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Author Topic: Lens Hoods - essential? and when?  (Read 6647 times)
oldcsar
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« on: June 29, 2006, 12:00:39 AM »
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I have lens hoods for all my lenses. I'm in the habit of always bringing them with the lens of choice, and usually feel that it should stay on in case the shooting conditions make it necessary.  From what I understand, lens hoods prevent peripheral light from hitting the lens at an angle, which otherwise can result in a blurring of edge detail.

Is this correct? How many of you always have your lens hoods on your lenses, or under what conditions do you feel they're not necessary? Is a lens hood quite unnecessary when in telephoto, say at the 40-70mm range on a telephoto lens, but quite necessary in 17mm? I have a Sigma 17-70mm, and I was thinking that since the lens extends outwards to a substantial degree, the effects of unwanted light would be negligable at the telephoto end of things.

This is my situation: I take a lot of photos in the water, in sunny conditions with the camera angled downwards to the water. I rarely use wide angle for my purposes on this particular occasion, it's usually between 40mm and 70mm. The lens hood that came with my lens is a tad too compact, and I find it challenging to put the cap back on after I remove it. I realised that the quickest way to get it back on is to take the lens hood off and put the cap back on, then snap the lens hood back on (then back into my camera bag until my next subject). I'm already putting my camera at some risk when I trudge through water with it for hours, so I soon gave up on the lens hood juggling after a few attempts and shot without it for the rest of the day.

Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 12:01:50 AM by oldcsar » Logged

boku
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2006, 08:12:39 AM »
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I have lens hoods for all my lenses. I'm in the habit of always bringing them with the lens of choice, and usually feel that it should stay on in case the shooting conditions make it necessary. From what I understand, lens hoods prevent peripheral light from hitting the lens at an angle, which otherwise can result in a blurring of edge detail.

Lens hoods also protect the lens from bumps in a crowd, vegetation scratches when transporting, and, to an extent, falls to the ground. I have had positive experiences in all three instances.

Flare reduction, is not always maximized when using on a zoom: lenses zoom, hoods don't (except the Canon 24-70 L). But it's better than nothing. For what flare protection the lens hood does not provide, I use a hat to shade the front element of the lens.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 10:04:23 AM by boku » Logged

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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2006, 08:56:46 AM »
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What Bob said. My lenses wear hoods about 99% of the time, and the only time they are capped is when I have the hood reverse-mounted for storage in my bag. I've managed to shoot about 110,000 frames without sctratching a front element so far.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2006, 12:16:29 PM »
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Ditto to both Bob and Jonathan.

I once tripped while carrying a camera (Mamiya 6) on the neck strap and landed flat on the ground on top of the camera. The lens hood was broken but the lens wasn't scratched. I very happily paid the exorbitant price for a replacement lens hood. Pretty cheap insurance.

-Eric
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kbolin
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2006, 12:31:13 PM »
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And lots of times I store with lens hood on and no cap.  I seldom ever put the lens cap on unless I'm packing a lot of gear in the bag and need to reverse the hood.

Kelly
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2006, 01:01:52 PM »
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This is my situation: I take a lot of photos in the water, in sunny conditions with the camera angled downwards to the water.

Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69408\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Seems to me lens hoods are very useful to cut down off-axis glare for the conditions under which you work.  As others have suggested, if bag space permits you can leave the hood on but not cap the lens.

Paul
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2006, 07:11:08 PM »
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My 70-200 VR Nikkor has a long lens hood that, in addition to its stray-light protection,  provides significant leverage when hand holding.
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oldcsar
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2006, 12:45:28 AM »
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I've gone with the suggestion to keep the lens cap off and the hood on. From what everyone has said, there are clear benefits to the lens hood, and in regards to sans lens cap, I can live with the few extra specks of dust which might glom onto the glass while my camera rests in my bag.

Much appreciated!
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framah
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2006, 07:20:08 PM »
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Here is a different opinion for you. I have been shooting  for over 30 years and do not use a lens hood. Never have. I can't stand them!  I take them off the lens and put them away in a box somewhere.  For me, they are always in the way and make it hard to put on and take off filters and caps. Whenever I have had flare in the lens, I can get it out with my hat or my hand. I do not have a problem with flare on any of my images.  The usual way to protect the front element of the lens is a filter of some sort.

 I have dropped a camera and the filter rim took the hit and all else was fine.

Just because it is there doesn't mean you have to use it.  Try working without it and see if you have an easier time shooting.
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jd1566
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2006, 03:30:14 AM »
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..not quite 30 years of photograpy for me.. but I also almost never use lens hoods.  I find them bulky and I can't polarise properly with a lens hood on because my particular camera manufacturer hasn't worked out that we need to get our finger to the filter ring!

