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12-22-2006, 03:03 PM   #1
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lens hoods - what's the point?

I've now got at least two lens hoods. One has a kind of crenelated edge, well, it just out at the top and bottom and juts out less prominently on the two sides. I think this one came with the 50-200 lens. The other is a simpler tube-like design (well, a conical section). Pretty sure that one came with the 75-300 lens.

What's the point of these things, other than to make the camera look bigger and thus perhaps frighten off bears? I can see that they must block light from hitting the lens on the side and I presume that they do this by design, but what's the problem with light hitting the lens from the side? And why does the one hood have a sort of cut-out design while the other does not?

I also presume that lens hoods are intended for use outdoors in bright sunlight. What if I'm not outdoors or at least not in bright sunlight? Would it be a mistake (or at least a faux pas) to leave the hood on while shooting my daughter playing basketball? I mean, if someone from this group happened to be there at the game, I would not want to look like a doofus who doesn't know enough about photography to take his lens hood off inside.

Do you use a hood? All the time? Even in the house, when ladies are present?

WP


Last edited by WMBP; 12-22-2006 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Changed second word in post from "not" to "now"
12-22-2006, 03:16 PM   #2
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spose to prevent lens flare

the first hood i think u were describing is a petal shaped hood

also good protection.....much like a UV filter, if u have ur hood on, and u happen to drop the lens from a table (like I've done), the hood will take the grunt. or if u just have the camera hanging off ur shoulders, hood hits ppl, small kids, ladies, inanimate objects instead of the lens itself.....

that an invokes lens envy.....if u have a lens that looks big (w/ the hood), the amateur 2 feet away will definitely have lens envy...LoL
12-22-2006, 03:37 PM   #3
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Also as a note on the two different types of lense hoods, the pedal or crenelated edge one provides lense flare protection but is cut away, if you will, so it does not show when you are at the ends (can't remember which) of the zoom, otherwise you would get dark corners on the shot, i.e. vingetting (sp?).

The normal or rounded lense hood should be sized to not interfere with your shot as the zoom or prime lense would not reach to the extremes which would bring it into the shot.

Clear as mud?
12-22-2006, 03:50 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by clarenceclose Quote
Also as a note on the two different types of lense hoods, the pedal or crenelated edge one provides lense flare protection but is cut away, if you will, so it does not show when you are at the ends (can't remember which) of the zoom, otherwise you would get dark corners on the shot, i.e. vingetting (sp?).

The normal or rounded lense hood should be sized to not interfere with your shot as the zoom or prime lense would not reach to the extremes which would bring it into the shot.

Clear as mud?


'Fraid so. Well, if the lens were zoomed all the way back (to the largest FOV = shortest focal length), I can see how the edges of the lens hood MIGHT get get into the picture, like a photo taken from the middle of the tunnel rather than the mouth of the tunnel.

But since we're talking about circles inside circles here (or better, tubes within tubes), the fact that the outer tube (the hood) has some cut-outs in its edges does not look to me like a sound way to keep it from getting into the picture. Might not get into the picture as badly - maybe only at the top and the bottom instead of all the way around - but I don't see how making some of the "petals" shorter than others eliminates them as a problem entirely. So I suspect it's something else. What I notice here is that it's easier to get the lens cap on and off with the petaled hood on the lens than with the other more boring hood. The cut-outs in the petaled hood let me get my fingers in there, sort of.

Anyway, I'm still hoping to learn what these things are supposed to be good for and whether I should be using them and when. I don't imagine that they're merely decorative.

Will

12-22-2006, 03:54 PM   #5
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That's a good question. When I started photography with my MX in the late '70's, only my Pentax telephoto lenses came with hoods; these were classy constructions that were built into the lens and could be pulled out for use when you wanted them, but took up no room when the lens was in a gadget bag. All other Pentax lenses (<100mm), both primes and zooms, had no built-in hoods, so with these, I opperated hoodless (whoo whoo).

