If you purchased your Sony a6000, a6300 or a6500 mirrorless camera with a lens, you have everything you need to begin shooting. But depending on the type of photography you do, there are some accessories that really come in handy. Let’s start with some must-have accessories for your photography.
External Chargers and Batteries
My first suggestion is to buy an external charger and extra batteries. Sure, you can always plug the cord that came with your camera into an electrical outlet to charge your camera battery, but it’s pretty hard to shoot with your camera plugged into the wall.
It’s much better to purchase a Sony BC-TRW battery charger (Amazon | B&H) and a couple extra Sony NP-FW50 Lithium-Ion batteries (Amazon | B&H). If you have the older style W-battery chargers from NEX, they’ll work just fine, but the BC-TRW battery charger has nice features like charge indicator lights.
Sony AC Adapter AC-PW20 (Amazon | B&H) powers your E-mount camera from an AC outlet. This comes in handy when the camera is being used near an AC power supply for extended periods such as for studio sessions, when uploading files to a PC, or when shooting long time lapse sequences.
External Battery Packs
Need to run your camera longer without A/C power? Check out these external battery pack options:
Tether Tools Case Relay Camera Power System is the first infinite hot-swappable power source for time-lapse photography, power-hungry LiveView shooting or video production. It offers uninterruptible power to most DSLR and Mirrorless cameras via any common USB 5V power pack or wall power.
This is an à la carte system you need three things:
1. Tether Tools Case Relay Camera Power System ($99.99 – Order Here)
2. Tether Tools Relay Camera Coupler for Sony Cameras with NP-FW50 Battery ($34.99 – Order Here)
3. USB Power Bank (2.1 Amps or more) such as: Anker 20,000 mAh Portable Power Bank ($39.99 – Here)
Optional (but cool) accessory: Tether Tools StrapMoore ($18.95 – Order Here)
Vertical Grip for a6000
Neewer Battery Grip for Sony A6000 ($50 at Amazon) works with either one or two NP-FW50 lithium batteries and supports external charging through the micro USB port (two batteries can be charged at the same time.) The kit Includes a infrared wireless remote control. The grip connects to the a6000’s Micro USB port to enable the vertical shutter release button for more comfortable vertical shooting.
[Please Note: This MIGHT work with a6300 but it’s not been tested]
For complete lists of APS-C and fullframe E-mount lenses compatible with a6000 and a6300, please see:
Lens Mount Adapters
One of the best features of mirrorless cameras is that, due to their thin body design, it’s possible to mount a huge array of lenses on them using lens mount adapters. Sony E-mount cameras are the only cameras that allow you to use virtually every make of 35mm lenses with the full angle of view for which those lenses were designed. There are far too many option to mention here, so they’ve discussed in detail in this Two-part Guide to the best lens mount adapters for Sony E-Mount cameras:
Sony a7/a7R/a7S Lens Mount Adapters – Part 1: Sony, Leica M, Canon EOS & Nikon lens mount adapters
Sony a7/a7R/a7S Lens Mount Adapters – Part 2: Legacy lens mount adapters for Contax, Canon FD, Hasselblad V, Leica R, Minolta MD and many others
Vello EXT-SFED Deluxe Auto Focus Extension Tube Set for Sony E-Mount Lenses are compatible with Sony full-frame and APS-C cameras and Sony FE and E mount lenses. Extension tubes extend the close focus range of any lens making them well suited for close-up portraiture and macro photography. This set contains two extension tubes, one 10mm, and one 16mm. They can be used individually or together to create the desired magnification effect. Extension tubes have no optical elements so they do not degrade the quality of your lenses and these fully automatic extension tubes communicate all electronic functions from lens to camera including autofocus and auto exposure. They are built with metal lens mounts for durability and longevity and enable you to convert your E-mount lens into a macro lens while maintaining the lens’ original optical quality.
I’ve seen far too many examples of the image quality of great lenses ruined when someone put a cheap piece of glass in front of them, so just make certain it’s the highest-quality UV filter you can find and not a $10 add-on you got hooked into buying when you ordered your camera.
