First off a lens hood for my M.Zuiko 12-40mm lens purchased from Amazon at £11.47 with free delivery. This lens actually comes with one for a change but the Olympus one costs a stagering £39.99 to replace!. The one I bought as shown above has the added advantage of having a small window that detaches to fascilitate turning a polariser filter. Over a period of time I have bought these after-market lens hoods for all of my lenses and the monetary saving has been considerable especially as nearly all my lenses are sold without an included lens hood.
Then there’s the lens cap for the same lens. I got a 62mm center-pinch one on e-bay for £0.99 with free delivery whereas the Olympus one costs an eye-watering £17.99!. Can you believe it?, it’s just a lens cap with a name on it!. In fact I always replace lens caps and camera straps with ones without the manufacture’s name emblazoned on them as a matter of course. Not because there’s anything radically wrong with them, although I have to say that I find the neoprene cushioned camera straps that I have are thinner and more comfortable to wear, but rather that I don’t like being an unpaid walking advert. The center-pinch caps are also much easier to remove and fit with a lens hood attached compared to the side-pinch types.
Now for two more handy little items at bargain prices.
A set of filter wrenches to fit 46-62mm filters. Not an essential item I grant you until you get two filters stuck together and they don’t take up any room or add any significant weight to my camera bag and at £3.22 inc. free delivery I could afford to splash out!
Then there’s these handy little battery storage boxes for my Olympus BLN-1 camera batteries, useful to keep them dry and protecting them from the risk of shorting in my camera bag or pocket. £1.99 each from e-bay with, yes, you’ve guessed it, free delivery 🙂 I also like to make sure that particularly when travelling by air with my gear there’s absolutely zero chance of battery contacts shorting out. Whilst on the subject of batteries I strongly object to paying £50 each for original batteries when there are much more reasonably priced after-market alternatives out there. I’d rather have five bateries that, from my experience, have just about the same performance for my £50. Additional: See this post for my self-adhesive battery charge indicator addition to these cases.
And last but not least I bought five neoprene lens cases from e-bay at £1.33 each, yes, you did read that right, £1.33 each!, with free delivery, heaven only knows what Olympus charge for their cases.
Well not quite last 🙂 . Using a fraction of my savings on the above items I had a reckless rush of blood to my head and decided to really push the boat out and treat myself to –
A nifty neoprene dual compartment filter pouch thingy to hold my 25-77mm filters. Yes I know it was rash but at £4.33 from Amazon with gratis postage cost (note I didn’t say free delivery again , oh darn it I just did!) I simply couldn’t resist it. 🙂 . It’s also got a very handy hook clip on it. A word or two of advice, shop around on ebay and Amazon, you can generally find the same things on both sites but the prices can vary significantly. If you are happy waiting for postage from overseas eg. China on ebay then there are some good bargains to be found.
I’m not saying that items such as lens hoods, lens caps and pouches are of the exact same quality or design as the camera manufacture’s own items but, in my opinion, the savings are well worth it and from my experience none of the above items are shoddy, poorly made or designed. It’s not just the cost of buying it’s also the cost of replacing if lost or damaged. I for one would not be happy to loose or drop and damage £40’s worth of lens hood or £20’s worth of lens cap and I strongly suspect that you wouldn’t either.
So I bought one lens hood, one lens cap, one set of filter wrenches, five battery cases, five lens pouches and a filter pouch for less than the cost of the camera manufacture’s lens hood, makes you think doesn’t it. Oh, and, in case I didn’t mention it, all these came with free delivery. 🙂
Additional: If you’re looking for straps for your camera and/or camera bag I really like the straps by OP/TEC USA. I have two of their E-Z comfort straps on my cameras and an 0901312 S.O.S. Curve Strap on my camera bag. These straps are very comfortable and have a neoprene cushioned pad design which allows for a little stretch and moulds to one’s neck or shoulders and really helps to spread the load. I suffer from my neck and shoulder pain and these have helped a lot. I think that they’re also well built and pretty reasonably priced. Not the sexiest of accessories but, for me one of the most important ones and thoroughly worth it. All I want in a strap is that it is lightweight, strong and, above all, comfortable and these tick all the boxes for me.
The 0901312 strap as shown above with them fitted has detacheable clips which can be removed allowing the webbing to directly loop through D rings if preferred. I cannot overstate the value to me of this strap. The cushioned pad is large and quite wide and goes right over one’s shoulder. The camera straps are good when you have the camera around your neck but the camera bag strap ergonomics are more important as the bag is the thing that, in my case, has to be carried everywhere all day long with the combined weight of my gear and, like the camera strap the neoprene really does give good cushioning and spreads the load.
PS. I should just add that I have no association with the manufacturers of these items nor have I any axe to grind with Olympus, in fact I’m a huge fan of their gear. Other leading brands of camera manufacturer have just the same high pricing for their accessories.