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why do you need a lens hood

As is the case with filters, the humble lens hood is something some photographers swear by and some don t want anything to do with. Hoods usually come with certain lenses, or can be bought separately, and can be standard circular types or petal-shaped that latter being arguably more effective as they re shaped to match both the aspect ratio of a sensor and the field of view of a lens though rectangular types also exist. So what exactly is their role? Essentially, a lens hood acts to block out light that the lens shouldn t be receiving, which can contribute to aberrations such as flare, particularly when shooting towards the light. Wideangle lenses, due to their expanded field of view, are naturally prone to gathering stray light, though the reduced field of view on standard and telephoto lenses means that for accuracy, the use of lens hoods is just as important.

Most hoods are made from plastic although metal types, despite being more expensive, do offer greater robustness. Rubber hoods are also available and have found themselves into many a kit bag, due (literally) to their greater flexibility and being collapsible they are less of a burden, too. You can even find some which extend and contract to fit a certain focal length. In any case, the inside must help to absorb light, which is why many are lined with a black flocking. The main reason why people choose not to use lens hoods is their cumbersomeness, which explains why rubber hoods are so popular. Another is that as modern lenses are coated to prevent reflections and glare, lens hoods are now often seen as just a redundant accessory.

Some lens hoods can also be hideously expensive, too. As with most things, it s simply a personal choice; I use mine for both controlling flare and protecting my lens, but if you find your images are fine and flare-free without a lens hood, then why bother? Though the lens hood world can t quite boast the developments that cameras and lenses have enjoyed, one website did recently catch the eye of WDC which gets round the problem of expensive lens hoods www. lenshoods. co. uk allows you to download and print out a paper lens hood specifically for whatever lens you are using absolutely free.
I got a couple of questions this week from Tom, about using a lens hood specifically a tulip lens hood.

Is there ever an advantage to using a lens hood indoors? I noticed that you use the вTulipв style lens hood. I have always gone under the assumption that a вSolidв style hood provides more protection from the sun. Am I wrong in my assumption? Hi Tom, I keep a lens hood on at all times for, and also to minimize flare and glare from any light source. Indoors it s also important to use a lens hood, because you can get flare from window light, studio lights or lamps. When you have less flare you get better picture quality too. Tulip lens hoods are for wide angle lenses and typically you ll get a tulip style lens hood when you purchase a wide angle zoom. Many people don t know what they are or what to do with them, so I m happy you asked this question.

Tulip shaped lens hoods also need to be properly placed on the lens. The more open parts go on the horizontal axis of your camera. See the photo below to see what I mean. If you used a solid, barrel shaped lens hood on a wide angle lens, you d see it visibly on the corners of your photos. That darkening of the corners is called vignetting. Longer focal length lenses use the longer, tube-shaped lens hoods. You don t have to worry about vignetting with longer lenses, only the wide angle ones. Hope that helps. Here are a couple of shots of camera lenses with the hoods on. p. s. Read the comments below to find out about a situation when using a lens hood is NOT recommended.

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