Neutral Density (ND) Filters
Sometimes there is just too much light falling on your scene to use the camera settings that you want. Most often this is the case when you want to use a slow shutter speed but your lens is already stopped down to its smallest aperture, leaving you with a shutter speed that’s faster than you want. Maybe you want to make moving water look “smooth” in bright sunlight, or you want shallow depth of field when shooting video and there’s simply too much light, even for ISO 100.
The way around this problem is to use a neutral density (ND) filter to make the outside world appear to be a little darker. Think of it as sunglasses for your camera. ND filters come in different strengths labeled as .3, .6, .9, and so on. They represent a one-stop difference in exposure for each .3 increment. (Some ND filters can be labeled 2, 4, and 8 for the same exposure increments.) If you need to turn daylight into dark, the Vu Neutral Density Filter (B&H) lowers exposure a whopping 10 stops.
I advise using the best-quality ND filter you can find, because once again, a cheap filter can ruin the quality of a great lens. As their name implies, good neutral density filters should truly be “neutral” in color. Avoid ones that have a color cast.
A great filter for this is a Variable neutral density filter (B&H), which allow you vary the amount of density from two to eight stops. Since variable ND filters aren’t cheap, I’d advise buying one in the largest filter size you need and using inexpensive step-up adapter rings on your smaller lenses. Using a step-up ring to an over-sized filter also helps prevent vignetting when shooting with extremely wide-angle lenses.
Shooting with a fast memory card allows you to shoot even longer burst without buffer slowdowns. Good memory cards are one of the best investments you can make in maximizing the performance of your camera.
Sony 64GB SDXC UZ UHS-I Class 10 U3 Memory Card
Designed to capture 4K video and still photos in high-speed burst mode, this U3 compatible memory card provides enhanced data transfer rates of up to 95 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write to make transferring large files quick and easy. (Order from B&H | Amazon)
Sony 32GB SDHC UZ UHS-I Class 10 U3 Memory Card
Designed to capture still photos in high-speed burst mode and HD video, this U3 compatible memory card provides enhanced data transfer rates of up to 95 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write to make transferring large files quick and easy. (Order from B&H | Amazon)
If 45MB/sec write speed meets your needs, these Sony SDHC UZ Class 10 UHS-1 memory cards offer very good performance at a great price:
SD Card Cases
Nothing’s worse than searching around your camera bag trying to find a tiny SD card. Digital card cases can make quick order out of that chaos. Pelican 0915 SD Memory Card Case will snugly hold the cards in the removable, shock absorbing liner. The water resistant seal ensures that your cards will be safe from moisture, even if the case is submerged in water. To keep track of which cards I’ve shot, I turn the cards face down once I’ve used them.
Pelican 0915 SD Memory Card Case ($18 at B&H) holds and protects up to 12 SD memory cards.
Adobe Lightroom 6 is one of the best “upgrades” you can buy if you want to get the most out of your Sony camera. Lightroom does a great job processing Sony RAW files and allows you to get the most of your camera’s RAW capabilities. Lightroom is particularly good at allowing you to reduce noise at high ISOs without loss of detail. Order from Adobe Lightroom 6 from B&H – or if you use both Lightroom and Photoshop, an even better deal might be the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan – 12 Month Subscription for $99/year.
Your camera came with a strap. It might be exactly your style, but if it’s not, you have lots of options. There’s no camera accessory we come in closer contact with than the strap. You can find virtually any strap your heart desires online, so if you’re in the mood for a hot-pink ostrich-leather camera strap, you’ll probably find it.
I have Think Tank V2.0-1″ Double-Sided Non-Slip Camera Straps on all my Sony cameras. It’s light and flexible and the double-sided non-slip surfaces prevent the camera from sliding off your shoulder even when wearing your favorite slick leather jacket (which should give you a clue why I switched to these.)
But if your prefer a cross-body sling strap, BlackRapid Metro Sling Camera Strap may be the ticket.
I like to travel with my photo gear, and typically my travel involves flying. This means that all my camera equipment will be traveling in the cabin with me, not in the luggage compartment. I can’t emphasize this enough: Do not pack your camera in your checked luggage! Thousands of cameras, lenses, and accessories are lost or stolen from checked luggage every year. The best way to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you is to bring your equipment onboard and place it in the overhead storage. I like to bring my laptop as well, so I have found a couple of backpack camera storage systems that allow me to fit a camera body, several lenses, some accessories, my laptop, and even some snacks into one backpack-style bag that still fits in any overhead compartment.
