Best accessories for your DSLR

Essential camera accessories

A camera bag is likely to be the most important accessory you buy for your DSLR, and it's worth thinking about which would be the most suitable in the long term.

After all, there may be a point where you wish to supplement your camera body with an additional lens or flashgun, or you may even consider taking out a laptop when you shoot, so it will save you money and effort if you plan ahead.

The most important thing to consider is space, since you want to be sure that the bag you choose can fit all your gear in. Most bags come with a range of internal dividers that allow you to segregate the space inside them to best accommodate your equipment, so try to find to find out whether those provided are sufficient for your needs.

Many backpacks also include lugs and straps on their sides for tripods and monopods. If you envisage regularly using one of these, consider taking your tripod or monopod with you when you look at different bags, since this will give you a better idea of how comfortable the rucksacks will be once attached.

Protection is also worth thinking about, particularly with respect to the security of the various zips and pockets. Many backpacks also incorporate clasp-lock straps around the chest and waist to secure them to the photographer's body, which is ideal when hiking or in similar active situations.

Protection against weather is also important - some bags that aren't waterproof may come with integrated waterproof coverings, so check to see if this is the case.

The other thing to consider is the way you want to access your equipment. Slingshot-style bags, such as Lowepro Slingshot range, enable you to quickly pull a bag down from around your back and take out your camera in seconds. As such, they're ideal for more spontaneous shooting, such as for street photography.

If you prefer something more traditional, look out for bags with padded backs and straps for breathability and comfort. Alternatively, you may decide that a shoulder bag is a more suitable option, in which case you'll be spoilt for choice. Here are some great camera bags and clothes:

Custom SLR Glide Strap - £25/$36

Essential camera accessories

This ergonomic neoprene 'split strap' provides exceptional shoulder comfort, and the camera mount glides up and down the strap for easy shooting.

Kata Grip 12DL - £26/$35

Essential camera accessories

This bag can accommodate a small SLR and lens, and comes equipped with a memory card pouch, side pockets and a weatherproof cover. Well padded and with a strong, thick handle, it comes highly recommended.

Lowepro Nova 160 AW - £29/$35

Best photography bags

This is one of the smallest bags in Lowepro's range, but it's typically well made, with an extra front pocket and memory card holders in the lid, plus a pull-out all-weather cover. There's not quite enough room for a DSLR and lens with additional telephoto zoom and flashgun, but it will easily accommodate two out of three.

Tamrac System 3 - £34/$75

Best photography bags

The System 3 is small on the outside and big on the inside, with space for a DSLR with fitted lens, plus a flashgun and up to three additional lenses. There's also a craftily designed front pocket for accessories. However, the Lens-Bridge system requires the removal of inner dividers to get at one of the underlying lenses.

Hama Defender 140 Pro - £43 (about $67)

Best budget photography bags

Compact yet roomy, the Hama offers excellent protection for a full-size DSLR with lens, plus an additional lens and flashgun in the main compartment. A feast of extras are attached bybungee cords, including a lens cloth and a pouch containing a waterproof slip-on cover.

Lowepro Fastpack 200 - £50/$85

Best photography bags

This Lowepro has plenty of compartments with neat organisers, and the main camera section is fully customisable with movable dividers. You only need to unzip the lower side-entry compartment to grab your DSLR and attached lens and there's room for five additional lenses.

Lowepro Versapack 200 AW - £55/$82

Best photography bags

The lower compartment offers generous space for an DSLR and up to four other lenses, accessible from the top and from both sides. The section divider is removable so you can turn the whole bag into one big compartment. There's also a tripod-carrying attachment and Lowepro's AW (All Weather) slip-over cover.

Crumpler Muffin Top Half Photo - £55 (about $86)

Best photography bags

You can just about squeeze a medium sized DSLR with a couple of lenses into the bottom compartment of this rugged and well-made pack, plus daily essentials into the top section. The central divider unzips if necessary.

Vanguard Skyborne 48 - £150/$230

Best photography bags

The Vanguard is particularly rugged, well-made and comfortable. It comes with tripod fasteners and a rain cover. You can access both main compartments via a single zip and there's also a quick-access side opening for your camera. The camera section's height is extendable to suit big pro cameras or long lenses.

Domke RuggedWear F-2 - £170/$165

Essential camera accessories

With a four-section insert, six pockets and even its own tin of wax to help preserve its cotton exterior, the F-2 is a high-quality bag. Domke claims it can hold two pro camera bodies and up to six lenses, although this is very much at a squeeze.

The bag is comfortable when moderately loaded, and everything from its chunky strap to the soft lining of the insert is constructed to a high standard, although at £170 you are paying an accordingly high price for the privilege of carrying your camera in style.

Billingham f/stop 1.4 Khaki FibreNyte - £185/$275

Essential camera accessories

Exuding classic style and quality, this bag has chunky leather straps and brass knobs, plus a stitched leather trim. Its caramel/khaki colour is complemented with an elegant green inside, which can be customised with two provided dividers. Space behind the main compartment happily fits an iPad. It won't be to everyone's taste (especially at over £150), but there's no denying that this bag's style is matched by top craftsmanship.

Manfrotto Pro Field Jacket - £300/$350

Essential camera accessories

Constructed from waterproof and breathable materials, this jacket also boasts soft-lined pockets. It's not cheap, but it's smart and the quality is great.