Musings on Photography

Lens hoods

Posted in Blogroll by Paul Butzi on December 24, 2008


The always insightful Amy explains why lens hoods are essential. (her blog is on my ‘read first’ list. It’s not a very long list. Yes, that’s a strong recommendation. Want a treat? Go check out her Portland: A Love Letter. Paul rates this book ‘awesome’. Paul does not rate very many things ‘awesome’.)

I hear they can cut lens flare, too. Whoo! You’ve heard people say there’s a lid for every pot! But the real secret is that there’s a hood for every lens!

Do *you* have hoods for all your lenses? Why not? Lens hoods are cheap. Lens hoods protect your cameras and lenses.

And lens hoods fill your photos with flare-free creamy goodness.

Buy hoods for every lens. Trust me.

10 Responses

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  1. Amy Sakurai said, on December 24, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    It’s true that I use lens hoods as protectors. I’m often shooting in a room full of people, and my camera is exposed to unexpected impacts from all directions. Plus I seem to swing my camera around a lot. It’s vulnerable. I even toss my camera, lens cap off, onto the front seat of the car. There are just lots of opportunities for little collisions. Maybe I don’t treat my camera like a delicate piece of precision electronic and optical equipment as I should… OTOH my camera gets a lot of use, nearly every day. The odds that it’s going to take some hits is higher than that of many hobbyists. I always say my camera doesn’t take any good pictures when it’s turned off and zipped into a bag.

    However, I do not recommend relying on the lens hood for protection when flinging a camera towards the floor. (^_~) I studied engineering in college and know some of the force vectors. I am amazed the camera still works.

    One of the oddities of the Nikkor AF 35mm f/2D is that it doesn’t come with a lens hood. I don’t know of many lenses that don’t. (All my other Nikkors came with lens hoods.) I had to order mine from B&H for $20. I do agree that a lens hood is cheap insurance.

    Thank you again, Paul, for your extremely kind words about my blog and my SoFoBoMo book. We won’t go ’round and ’round on the mutual admiration topic again 😀 but I do have to tell your readers that your blog is on the short list of the blogs I read daily. And when you take those little leave of absences from writing, there are many of us who note the void (and check up to see if you’re OK).

  2. Oren Grad said, on December 25, 2008 at 12:32 am

    The Nikon HN-1/2/3 metal screw-in hoods, like the one Amy used, are terrific; the HN-3 is my favorite for the compact 24mm primes I’ve used as 36mm-e semiwides on APS-C DSLRs. These hoods have been in the catalog more or less forever, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me to try one until recently. Too bad Nikon doesn’t make them in sizes other than 52mm – I may need to try the more expensive B+H metal hoods to fit my lenses with other filter threads.

    Some of the newer SLR lenses I’ve purchased over the last couple of years have come with dedicated plastic hoods. They seem nicely designed to shield the respective focal lengths from stray light, but they feel a bit flimsy for crash duty.

  3. Oren Grad said, on December 25, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Oops – that’s B+W, which I usually buy from B&H…

  4. Markus Spring said, on December 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Already some 30 years back I was taught to always use the lens hood. Of course I did not always follow this simple rule, but especially with the tele zooms I used to do so. But most of the hoods I’ve used in the past are small in comparison to the intended purpose, even more so when using a full frame lens on a crop camera.
    Quite a lot of moderate backlight shots (with cheap lenses) were suffering from the effects of stray light.

    So I was positively astonished when I received my new Sony 70-300G, where the lens hood is more then 2/3 the size of the body of the lens, practically covering the barrel in reverted transport position. This is the protection against stray light I always wanted from a lens hood.
    Now the down side of course is that it’s almost impossible to use the lens with the hood in transport position…

  5. Oren Grad said, on December 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    The other downside of the enormous hoods that come with some SLR lenses is that they make cameras that are already too big even more conspicuous. More really good small lenses with matching appropriately-small hoods, please.

  6. Gordon McGregor said, on December 27, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    All my lenses, all hooded, all the time.

  7. Markus Spring said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    @Oren: You are definitely right, that 70-300 w. hood is so big that you will *never* be able to sneak a shot. And coming from the Pentax MX, I know the pleasure and advantages of small gear.

    This was one of my hopes that turned out to be futile: DX format could have brought us smaller yet high aperture lenses, primes especially, but it seems only Pentax and to a smaller extent Olympus has bothered to deliver. And now the development goes in direction of FX, with big(ger) lenses again.

  8. Oren Grad said, on December 28, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Markus –

    A Pentax MX was my first SLR, a birthday gift from my father 30 years ago. I’ve just had it overhauled to prepare for its next 30 years of service. 🙂

    The closest I’ve come in a DSLR is my Nikon D60 with an old Quantaray/Sigma compact 24mm f/2.8 mounted. Small, quiet, unobtrusive, a pleasure to carry – in all those respects much nicer than the D300 + 17-35/2.8 AF-S combination I was using for a while.

    Hoods on both lenses all the time, BTW – a Nikon HN-3 on the Quantaray/Sigma, and the dedicated hood on the 17-35. 🙂

  9. Robert Hoehne said, on December 28, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    if it’s not on it’s not on.

  10. matt said, on January 1, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Huh, but if you use lens hoods, how do you fit your camera in your coat pocket? And how do you get that lovely veiling flare? Always been confused by this.

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