-II SD cards.

My card reader choice is…

SanDisk ImageMate Pro Multi-Card Reader


  • It’s has three card slots  supports UHS-I & UHS-II SD, SDHC, SDXC, microSDHC, microSDXC and CompactFlash
  • The USB speed is USB 3.1 Gen 1, so it’s fast for UHS-I and II SD cards, even though it’s not a USB-C connection, which would be faster.

It’s not a portable option as it’s larger than most card readers, but I tend to download images at my desk rather than in the field.

4. External drive

Can photographers ever have enough storage?

I’m always on the lookout for better storage options and because all my work is on external drives, a fast drive is essential for me. I’ve recently had several issues with Lightroom crashing when I use one of my external hard drives, so it’s definitely time to replace it!

Tips for choosing an external drive…

Consider how you use your external drives.

  • I work between two computers (an iMac and a MacBook) in all sorts of places – my desk, coffee shops, the studio and wherever my travels have taken me. So, because SSD drives are much more durable than conventional hard drives, because of the lack of moving parts, an SSD drive is much better for me.
  • Make sure that your drive is suited to the computer you use – is it configured for a Mac or a PC?
  • If you process photos that are stored on an external drive, you need to consider speed as it will be slower than your computer’s hard drive.

My choice of external hard drive is…

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD


  • It’s small, portable and well priced for an SSD.
  • It’s available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB.
  • Most importantly, it’s fast with image read/write speeds of 2000MB/s. It uses USB 3.2 Gen 2 and connects with a fast USB Type-C.
  • The speed makes up for the price tag.
  • Oh and it’s water resistant! Not that that’s ever been a consideration for me before when choosing a portable hard drive, but it can’t be a bad thing.

5. Portable printer

Last on my 2020 list of camera accessories is this fun portable printer.

I’m always telling people to get their photos out of the digital dungeon (aka computer and/or cloud) and into frames or wherever they can be seen in your daily life. Share them with friends and family who will put them on the mantlepiece.

In the digital age, print is almost a novelty.

My choice of portable printer is…

HP sprocket plus


  • It’s about the same size as your phone, so it’s quite literally pocket sized and can go anywhere with you.
  • It couldn’t be easier – just pair it with your phone via Bluetooth, load the paper and print from your phone.
  • Despite its small size, the print quality is high, especially for such a small gadget.
  • You can even print a frame from a video!
  • Photography is fun and this nifty little printer reminds us to keep it fun.​

More camera accessories

Here’s another list I created with 21 camera accessories that make great gifts, including camera straps, tripods, memory cards, etc.

Further reading: 21 great photography gift ideas

Leave a comment

If you have any questions about camera accessories, let us know in the comments.

Also, if you have any camera accessories that you think should be added to the list, tell us about them in the comments.

Has this helped you decide on camera accessories?

Share the learning… pin it, post it.

Jane Allan

Jane is the founder of The Lens Lounge and a professional portrait photographer living on the “sunny” south coast of England. Obsessed with light and composition. Will put her camera down to go landsailing.

7 thoughts on “5 must have camera accessories for 2021

  1. Thank you for a very interesting article. What is the differece between a USB and a USB-C?
    apart from the speed factor. Does the USB-C fit the nornal usb port on a lap top computer?

    1. Hi Mervyn
      I’d love to give you an straight forward answer, but that’s a very broad question.

      It depends on your style, how many people you’re photographing and whether you’re doing full length, 3/4 length or head and shoulders shots.
      Some photographers like to really blur the background so prefer very wide apertures and long focal lengths, other photographers don’t feel the need to go wider than f2.8.
      Likewise, if you shoot in low light and need a faster lens vs shooting in broad daylight or with studio lighting.
      Some prefer zoom lenses, others prefer prime lenses.
      Also, where you photograph can dictate lens choice – outside you have all the space in the world to back up and get your subject in shot, but indoors your space is limited, so will impact your choice of focal length and therefore your lens.
      Finally, when photographing from the same distance you’ll fill the frame more with, for example, a full frame 50mm lens on a crop frame camera than on a full frame camera.

      This article is a good place to start for thinking about lens choice – https://thelenslounge.com/best-focal-length-for-portraits/

  2. Yes! these are some really must have camera accessories especially for someone who is dealing with daily camera schedules like photography. vlogging or YouTube videos. Great blog!

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