Are you using the lens hood regularly?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by st.schwarzer, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. Hi there,
    as I am somewhat of a light-weight traveller, I actually hardly ever (never!) use the lens hood ("sun shield") for my lenses. I am well aware that in some circumstances - such as taking photos in direction of the sun, or where one has lots of reflections - this could be a useful tool. But how important is the regular use of the lens hoods in everyday, non-professional landscape/nature photography? Does anyone has example of with/without? It just takes more space (although one can generally put it reversely on the lens) and is not that handy, I find...
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences.
  2. Yes, I use my lens hoods almost all the time. In addition to helping block sun, they serve a more important purpose for me - protecting the front element from physical damage. I rarely use filters on my lenses, so the hood do provide a degree of protection I otherwise wouldn't have.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The lens hood is a very important element to protect the front of your lens from impact damage. I have pointed out a couple of times that some strong wind blew my tripod over in the Antarctic last year. I had my 70-200mm AF-S VR mounted on the tripod and the D700 was attached to the lens. Apparently the front of the lens hit first and the lens hood took the blunt of it. I had to replace the hood but the lens and camera only had relatively minor damage. Both the lens and camera functioned 100% fine for the remaining 2 weeks of that trip in an area where there were no houses near by, let alone camera stores and repair shops.
    To me, blocking stray light is merely the secondary function of lens hoods.
  4. I use the hoods as much as possible because I rarely use filters. The hood protects the front glass element of the lens in addition to the usual stuff of reducing flare and so forth. Hoods don't weigh very much, and they are much less fragile than filters. I don't have any good examples, because I delete the photos with a lot of flare, but hoods help a lot!
    On the other hand, you can always use your other hand as a makeshift hood to shade the front of the lens.
    I wish more lenses came with a built in, retractable hood like the Minolta 50mm f/1.7, but that's not really a feasible alternative for lenses with big hoods.
  5. I never remove the lens hood out from my lenses. They help to prevent bumping the lenses around beside helping to get rid of the glare. More than anything else I use them for protection and I have never been bothered for the minimal extra weight.
    I had 1 bad experience with my equipment.... I dropped a brand new D700 with a brand new AFS 24 f/1.4 on it. Nothing happen to them but one thing I noticed is that the hood had some scratches while the lens itself was completely unharmed. I could be wrong but I am so thankful to the hood...
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I wish more lenses came with a built in, retractable hood like the Minolta 50mm f/1.7, but that's not really a feasible alternative for lenses with big hoods.​
    Left, I afriad not.
    I have also mentioned that 30+ years ago, I once dropped a Minolta 135mm/f2.8 lens when a friend accidentally bumped into my elbow when I was changing lenses. That lens had a retractable lens hood, and that hood simply retracted upon impact and provided little protection to that lens. Fortunately I also had the lens cap on. That cap was metal and the rim of the UV filter I had on the lens took the blunt of the impact. I had to take the lens to a repair shop to get the damaged filter removed, but there was not even a scratch on the lens.
    The current Nikon lens hoods that are snapped on and are made from plastic that can absorb impact are very good.
  7. taking photos in direction of the sun​
    No big deal, but that is where a hood will probably do no good at all when the sun is in the frame. It's when you're shooting away more to the side that the hood keeps the sun off the surface of the lens and keep light from bouncing around inside the lens to cause flares and loss of definition.
    I use hoods whenever I can, both for flare reduction and the physical protection against banging and all.
  8. i use hoods for two reasons: 1) on w/a lenses and others prone to flare, when shooting during the day; and 2) to protect the front element from a ding (such as when moving through a crowd).
  9. I`m also in the protection side... currently I use a hood everytime I use the camera. In fact, I never remove the hood from some lenses that can be stored with it (hood in working position, I mean), like the 24-70, 50AFS, and others. It`s great that they also improve contrast.
  10. Only on the 105mm AIS, which is built in. The 18-200mm already vignettes to an unacceptable degree and the hood would only make it worse. I once lost a whole day of shooting because the hood on my 12-24mm Tokina had moved slightly from the locked position and the corners were too dark.
  11. I almost always keep the hoods on my lenses - I tend to bang the camera around when it's on a strap and the hood protects the lens.
  12. I use the hoods all the time. They live on the lenses.
  13. Always use one, when one thinks about it a bit why wouldn't one use it. Good protection for both reflection and damage, and it sure doesn't weigh much.
  14. I almost never use any of my lenses without the hood in place. The only exception is for certain rare situations in macro work where the hood would block the light from reaching the subject. I use the hood both for physical protection as well as for minimizing unwanted reflections of light that doesn't belong in the picture.