One of great advantages of Sony E-mount cameras is that you can travel with your photo gear without it weighing you down. So you don’t want the bag you carry it in to weigh you down either. Fortunately, there are a few great options that won’t weigh down your shoulder—or your wallet.
ONA Brixton Camera and Laptop Messenger Bag – Black Nylon (Order Here for $279.00) is handcrafted from premium 1050D ballistic nylon and features Italian leather accents and solid brass hardware in a gunmetal finish. Stylish yet understated, each of these bags is designed with materials that are lightweight, highly durable, and water-resistant. ONA makes beautiful bags and I think these are their nicest bags ever. Photographers wishing to seamlessly navigate the urban environment with a DSLR or mirrorless camera with 2-3 lenses, related accessories and a 13″ laptop at their sides will appreciate the luxurious yet stealthy, black The Nylon Brixton Camera and Laptop Messenger Bag from ONA. Made of 1050D ballistic nylon with tasteful leather accents, and dressed with solid brass, gunmetal finish hardware, the Brixton is both well-appointed and durable. The bag’s front flap helps protect the bag from inclement weather and utilizes a hidden tuck-lock closure that is discreet and provides quick and easy access to gear. Leather straps with buckles facilitate incremental adjustments to the bag’s depth. Fully-featured, the bag has a padded insert with four, touch-fastening dividers for protecting and organizing gear to one’s specifications. Located under the ample front flap, are two, adjacent accessory pockets. Carry your Brixton with the top handle or adjustable shoulder strap with a sliding pad.
ONA Camps Bay Camera and Laptop Backpack – Black Nylon (Order Here for $409.00) Store, protect and transport your photography gear in the beautiful, handcrafted, black The Nylons Camps Bay Backpack from ONA. This pack has a main compartment with padded touch-fastening dividers for storing DSLR or mirrorless cameras with attached 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, up to 7 additional lenses and related accessories. The Nylon Camps Bay will also accommodate up to a 17″ laptop. The pack features a 4 – 7″ space for personal items, and an exterior, zippered accessory pocket. Carry The Nylons Camp Bay Backpack with the padded shoulder straps or top handle. For comfort and to wick away moisture, the pack has an air mesh back panel. Made of 1050D ballistic nylon with leather accents and solid brass, gunmetal finish hardware, this pack is both attractive and durable.
If you want to step up to a handcrafted leather bag, check out dark truffle Italian-leather ONA Prince Street Messenger Bag $389 (Amazon | B&H) or it’s larger sibling the ONA Brixton Camera/Laptop Messenger Bag $429 (Amazon | B&H).
Though my personal favorite walk-around bag is the Sony LCS-SB1 Sling Bag (Amazon | B&H). It’s a slim, body-hugging bag that doesn’t scream, “Steal me, I’m worth thousands!” Although it weighs virtually nothing, it holds a lot. It can fit everything I need for a day out shooting; even a 70–400mm lens with the LA-EA4 fits neatly inside.
Leather Half Cases
If you’re looking for an ultra-premium half case, GARIZ Leather a6000 Half Case (Order from Amazon) is made from high quality genuine leather with soft inner lining. Its metal baseplate includes a separate 1/4″ x 20 tripod mount. [Please Note: This case MIGHT fit on a6300 – but it’s not been tested]
Neewer QR Quick Release Arca Swiss-Compatible L-Plate Bracket for Sony a6000 ($30 at Amazon) features Arca-Swiss stardard bracket dovetails, both the base plate and vertical plate are 100% compatible with RRS lever-release clamp. Features a detachable design, the base plate and vertical plate can be easily disassembled and assembled to fit different shooting experience. Will not affect camera battery compartment lid opening and the data cables hatch opening, will not affect the screen folding and opening. The base plate has an extra 1/4”-20 threaded mounting hole for additional functions. Light weight aviation level 6061T6 Aluminum, machined by precision CNC and surface processed with hard anodized oxidation treatment.
