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    Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own

    • Tanya Britt

      Understanding Camera Lenses- "Before investing in a camera lens you first need to know if it will work for you. This article aims to improve your understanding of camera lenses by providing useful information about the main categories of camera lenses, their features and how can they enhance the quality and the beauty of your photographs."

    • Libby Smith

      Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own. Thinking about getting a macro... - check more on my website

    • Wašté Wauŋspe Wiŋ

      3 Lenses Every Photographer Should Own, someday . . . from "Digital Photography School"

    • Alexis Alcántara

      Photography Tips - DSLR - Tools & Accessories - 3 Lenses Every Photographer Should Own

    • Tammy Miller

      Pinner says: Three lenses every photographer should own. {I agree and have each one.}

    • Sara Grace Cofield

      Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own. Pretty much! I have 2/3! So close!

    • Nikki Thomas

      Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own - Digital Photography School

    • Casey Williams

      { Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own }

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    Why you should use your lens hood: Time and again I get asked by those starting out in photography, “What is this thing that came with my lens?” What they are referring to is the lens hood included with most new lenses. For those new to cameras and lenses, it looks odd as it is often cut in a wave-like pattern. A lens hood’s main purpose is to block light. If the lens is a prime lens (fixed focal length, non-zooming) the hood will resemble a tube, often larger at one end than the other. For zoom lenses the hood will have a curved opening at one end. This curve is cut to the zoom range of the lens and allows for the wider field of view afforded smaller focal lengths, while still attempting to block most light at a longer focal length. It’s a compromise that matches the compromise of a zoom lens. Does the hood actually help? Yes and no. The hood will help block out light that is coming into the lens and causing flare by striking the outer lens elements (the glass pieces that make up the entire lens) at a less than optimal angle. This is light that never would have made it to the sensor and isn’t needed. Instead, it causes those discolored spots you might have seen, shaped like the lens aperture (typically a hexagon or octagon). While lens flare also occurs from light coming directly into the lens, flare from off-angle light can be prevented. The “no” part of the answer is in regards to zoom lens hoods. With a fixed focal length lens, the hood is solid and often coated with felt on the inside, blocking out the maximum amount of light possible (the felt helps reduce reflected light from the plastic hood). But with a zoom hood, the curve can allow light in sooner than if the lens was fixed, although not that noticably so unless shooting in vertical orientation and with the lens pointed close to the sun A quick, simple demonstration of shots with and without a hood. First with: And then without: In this case the sun was close to its maximum height in the sky and these photos were taken with a Canon 7D and Canon EF 10-22mm lens. You can see the flare at the bottom and you can also see how some of the dust on my lens has been highlighted. Should you always use a lens hood? No, but with an explainaton. A lens hood will not help you when the sun (or light source) is actually in your shot. While it can help reduce extra light from reflected objects nearby (windows, white walls, etc.), the effect is minimal. But in reality, you should use the hood whenever you can. My reason for wording the answer this way is so you don’t freak out if you forget your hood or it is hard to pack (many wide angle lens hoods don’t always fit in the holes in camera bags). If you happen to be missing your hood for the day, simply use your hand, a book or any other likely object to block out the flare from the main light source, while making sure you don’t get the shading device into the picture. This won’t block the reflected light, which can minutely soften a photo (not to a point most of us will ever realize, mind you) but it will help take care of the main flare issue. What has been your experience with using hoods in the field? As always, be respectful of others while helping to raise the knowledge level of all our great readers in the comments section below. Read more from our Photography Tips and Tutorials Category Peter West Carey is a world traveling photographer and creator of the 31+ Days To Better Photography series on his blog The Carey Adventures.Com. He also loves sharing his experiences and knowledge at photography workshops and photo tours. And he's highly addicted to chocolate. Bookmark/Share this Article Leave a CommentIf you enjoyed this article, you might also like... How to Eliminate Lens Flare Do You Primarily Shoot with Zoom or Prime Lenses? The Lenses We Would Have If We Could Have No Other Lenses [POLL RESULTS] Will A Close-Up Lens Suffice In Place Of A Macro Lens? 5 Tips For Travel With Only One Lens 59 Responses to “Why You Should Use Your Lens’ Hood” - Add Yours Clinton Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:18 am I always use a lens hood, especially in crowded/cramped spaces, to protect my lenses from bumps. Jacob Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:23 am I usually only use a