  15. I always use the hood. With most (if not all) modern lenses, the hood reverses and fits over the barrel nicely. No reason to leave it behind. I've had stray light ruin a photo before when I wasn't using one, and it was a photo I can't just go back and re-take. That and the protection... the hood stays on!
  16. The lens hood is primarily designed and intended to shade the lens to prevent flare, not physical damage. If they were primarily intended to prevent damage, they'd be constructed differently (i.e. rubberized, more resilient plastic, etc.). We're really not supposed to whack or drop our lenses, but using a hood for an emergency bumper definitely beats using nothing.
    In practice, I don't use hoods very much, but unless I'm traveling really light, I carry them with me just in case lighting conditions warrant their use. Since I often use screw-mount polarizers or Lee-type filters, hoods either aren't usable or they just get in the way. I have a macro lens that allows rotating a filter with the hood mounted (a thoughtful design), but since I use a macro flash that mounts to the screw threads on the front of the lens, that hood's usually off, too. My most-used hood is a retractable one that's on a telephoto lens.
    When I get a lens out of the bag, I just store the hood in that spot, so it's no big deal. My 'off' hand makes a fairly good shade in a pinch. As a side benefit, when I shoot hand-held, not using a hood seems to draw less public attention.
    So far, the only impact lens damage I've had was to one that was in the bag with the hood reversed. My clumsy self (or careless if you prefer) whacked it while loading the bag into an airline overhead bin. The lens cap and cover took the brunt of the blow, but the AF and zoom went wonky. In a way, it was a 'happy accident', since the repaired lens works better than it did before. YMMV.
  17. The 18-200mm already vignettes to an unacceptable degree and the hood would only make it worse.​
    Nope, it makes no difference to the vignetting whatsoever.
  18. I always use hoods as well. As with some others, the reason is at least half for protection. I'm of the "no protective filters" school of thought so the hood takes over the duty. As a bonus the hood is about the simplest thing you can do to help keep out stray light that might diminish clarity and contrast.
    I was outdoors this last Saturday at the Hampton Classic horse show. I had along just my D40 and 16-85 (with hood on!). As you might imagine I saw lots of people walking around with DSLR's....and almost NO ONE had hoods! This is in bright harsh midday sunlight where a hood is likely to do the MOST good....both for image quality AND protection.
  19. Yes, always. The only lens I don't use a hood on is the 55mm f2.8 Micro-Nikkor, as the front element is so recessed from the front of the lens barrel. A lens hood is small and lightweight, and I can't think of any reason not to use one. When I use my pop-up flash on the D300, I have to remove the hood, a minor annoyance, but other than that it's a good thing to use. If shooting indoors at an even, of course no hood is needed. But out in the sunlight a hood will improve contrast by restricting flare.
  20. Peter, I'm going to have to test that out someday...
  21. I never remove the lens hood out from my lenses.​
    Only on the 105mm AIS, which is built in.​
    Not all. There were several vintages of this venerable lens. According to Braczko's Complete Nikon System, the first 105/2.5 with a built-in hood was the 1981 AIS version.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  22. Yes, I have a lens hood on nearly 100% of the time. I don't use "protection" or UV filters so the hood is my defense against damaging the front lens element.
    Additionally, I find that matrix metering (Nikon) gives me a better result, my wide-ish lenses have less flare when shooting outdoors in bright sun, and my images have better contrast when using a hood.
  23. Hey Henry Posner - is that a fact what Peter says, "a lens hood does not make bad vignetting worse"?
  24. Sanford,
    If you use the correct lens hood for a lens, it will not contribute to vignetting. If you use one that is too small, it might. In my experience, the hoods made for the lenses i have do not make any difference in vignetting. I haven't tested them all except, interestingly enough, the 18-200, since it was the first Nikon lens I had and I wanted to make sure I understood everything about it. The vignetting on the 18-200 (which I find less objectionable than you do) is due to factors that have nothing to do with the lens hood.
  25. About seven years ago when I was doing my last wedding ever ( A large one) I was coming out of the sanctuary after doing formals to photograph the bride getting into a limousine. I had two Bronicas and a Canon body around my neck. I was taking a 70-200 2.8 off the Canon when it slipped out of my hand and dropped to a concrete sidewalk. It weighs three pounds and it hit the cement hard. It bounced about two feet in the air off the lens hood. I picked it up and put it into use later that day. I am still using it regularly today. Guess what would have happened had I not used a hood. Much better protection, I think, than a filter. Sidelight not only causes flare but even if you don't see flare in the image later it will subtly fog part of an image.
  26. I'm not a Nikon user, but anyway:
    I rarely if ever use my hoods, and most of my lens came with hoods. I know it is advantageous, some shots more than others, but I'd rather get the shot than miss it because I was unreversing the hood, or left the kit at home because of the hoods, and so on.
    A few observations:
    1. On many shots a hood makes no difference.
    2. Some lens flare royally, with or without their hoods. Others are more-or-less impervious to flare, again with or without their hoods.
    3. Hoods are a pita to use in conjection with circular polarizers.
    4. They may be the make/break regarding camera bag fit.
    5. In a pinch, your hand can shield fairly effectively.
    BTW, this subject, and UV-filter-or-not-UV-filter, are equally contentious: you'll find various polarized opinion, no one will switch sides, everyone has good arguments, in short: it's really your call.
  27. I use hoods instead of front lens caps. I store lenses face down in my bags, so the hood protects the front element. That way I can quickly change lenses without the annoying ritual of snapping lens caps on and off, then dropping or misplacing them.
  28. Stefan, I cannot think the last time my hood was off while shooting. I have banged the lens a few times and nothing bad has ever happened. I also believe that if the manufacture didn't think you would need or want one they sure wouldn't spend the money on giving you one with the lens.
    phil b
    benton, ky
  29. More like all of the time.
  30. I use lens hoods especially in crowded places to keep people from bumping into the front element.
  31. Ok I will admit I only use it so I look professional :)
  32. never leave home without it, for all the reasons above
  33. I use my lens hood most of the time. Works great in rain to keep spots off the front of the lens. Allows me to tape a bag to the hood to protect the rest of the camera from rain. Protects the lens if I slip or run it into something ...
    The sun thing is minor IMO.
    One problem is using a step up ring to standardize on filters. Example, I use a 17-50 f2.8 Tamron with a step up to 72mm filter (I standardized on 72 some time ago). That means if I'm using my polarizer I can't also use the hood.
  34. I use a hood on all my lens, along with a ND filter, it's for protection!
  35. I always do. For the prevention of glare and protection of my lens. One of my lens has built in hood (Nikkor 135 AF-DC) that you pull out or push in.
  36. I use the lens hoods on my canon gear all the time, some times the lens hood isn't even enough and i end up using my hand or my hat or something to keep the lens flare down. I have noticed that it does make a huge difference in some of the pictures that i take with my pentax k1000, I have no hoods for any of those lenses and shading the lens with my hand or a hat helps the contrast quite a bit in some situations. Mainly when the sun is at any angle that can bounce around in the lens.
  37. Lens hoods will cause vignetting in some cases when using on camera flash. But they do provide good protection for normal use.
  38. Me too.
    The lens hood on my 24-70 f/2.8L is covered in nicks and scratches but the lens itself looks as good as the day I pulled it out of the box. Twice in the past month I have slipped on rocks while hiking with my 1Ds around my neck with the 24-70 mounted (my walk around lens) and both times the front of the lens would have been severely damaged were it not for the hood. Not only does it protect things from striking the front element but provides a "shock absorber" when the front of the camera comes down hard and fast as in a slip and fall type incident.
    I remember a pro photographer that came to photograph my house a while ago showed me his 24-70. The front filter threads were "less than round". He told me about how the camera was dropped onto a concrete floor and how he had used a pair of lineman pliers to "more or less" straighten out the filter threads. Needless to say the filter threads no longer served their purpose and to have the lens properly repaired would have been quite costly. Never would have happened if the hood had been on the lens.

    A replacement EW-83F hood is about $50. To repair the front element of the lens would be a minimum of $350.
  39. Haha. Just realized this is a Nikon thread and I go rambling about a Canon lens. The point is still the same though.
  40. Wow, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was a little bit stunned this morning seeing 38 responses! Hm, the protection factor is surely relevant, although over these last 10 years or so it never happened to me that a lens hood would have been useful for it, as nothing happened to my lenses. But ok, who knows what tomorrow will be?
    I wonder what kind of bags you guys must use to carry your equipment. I have a Lowepro Offtrail 2 (for two separate lenses alike 70-200/2.8 plus body/lens) and this is already quite heavy. And the lens hoods don't go into the side bags. So, I would need to change bags (larger backpack) to be able to carry the lens hoods with me. And, as some of you are saying, you're not even taking the lens hood off when storing them in the bag, it'll really take lots of space.
    Anyway, thanks a lot for the comments, I will keep this in mind next time I am traveling/shooting (which is tomorrow)... :)
  41. My lens hood has saved my wallet many times. One incident I remember particularly was when I was frolicking up the blue mountains, and I slipped on one of the trails. d200 + 16-85 went lens first into the rock. Hood cracked, but lens seemed no worst for the wear.
    The only time I remove/retract my hoods is when I'm shooting through fencing and have to stuff my lens up against the wire.