[Please Note: This will FIT on a6300 but you will not be able to access all the ports on the side. I suggest that a6300 owners wait for a new model made for a6300]
Sony Screen Protect Semi-Hard Sheet for the Sony Alpha A6000 Camera ($15 at B&H) Sony Screen Protect Semi-Hard Sheet for the Sony Alpha A6000 Camera will help keep your a6000 camera’s LCD safe from nicks and scratches.
Sony a7 cameras use the new multi-interface hot shoe, which allows the camera to be paired with many new accessories for stills and video production. Sony currently makes four flashes that fit directly into the multi-interface shoe: HVL-F20M, HVL-F32M, HVL-F43M and HVL-F60M.
HVL-F20M (Amazon | B&H) is perfect when you want a soft fill of flash up-close or when you want to trigger another Sony flash wirelessly. HVL-F43M (Amazon | B&H) is the best overall choice as it’s nicely balanced in size and weight to the A7/A7R/A7S. HVL-F60M (Amazon | B&H) tops out with a guide number of 60 for times you need maximum power.
If those flashes too big, too small or too expensive, then here’s on that’s JUST RIGHT! Sony HVL-F32M TTL Flash $298 (Order from Amazon | B&H) offers premium both auto TTL and manual flash settings and premium features in a compact size for flexible lighting control on cameras compatible with Sony’s Multi Interface shoe.
It features a retractable 16mm wide-angle panel, as well as a built-in bounce sheet that can be used even when shooting vertically–without changing the angle of reflected light.
The HVL-F32M runs on two AA batteries and it’s sized to nicely balance on Sony a6000, a6300 and a6500 mirrorless cameras.
Nissin i60A Flash for Sony Multi Interface Shoe (Pre-Order for $339.99) is compatible with the Nissin Air 2.4 GHz Radio TTL System is coming in May 2016. I had a chance to check out at WPPI in Las Vegas earlier this month. It’s nicely sized for Sony a6300 & a6000 mirrorless cameras.
This powerful, compact flash is equipped with a 2.4GHz Air radio receiver for wireless slave TTL functionality. Compatible with Sony cameras equipped with the Multi Interface Shoe and featuring ADI / P-TTL, the i60A will have full support for all automatic flash functions. It is rated with a guide number of 197′ at ISO 100 and the 200mm setting and has a zoom head with a total range of coverage from 24-200mm. It can be expanded to 16mm with the built-in diffusion panel. Hybrid stills/video shooters can benefit from this flash as well thanks to a built-in LED video light for constant illumination.
Remote commanders allow a hands-off approach to triggering a tripod-mounted camera or achieving extra-long exposure times. Sony RM-VPR1 remote control with Multi-Terminal Cable (Amazon | B&H) allows you to trigger long exposures without touching your camera. Another remote trigger that comes in handy is Sony RMT-DSLR2 Wireless Remote (Amazon | B&H). This wireless release triggers your shutter by sending an infrared signal to the camera’s remote port, ensuring that you don’t shake the camera as you fire it.
Sony RMT-VP1K Wireless Receiver and Remote Commander Kit ($69 at Amazon | B&H) Operate your camera or a group of cameras remotely using the RMT-VP1K Wireless Receiver and Remote Commander Kit from Sony. The multi-function remote control is compatible with Sony cameras that are equipped with a multi terminal and has further compatibility with MI-show and DI products. For video or still use, the remote has four available modes: Half-push, Release, Bulb lock, and REC/Zoom. The IR receiver has 360° coverage. Full Compatibility with all Sony products with multi terminal port.
Manfrotto PIXI EVO Mini Tripod available in Black, Red & White (Order Here for $49.95) can hold up to 5.5 lb while weighing only 9.4 oz. It has two leg sections that are adjustable in five steps, allowing it to extend from 2.4″ up to 7.7″ high. The legs can be set at two different angles via the sliding selector. Easily enabling you to place your camera in portrait orientation, a 90° notch is built into the integrated ball head.
The weight of your tripod will probably determine whether or not you will actually carry it along with you farther than the parking lot. Many different types of materials are used in tripods today. The lightest is carbon fiber, which is probably the most expensive as well. More than likely, you should consider an aluminum tripod that is sturdy and that has a weight rating that is suitable for your camera and lenses.