lens hood to help protect the front element. I believe that a lens cap is only for storing the lens or camera. When i’m out shooting, the cap is in my pocket, and the hood protects the front element from bumps and fingerprints. Wonderful explanation, though! You forgot to mention that you look cooler when using a lens hood . Sam Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:39 am Another reason for using a lens hood has nothing to do with taking pictures. I use it as a protective shield on my lenses. It hasn’t happened yet, but i’d rather chip crack destroy a lens shield that crach a lense on a 1000 telephoto lens. Sam Bennett LFSaw Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:53 am Apart from the scenarios described above, lens hoods have one additional benefit: They keep your lens save when you accidentally bump into something. That is one of the main reasons I usually keep the lens hood attached to my lenses. Another reminder: a reverted lens hood as seen on many tourist cameras does not help at all, yet it even indicates non-professional handling (and actually makes it a lot more difficult to handle the camera). Stephen Barnes Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:56 am I agree that it’s not terribly effective at reducing lens flaring, but I ALWAYS use mine. Why? It provides an extra layer of protection should the front of your lens get knocked or hit. I’d rather have to pay a small amount for a new hood than a medium amount for a new filter, or a lot of money for a new lens! Erik Kerstenbeck Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:59 am Hi Gret article! When shooting in harsh light or close to or into the sun, a lens hood will help avoid that annoying lens flare. Sometimes it can be considered “artistic” if you carefully control where in the image it will appear, but mostly it is something to avoid. If you dont have a lens hood, use a hand, reflector, buddy to block the flare by positioning the blocker whilst looking through the camera. I did just that with this early morning shot facing somewhat East of this Mission in San Diego! kerstenbeckphotoa... Jonathan Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:04 am A nice side effect is that it also helps to protect the lens to some extend. With a hood, I don’t feel like I have to put the cap back on immediately after taking a shot. Bjorn Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:04 am I want to echo the “protection” theme. The times I find hoods the most useful are when I might bump the front (i.e. always) or when it’s raining to keep water off the front of the lens. It also gives me something to tape the plastic back to to protect the lens & camera a bit more from the elements. Ghetto? Yes. Works? You bet Ron Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:07 am A lens hood is also helpful in protecting the lens from accidental scratches when moving in tight or crowded areas! Moshe Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:07 am I also use my lens hood in crowded places to keep people from bumping into my lens. David Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:07 am I always use hoods with my lenses to protect the glass. I mainly shoot at parties, and drunk people can be dangerous… Matt Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:09 am I agree that a hood should be used most of the time. I’ve seen a huge decrease in un-wanted lens flares, although, sometimes, lens flares are desired for certain shots. I’ve also read that using a lens hood will sharpen your images a tad. Don Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:21 am Honestly…I keep the hood on for protection purposes… That, along with a good UV filter is just more protection by items that are cheaper to replace if something bad should happen. Thanks for the two pics to see the difference between hooded/not hooded… Allan Jordan Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:25 am Another use often overlooked; I carry a flexible rubber hood with stepdown rings to allow use across all my lenses; ideal for shooting through glass and eliminating unwanted reflections and literally a couple of $$ a hood. Whilst a polariser can help a lot, it takes 2-3 stops and doesn’t fully eliminate reflections from artificial light sources. Main uses for me are through windows (e.g. observation decks day and night), on transportation, or through museum cases for certain artefacts. Very helpful in low light situations or those with a mismatch between interior/exterior lighting. Matt J L Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:34 am In response to Stephen Barnes – lens hoods are “not terribly effective”? Did you see the demonstration that was posted? As even an amateur photographer, I have to say that I’d rather have the top image than the bottom one (unless going for an intentional effect). So to me, yes, a lens hood is extremely effective at its intended prupose. A lot of people skimp and buy a third party lens hoods. Buy the lens hood straight from Canon, Nikon, etc. This will guarantee the best performance as they are the ones that actually designed the lens and know it’s true technical parameters. Design.edward Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:35 am Best reason for lens hood: keep elbows, tables, and objects away from your front element. my 450d and 85 1.8 went crashing to the ground after the strap was caught in a subway turnstile- then proceeded to slide. the manfrotto release plate was still attached to the bottom kept the hard tile subway florr from the body and the hood are close to the front element