Do you really need a lens hood?

Sep 8, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Do you really need a lens hood?

Sep 8, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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To be quite honest, I almost never use a lens hood. On the other hand, I know photographers who never take it off their lenses. In this video from Adorama, David Bergman will tell you why you should use a lens hood on your lenses. Do you agree with him?

YouTube video

In the video, David answers a question from a follower who asked him whether or not he should use lens hoods. “I have them but never use them and I don’t think I’ve had a problem,” he writes. However, David suggests that it’s a good idea to always have a lens hood on. When the light hits the front element at a certain angle, it will create flare and give the image a low-contrast, washed-out look. This is probably most obvious when shooting backlit images.

But what I mention above is just one specific lighting situation, right? So why should you leave your lens hood in other shooting scenarios? Well, David argues that it should remain there for protection. With the lens hood on, it’s easier to protect your front element from fingerprints or from bumping into something.

You can use lens hoods on all types of lenses. Flat ones are designed for primes and longer lenses, whereas petal-shaped hoods are made for wider and zoom lenses. There are two scenarios when David suggests that you should take them off. One is when flares and washed-out look are your creative choice. The other is when you use a pop-up flash if you ever have the need to do that. In all other cases, he advises you to leave the hood on. Even when the camera is resting in your bag.

Personally, I almost never use a lens hood. First of all, I rarely shoot in lighting scenarios that cause the flare to appear. When it happens, I just create a shade with my hand. How about you? Do you use lens hoods and how often?

[Do You Need a Lens Hood? | Ask David Bergman | Adorama]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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25 responses to “Do you really need a lens hood?”

  1. Lorenzo Morgoni Avatar
    Lorenzo Morgoni

    Yes, I use it. Only exception: when I use flash in general, not only the popup one.

  2. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    Why is that even a question?

    1. Shachar Weis Avatar
      Shachar Weis

      Clickbait

  3. Stewart Norton Avatar
    Stewart Norton

    Without exception.

  4. Guy Stevens Avatar
    Guy Stevens

    I bang the shit out of my lenses on a daily basis–so yeah–If I have a hood, I use it. Keeps me from bending filter rings.

  5. