Using hood absolutely essential with AFS 500mm F4?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by avishek_aiyar, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Hello,
    I am aware of the advantages and necessities (?) of a lens hood, especially with telephotos, but how much does one lose from the absence of a lens hood for a lens like the 500mm?
    I recently acquired the lens, but there was no hood for it and I am in two minds about getting the Aquatech long lens hood. I wonder if the absence of a hood is a real deal-breaker?
    I am going to Glacier National Park starting next week and will be taking the 500mm with me to photograph the bears.
    I would appreciate your advice.
    Thank you.
  2. I've always used the hood on the 500 and now the 600 more for protection than anything else so never shot without it on either lens. Can't say if it's necessary at all if you're careful about letting the sun hitting the front element. The hood for the 500 is totally absurd on 2 levels, the price ($350) and the size. I shortened the hood on the 500 from 9" to 4-1/2" and never saw a problem. If you're handy you might try making one using this pattern - - it can get you through in a pinch.
  3. I consider a hood to be essential. Without it, you can get veiling flare. This type of flare robs contrast and saturation. The other reason I use a hood is to physically protect a lens. There's been numerous times a lens hood has saved my lenses from damage.
    Kent in SD
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A 500mm/f4 AF-S has an expensive front element. A proper lens hood is critical to protect it.
  5. A 500mm/f4 AF-S has an expensive front element.​
    I was trying to answer this for myself, but failed... is the front element of a 500 f/4 AF-S not an optical flat like the 500 f/4 AI-P and 200 f/2 VR? (I'm sure Nikon have arranged for it to be an expensive optical flat, but I wasn't expecting it to be a ground element.) Not that this is a good reason to scratch it, but I though Nikon had generally arranged for the big supertelephotos to have some front element protection.

    For what it's worth, I always use the enormous hoods on my 500 f/4 AI-P and 200 f/2 VR. The big lenses tend to have a lot of elements, and the reviews I've seen have generally claimed that their weakest point is flare. I'm sure a bit of black card and some tape would do 90% of the work from a glare perspective - not so much for padding!
  6. +1 on using the hood. It saved my lenses a couple of times from falls, not the 500 though yet.
    The front element is so big and close to the front edge that, even if the sun is not in the frame, stray light, direct or indirect, has to rob you contrast and saturation.
    I have seen used Nikon hoods on the auction site, they can be scratched or even bumped a bit in the case of the older metal hoods but can also be had at cheaper price than what Nikon is asking for. The AF-S version II has a carbon fiber hood, I am not sure what the AF-S version I has.
    Anyway you could also fabricate one with a PVC tube or thick cardboard.
  7. Everybody, especially non-photographers, knows that big cameras (and lenses) take better pictures!!! The hood makes the illusion even better! You'd be envy of the backcountry :)
    Seriously, the only time I don't use a hood is when I'm fiddling with ND grads or a polarizer. A rigid hood not only keeps my grubby fingers off the front element but it also allows me to shoot in wet weather, etc.
  8. The larger the diameter of the front element the larger the danger of flare, so take one
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, you need to understand that the flat front element on the 500mm/f4 AF-S is very expensive on its own. Additionally, if your lens suffers from frontal impact, it doesn't necessarily only damage the very first element. The few behind that can also crack if the front of the barrel suffers impact and deforms. A hood is not fool proof by any means, but it makes things much safer.
  10. SCL


    I'd consider a hood on almost any lens when shooting in a brightly lit (sun or otherwise) area, especially with a front element of size, to reduce the potential for flare.
  11. Agreed, Shun. No argument about the protective benefits of a hood, I was just curious about the "expensive" claim - I was hoping that the point of having a flat front element was that it wouldn't be very expensive - relative to the rest of the lens. But given the prices I saw a few years ago for 105mm polarizers for the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8, I can imagine that a 125mm front element isn't going to be all that cheap in absolute terms. (Nick, the 500mm should have a rear polarizer slot so the hood can stay on, though it took me about one use to leave marks on the polarizer for my 200mm; you're on your own with the 125mm grad!)
  12. A hood can make a big difference in image quality, depending on the direction you're shooting and where the light is. With no hood, you'll need an assistant with a hat, a good understanding of light, and a willingness to use the hat to shield your lens. Since this is the 21st century, take a hood.
  13. I like the BIG metal hoods that turn out counter clockwise on the old battle tank 300 f2.8 and 400 f3.5 AiS ED-IF. Those
    are built on, but maybe you could get a strong metal hood that can be "clunked" without getting into the front element.
    The rubber collapsable type hood I never used on a big lens, I can stick the whole end of my lens on a fence and use it as
    a fence-o-pod and not have to worry. I personally don't like any of that flimsy type stuff. I want a big solid hood if I'm
    outside shooting around with a big lens. JMHO

    Also, what is cheap. How much is the lens new $7-8000, $300 for a hood or a few hundred for a front flat is not that much in comparison. Then again I've only owned old big all metal manual AiS lenses and they can take a serious pounding without fighting back. These new lenses are a bit on the "delicate" side.
  14. I totally agree that the hood, although overpriced, is only a fraction of the lens itself.
    But more importantly, I like the fact that the Aquatech hoods are collapsible, which makes traveling with them that much easier.
  15. The hood also helps a great deal in keeping mist/frost off he front element in less than dry weather. When shooting in Alaska and Iceland i found hoods to be key in permitting me to shoot longer in inclement weather before i had to clean front elements.
  16. Some kind of hood is definitely to be recommended. I do note that searching on eBay for the HK-34 hood in question does reveal a lot of replacement screws for that hood....
    Dang, that is certainly a pricey hood, to the point of seeming unconscionable to me.
    Canon users have a broad choice on eBay for lens hood clones, since Canon does the favor of only supplying them for their L lenses, as a rule.
  17. I often put my 500mm down, resting on the hood. I wouldn't work without one.
    If one can fit, you want a modern carbon fiber hood to keep the weight down.
  18. Avi, I bought my 500 f4 AFS used about 10 years ago to replace my "p"manual version and the hood had some damage so
    the previous owner purchased a new HK-28 hood for me. I bought the Aquatech hood four years ago and now I never
    use the Nikon hood. The Aquatech stores flat in my luggage. The dedicated Nikon brand HK-28 hood is prettier and
    more stream lined looking on the lens but does not protect my 500 as well as the Aquatech and is not as robust as either
    the Aquatech or Canon hoods. I strap my long lens case to my car seat and put the camera and long lens with the
    Aquatech hood snuggly mounted to the lens in the case ready for quick draw and can go for a full week at Yellow Stone
    or Bosque del Apache without adjusting the hood. I made a few modifications like tying the ends of one set of tightening
    straps in a knot. That shortens the straps and also gives me something to grab when i am pulling them tight. I am very
    happy with the way the Aquatech performs. My only other comment is that I wish they came in camoflage. Good
  19. I would like to add that the Aquatech hood becomes rigid when properly mounted on the lens and absorbs bumps much
    better than the Nikon hood without deforming. Mounting the hood properly is critical so take a little extra time to get it
    right. Once it's on properly your good to go.

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