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12-04-2009, 12:15 PM   #1
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Lens hoods - Why use them? How to know what type to use?

I just purchased a K-x with the kit 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses. What is the purpose of using lens hoods and is there ever a situation where you wouldn't want to use them?

Also, Pentax has been sold out of their official lens hood for the 18-55 however there are hundreds of third party ones on the net. How do I know what type / shape to purchase for a lens?

Thanks in advanced!

12-04-2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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Hoods keep stray light from entering the lens and causing flare. Here is an extreme example:



Pentax lens coatings are pretty good at reducing flare without a hood. Here's the DA 18-55 version 1 in the same shot as the last lens:



Hoods also can protect the front element of a lens and look more professional.

I hardly ever use a hood because I don't like fooling around with them.

For a third-party hood, you need it to attach to the lens and not get in the lens's view. The first part is easy, it should fit a 52mm filter thread. I don't think the DA-L 18-55 has the nifty bayonet mount of the other kit lens versions, so there may not be any third-party bayonet mount hoods. The second part is harder to find in hood ads. A wide-angle hood should be OK, because the 18mm end of the kit lens is a standard wide angle.
12-04-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
Pentax has been sold out of their official lens hood for the 18-55 however there are hundreds of third party ones on the net. How do I know what type / shape to purchase for a lens?
For the lens in question, if you can't find or don't want to get the genuine Pentax article, get this one:

PH-RBA 52mm Lens Hood for Pentax on FleaBay
12-04-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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Always use a hood. Always. Only exception perhaps being if they make the flash cast a shadow at close range.

12-04-2009, 02:07 PM   #5
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The only time you wouldn't want to use a hood is if you intentionally want to maximise flare in your image - which can sometimes add a dimension of creativity to the image.
12-04-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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Lens Protection

Lens hoods also provide a measure of physical protection for your lens, without degrading the image quality. Because the hood protrudes a couple of inches in front of the lens, the hood will bump into an obstacle before the front element of the lens will.

Some people use a UV filter for such protection. The idea is that the filter will sacrifice itself and break, thereby protecting the expensive lens behind it. This is, however, a somewhat controversial subject. Some lesser quality filters have inferior coatings on them, which just re-introduces the flare that the expensive coatings on your lens are designed to combat. For this reason, many people prefer not to use a filter for physical protection.
12-04-2009, 02:34 PM   #7
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While all of the above are valid points there is another not mentioned enough - even with the sun / light out of the frame, and even with SMC, light hitting the front element obliquely causes a haze-flare or reduction in contrast. Using a hood maximizes contrast even in situations where the usual type of flare is not apparent.

This is why some pros use hoods even in the studio.
12-04-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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I keep my lens hood on at all times and it allows me to not bother with the lens cap. I use a Lowepro waist bag and place my K10D lens-face-down in the bag when not shooting. The lens hood rests on the bottom of the bag, keeping the outer element from touching the bag lining. I generally don't put the lens cap on until the end of the day. I rarely have to clean the outer element and have never had a problem with dust spots on my images.

Bob

12-04-2009, 08:09 PM   #9
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone!

Since Pentax has been sold out of their hoods for the 18-55, does anyone know of any alternatives? There are no camera stores near me so I don't have the ability to try one one. My 18-55 kit lens has the bayonet mount on it.
12-04-2009, 08:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
Since Pentax has been sold out of their hoods for the 18-55, does anyone know of any alternatives?
Please read my post above in this thread.
12-05-2009, 10:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Please read my post above in this thread.
Sorry, I missed it. Thanks so much. I ordered it! It's shipping form Hong Kong, so I imagine I won't be getting it for a while.

Thanks for the advice everyone! Since at this point I can't really pay back to the community with knowledge here's a picture I shot yesterday:

12-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #12
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Good silhouette (apart from all those stray power lines) - doesn't exhibit any flare though.

Hope the hood works out well for you.
12-05-2009, 11:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
...doesn't exhibit any flare though.
I know. Just wanted to "give something back" so to speak; for the good advice.
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