took the brunt of it. my heart dropped. then shot off a few shots- still perfect. Go hood or go home. also, i used to use the same lens to shoot at night by the waterfront. the hood makes a HUGE difference in blocking stray light…and so did replacing the cheapo canon filter with a sigma multi-coated. (hugs camera and 85mm) Jeff Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:38 am Interesting article. I’m not sure about the solid vs. curved hoods though. The Canon 70-200 L lenses are zoom’s and come with a solid hood. I always wondered why they had different shapes, I’m not sure this article cleared up that detail though. I hadn’t thought of the protection part that everyone is bringing up, but it’s a good point. I tend to be overprotective of my camera, especially when I have the long lens out, but I should probably use the hood more often in tight spaces as an extra layer of protection. dok Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:38 am Obligatory for me. Obviously to protect from unwanted light but also, as I don’t want to use any UV filter, to offer a protection if my lens hurts an obstacle. Third-party lens hoods are cheap (1/4 the price of a Canon one for example), but if it is still to much for you, you can print them !! >> I have to say that I found quite difficult to use correctly paper-hoods, but hey, it’s free ! Rick Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:45 am I love my Canon 17-40mm f/4 L, but the hood it came with almost seems pointless. dok Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:48 am “Buy the lens hood straight from Canon, Nikon, etc. This will guarantee the best performance as they are the ones that actually designed the lens and know it’s true technical parameters.” >> this is in my opinion plainly wrong. Usually third party lens hoods are nothing else but copies. Moreover I don’t really know for other brands, but for Canon models, 1 lens hood can be designed for 3 or 4 differents lenses. For example, the EW-83E is used for 3 lenses : EF-S 10-22, EF 16-35/2.8L and EF 17-40/4.0 L. sbalch Says: August 6th, 2011 at 1:53 am Lens hoods are also great physical protection. Walking around w/ a camera swinging at my side, or while out backpacking, the hood keeps the lens/filter from making contact with things it shouldn’t. I find this to be more beneficial than the occasional sun shielding — which is also nice. My hoods are pretty beat up but the lenses still look great. Lorita OLeary Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:04 am The lenshood also protects a lens. It has done that for me multiple times. C Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:15 am Recently my sister and I were on a Mediterranean cruise. The sun is harsh there in the summer, and we were on land during the sunniest part of the day. She has a Sony A200 with a big lens hood, and I have a Sony A100 but never got a hood for it. I really don’t see any difference between the light in our images. Out of the 800 or so pictures I took only one has lens flare, and in that instances it looks artistic so I don’t mind. Bekah Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:16 am Interesting. When I bought my lens hood, it was mostly just for protection, but I have noticed the difference. Now I always use it…anyone have any thoughts on tulip vs. Just plain round hoods? I, after researching a little, ended up buying a 1ish inch round hood for my 28-80…..don’t have one for my 50mm yet, planning on getting one soon. jellibat Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:35 am I’m another that uses lens hoods mainly as a bit of added bump protection, though reducing flare is useful some times as well ;p Dick Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:51 am I always use to for lens protection…… Stephen Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:59 am I always use my lens hood. I never causes any issues and, like Jellibat said, it protects the front of my lens a bit. So it always stays on the lens. Flip Buttling Says: August 6th, 2011 at 3:00 am My issue with the hood arises when I’m using my polarizing filter, too. With the hood in place, I have a hard time reaching in to adjust the filter for the effect I’m looking for. I end up using a finger tip on the edge of the filter, but inevitably end up touching the filter glass. Any thoughts, ideas? LJOP Says: August 6th, 2011 at 3:48 am Does anybody else get a wedge shadow when taking flash pics with the hood? jw.miller Says: August 6th, 2011 at 4:14 am “I’m not sure about the solid vs. curved hoods though. The Canon 70-200 L lenses are zoom’s and come with a solid hood. I always wondered why they had different shapes, I’m not sure this article cleared up that detail though.” I have a 70-300 lens that came with a solid hood, as well as a 18-105 lens that came with the “tulip” style hood. I think the difference is that the tulip style is used more on wide angle lenses that risk getting some of the hood in the shot. On a telephoto it would be less of a concern due to the reduced field of view. Mario Says: August 6th, 2011 at 4:28 am For my Nikon 50mm, I bought the rubber one that cost something like 5$ and is very useful as it can be just rolled up without taking much space. Bekah Says: August 6th, 2011 at 4:37 am LJOP–do you have a tulip hood? (I dont know from experience) but I saw people saying they had shadow issues with them…OR with longer lens hoods-another reason I opted for a smaller one.. Major Bokeh Says: August 6th, 2011 at 4:49 am I use my hoods whenever possible. On my 100-400mm and 100mm they are able to be turned around back