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The Lensbaby Sweet 50 optic lens
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The Lensbaby Sweet 50 optic lens
Who doesn’t love a good deal? We’re not talking about bargain-basement tat but quality products at rock-bottom prices. Photography is an expensive hobby to upkeep but now and again there’s a product that arises which can not only save you a pretty penny but also be a real asset to your outfit.
There’s a reassuring standard in buying marquee brands, but there are several third-party favourites what provide fantastic value for money and a marginal difference in performance. Most eBay shops (and sometimes individual sellers) have a returns policy, so if you’re not happy you’re not committed. So whether you’re looking for stocking fillers, a hint for your Christmas gift or to give yourself a treat, read our top products and buy with confidence.  
Flash trigger
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Flash trigger

Flash trigger

For off-camera flash set-ups, a wireless trigger is a must and we've not found better value than the Yongnuo Digital RF-603C Wireless Flash Trigger. For around £24, you get a pack of two triggers with an approximate 100m range, four channels and compatible with most cameras. Take your portraits to a new level with a multiple flash set-up and capture even more dynamic pictures.

Flashguns
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Flashguns

Flashguns

These days flashguns come with elaborate features, TTL metering and more tools than most photographers will ever need. If you’re comfortable with manual settings on a flashgun, you often do not need top of the range kit; a basic flashgun will do the job just fine, cost you less and leave you extra funds to buy more flashguns to try your hand at a multiple light set-up. We recommend the Yonguno Digital Speedlite YN560-ii, Metz Mecablitz flashguns, Nissin Di466 and Sunpak PF30X

Flash modifiers
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Flash modifiers

Flash modifiers

When it comes to flash photography, there are so many affordable modifiers for flashguns that are alternatives to marquee brands and a fraction of the cost. Some are on offer for as little as £2 with free postage, so you can afford to try them. Check out Pixco, Photo Geeks, estores and Neewer. We found a universal nine-piece flash accessory kit for £55 – bargain! A 60cm x60cm hotshoe softboxes from £21 and an umbrella softbox for £12.50. Just make sure it’s universal or fits your lighting gear.

Creative lenses
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Creative lenses

Creative lenses

When it comes to budget buys, Lensbaby is a fantastic brand of creative lenses: if you like bokeh and blur, you’ll love a Lensbaby. Spark is the most basic version and you can find it for as cheap as £25. A staple of any portrait photographer’s kit bag should a 50mm lens and these are ten a penny on eBay too, with an f/1.8 ‘nifty fifty’ available for around £50. Or, if you want to capture some really unusual images, there are plenty of Holga lenses up for grabs, some for only a couple of pounds.   

Ringflash
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Ringflash

Ringlight or ringflash

Anyone who has tried shooting macro images knows that light is so important, which is why most macro photo-graphers would deem a ringlight essential kit. You have two choices: an LED ringflash that attaches to a hotshoe or a more powerful ringflash that uses the light from a flashgun. We recommend looking out for the Seamless Photo O-Flash, Ring 48 Macro LED, a Yongnuo macro ring LITE or Neewer ringlights and for the ultimate distinctive portraits, a Ray Flash.

Light tent
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Light tent

Light tent

There is little need to spend big bucks on a lighting tent softbox cube if you want to shoot still-lifes or product shots, for instance to create images that make your items more sellable on eBay. You can pick up 40cm softbox tents kits for as little as £10. 


Lighting stand
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Lighting stand

Background & lighting stand

Brands such as PhotoSEL offer robust supports good enough for any enthusiast’s at-home studio or mobile kit. Look for ones with a heavy duty carry bag, two support stands and extendable to at least 3 metres wide to accommodate small group portraits. You can also find boom arms and lighting stands, compatible with marquee lighting kits such as Elinchrom and Bowens, for as little as £15! You can’t go wrong with a price like that. 

Brought to you by Digital SLR Photography
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Brought to you by Digital SLR Photography
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