We all get those plastic, circular things attached to the lens when we buy new glass. This is a lens hood, and you know what, it actually has a purpose. A few in fact.
You use your lens cap all the time, right? Well, the lens hood is no different.
Read on to find out why you shouldn’t keep your lens hood stored away in your cupboard.
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Why Use a Lens Hood
You may feel that a lens hood is a redundant piece of gear that will just get in the way and slow you down. You’re wrong. For any DSLR camera user, a lens hood is helpful.
Not only in extremely bright weather or when pointing your lens towards the sun or another strong light source.
If you’re not using your lens hood to protect your lens element from more than just bright light, you’re missing out.
A Lens Hood Will Protect Your Camera
The lens hood offers you protection. Especially against the things you can’t see or expect.
Picture this. You are out again, taking live music photos at a festival event. You manage to get backstage to one of the stages and are thrilled to be there. This isn’t your typical festival site.
The festival is taking place in an old abandoned fort and dock. This is not what you are used to at a festival, but you try your best anyhow.
The lighting backstage is less than perfect, and you may have been partaking in a few jolly drinks to sink into the atmosphere.
Running after a musician in the shadow of the stage, you trip over a large rock, and swiftly land on the floor, hands first.
That would be fine, but you have your camera in your hand and landed on top of it. The camera lands down lens first.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a Nikon, Sony or Canon camera, or if you’ve gone mirrorless. Or the brand of lens you’re using, everything from Sigma to Nikon lenses is vulnerable to a meeting with hard concrete.
And you’ll find yourself with a shattered lens on your hands.
Yup, you guessed it. Your camera lens hood was on your camera, in the working position. As it’s screwed on, it managed to take the full brunt of the force without too much problem.
The plastic bent for the briefest of moments but returned to its usual shape immediately. You saved your lens, even though you may have felt a little silly, using the camera lens hood at a nighttime festival.
Of all the lens accessories out there, this one will save your front element from disaster. It’s more protective than a polarising or ND filter.
Your equipment could have been damaged, or even worse, rendered void. This means no more photographs and a hefty cost in either repairing or replacing those broken items.
Both times, they were saved by gear items that cost less than 1/10th of what they saved. The point of these is this – accidents will happen. They are inevitable.
Accidents happen even when you are in control of a situation, as you can’t always be aware of other people.
Plus, most of the time, you will have your face pressed up against the viewfinder or the LCD screen.
Your Lens Hood Reduces Lens Flare
Oh, and if you wanted to know what a camera lens hood actually does, it stops your lens from picking up harsh light, which could give you a serious case of lens flare.
Whether you’re using a zoom lens or a prime, a telephoto or a wide angle, lens flare can affect your images.
And it’s very difficult, if not impossible to remove in post-editing software. You may think you might not need the lens hood, but they will stop the light, even if it isn’t obvious to you. And this will improve overall image quality.
For all those missing their lens hoods, have a look at the Veatree Lens Hood Set. It is a few rubber collapsable lens hoods for any lenses that have a 58mm diameter.
For the photographers who are worried about the dropping and the scratching, go for the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens hood if its missing.
There’s several different types of lens hoods out there, including a petal lens hood and a rubber lens hood.
Check out all the options and choose one that works for your camera. That is, if you’ve made the mistake of tossing the one that came with your camera!
Before you go, take a second to check out this video. It gives you even more uses for your lens hood!
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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