Do you want to pro­tect the objec­tive lens on a bud­get and not spend mon­ey on an expen­sive fil­ter? Is it impor­tant for you not to lose con­trast when shoot­ing in sun­ny weath­er? Or maybe in a pho­to stu­dio you need to leave the frame dark, with­out high­light­ing it, but at the same time the light sources are close? We fig­ure out what a lens hood is for and what to look for in order to choose it cor­rect­ly.

A lens hood is a bud­get acces­so­ry that will make pho­tos bet­ter in dif­fi­cult shoot­ing con­di­tions, and can also save the lens from break­age / pixabay.com

Lens hood — what is it?

A hood is a lens attach­ment. She acts in front of the lens, as if form­ing a visor. This ensures that no extra light enters the lens. Lens hoods can be made of dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als (plas­tic or rub­ber) and shapes (round, rec­tan­gu­lar or pyra­mi­dal and in the form of petals), but they all have one main func­tion — to pro­tect the lens.

5 reasons why you need a lens hood

1. Pre­serve the con­trast of the pho­to when the light source enters the frame.

If the sun, a flash or a stu­dio monoblock direct­ly hits the lens, the pho­to becomes paler and brighter. The con­trast dis­ap­pears due to the fact that the shad­ows become much lighter.

2. Remove stray rays and flare.

If the light source is in the frame or very close to its bound­aries, glare, rays, light spots may appear in the pho­to. Some­times this works great for the atmos­phere of the pho­to, but when it gets in the way, use a lens hood.

3. Lev­el scratch­es, spots and imper­fec­tions on the lens of the objec­tive or light fil­ter.

If the fil­ter glass or lens glass is dirty or dam­aged, when direct light enters from a cer­tain angle, these imper­fec­tions will become vis­i­ble. In a pho­to­graph, this can be expressed in incom­pre­hen­si­ble spots, dots and flare. No light hit­ting them, no prob­lem.

4. Get rid of haze and col­or dis­tor­tion.

When exposed to excess light, the pho­to fades and fades. Haze may also appear on it, as if an assis­tant ran across the stage with a smoke machine in his hands.

5. Pro­tect the lens from drops, fin­ger­prints and pre­cip­i­ta­tion.

If you acci­den­tal­ly drop the lens, there is a good chance that the lens hood will pro­tect the optics from hit­ting the ground, as the main impact will fall on it (ver­i­fied by the author). In con­di­tions where the hood costs ten times cheap­er than the lens, this is an excel­lent invest­ment.

The addi­tion­al visor of the lens hood will reduce the chance that the lens is acci­den­tal­ly touched by fin­gers or sim­ply touched by the lens while pass­ing by, which often hap­pens when shoot­ing reports / pixabay.com

The lens hood will also pro­tect the lens from light rain and snow. Nat­u­ral­ly, you should not go out with only a hood in a storm and a thun­der­storm, but you will def­i­nite­ly have time to take a cou­ple of final shots under the driz­zle that has just begun.

Read about how to pro­tect equip­ment dur­ing heavy rain­fall in the text.

How to choose a lens hood

A lens hood is a rel­a­tive­ly cheap acces­so­ry that will fit even into the bud­get of an ama­teur who does not want to spend a lot of mon­ey on a hob­by. But in order not to buy it sev­er­al times, reorder­ing, you need to take into account sev­er­al para­me­ters. We tell you what you need to know and how to choose the right lens hood for any lens.

1. Find out the focal length of the lens. It is mea­sured in mil­lime­ters and writ­ten direct­ly on the optics. This can be either one dig­it (eg 40mm, 85mm) or mul­ti­ple dig­its (18–55mm, 24–105mm).

In the first case, you have a “fixed” lens — it has one focal length, you can­not zoom in or out with it. In the sec­ond — a vari­able focal length (or zoom lens).

This is one of the key para­me­ters, since some hoods can only be worn on zooms, while oth­ers can be worn on fix­es. Also, the focal length affects the shape of the lens hood.

For exam­ple, the focal length of this lens is 35mm. This is a wide-angle lens that will fit the petal hood that is already on it / pixabay.com

2. Decide on the shape of the hood.

If you choose the wrong shape of the lens hood, black­outs may appear at the edges of the frame — vignette. They occur due to the fact that the lens has a too wide angle of view and the lens hood enters the frame.