onto the lens to store easily in the bag. On the other zooms, the hoods don’t fit the bag as well and a challenge to always bring them. As for those of you that are using your hood for protection, I hope you have a UV filter protecting your front element instead of leaving it exposed. Yes a hood will help, but I’d rather scratch and replace a UV filter. One other good reason for a hood, and Peter being in the Northwestern you can probably concur, is to keep small droplets of rain off of the front of the lens when it’s drizzling. Heather Says: August 6th, 2011 at 5:36 am Whenever I’m taking pictures outside on sunny days or drizzly days I use my lens hood. It’s just one of those things I always keep in my bag in case I need it. Dr. Bob Says: August 6th, 2011 at 5:36 am Why a tulip-shaped hood has an advantage is explained on this website: It’s basically the intersect of a cylinder (the shape of your lens) with a pyramid (the shape of lightrays through the lens onto the sensor). SOJO Says: August 6th, 2011 at 7:11 am To LJOP: you meed to remove the lens hod when using build in flash. The flash is “too low”, so it’s hitting your lens hood. Especially when using longer zoom lenses. Other option is to step away from your subject and use only the “wide” lens lenghts. At the end on many lenses you can attach the hood in “revert” position, so it will not block your flash and as well fit much easily to yourcamera bag. Kiran @ Says: August 6th, 2011 at 7:25 am Coincidentally, I was wondering about the hood topic yesterday. I guess many of us don’t use it for not knowing the actual reason to use it. Mandeno Moments Says: August 6th, 2011 at 8:16 am I always use a lens hood because, apart from the optical benefits, a hood protects the lens glass when the lens receives minor bumps. Hoods also greatly reduce the risk of getting fingerprints on the lens. I buy aftermarket hoods that are quite a bit shorter than the originals, which are often too bulky and intimidating when photographing people. I prefer screw-on hoods because I can stack them on top of a polariser and grip the hood when I want to rotate the polariser. If you do this check and see if the hood is visible in the corner of your photos: if you have a zoom do the check at the wide end. I avoid regular use of rubber (collapsible) lens hoods because they don’t give protection when the lens is bumped. However, I do carry a rubber hood and use it when photographing through glass. Pressing the hood against the glass cuts out reflections and allows a little adjustment of camera position: this also works very well when photographing through aircraft windows. As I say, the petal hoods (example in the first photo in the article) are too bulky and intimidating when photographing people. However, one advantage is the the ‘petals’ flex a little when they bump into things and reduce the amount of force transferred to the lens and camera. They’re a bit like a car’s crumple zone, which is designed to absorb energy. Lenses with a deeply recessed front element, such as the Canon 50mm f1.8 II (‘nifty fifty’) and the Tamron 90mm macro, arguably don’t need a hood unless you’re using a filter. Matt Says: August 6th, 2011 at 9:57 am No, I never use them. To me they’re unnecessary and bulky. If you are want to minimize lens flare use your hand to block the light entering the front element of your lens. Simple. As for protection I find that a good UV filter is all that’s required. I find the lens hood attracts bumps because of the extra length! So no, not a fan of the lens hood! Matt Needham Says: August 6th, 2011 at 10:16 am Lens hoods are like seat belts. I use them in case I run into trouble. Not only do they eliminate flare that I sometimes miss in the viewfinder or on the LCD, I’ve had them save my lenses from being bashed several times. Much more protective than a UV filter in my experience. Also like seat belts at first it was something I had to remember to put on, but now I put on immediately without even thinking about it. Madison Raine Says: August 6th, 2011 at 10:25 am My lens didn’t come with a hood Joanne Says: August 6th, 2011 at 10:30 am A hood significantly cuts down on water and sand splatters on the glass. I live in Florida and, between the sun, water, and sand, a hood is a must all the time. luse.13 Says: August 6th, 2011 at 11:05 am I do have one, I was using it at the beginning, but stopped once i started experimenting with light. i actually do like the sun/flares in my photos and when i dont i use my hand to block it. SalukiJim Says: August 6th, 2011 at 12:57 pm here’s my problem. the hood that came with my lens (18-200 nikon) causes vignetting at 18mm. I don’t want to have to take it off for wide angle, then put it back on. Todd Hakala Says: August 6th, 2011 at 2:26 pm I’m an advocate of hoods, though I don’t use them every day because they are hard to transport in my small camera bag and take up too much space. So I have protector filters on my lenses instead. But when I travel and have room to take them along, I do. I find that hoods on wides and wide zoom lenses don’t do enough, as I often have to use my hand or something to shade the lens, but hoods on mids and telephotos are great. The other downside to hoods is when you’re around people that aren’t used to physically large lenses, such as at weddings. A good lens for receptions is a 70-200 zoom, and in my case, that lens without hood measures about 8 inches long. If I put the hood on it, that adds about another 3.5 inches to the length. Or, if a wide angle, the hood makes the front of the lens visually much larger from the subject’s