Make sure that the tripod extends to a height that is tall enough to allow you to shoot from a comfortable standing position. Nothing ruins a good shoot like a sore back. Taller tripods need to be sturdier to maintain a rigid base for your camera. You will also want to consider how low the tripod can go. If you want to do macro work of low-level subjects such as flowers, you will need to lower the tripod fairly close to the ground. Many new tripods have leg supports and center column mechanisms that allow you to spread the legs very wide and get the camera low to the ground.
The 3 Legged Thing X1.1 Brian Evolution 2 carbon fiber tripod (Amazon | B&H) extends to 78.7 inches, yet folds to a mere 16.5 inches for easy packing when traveling.
Oben CT-3481 Carbon Fiber Tripod with BE-126T Ball Head (Order Here for $309.95) This sturdy yet lightweight tripod with 4-section legs that fold upward 180° to create an extremely compact package for transport. With the included head attached, folded length is only 18.9″ – yet with the four leg sections and center column extended, the maximum height of the tripod with the head is 68″. For further versatility, one of the legs unscrews from the chassis and attaches to the head & center column to form a working-height monopod. With a system load capacity of 26.4 lb, the tripod and head ensure a stable base for DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
Smooth pans for video all begins with a good video head – which can be the difference between smooth video and shaky cam. Benro makes great video tripod and fluid video heads at a reasonable price. Benro A2573F AL Tripod with S6 Video Head ($300 at Amazon | B&H) is a good entry video head and legs combination for the Sony A7/A7R/A7S or for even smoother pans, move up to the larger S8 video head with the Benro A3573F Series 3 AL Tripod and S8 Pro Video Head ($450 at Amazon | B&H) – it’s larger, heavier video head makes for even smoother camera moves and it’s hard to beat for under $500. If you’re looking for a pro video tripod, Benro H10 Video Tripod with Carbon Fiber Legs ($1,050 at Amazon | B&H) will meet your needs.
Video Tripod/Head/Slider Combo
If you’re looking for the ultimate versatility, Libec ALLEX S KIT (Amazon | B&H) combines a Tripod, Head and Slider into one handy kit that allows you to slide, pan and tilt your camera elevated on a tripod. You can position the slider slanted at various angles on the tripod and capture smooth, diagonally moving shots. Kit includes two padded carrying cases are included, one for the tripod and head – and another for the slider.
Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System ($389 at B&H) weighs just 1.4 lb and can handle cameras up to 5 lb in weight. It gives you precise, smooth control for dramatic, professional you-are-there footage. The quick-release mount lets you instantly switch between your stabilizer and any tripod. This system utilizes a metal gimbal for smooth camera movement.
If you want to eliminate the camera noise that comes with recording sound with your camera, you should consider using an external microphone. You can have much more control over the quality of the audio because you are using a device whose sole purpose is to record audio. There is a growing market of microphones for mirrorless and DSLR cameras, including mics with hot shoe adapters that allow you to mount the mic to the camera so you can record without having to worry about holding the external microphone.
Sony’s ECM-XYST1M stereo microphone ($125 from Amazon | B&H) slips into the multi-interface shoe. Its features include the ability to fine-tune the angle at which sound is recorded, from a single point to a wide 120-degree spread to pick up ambient sound from an entire room.
If you‘re looking to add XLR terminal inputs and audio level controls for a pro external audio input, the Sony XLR-K2M XLR Adapter Kit with Microphone ($598 from Amazon | B&H) is just the thing. It includes 2-Channel XLR Adapter has audio level controls for each channel that fits into Sony Multi-Interface Shoe and a Sony ECM-XM1 Shotgun Microphone.
Or you can do what the pros do: Record sound separately and sync it later using software. This does take a bit more time, but it also provides you the best sound. Several manufacturers sell separate audio recorders that produce high-quality sound at an affordable price, including the Zoom H1 $100 (Amazon | B&H). I prefer the H1’s bigger brother, the Zoom H4n $200 (Amazon | B&H), because it includes two XLR inputs, which allow the use of a variety of specialized high-quality microphones, such as a more sensitive dynamic or condenser mic, or a shotgun mic that can reach out and grab audio from far away.