Now, it seems like almost all lenses (e.g. FA 35/2, DA 16-45) have them, but they're clumsy detachable affairs that are a pain in the *^&*(% to use. I dutifully attach them every time I use one of these lenses, but I wonder - based on my experience of long ago - whether they're effective or just to look cool. I'd love to dispense with them altogether, but I've never summoned the energy to do the experiments that would determine their value. Maybe someone else has????

Jerry
12-22-2006, 04:01 PM   #6
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To me putting on a lens hood is sort of like putting on a baseball cap.... sort of the same idea as far as blocking unwanted glare, etc.
But I have to confess, I usually don't use one but I should start to.


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12-22-2006, 04:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
But since we're talking about circles inside circles here (or better, tubes within tubes), the fact that the outer tube (the hood) has some cut-outs in its edges does not look to me like a sound way to keep it from getting into the picture. Might not get into the picture as badly - maybe only at the top and the bottom instead of all the way around - but I don't see how making some of the "petals" shorter than others eliminates them as a problem entirely.


Thought about this for a few more minutes and realized that I'm WRONG above when I say we're talking about circles inside circles. The business end of the lens is circular, and the hood is sort of circular. But the CCD is, I think, rectangular. The side petals on the petaled hood are the shorter ones and that makes sense, as the sides of the rectangular sensor stick out further than the upper or lower edges of the sensor.

I'm not sure that the previous paragraph is correct, mind you. But I was wrong when I said "circles inside circles."

WP
12-22-2006, 04:05 PM   #8
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light hitting the lens from the side can bounce around inside the lens and produce a washed out very pale photo.. the hood is supposed to stop this.. taking a shot with the sun at the side of u would be an example..

side protection is what its about.. hence u dont need it all aorund the lens.. less flash shadow would be one benefit.. what others there are i have no idea.. he he

the reverse on the lens for packing away ones are neater.. screw on ones are a pain..

trog

12-22-2006, 04:12 PM   #9
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The hood will never do any harm (assuming it is properly designed and doesn't cause vignetting).
The hood will always do good for your pictures and your lens (assuming...).

The good things are that it physically helps to protect the front element from contact with anything but air and humid particles. It stops some lights from the sides and it lessens stray lights (as it usually is said) causing flare and loss of contrast.

Zoom hoods are bad (but so are zooms... ) as they have to be designed for the shortest focal length of the zoom. Prime lenses can be equipeed with hoods that very effectively protects the lens and stops most, or nearly all, of stray light.

In my eyes somebody not using the hood is revealed as ignorant. So: Take off the hat but leave the hood on when shooting indoor.

(Btw: My used bags are satchel types with the lenses standing up, pointing downwards. The rear cap is on but I don't use any front cap. The lenses are easy to grab and switch when I need to. The only time I take any of the hoods off is when I need to clean the protective filter I most often use.)

regards,
12-22-2006, 04:20 PM   #10
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I read a great deal of the thread after having posted (I had a cup of tea while I typed down my opinion). We ahve a lot of different experiences and opinions, that's for sure...

regards,
12-22-2006, 04:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonas B Quote
It stops some lights from the sides and it lessens stray lights (as it usually is said) causing flare and loss of contrast.
Well, I guess I'm going to have to do some more experiments. This sounds plausible. But I'm a doubting Thomas and would like to see proof that "stray light" is wrecking my photos. I tend to think my photos are being wrecked by what's BEHIND the camera rather than what's in front of it or on the sides. :-)


QuoteQuote:
Zoom hoods are bad (but so are zooms... )
There's one in every crowd....

Kidding aside - while I respect your opinion and your experience - what I'm reading says that the prejudice in favor of primes is less valid than it used to be. But I don't want to detour my own thread.


QuoteQuote:
In my eyes somebody not using the hood is revealed as ignorant. So: Take off the hat but leave the hood on when shooting indoor.
Well, that's interesting. ALL THE TIME? How about in low light indoors?