Without hoods my lens setup is therefore not as long, doesn't get bumped in crowd.. My camera bag is a bit lighter and certainly not as bulky, because even when reversed the lens shades to take up space.  When I need to protect the front element from peripheral light I stick my hand or hat out and shade it..  Wide angle lenses are a bit of a problem, but I am not really that phased about flare. It sometimes looks good in the picture, and there are even plugins to put flare back into your pics!  

Obviously the above comments apply to a photographer who favours lightheness over bulk, having the minimum amount of gear as opposed to everything in your bag..   I like to travel light, have fewer not more lenses and be less obtrusive when shooting.. a big lens hood just adds even more attention to some lenses.

For your wide angle work though keep the shade handy for really troublesome days or if you absolutely hate flare..  My particular lenses don't seem to suffer very much from flare, but you may find yours do and are therefore obliged to put one on..  Try shooting with and without and judge the pics.. that's what it's all about in the end.

Hope this helps.
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2006, 11:26:37 PM »
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>> under what conditions do you feel they're not necessary?

I have not found any such conditions.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2006, 12:32:17 PM »
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>> under what conditions do you feel they're not necessary?

I have not found any such conditions.
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Well, I have found one condition where they aren't necessary: When the lens cap is on.    

Eric
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2006, 01:25:37 AM »
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Ooooops........ :-)
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Mike Boden
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2006, 10:16:16 PM »
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I think the use of a lens hood is somewhat based on the shooting situation. For example, if I'm walking/hiking with the equipment in the pack between shots and I'm using a tripod and filters for the shots, then I typically don't use lens shades.

However, I just recently returned from an African photo safari workshop with Andy Biggs in Tanzania and I ALWAYS had the lens shade on. Furthermore, I would put the lens caps on the small lenses as much as possible because the dust was out of the control. As for the 500mm lens, if I wasn't shooting with it, I would simply lay it down on the seat or stand it up on the lens shade while holding it and the camera.

So I think the difference between these situations is dramatic. I rarely used a filter on safari, I never used a tripod, the dust was out of control, and I had two cameras going at all times. Contrary to this, if I'm hiking through a Balinese jungle with my gear in the pack and come to a vista to shoot, I'll set up on a tripod, attach filters, and shade the lens with a hat or hand. Completely different.

So find out what works for you in different situations. There's not one answer for them all.
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SMGreenfield
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2006, 08:05:46 PM »
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Flare reduction, is not always maximized when using on a zoom: lenses zoom, hoods don't (except the Canon 24-70 L). But it's better than nothing. For what flare protection the lens hood does not provide, I use a hat to shade the front element of the lens.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69423\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On my 28-70 2.8L, I find I need to take OFF the shade when I want to use the on-board flash, because often the top edge of the shade casts a shadow!

Now, I have a D60, and I understand that the flash on the newer units (10D, 20D, 30D) are mounted higher, so I'm not sure it that's a problem for others with built-in flash.

In my experience with cinematography, I've found that the "hand" trick may not be so reliable with large front element lenses -- if it's your OWN hand.  Without being able to see that you are shading the entire lens surface, even a slight "streak" of light can flare an image, and sometimes that flare is NOT detectable through the viewfinder, depending on the contrast of the rest of the image.  

Then you get back into the comfort of your home and you're viewing the image on a large screen (or on a print) and boom -- there's some unexpected flare.

I wholeheartedly agree that besides flare, the shade is one of the best impact protectors for the front element / filter, so I leave mine on.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2006, 11:21:36 PM by SMGreenfield » Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2006, 11:14:20 PM »
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On my 28-70 2.8L, I find I need to take OFF the shade when I want to use the on-board flash, because often the top edge of the shade casts a shadow!

Now, I have a D60, and I understand that the flash on the newer units (10D, 20D, 30D) are mounted higher, so I'm not sure it that's a problem for others with built-in flash.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=70112\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I don't know about the 20D or 30D, but I have the same problem on my 10D with my 17-40 4L, with or without the lens shade. So on the rare occasions when I need flash, I use my point-and-shoot (Canon S60) instead of the 10D.

Eric
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jani
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2006, 04:39:51 AM »
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On my 28-70 2.8L, I find I need to take OFF the shade when I want to use the on-board flash, because often the top edge of the shade casts a shadow!

Now, I have a D60, and I understand that the flash on the newer units (10D, 20D, 30D) are mounted higher, so I'm not sure it that's a problem for others with built-in flash.
I have a 20D, and it's a problem both with the 17-40 f/4L and the 24-70 f/2.8L.

I rarely use the on-camera flash, though.

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In my experience with cinematography, I've found that the "hand" trick may not be so reliable with large front element lenses -- if it's your OWN hand.  Without being able to see that you are shading the entire lens surface, even a slight "streak" of light can flare an image, and sometimes that flare is NOT detectable through the viewfinder, depending on the contrast of the rest of the image.
Not only that, but because the viewfinder coverage in the Dxx and xxD series is less than 100%, you may suddenly find that the hand that wasn't in the image when you checked, is there anyway.
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Jan
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