Lens Hoods Are A Good Thing

Lens Hoods

So last night after dinner, we (the wife and kids) decide to go for a walk. It was super-nice outside — no clouds, a little breeze, and warm weather. It was still light out, but the sun would be setting before we returned. I decided to take the camera and get some shots of the kids running around and playing.

I went with the 105mm macro because it’s my fastest lens at f/2.8. Okay, it’s not the fastest lens around, but it’s MY fastest lens. I figured it would come in handy with the light dropping off as the sun went down. I’m also starting to really like using a prime rather than a zoom — it makes you think a little harder about what you’re doing.

So the camera is ready to go; I grabbed an extra battery, extra memory card, lens cloth, and my flash (in case it got too dark out). Cargo pockets are a good thing, by the way. I thought I had everything, but I also had that feeling that I was forgetting something. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Oh well, we took off and I started shooting.

For the first part of our walk, we were heading to the west so the sun was pretty much in front of us (maybe a little off to the left). I’m snapping away here and there, checking my shots every once in a while. Then it dawned on me — I should have strapped on the lens hood before I left. Nothing bad was really showing up in my shots, but I really wish I had the hood with me. On my two other lenses, I keep the hood on the lens in reverse so I can store them easily. Those lenses have a bayonet style hood attachment, so it’s easy to do. My macro lens, on the other hand, has a threaded attachment, so I can’t store it on the lens backwards.

When we got back, I dumped the photos to the computer and started glancing through them. DANG IT!!! More than one of my shots had a bunch of glare, pretty much ruining the shot. DANG IT, DANG IT, DANG IT!!! I wasn’t shooting straight into the sun, but it was close enough that the front element caught some direct sunlight. It didn’t really show up on the in-camera preview, but it was certainly obvious on the computer screen.

So my point to this whole story is ALWAYS USE YOUR LENS HOOD — it’s a good thing. You never know when you’re going to ruin a shot by not having it, and there’s really no good reason NOT to have it on the lens. Still not convinced? Here are some reasons why lens hoods are a good thing.

  • They reduce the chance of lens glare and lens flare, as noted above.
  • They cut out extra ambient light, thus increasing the contrast in your image, thus making it appear sharper.
  • They help protect the front element in case of bumps and run-ins.
  • They act as an umbrella in case of a slight drizzle.
  • The lens comes with one at no extra cost.
  • Most are bayonet style, so you can turn them around and store them on the lens while not in use.
  • And finally… they make your camera look way cooler.

So if you take anything from this article, REMEMBER TO ALWAYS USE YOUR LENS HOOD! I know I’ll be a little more mindful about it from now on.

This entry was posted in Equipment, General Tips on by .

About Brian Auer

a photography enthusiast from North Idaho. He's also the guy behind the Epic Edits Weblog. As a hobbyist photographer since 2003, his passion has been to constantly improve his photography skill set, to share his own knowledge with others, and to become an integral part of the photographic community.

6 thoughts on “Lens Hoods Are A Good Thing

  1. wingerz

    I’ve only got one, and it’s quite big (for the 70-200mm) so it ends up getting left at home a lot. You’ve encouraged me to bring it along and give it a shot; hopefully it’ll see some action this weekend.

  2. Ben

    I know I should use my lens hoods, but most of the time I’m too lazy. One of these days its going to come back to haunt me. I’ve been lucky so far, even with my ultra-wide angle. The hood for the 10-22 is awkward so it gets left on the shelf most of the time.

    That said, I always have the hood on my expensive telephoto. Like you mentioned it is a lot easier when you can just store the hood attached to the lens.

  3. Brian Auer Post author

    Ah yes, the lazy factor. I’ve been pretty bad about that myself. This is especially true with the threaded hoods (like I have on my macro).

    The hood for my 10-20 isn’t too bad, but it does make the lens a bit bulkier when stored in reverse.

    In the photo, the top lens is my 10-20, the middle is my 105 macro, and the bottom is my 18-200.

  4. Thalia

    Thanks for that post, Brian. I only knew a couple of advantages of Lens hoods. You’ve given an entire list here! That was very informative.

  5. Jim Goldstein

    Almost as important as using a lens hood for glare is to use it to shield your lens from damage. Lens hoods will absorb a lot of energy if you are unfortunate enough to drop your camera or just bang it hard against something. My f/2.8 16-35mm lens and B+W circular polarizer was saved in a horrific fall because the lens hood was on it. Afterwards the lens hood was scratched up but otherwise fine.

  6. Brian Auer Post author

    I was curious if they would actually help in the even of a drop. I’ve never given it a try, but I’ve heard that they can save the lens — I guess the stories are true.

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