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Final word on using a Lens Hood

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by ptchan5, May 16, 2007.

  1. ptchan5


    Apr 21, 2007
    California, USA
    Does anyone know what is the general view on using the lens hood? I couldn't find anything on searching and I'm sure Thom Hogan or Ken Rockwell would have a thing or two to say about it.

    Do I only use it when I'm outside in bright sunlight or when I'm indoors and there are bright lights that could introduce flare? or do I religiously use it whenever I have a lens that has one...which would be everyone except my 50mm prime?

    I can tell you one thing, they are a pain to carry around, because they take so much space in the camera bag. If the consensus is they don't do much I'll keep them in the drawer at home and make my life easier.
  2. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi peter-

    a hood serves two functions:
    1. protects against flare
    2. protects against damage (it's better to hit the hood than the lens)

    i have a hood on all my lenses. granted they do make the lens longer when attached, but most new hoods can be mounted backwards when storing the lens.

    from what i remember reading, thom hogan uses hoods and prefers them over filters for lens protection.

  3. Humm two schools of thoughts on that one. Ken Rockwell never uses one (You mentionned he would have something to say about hoods... he does.)

    I had one on an 18-70 lens which saves the lens when I sat once and the hood took the hit not the lens. Then I shot without the hood for 6 months + ...

    In daylight you don't really need one... if your back is towards the sun!

    Now I use one on all my lens, I learned a thing or two since, prevents flare and protects the lens. Almost always had it on the 18-200VR and always have it on the 85/1.4.

    Now the only times I do not use a "lens hood is when I do indoor flash photography, except with the one on the 85/1.4.

    To hood or not to hood that is the question and the answer is ... It is better to hood specially for night photography and daylight photography and ... All the time, go with what works for you. I did not always have it on the 18-200... On overcast days, didn't need it. :rolleyes: 
  4. photoshooter

    photoshooter Guest

    The Manufacturer, supplies the hood, why not use it.

    Unless, we are not allowed a hood, (NBA games), we always keep them on.
    They keep out extraneous light, and protect lens.
    Hoods are designed specifically, for the lens it's used on.

    We would recommened, using the hood.
  5. adaml


    Feb 21, 2006
    Keeping lens hoods on all your lenses is a minor aggravation compared to that of having a scratched lens, or worse.

    Lens hoods have saved me that greater aggravation on at least three occasions, to the point where I now have quality filters and lens hoods on all my lenses.
  6. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    I use hoods all the time, indoors, outdoors, sun, shade, into the light, with the light behind. The only possible exception would be if it interferred with the flash for macro, but I usually try to raise the flash so everything works with the hood.
  7. This is truly a matter of opinion, and you will find fairly strong opinions (other places, not here I'm sure! :smile:)  on this matter, and I don't think there is a "final say". So, I will share my opinion with you. True story: Friend of mine bought a Canon XT about a year ago, added a nice L-series lens, never used the lens hood, but to protect the lens, he went out and bought a very expensive filter (he had heard that cheap ones can hinder picture quality). Long story short, he grabbed the camera off a table, strap caught on something, camera slips out of hands, fell right onto the lens. No problem, you say... he had a protective filter... well, the filter protected the lens alright, at about a +$100 cost, whereas the lens hood that came with the lens would have been a freebie. Moral: I always used mine, indoor, outdoor, wherever. :smile:
  8. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    I USE them. Too man times have I walked around with my 70-200 Sigma on my shoulder and just heard CLUNK. That is the sound my someone or something banging up against me, but only hitting the hood. Doing PJ work, I never give a crap about my gear b/c they are there to do a job, not look pretty. Take a look at the hood on that lens and it has chunks taken out of the plastic, yet the rest of the lens and the optics look brand new.
  9. SRA


    Jul 29, 2005
    Orem, Utah
    I spent a month in Europe every summer and one year decided not to bring the hoods to save space. I lost more outdoor photos because of lens flare. Now the hoods stay on the lens unless the interfere with indoor flash.
  10. canuckr


    Apr 9, 2007
    CBD Detroit
    I always use my lens hoods not matter where I am shooting (for protection). They have saved my arse more then a few times when I wasnt paying attention..
  11. Not only do I use my lens hood all the time, on occasion I use my lens cap as well (of course, this method always happens at the worse possible. once in lifetime moments). Doh! as Homer would say.
  12. Aaaaah Ken Rockwell, or to quote another site 'the Chuck Norris of photography' :biggrin:

    I use mine to cut out any stray light that may affect the shot. Doesn't hurt to use them and its not exactly difficult to put them on so why not. On bigger diameter lenses it definitely helps more, the 600 f4 for example and 70-200 VR can get ghosting if a light source is too near the edge of an image.
  13. I generally prefer a hard lens hood ( not rubber), because a rigid hood offers more protection. A filter will add more surfaces for light to bounce on and therefore degrade the image. If you choose to uses a filter, buy a good one, like B+W. I once dropped a 500mm f/4 off my tripod. It fell to the pavement big end first (apparently) and the lens hood saved it. Two of the 'tips' sheared off the lens hood and took enough shock out of the lens to save it. I had the lens checked out by Nikon and it was fine. Just needed some wonder glue and fixed the lens hood myself. I've also seen filters that had been struck with such force as to damage the front element of the lens. A rigid lens hood, IMHO, offers many advantages. If in doubt, do both.

    When I shoot in 'caustic' areas such as geyser basins, seashores, etc. I generally us filters to protect the lens surface. I will at the least carefully clean my lens immediately when exposed to 'caustic' conditions. I always blow off the lens to remove big chunks before applying a cleaning cloth.

    I read all the prior posts and it looks like you should have info to make your own decision. I prefer not to do what any big name photog is said to do just because he/she does it. What do you do if they later change their preference? Weigh all the logical considerations and pick what you are the most comfortable with.
  14. But can Ken Rockwell's tears cure cancer?

    I use a lens hood. As much as a pain it is to use one with a polarizer, it's worth it.
  15. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Two words, each repeated for emphasis :

    Flare, flare, flare...


    Contrast, contrast, contrast...

    Easy, eh ? :rolleyes: 

    John P.
  16. nbmro

    nbmro Guest

    I sometimes use it, sometimes don't.
    generally, it is a problem of space. in my little bag (Tamrac 5746 Velocity 6 - Compact Sling Pack), the hood was a member of the family until I bought the 50 mm. now, one of the side pockets hosts the prime and the charger is in the other and the d70s with 18-70 is between them.
    on the other hand, I am really bothered that I can't zoom with the hood reverse
  17. Jeffx2


    May 2, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    If I;m shooting on a tripod then I frequently use my hat as a lens hood. Not very scientific, but it gets the job done.
  18. ptchan5


    Apr 21, 2007
    California, USA
    Ok, got it. Lots of opinions. One side is the protection argument and the other is the flare or performance issue. Seems to me the consensus is use one, since there is good reason for it.

    Although they are a space hog because they make the diameter of the lens bigger which generally doesn't allow them to fit in the camera bags very well.

    Thanks for all the great responses, I apologize if it seemed like I was taking a poll, I just wanted to know which side of the fence I should be on...looks like both!
  19. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Peter :

    With some care, you can nest some hoods inside each other, as well as placing them around the mount end of some telephoto lenses. I do this with my lens complement in my Computrekker for my travels, and while not ideal by any means, it works passing well.

    YMMV, of course. :wink:

    John P.
  20. ptchan5


    Apr 21, 2007
    California, USA
    Thanks John, never thought about the nesting option. I'll give that a shot...or it's off to the camera store for a bigger bag!! hahahaha Let's not start in on the bag discussion, eh?
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