Here’s a really sweet new camera cage rig for Sony a6000/a6300/a6500 mirrorless cameras packed with lots of handy features like HDMI cable-lock and quick release system to quickly un-mount the cage from the baseplate – not found on other rigs in this price range.
Constructed from high-quality aluminum alloy and stainless steel, the Handheld Camera Cage Rig Kit from Tilta is designed specifically for the Sony a6000, a6300, and a6500 cameras. The fully enclosed unibody rig is constructed from one piece of CNC Machined aluminum. The active cooling system provides heat exchange for the camera (requires 12 VDC power source to operate).
The 0.6″ lightweight support baseplate comes with an integrated lens adapter. The quick release system quickly unmounts the cage from the baseplate. The lens support is compatible with EF to E-Mount and PL to E-Mount Metabones adapters. The function buttons, jacks, and battery compartment are accessible while mounted in the cage.
[Please Note: Don’t trust your Sony a6300 camera in an a6000 Underwater Housing unless the manufacturer confirms compatibility]
Meikon 40m/130ft Underwater Housing Case with Wide Angle Lens Port for Sony a6000 ($330) includes a Wide Angle Correctional Dome Port designed to remove distance distortion created by a flat port as well as give you a better wider close up picture on the object of your interest. The design of optical glass and anti-reflective coating film makes the image perfect without distortion. Also this is a wet lens, it needs to be put underwater. Water is key element in achieving the wide angle effect
Ikelite Underwater Housing with TTL Circuitry for Sony Alpha a6000 ($1,050) allows you to capture images and Full HD video at 200′ beneath the surface. It has built-in, proprietary circuitry and an Ikelite bulkhead strobe connector, allowing for TTL exposure with optional, external Ikelite DS Substrobes attached via sync cord. Non-Ikelite strobes are compatible in manual mode. There are also dual fiber-optic cable ports for flash connection. Mechanical controls provide access to all important camera functions. This housing includes an aluminum mounting tray with an ergonomic quick-release grip handle, which improves balance and gives you an attachment point for an optional lighting arm. Built for durability, the enclosure is constructed from corrosion-resistant polycarbonate, which is clear to allow you to monitor the O-ring seal and maintain a full view of the camera. It is designed, made by hand, and tested in the USA.
Sea & Sea MDX-a6000 Underwater Housing for Sony a6000 with Lens Port for 10-18mm ($2,650). Dual fiber-optic ports enable the connection of optional external strobes via cables. Mechanical controls afford access to all camera functions. Built for durability, the housing is constructed from a galvanized, corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy. It ships with the ML Dome Port for the 10-18mm, 16mm f/2.8, or 16-50mm lens, and accepts the optional ML Flat Port 33 for the 30mm f/3.5 or 16-50mm lens. Made from a galvanized, corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy with a depth Rating: 328′ for body, 262′ for lens port. An optional leak sensor can be installed to alert you in the unlikely event of a breach in the waterproof seal.
Sensor Cleaning Tools
Never, ever, ever use canned, compressed air to blow dust off your sensor. The cans will release fluid when they are tilted, and that’s the last thing you want to get on your sensor. For this reason, I always use my Giotto’s Rocket Blaster (Amazon | B&H). This funny-looking device is great for getting rid of dust on your sensor. It uses a clean air path so that the dust that you are blowing away doesn’t get sucked back into the ball and re-deposited on your equipment the next time you use it. Always point your camera down when blowing off the sensor. That way, any dust you dislodge falls out of the camera.
If the Rocket Blower can’t dislodge the dust, I move on to a VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly 724 sensor brush (B&H). This negatively charged brush helps pull dust particles off the sensor instead of just moving them around. This version includes an LED light so you can see what you’re doing.
Those two sensor cleaners will do the trick 99% of the time. But for really persistent sensor gunk I can’t get off any other way Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs (Type 2 for APS-C sensors) (Amazon | B&H) slightly moistened with Aeroclipse Digital Sensor Cleaning Fluid (Amazon | B&H) will do the trick. These swabs are clean room manufactured and sealed for the ultimate in purity. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Brush across the sensor in one fluid motion using light even pressure. Then turn the swab over and brush across the sensor in the opposite direction.