    Also, keeps flare away. Use you hood :)

  42. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Here is an image of my damaged HB-29 hood (left) for the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR version1 and the replacement one (right) I got. See the big chunk missing from the damaged hood. Hopefully it'll help remind everybody it is important to have the hood on.
    A few days ago, we went to the Point Reyes National Seashore. It was extremely foggy and after hiking for an hour, I had dew drops forming on my glasses and my hairline. I was wondering why my hair was all wet. However, I had the lens hood on my 200-400; the hood protected the lens and the front element remained mostly dry during the hike. See the elk image I captured during that hike on our Wednesday image thread:
    Sometimes I shoot surfing and there is a lot of sea water mist in the air. The hood also protects my front element from the salty mist, but my lens barrel and camera body typically get salty after a day of shooting.
  43. As to the vignetting question: a properly designed hood custom made for a particular lens and mounted correctly should have absolutely no impact on lens vignetting.
    We're really talking about two kinds of vignetting here - first, the physical vignetting that comes from a non-custom hood or too many filters stacked up, etc. This is "mechanical" vignetting.
    The second kind of vignetting is that caused by light fall-off because of the angle of light entering the lens or "optical" vignetting.
    For more discussion, see Wikipedia on vignetting (link)
  44. I never use lens hoods. I think they are very ugly and with the hood on my camera's take to much space in the bag. I don't use lens caps either anymore. They are always inconvenient. Sometimes I protect the front with a filter. It works fine for me.
  45. I always use the lens hoods mainly for protection. Nikon's hoods so easily reverse for storage that it only makes sense to use them.
    I had my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for less than a week and my 6 year old son came up on his bicycle to "scare" me and when he cranked the handle bars at the last second they caught the hood - being a kid and dropping his bike all the time left the metal of the bars exposed where the end of the grips had torn off. It left a little mark on the hood that is barely noticable but I think it would have been a lot worse if the hood was off and it caught the front element.
  46. I always carry the hoods with me, but I usually store them reversed. I only attach the hood when I think that I might have flare issues, or I'm walking through crowded streets or an area where the lens might be banged around.
    I usually use it for my wide angle lens though, because it has that bubbly extruding front element that just invites dings.
    I use step up rings for 77mm filters, so there's often a tradeoff of not being able to use hoods.
  47. I hardly ever use a lens hood. The coatings on modern lenses are amazing at keeping flare down to a minimum. I often use flare as a sort of atmospheric effect on my photos. And a lot of times, I use my hand to shield the lens.
  48. I only take it off when I can't get things to fit in the camera bag. Its is good for physically protecting the front from impact and, say, mist or dust. And of course it helps with flare.
  49. I choose to keep the hoods on permanently. Since doing that I stopped using UV filters and front lens caps. But if there is risk of getting water spray or anything like that on the lens I try to remember to put on a UV filter.
    I have a couple of lenses with 67 and 72mm filter threads and I use step up rings to 77mm on those. Some petal hoods doesn't fit with the step up ring so I put a 77mm screw-on hood on the filter instead. When using polarizing filters the screw-on hood works OK as I can change polarization by spinning the hood.
    I also have a couple of lenses with retractable hoods and usually have screw-on hoods on them as well.
    I have one or two zoom lenses where the petal hoods are flimsy. They still work okay and doesn't get dislocated but if they would I would put some black gaffa tape on them in an instant. Actually I tape a lot of stuff on cameras and other stuff like pocketwizards where settings can be changed by mistake. Any tape residue can be safely and easily removed with isopropanol.
    My only problem is that I actually have a more lenses than hoods. Especially older metal hoods for ai/ais lenses.
  50. If I have the hood for the lens, I use it. I buy mostly used equipment, and some hoods are hard to find. If necessary, I will use one of those generic hoods where the hood is made of rubber-like material and can be folded back. Taking a hint from Bert Keppler's old but great book on SLRs (back when the Nikon F was new), I use plastic jar covers with elastic aound the rim to put over the hood while the lens is on the camera. Easy to get on and off.
  51. To me the lens hood is more important than any kind of protective (UV / Skylight) filter !
  52. Shun, you have offered this advice several times here. Now, I'm a believer.
    Yesterday I took a moderately hard fall on an urban Segway tour. I was carrying my D300 with 35mm f/1.8G lens and the Nikon hood. In this twisting fall, the camera was swung around, over my body, to a hard crash on the pavement, right onto the hood. The Nikon HB-46 hood is pretty banged up, but camera and lens are fine.
    So am I.
    Conclusions: Wear a helmet. Keep the hood on the lens all the time.
    The current Nikon lens hoods that are snapped on and are made from plastic that can absorb impact are very good​

Share This Page