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06-27-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
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Use of lens hoods

I read many times in these forums that the use of a lens hood, while not absolutely necessary, is highly desirable to improve image quality. I think it must be true, but the use of hoods is a real pain in some cases since many are very large and a nuisance to carry around. Is the use of a hood mainly for shooting towards the sun or a light source? Will there be any loss in image quality if I shoot without a hood with the sun at my back? Does anybody have comparison shots taken of the same image with and without a hood. I'd love to see if the differences will induce me to become a hood user.

06-27-2012, 04:05 PM   #2
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I'm sure there are a number of opinions on this but from my perspective. I use hoods all the time, they are part of the lens from my perspective. What's more of a pain is to not use them. Lens flare can happen from many angles both day and night. Just use them.
06-27-2012, 04:11 PM   #3
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For safe photography always use a Hood !
06-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
I read many times in these forums that the use of a lens hood, while not absolutely necessary, is highly desirable to improve image quality. I think it must be true, but the use of hoods is a real pain in some cases since many are very large and a nuisance to carry around. Is the use of a hood mainly for shooting towards the sun or a light source? Will there be any loss in image quality if I shoot without a hood with the sun at my back? Does anybody have comparison shots taken of the same image with and without a hood. I'd love to see if the differences will induce me to become a hood user.
It's not that you need the hood when shooting toward the sun, you need the hood when the sun is at an angle to your lens. Without a lens hood, your photos can suffer from flare, reduced sharpness and reduced contrast. Of course, some lenses have coatings that do a good job of ameliorating these issues.

What lenses are you using that have overly large hoods? With some lenses, the hoods will reverse-mount on the lens for easier portability.

06-27-2012, 04:16 PM   #5
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Use the hood.

Any light on or thru the lens will add to the veiling glare. Anything you see is light. Obstruct the light you don't want to use.

I notice the difference at times.
06-27-2012, 04:28 PM   #6
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"For safe photography always use a Hood !"
Using a hood can prevent unwanted things from happening. I have one on at all times.
06-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
"For safe photography always use a Hood !"
Using a hood can prevent unwanted things from happening. I have one on at all times.
Yep. Ranging from massive flare to unwanted visits to your front element from baseballs and such.
06-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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If you have a hood for the lens, use it all the time... it is as most forum members would agree, preventing flare as well protecting the front element better than the filter. Keep the front cap off all the time during shooting but keep the hood on is the way to prevent any accidental damage to front element. Of course, in the Canikon world, most lenses don't come with hoods.... therefore, you see more Canikon users shooting without a hood (and most don't know the difference anyway).

Here is a nothing fancy example with my super-tak lens (the sun hits the neighbours window and redirect the light to my lens, first without hood, second with the hood - resized jpeg files from camera)

Attached Images
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 

Last edited by aleonx3; 06-27-2012 at 05:10 PM. Reason: added more comments
06-27-2012, 05:13 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
It's not that you need the hood when shooting toward the sun, you need the hood when the sun is at an angle to your lens. Without a lens hood, your photos can suffer from flare, reduced sharpness and reduced contrast. Of course, some lenses have coatings that do a good job of ameliorating these issues.

What lenses are you using that have overly large hoods? With some lenses, the hoods will reverse-mount on the lens for easier portability.
My two standard lenses are the Pentax 18-250 mm and the 12-24 mm which both have a reversible hoods that fit on the lenses. However, the 12-24 has a hood that is 4 inches in diameter and sticks out 2 inches. It's huge! I would use it as an ankle bracelet but it keeps slipping off. It's diameter to length ratio seems to me to be of little value to shade the sun. Although I haven't spent any time to check the value of hoods on my lenses I think they COULD be of value. That's why I ask you folks with more experience to show me that it's worth the effort to lug around these hoods. Do any of you have pics to share?
06-27-2012, 05:28 PM   #10
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Lens hoods always (even the 12-24), lens caps when not actively shooting.
06-27-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
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It is not only flare but physical protection for the lens. Recently I slipped on a muddy slope and fell camera first into a bank. A bit of mud, a few scratches and a small chip on the hood but not a mark on the glass.
06-27-2012, 05:40 PM   #12
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Hoods are 100% worth it. Accidents happen.
06-27-2012, 06:05 PM   #13
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Here is a follow up question.

You have the straight hoods, flower hoods, and wide flaring hoods...

Which one is most desireable and for what?

Would there ever be any reason to use say a flaring wide angle hood on a 50mm lens?

Also you have several 3rd party hoods that are short, medium, long, and wide angle...

Lets get a little more specific with the hood design and when its good (and for what)...
06-27-2012, 06:53 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Here is a follow up question.

You have the straight hoods, flower hoods, and wide flaring hoods...

Which one is most desireable and for what?

Would there ever be any reason to use say a flaring wide angle hood on a 50mm lens?

Also you have several 3rd party hoods that are short, medium, long, and wide angle...

Lets get a little more specific with the hood design and when its good (and for what)...
I'd say in general the idea is to have the hood come as close as possible to the edge of the lens' FOV without entering it and causing vignetting. The reason some hoods are petal shaped is usually for zooms and wider angle primes, the hood is "notched" near the corners so the corners won't vignette. For longer tele lenses a straight hood will do fine.
06-27-2012, 07:05 PM   #15
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Even dedicated hoods are not usually designed exactly optimally for a given lens, but they're still moderately useful in reducing flare, and very useful in preventing impact damage. I prefer metal or plastic hoods to the flexible rubber variety, because they offer more physical protection. Sadly, not all lenses provide a bayonet mount for mounting a dedicated hood. My experience so far has been that on lenses that do have bayonets and plastic hoods, the hood slips out of the bayonet upon impact, rather than breaking off, although I can definitely envision the hood breaking (hopefully without breaking the bayonet on the lens.)

Paul
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