point of view. In either case, the hoods add a certain “intimidation factor”, which is not good when getting spontaneous portraits. As such, I don’t use hoods when trying to capture candids, even though I would prefer to use them. I did read on Tamron’s website a while back that one should always use a hood because the sensors on DSLRs are shiny, and hoods help to reduce reflections on a camera’s internals. jlosinski Says: August 6th, 2011 at 9:22 pm Here’s a tip for any fellow newbies- Do not use your pop up flash (you shouldn’t use it that much anyway) with a lens hood as this will likely result in a large dark shadow on the bottom of your picture, particularly if the subject is rather close to the lens. Now that I have taken the time to write this, I see that it has already been covered. Oh well. GoGayleGo Says: August 6th, 2011 at 9:23 pm My experience with lens hoods thus far (nearly two years now) is that I always have them in my bag, nearly always forget to use them, and almost always regret not using them. Gonna work on it. Sharon Byers-Photo Boutique Says: August 6th, 2011 at 11:50 pm There is a “pro” in our area that shoots with some hideous lens flare and calls it “sweet light”. I hope he reads this post on the use of the lens hood. Some are even convinced that this is good stuff. I have seen lens flare used to good effect on some occasions, but mostly it is just nasty. Corinne Says: August 6th, 2011 at 11:57 pm I just recently aquired a Nikon 3100 with a kit lens of 18-55mm and a zoom lens of 55-300mm. The zoom lens came with just a plain tube hood. I looked it up on the web to find out what it was for and how to use it. Two days later I was taking pictures in full sunlight of my two boys playing on blacktop. I tried some with the hood and some without. What a difference! The hood did a great job of letting me get good crisp photos without all the glare. I’m so glad I have it. I need to buy one for my kit lens. Jim Says: August 7th, 2011 at 11:51 am Have Always used Lens Hoods if only for the protection of the front element of the lens and the Hoods have save me some major damage. Lenses are expensive..Hoods are cheap. jonbar Says: August 7th, 2011 at 1:39 pm I always use it if possible. Aside from reducing glare, it also helps protect the front of the lens. If you hit it, it’s much easier to replace a lens hood (though often you won’t even have to) than a lens. Also it makes you look really cool, and all the people around you go “ooooh” Craig A. Mullenbach Says: August 7th, 2011 at 2:53 pm My primary reason for using a hood it to keep my finger prints off the lens. I use a black rapid strap and would touche the front element sometimes if it weren’t for the hood. Steve Says: August 7th, 2011 at 9:17 pm After shooting at a MotoX all day I have to recommend using a lens hood. The amount of dirt that hit the outside of the petal hood was unbelievable, but none got inside the hood or on the Hoya Pro UV filter. It also kept the brief rain shower off the front of the lens. Like Craig A. Mullenbach above I also use a BlackRapid strap (the RS-Sport which I highly recommend) and the lens hood also offers protection as the camera swings at my side as I move around. We pay large sums of money for quality lenses, why wouldn’t we use every means possible to protect the front glass? Claudia Says: August 8th, 2011 at 7:34 am I don’t leave home without them, for all of th reasons cited above. Simon Says: August 8th, 2011 at 9:58 am One tip, which I stumbled upon by seeing someone else do it. In most cases, the hood can be attached to the lens facing backward – this takes up less room in a camera bag. Vilhelm Says: August 8th, 2011 at 5:59 pm Lens hoods should of course be used whenever there is a risk of stray light. However, the hoods should be chosen appropriately. Photographers using DSLRs with a cropped sensor often have lenses designed for full frame sensors. The cropped field of view should be taken into consideration when shoosing the optimal hood for a given lens. One example: the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L lens comes with the lens hood EW-83H, however the EW 83G is the most suitable for a 1.6x cropped sensor. Thus, photographers using cropped sensor camaras and “full frame lenses” should, when possible, choose hoods made for the equivalent “full frame lens” with a shortest nominal focal length times the crop factor (or slightly shorter focal length, in order to avoid vignetting). This is mostly not considered when choosing lens hoods. Gene Says: August 8th, 2011 at 8:02 pm Just a little correction. Not all primes have non-petal hoods and not all zooms have petal hoods. The Canon 24 1.4L and 35 1.4L both have petal hoods, whereas the 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM and the 70-200 f4L have non-petal hoods. By the way, many of the zoom lenses also have felt on the inside of the lens hood. =) Mohamed ElGohary Says: August 8th, 2011 at 8:43 pm I use the hood during demonstrations here in Egypt to protect the glass from shocks. bigeater Says: August 9th, 2011 at 8:32 am For the person who was wondering how to use a polarizer with a lens hood: Dremel tool. You cut a small rectangular shaped hole in the bottom side of the hood in such a way that it lets you access the rim of the filter. Leave a Reply Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website XHTML: You can use these tags: Notify me of followup comments via e-mail You can add images to your comment by clicking here. (Learn More) Note: Maximum image width should be 620 pixels. 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