Canon’s T5 and T5i Digital Rebel cameras offer great quality for the money, but you can get even more out of them with add-ons like lenses, an external flash and microphone or a tripod. You can also make your shoots easier with some basics, like an extra battery and a camera bag for your new accessories. Here are the best accessories for upping your photographic game in an economical way.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
The “nifty fifty” as it’s lovingly known, is one of the most-popular upgrade lenses that Canon makes. It’s nearly as sharp as a pro lens and costs virtually nothing. The massive f/1.8 aperture provides nearly night vision and insanely shallow depth of field for soft backgrounds. Don’t be disappointed by the plastic body and mount. The glass inside is top-notch. (It takes 52mm-size filters.)
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens
Good telephoto zoom lenses tend to be expensive, but not this one. It’s not rugged enough to take into a hurricane or sandstorm, but otherwise, it’s plenty solid, and image quality is close to that of far more expensive Canon lenses. It comes with image stabilization — a must at these long telephoto lengths — and focuses smoothly in video, thanks to the stepping motor, designated by “STM.” Picking up right where the kit zoom lens ends (55mm), it’s the perfect addition for people who want to get closer to the action. (It takes 58mm-size filters.)
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
A wide-angle lens is essential for shooting in tight indoor spaces, for group photos and for capturing broad landscapes. Canon’s 10-18mm-wide zoom is surprisingly light and inexpensive for the sharp quality. Canon saves money by using a plastic lens mount, but it doesn’t hurt performance. This budget model packs advanced features, including image stabilization (very rare on a wide-angle Canon lens). The “STM” in the name stands for stepping motor, which allows very smooth autofocus, which improves video quality. (It takes 67mm-size filters.)
Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens
Take advantage of the diminutive size of the T5/T5i with this “pancake”-style lens that protrudes less than an inch from the front of the camera. The fixed 40mm focal length provides just a bit of zoom beyond the way you see the world, making it suitable for all kinds of photography, and allowing you to travel very light. It also has smooth STM autofocus. (It takes 52mm-size filters.)
Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash
Built-in flashes are mainly good to lighten up shadows. Beyond that, they offer weak and unflattering light, sometimes producing demonic red eye. The 430EX III-RT offers a huge performance boost over the built-in flash and adds the ability to bounce light off a ceiling or wall for softer effects. It even has a warm filter so you can brighten, say, a candlelit room without blowing away the ambient color. The 430EX III-RT is also pretty compact, at about 4.5 inches high and 10 ounces.
SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB UHS-I/U3 SDHC Memory Card
SanDisk’s 32GB card provides plenty of storage and speed for capturing a wealth of photos and HD video. It’s future-proofed, too: the 95MB/s speed can capture 4K/UHD video whenever you buy your next camera. While 64GB cards are becoming more popular, they make it tempting to put off downloading and organizing images, ultimately leaving you with an unmanageable mess.
AmazonBasics Medium DSLR Gadget Bag
This popular, inexpensive bag is perfect for carrying your new gear. At 11.6 x 7.8 x 4.9 inches, it has room for your camera and a few accessories such as a lens, flash or microphone. If you need to carry more gear, step up to Amazon’s 12 x 9 x 7-inch Large bag for $25. Both models offer the options of an orange or gray interior.
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod Kit
A tripod is a must when shooting in low light, such as a sunset or a night sky. It’s also essential gear for moviemaking. The Alta Pro 263AB 100 is constructed of sturdy but lightweight aluminum and includes a ball head that rotates 360 degrees and holds cameras of up to 15 pounds at a wide variety of angles. The three legs lock at angles of 25, 50 and 80 degrees for the right trade-offs between height and stability, and the tripod extends up about 5.7 feet.
Azden SMX-10 Stereo Condenser Microphone (Canon T5i only)
A DSLR’s built-in mic will suffice if there’s little background noise. But to bring out voices, especially outside with even the slightest bit of wind, a shotgun mic is a must. And the SMX-10 is a fantastic bargain, including a windscreen, shock mount to limit vibration noise and a 1,000-hour battery life. You can use it with the T5i, which has a stereo mic jack, but not with the T5.
Canon Battery Pack LP-E10
The T5/T5i are rated for about 500 shots per charge, which a long day of shooting could exceed. And if you forget to charge your battery every night, you might run dry right in the middle of a shooting expedition. To provide a safety margin, especially when traveling, you should carry a spare battery. The LP-E10 is rated to double the number of shots you can take, making it a sensible accessory for photographers on the go.
Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control (T5i only)
In the selfie era, you need a way to get yourself in the photo. Canon’s remote uses an infrared beam to trigger the T5i from up to 15 feet in front of it. (The T5 does not have an infrared sensor to support wireless remotes.) It can be set to take a shot either the moment you press the button or after a 2-second delay.
Tiffen 58MM Circular Polarizer Glass Filter
Brilliant sunlight is not a photographer’s friend, due to the glare it produces, especially on water. A polarizing filter cuts the glare while boosting contrast and deepening colors. This size fits Canon’s 18-55mm kit lens. For other lenses, check the filter sizes listed for each we recommend.