QuoteQuote:
(Btw: My used bags are satchel types with the lenses standing up, pointing downwards. The rear cap is on but I don't use any front cap. The lenses are easy to grab and switch when I need to. The only time I take any of the hoods off is when I need to clean the protective filter I most often use.)
That's interesting, too. I'd have to get a new lens bag as the one I have now isn't deep enough to accommodate the lenses with hoods on. If you don't put lens caps on, doesn't that mean that the filters get dusty more quickly?

Thanks for your input. Clearly a strong, confident vote in favor of using the hood.

WP
12-22-2006, 05:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Well, I guess I'm going to have to do some more experiments. This sounds plausible. But I'm a doubting Thomas and would like to see proof that "stray light" is wrecking my photos. I tend to think my photos are being wrecked by what's BEHIND the camera rather than what's in front of it or on the sides. :-)
There's one in every crowd....
Kidding aside - while I respect your opinion and your experience - what I'm reading says that the prejudice in favor of primes is less valid than it used to be. But I don't want to detour my own thread.
Well, that's interesting. ALL THE TIME? How about in low light indoors?
That's interesting, too. I'd have to get a new lens bag as the one I have now isn't deep enough to accommodate the lenses with hoods on. If you don't put lens caps on, doesn't that mean that the filters get dusty more quickly?
Thanks for your input. Clearly a strong, confident vote in favor of using the hood.

WP

Me behind the camera wreckes more pictures than most others. But sometimes I get a good picture, and then I don't want the quality lessened due to details like a missing hood.

Yes, all the time. Do some experimenting a sunny day: no hood attached, look throgh the viewfinder and turn around. You'll notice that the contrast decreases when the front element is hit by the sun, also when you can't see the sun in the viewfinder. Gymnastics most often means strong lamps around the place. They will affect contrast and thus the perceived level of sharpness. Low light? Well, what harm will the hood do? It still protects the lens and in low light you use longer exposure times and the stray light will be equally "amplified".

In the bag; the lenses are standing in their compartments. I use the space for lenses only. From time to time I vacuum clean the compartments and the rest of the bag. I very seldom get dust on my filters or front elements. Water (salt) spray, yes, but there isn't much garbage landing in the bag. The hoods are holding the front piece of glass between 1cm (wide angle) and 5cm above the "floor". It seems to be enough.

I think that we all make up our own preferences and ways of using our equipment. There are no absolute right or wrongs. This is how I work, most of the time, and I just hope it is some food for thoughts.

regards,
12-22-2006, 05:50 PM   #13
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well u see with mickey mouse sized primes which come with mickey mouse size hoods the hood can be left on.. he he he

but a hood can defintley get in the way of the camera poor little flash.. so sometimes it really does pay to take them off..

now with "man-sized" lens with a "man-sized" hood.. leaving the hood on all the time aint exactly practical.. he he he

u have to laff..

trog
12-22-2006, 10:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonas B Quote
Me behind the camera wreckes more pictures than most others. But sometimes I get a good picture, and then I don't want the quality lessened due to details like a missing hood.

Thanks for the follow-up, Jonas. Your points are well taken. I have discovered that I can turn the hood around and keep it attached (so it's not doing its job but it's still there). So now I am willing to have the hood with me always. Tomorrow if I have time I'll do a few tests. I do find what you say about the hood helping to increase the contrast believable, and if a couple quick tests bear it out, well, I'll say so here.

I reckon there has to be a reason, as I don't think many photographers want to carry more junk around just because it looks cool.

Thanks,

Will
12-22-2006, 10:39 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
That's interesting, too. I'd have to get a new lens bag as the one I have now isn't deep enough to accommodate the lenses with hoods on. If you don't put lens caps on, doesn't that mean that the filters get dusty more quickly?

Filters? Not only does this man not use hoods, he puts filters in front of that excellent Pentax glass? Oh, the shame!

PS - just kidding.
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