20 July, 2015

Lens hoods

Zeiss Loxia 50mm - "The Chase" the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Queensland [click image to enlarge]

I always use lens hoods.

Some photographers feel that lens hoods are too intimidating for street photography. That hasn't been my experience. On the other hand, I don't use large zooms, so I start from a fairly unintimidating profile. When I'm walking around, the camera is down at my side, either on a wrist strap or on a BlackRapid strap. And, of course, when my camera is pointed at the subject, the subject doesn't see the hood.

I used to use protective filters with all my lenses. I stopped a couple of years ago. I did that because using the hoods all the time gives those front elements enough protection. I live in the semi-tropics, so this works for me. If I went back to a more harsh environment I might work differently.

And the hoods do what they're supposed to do by keeping out some of the stray (or even direct) light. This reduces that little bit of "haze" that stray light can introduce.

Leaving off an unnecessary filter also eliminates two glass-to-air surfaces — yet another optical benefit.

My walking around lens is a 50mm. I keep it in the bag with the hood on and the lens cap off. You don't want to be fiddling with either a lens cap or lens hood when the time comes.

Because I'm usually a prime shooter, lens hoods are more effective for me than they are for zoom shooters. A lens hood on a zoom needs to accommodate the widest focal length of the lens, making the hood less effective for all the longer focal lengths. On a prime, the hood is tuned to the focal length of that lens.

One good habit is worth a hundred resolutions.
—Yllib Ybnad (b. 1948–)

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