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Are you using the lens hood regularly?

Stefan Schwarzer , Sep 07, 2010; 12:02 p.m.

Hi there,

as I am somewhat of a light-weight traveller, I actually hardly ever (never!) use the lens hood ("sun shield") for my lenses. I am well aware that in some circumstances - such as taking photos in direction of the sun, or where one has lots of reflections - this could be a useful tool. But how important is the regular use of the lens hoods in everyday, non-professional landscape/nature photography? Does anyone has example of with/without? It just takes more space (although one can generally put it reversely on the lens) and is not that handy, I find...

Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences.


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Hosteen Yendikeno , Sep 07, 2010; 12:07 p.m.

Yes, I use my lens hoods almost all the time. In addition to helping block sun, they serve a more important purpose for me - protecting the front element from physical damage. I rarely use filters on my lenses, so the hood do provide a degree of protection I otherwise wouldn't have.

Shun Cheung , Sep 07, 2010; 12:10 p.m.

The lens hood is a very important element to protect the front of your lens from impact damage. I have pointed out a couple of times that some strong wind blew my tripod over in the Antarctic last year. I had my 70-200mm AF-S VR mounted on the tripod and the D700 was attached to the lens. Apparently the front of the lens hit first and the lens hood took the blunt of it. I had to replace the hood but the lens and camera only had relatively minor damage. Both the lens and camera functioned 100% fine for the remaining 2 weeks of that trip in an area where there were no houses near by, let alone camera stores and repair shops.

To me, blocking stray light is merely the secondary function of lens hoods.

Left Ayyones , Sep 07, 2010; 12:11 p.m.

I use the hoods as much as possible because I rarely use filters. The hood protects the front glass element of the lens in addition to the usual stuff of reducing flare and so forth. Hoods don't weigh very much, and they are much less fragile than filters. I don't have any good examples, because I delete the photos with a lot of flare, but hoods help a lot!

On the other hand, you can always use your other hand as a makeshift hood to shade the front of the lens.

I wish more lenses came with a built in, retractable hood like the Minolta 50mm f/1.7, but that's not really a feasible alternative for lenses with big hoods.

Rene' Villela , Sep 07, 2010; 12:12 p.m.

I never remove the lens hood out from my lenses. They help to prevent bumping the lenses around beside helping to get rid of the glare. More than anything else I use them for protection and I have never been bothered for the minimal extra weight.
I had 1 bad experience with my equipment.... I dropped a brand new D700 with a brand new AFS 24 f/1.4 on it. Nothing happen to them but one thing I noticed is that the hood had some scratches while the lens itself was completely unharmed. I could be wrong but I am so thankful to the hood...

Shun Cheung , Sep 07, 2010; 12:22 p.m.

I wish more lenses came with a built in, retractable hood like the Minolta 50mm f/1.7, but that's not really a feasible alternative for lenses with big hoods.

Left, I afriad not.

I have also mentioned that 30+ years ago, I once dropped a Minolta 135mm/f2.8 lens when a friend accidentally bumped into my elbow when I was changing lenses. That lens had a retractable lens hood, and that hood simply retracted upon impact and provided little protection to that lens. Fortunately I also had the lens cap on. That cap was metal and the rim of the UV filter I had on the lens took the blunt of the impact. I had to take the lens to a repair shop to get the damaged filter removed, but there was not even a scratch on the lens.

The current Nikon lens hoods that are snapped on and are made from plastic that can absorb impact are very good.

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 07, 2010; 12:26 p.m.

taking photos in direction of the sun

No big deal, but that is where a hood will probably do no good at all when the sun is in the frame. It's when you're shooting away more to the side that the hood keeps the sun off the surface of the lens and keep light from bouncing around inside the lens to cause flares and loss of definition.

I use hoods whenever I can, both for flare reduction and the physical protection against banging and all.

Eric Arnold , Sep 07, 2010; 12:27 p.m.

i use hoods for two reasons: 1) on w/a lenses and others prone to flare, when shooting during the day; and 2) to protect the front element from a ding (such as when moving through a crowd).

Jose Angel , Sep 07, 2010; 12:43 p.m.

I`m also in the protection side... currently I use a hood everytime I use the camera. In fact, I never remove the hood from some lenses that can be stored with it (hood in working position, I mean), like the 24-70, 50AFS, and others. It`s great that they also improve contrast.

Sanford Edelstein , Sep 07, 2010; 12:56 p.m.

Only on the 105mm AIS, which is built in. The 18-200mm already vignettes to an unacceptable degree and the hood would only make it worse. I once lost a whole day of shooting because the hood on my 12-24mm Tokina had moved slightly from the locked position and the corners were too dark.

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