Blend shapes:

- Round hood. Some­times this type of hood is divid­ed into two: con­i­cal (it grad­u­al­ly expands from the lens to the sides) and cylin­dri­cal (round hood of the same width along the entire length). But this divi­sion is very con­di­tion­al, since they are used on the same optics.

They are suit­able for:

- zoom lens­es (those that zoom in and out);

- for lens­es with a focal length of 50mm or more (50mm, 85mm, 100mm, 200mm, etc.).

- Petal or curly hood. In form, such a hood does not come with a sol­id visor, but with recess­es along the edges. It is its uneven­ness that pre­vents the vignette from appear­ing. A hood of this shape is indis­pens­able for wide-angle lens­es (focal length 50mm or less). But such a lens hood must be installed cor­rect­ly — if you turn it at an angle, the petals will fall into the frame and cre­ate black­outs at the edges.

A petal hood will help you avoid vignette in your pho­tos. It is indis­pens­able for wide-angle lens­es / pixabay.com

- Rec­tan­gu­lar hood. It is rarely used by pho­tog­ra­phers, but it is active­ly used by “film­mak­ers” for video cam­eras. Used on wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lens­es (35mm and small­er). Its big draw­back is the pos­si­bil­i­ty of incor­rect instal­la­tion when the hood is slight­ly tilt­ed up or down. In this case, there is a risk of get­ting a vignette in the pho­to. But at the same time, it is read that such hoods cut off the rays bet­ter than round ones.

3. Select the diam­e­ter and type of attach­ment.

In order for the lens hood to fit on the lens and sit firm­ly on it, you need to choose the cor­rect mount and diam­e­ter. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, if you buy one lens hood, you won’t be able to use it on all lens­es in your col­lec­tion. As a rule, each lens has its own lens hood.

The thread diam­e­ter of the lens is writ­ten on it, mea­sured in mil­lime­ters and indi­cat­ed by the ⌀ icon. For exam­ple, ⌀ 54mm.

A hood is put on the lens in the cen­ter. It is turned upside down for ease of trans­porta­tion / pixabay.com

Accord­ing to the type of fas­ten­ing, the hoods are divid­ed into two types:

  • thread­ed. It is screwed on top of the thread in front of the front lens. It is believed that it does not sit as secure­ly as a bay­o­net, but it is suit­able for a larg­er num­ber of lens­es — the main thing is that the thread diam­e­ter match­es.
  • bay­o­net. It is put on spe­cial ser­ifs pro­vid­ed by the design of the lens. These lens hoods tend to sit tighter, and they can also be put on the lens with the oth­er side. This is nec­es­sary to com­fort­ably trans­port the hood and lens.

Some­times a lens hood comes with a lens. And, as a rule, this is a hood with a bay­o­net mount, which is “sharp­ened” for a cer­tain mod­el.

4. Hood mate­r­i­al. As a rule, hoods are rub­ber or plas­tic. The for­mer are much lighter, eas­i­er to trans­port and almost impos­si­ble to break, but they are unlike­ly to pro­tect the lens if dropped (in fair­ness, after all, this is not the main func­tion of the lens hood).

Plas­tic hoods are more robust in con­struc­tion and are much more com­mon in stores. Hav­ing set­tled on such a lens hood, pay atten­tion also to the mate­r­i­al inside: it can be a plas­tic stepped thread or a black mate­r­i­al that looks like vel­vet. All this is nec­es­sary to addi­tion­al­ly cut off unnec­es­sary light. If you choose a lens hood with a fab­ric inner side, please note that it is bet­ter not to touch it with your hands so as not to get dirty, and you will also have to clean it from dust, wool and oth­er dirt.

Brief conclusions:

  • A lens hood is bought for a spe­cif­ic lens. The most impor­tant para­me­ter to con­sid­er when choos­ing a hood to put on your optics is the diam­e­ter of the lens.
  • The shape of the hood depends on the lens. For wide-angle, it is bet­ter to take petal or rec­tan­gu­lar so that there are no vignettes. For the rest, round ones are suit­able.
  • When choos­ing a hood, pay atten­tion to the mate­r­i­al. The plas­tic ones will keep your lens from falling, while the rub­ber ones are con­ve­nient for trans­porta­tion.


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