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Not using a hood

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by comma, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. comma


    Jul 21, 2014
    I have shot on and off for many years. I have never used a hood.
    I am not generally shooting in direct light, but I've been told, pretty strongly, that I should constantly have a good on my lenses, by quite a few photographers. Yet I have seen many photographers shoot without them.

    I find them annoying for some reason and honestly have never seen any difference in the kind of photography I do (more recently, mostly product shots).

    What are you guys' opinions? I've heard the "doesn't hurt so why not leave it on?"

  2. Never go anywhere without one (except when using a polarizer).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Anyone who strongly tells you that is a bit out of line in my opinion. Using or not using a hood is a valid choice in my opinion depending on the environment, lighting, the photographer's perception about the amount of inconvenience to stop shooting to mount a hood only when needed, and the person's confidence in handling a camera.

    As an example, using a hood almost always works for me because I'm a klutz; I once dropped the camera on a concrete floor and I'm reasonably convinced that nothing other than the filter broke because the hood took the initial shock. I like to leave the hood on for outdoor shooting and almost all shooting in my makeshift studio because it easily minimizes the chance of flare. However, when shooting macro in my makeshift studio whether with or without extension tubes, I never use a hood because doing so makes it too difficult to light the subject at such close distances to the lens. All of that is only for me, which would make it absolutely crazy for me to strongly tell you that my choices should also be yours.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  4. I have five lenses and it's difficult to adjust the polarizer only with one of them when the hood is mounted. Some people like buying the special hoods that have cutouts for making it easy to adjust the polarizer from outside the hood.
  5. comma


    Jul 21, 2014
    Thanks! I also have a followup question.
    Does the type of filter matter?

    Most of my lenses are vintage ais and do not have hoods.

    Does the type of aftermarket filter matter or do they do basically the same thing?
  6. The better the glass the better the filter should be.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. TonyW


    Jan 15, 2010
    I do believe in the overall benefit of fitting a suitable lens hood to all lenses. Purpose twofold, first to help prevent unwanted flare (leave it off if you want to record flare), second to help protect the lens front element from damage from bumping into things.

    Without a hood you can use your hand or a book or some other source to shade the light to help prevent flare.

    Ideal lens hoods are those designed specifically for your lens with the petal shape being particularly useful as it shades differently depending on portrait or landscape orientation. If all you can find is a round hood then use that and be aware that you may need to occassionally add extra shading

    Some of my lenses have the removable panel for help in using polarising filters as shown here also note the petal shape.
    New PENTAX PH-RBN67 Lens Hood For smc D FA 645 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW Lens | eBay

    A good quality coated filter is a must if you have to use filter and even more reason to add a hood as you have now added more glass surface to multiply flare and reflections
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  8. Always but do what you like not what you’re told
  9. Just today had a friend call me and tell me about him slipping on a wet board walk along the lake and he smashed his D4s,300 pf up against the railing, it cracked the lens hood but that saved him a broken lens.
  10. revdhd


    May 2, 2007
    Shooting college lacrosse with my 70-200/2.8, D700, and monopod. Watched in horror as camera and lens slid off the ballhead and hit the tarmac from about 5 feet high. Cracked the lens hood, but camera and lens were untouched. Whenever I’m shooting outdoors, I use a hood (except, as others have mentioned above, when I have a polarizer mounted, or I’m seeking some lens flare). I also mount UV filters on all lenses. An old camera store I used to frequent had a line-up of lenses displayed, each of which had a broken filter, but an untouched front element. All had been dropped, but protected by the filter. I like the protection, since I am often a doofus with equipment.
  11. Occasionally I am asked to produce a travel video for a tour group using the still photos taken by members. I always see several images that would have been much improved if the member had used a lens hood. I use one for image quality reasons, but the hood saved my 12-24 DX lens when it took a fall.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Lenses with cracked filters are merely anecdotes; we'll never know if the front element would have been damaged if there hadn't been a filter.

    I generally keep my lens hoods on to both keep out stray light and protect the front element. Like Mike, I prefer leaving it off micro lenses to maximize working distance.

  13. IMG_0199.JPG
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Like extended choke tubes on shotguns, hoods make cameras look cool.
  14. I always use the lens hood...even when using a polarizer. I'm fortunate that I can still rotate my filter with the lens hood attached to the lens.

    I use a lens hood for two reasons. It helps reduce the risk of flare. Sometimes, the flare might not be that obvious...but the use of a lens hood will often times improve contrast and image quality. Flare is hard to correct for in post. Secondly, it provides protection for the lens. I once dropped my 24-70 and cracked the hood. There was no damage to the lens. I gladly replaced the lens hood for a tiny fraction of the cost of a new lens.

    There is only one time that I remove the hood. When shooting sports (baseball) through cyclone fencing...I like to push the lens as close as possible to the fence.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. comma


    Jul 21, 2014
    Thanks guys. This is general consensus I have gotten. However, I feel like I constantly see professionals and amateurs both not using a filter. Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I feel like I almost never see them. But I am not a pro and usually shooting in a closed setting.

    I get the point that it protects, but I've been shooting on and off for almost 20 years and I have never dropped my camera on the lens or bumped it into something. Seems odd that it has happened to so many people. It is almost always around my neck or around my wrist and I treat it very carefully.
    So using the hood as a shield for drops just doesn't sell it for me.

    I guess I need to do some tests to see if it matters from a image quality standpoint but I have never been post processing and wished I had used a hood due to flare.

    I appreciate the input!

    Based on the opinions here I am obviously in the wrong! haha. Just my experience.

  16. I've always preferred the original lines of a fine shotgun, and will use internal chokes when possible. To each his own...;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  17. The filter/no filter debate is like arguing the existence of a god or Mac vs. PC. There's no evidence to prove it protects a lens (except against salt and sand at the beach) but there is good evidence that a poor quality filter WILL hurt image quality. Search the forums; there was a whole thread on filters quite recently.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. I like seeing that term. I always consider myself a klutz. For whatever reason doofus sounds even worse, which is certainly applicable to me.
  19. This thread is about hoods, not filters.

  20. I don't think you are wrong. For example, with my 600 f4 the rather large hood acts like a sail, catching any breeze and adding vibration to the lens. If shooting from my truck or another safe environment, I leave it off. If carrying it (or my other lenses) through the woods or outdoors, I use the hood simply to protect the front element from being banged into something. If the sun is bright and might strike the objective, I leave it on to prevent flare. For me it just depends - although I probably keep one on more than I shoot without.
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