Okay, you’ve paid quite a sum of money for a premium compact camera. Perhaps you were looking for a small camera to compliment your big DSLR or mirrorless camera, or it may even be your primary camera. Cameras like the Sony RX100-series, Ricoh GR, Fujifilm X100-series, Canon G1-series or perhaps the Nikon Coolpix A can produce some impressive results. Depending on which camera you’ve chosen you can fit it in the pocket of your coat so you can have it with you all the time. And as the saying goes: the best camera is the one you have with you.
To make the best use of your luxurious new camera I’ve put together a list of some of the best accessories for your premium compact camera. I’ve chosen accessories that match the premium looks and build of your camera. A premium compact camera deserves the best looking and highest quality accessories.
Billingham Stowaway Compact
You probably know Billingham from the high end premium shoulder bags and backpacks they make. What may not know is they also make the small Stowaway bags. Those are small bags that are perfect for keeping your tickets and other documents when travelling. You can also combine them with your bigger Billingham to create some extra room. Less well-known is that the Stowaways also work perfectly as camera bag for small cameras.
The Billingham Stowaway is available in three sizes, the Airline, Pola and the Compact I’m reviewing here. The Compact is the smallest bag of the series, but still offers 140 x 85 x 210 mm interior space. That is more than enough room for a compact camera. It even offers more than enough room for other stuff. Despite their small size the Stowaways do still offer thick padding and a though exterior to protect your camera from damage.
When you pick the Stowaway up you’ll notice it isn’t a lightweight bag. Billingham is known for their high-quality materials, high-end finish and smart designs. It’s good to see the same goes for their small Stowaway bags, they are made to the same high-end standards. The outside is made of the same material as the bigger bags (canvas), also lined with butyl to make it waterproof. The edges are protected by stitched leather. All these high-end materials make the bags durable but also a little heavy.
The bag has got a roomy main compartment. You open it using a big zipper that runs all the way from the left shoulder strap lug to the right one. Because of the long zipper the opening is big and you can access your camera with ease. The zipper itself is made of plastic making sure it doesn’t scratch your camera, but it isn’t protected like you see on dedicated camera bags. All zippers Billingham has used have a metal pull-tab with the Billingham logo on it. The bag has got two shoulder strap lugs made of metal, below them there is room to put your pen.
On the back the bag has got a roomy not zippered pocket to stow some less important documents, like a city plan. On the back, it also has two leather lugs you can use to attach you Stowaway to you bigger Billingham. On the front of the bag it has a flap that gives access to the front pocket. It is held close by the same leather lug you’ll find on the bigger Billingham’s. It doesn’t open to easy in the beginning, but it does get better after using it for some time when the leather gets a little suppler. The front pocket is a small but deep so you can put flat but longer stuff in it. The flap itself offers a small zippered pocket you can use to stow some small stuff like a battery. On the left side of the front of the bag you’ll also find a long zipper that gives you access to a large front pocket covering the whole front of the bag. That pocket does have room for thicker stuff.
A nice detail is that the Stowaway does have the same label with serial number and Mr. Billingham’s signature, just like the bigger Billingham’s
Peli Micro Case 1020
If you need the best possible protection for your camera you may need something sturdier than a normal bag. You could get a Peli case. You may know that name from their big and indestructible (flight-)cases. But Peli also makes smaller cases that offer the same protection for small cameras and other accessories.
Peli offers their Micro Cases in a wide range of sizes. The Micro Case 1020 is the perfect size for a Coolpix A or other small cameras. Internally it is 13,6 x 9,2 x 4,5 cm big. It protects your gear from water, impact and it can take a lot of pressure because it has a stainless-steel frame, just like the big Peli cases. So, while the Micro Cases are small, they offer great protection.
Joby Micro Hybrid Tripod
A tripod is a great companion for your camera. It comes in handy for taking photos in low light, but also for taking a group photo or selfie. But you didn’t pay a lot of money for a small premium compact camera to start lugging around a big and heavy tripod. That’s where this little Joby comes in handy. This is truly the smallest, usable tripod I’ve ever seen and used.
The Joby Micro Hybrid Tripod is just 2,8 x 8,5 x 2 cm when it is collapsed and it weighs just 65 grams. Maybe even more impressive is the maximum load capacity of 800 grams (about 1,8 pounds). You can mount the tripod under your camera using the standard tripod mount. Unfolding the legs is done in a second, and because the Joby Micro Hybrid tripod has a small ball head you can adjust your camera to level it.
Joby DSLR Wrist strap
You could use the shoulder strap that comes with your camera. But most of them aren’t comfortable, and for smaller cameras I prefer a wrist strap. Joby’s best strap is the Joby DSLR Wrist strap. Despite its name, it also works perfect for smaller cameras.
The strap itself is made of nylon and weighs just 10 grams, so you don’t even feel that it is attached to your camera. The strap has got a stopper to secure it around your wrist. With the strap around your wrist you don’t have to worry about dropping the camera, and you can even let it hang from your wrist when you need a free hand.
Spare battery Hähnel HL-EL20
When you are used to the stamina of your DSLR you may be surprised to find your camera without power after 250-350 shots. Compact cameras normally use more power with their live view keeping both the screen and sensor active while shooting, especially with their smaller batteries. Keeping a spare battery around is probably not a bad idea.
But original spare batteries are quite expensive costing 40 to even 60 euros. Luckily there are cheaper alternatives, like the Hähnel HL-EL20 (for the Nikon Coolpix A), that is about half the price of an original battery. I’ve been using Hähnel batteries in my cameras for years, but I haven’t noticed any difference with an original battery. They work the same, offer the same battery life, charge the same in the original charger and my cameras show the remaining charge just like my original batteries. So, I wouldn’t spend more money on the expensive original batteries.
These are some of my favorite accessories for a premium compact camera. If you have other accessories you think are indispensable for people using a (premium) compact camera please leave a comment, perhaps I can add them to this list.