Best accessories for your DSLR

Datacolor SpyderLensCal - £52/$63

Essential camera accessories

A fast, reliable method of measuring the focus performance on your camera and lens combinations. It's very useful, but probably only cost-effective if you have lots of glass.

Spyder4 Elite - £170/$250

Essential camera accessories

The Spyder4 Elite provides a high level of user control over display calibration, be it a standard LCD or wide-gamut display, or even a projector. It can even be used with iPhones and iPads to get colour spot on.

The smart black colorimeter sits in its own cradle when not in use, and takes around six minutes to calibrate a display from start to finish. In our tests, results appear reasonably accurate, although colours are a touch colder than those from the junior Spyder4 Express model, which some photographers may prefer.

ColorMunki Color Confidence Studio Photo - £186 (about $290)

Essential camera accessories

Comprising the ColorMunki Display colorimeter, Color Confidence Total Balance tool and Kodak Color Management Check-Up Kit, this all-in-one colour management solution is ideal for novice and intermediate users alike. Calibration takes around 10 minutes, while the Total Balance tool folds away neatly and provides a handy reference for white balance and exposure. There's also a CD and prints of test targets, as well as documentation on colour management.

Asus PA246 - £395/$470

Essential camera accessories

The PA246 from Asus is a 24-inch widescreen LCD display that combines 98% Adobe RGB coverage with full high-definition (HD) resolution. The display is said to have a 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angle, and can be adjusted to a portrait orientation – great for photo-viewing. There's also a height and tilt control.

As claimed, the display can still be viewed even at obtuse angles, but while colour and responsiveness are good, unfortunately some irritating flickering is noticeable.

Read our Asus PA246 announcement article

Phottix Hector 9HD - £450/$630

Essential camera accessories

The Hector 9 HD is perfect for video and stills. Hook it up to your SLR via the HDMI cable supplied, switch to Live View and see what the camera sees on the nine-inch screen. The 1024 x 600-pixel display delivers crisp detail and good colours, and you can see what's going on from a few feet away.

You can fix the device to a lighting stand or tripod, or use it handheld – if you're using it as a remote release. For this, you'll need to attach a second (supplied) cable from the screen to the camera's remote socket. You can now activate autofocus and fire the camera's shutter using buttons on the front of the display. You can't start and stop video in the same way, though.

Power comes from a hefty lithium-ion battery, and you should get 4 hours' use from a full charge. Alternatively, connect the Hector to the mains using the supplied power adaptor.

The Hector is great for shooting stills in a controlled environment, or for low-level macro shots and shooting in tricky positions, but all the extra cables could prove awkward.

X-Rite i1 Publish Pro 2 - £1,700/$1,999

Essential camera accessories

Colour calibration is essential for colour consistency between on-screen and printed images. The new i1 Publish Pro 2 is X-Rite's flagship calibration package, capable of calibrating monitors, projectors, RGB and CMYK printers, as well as spot colour matching and the measuring of ambient light.

It's expensive, but the well-designed hardware and intuitive software makes monitor and printer calibration a breeze. If you need the most accurate and flexible calibration solution, this makes a fine – if hefty – investment.