Amazon Photography Finds
Photography equipment is expensive - especially if you're like me, and it's just a side hobby. So, Amazon can be a quick and easy way to find cheaper off-brand equipment. But, do they actually work?
Here's some of my personal Amazon finds and whether I found them to be great or not so great. Keep in mind, with photography equipment you get what you pay for. Some products can get the job done at a cheaper cost.
Vello FreeWave FusionTransmitter / Receivers for 430EX II Canon Flash Speedlites
I bought these because at the time, I had one flash and didn't use it often. I wanted something cheap to work with my Canon 6D indoors. I had bought a timelapse remote/control from them a few months prior and it worked great. Seeing the brand Vello had these as well seemed like the right option to try.
Using them for quick indoor use is great. I occasionally have connection issues that take about 10 minutes to diagnose, but it's usually the connection metal to metal is being disrupted by oils from my skin or dust and dirt. Majority of the time that will fix it. Speed is great, never had any faults with it during shooting.
What I did run into an issue with is when I got another speedlite and wanted a second receiver to work with the ones I already had. Turns out, in the last 2-3 years, Vello changed their transmitters. Because of this, the same labeled product I bought on Amazon would not work with the old ones I had. It's the same product; same name and function but the physical size/shape of the product is different. I'm not sure if the frequency was different or if it was simply an updated version of the product.
Regardless, once I bought another newer receiver from Amazon after some searching and now I have two working receivers and a working transmitter. Also a backup single transmitter and receiver if I'm ever using one flash.
Overall, besides the occasional connection issues when setting everything up, this receiver and transmitter set will work well under a budget. I've also worked with the Yongnuo receivers and transmitters and based on other photographers experiences, I'll say that Vello seems to be slightly better quality than Yongnuo's.
You can buy the set on Amazon here. This one is for Canon cameras.
Watson Rechargable AAA and AA Batteries
I don't go anywhere without these. They are incredibly reliable and handy to have, whether it's for my flash or my mouse and keyboard for my iMac. I've recharged them too many times to count. The one set is finally starting to get a shorter lifespan, but trust me, these things can take a lot of use before that happens.
Universal Flash Gel and Filter Set - Both Colored and White Balance Filters
I'm adding this here as a reminder that this is super important as a photographer. I just bought this two months ago and have been kicking myself for not buying them sooner. The band is sturdy and keeps the gels on without fear of them slipping off. It's a challenge so far keeping them neatly organized so that I don't bend them or damage them but the carrying case has nice paper dividers in them that help immensely.
You can buy the universal gel kit here.
Cowboy Studio Aluminum Adjustable Light Stands
This brand is highly popular on Amazon but the cheap prices always scared me away from it. Needing a spare light stand, I bought this just to try it. Safe to say, it works well and is sturdy. I wouldn't trust it with extra large softboxes or anything with off centered weight. (sandbags or heavy purses or weights would come in handy if you do)
If you're like me and just using speedlights with small softboxes or umbrellas, these will work just fine. You can purchase a two pack of the stands here.
Flash Diffuser Reflector Kit - Bendable Reflectors
I love these! Another one of those "I should've bought these sooner" items! I used to tape postcards to my flash (horrible idea, spent an hour cleaning the sticky residue off the flash) so these are now a staple to my must have equipment.
The one reflector can be rolled into a snoot. The velcro can be tricky to attach but once you get it, it's solid. The bendable/wired reflector has such a soft quality of light, it's surprising for how small the box is. It's maybe the size of a small paperback book.
You can purchase these lovely items here.
I'll be sure to add more frugal photography finds when I make new purchases. There are times where you should buy the higher priced, higher quality equipment. But there are times where the cheaper in price, but ok in quality products do the job too.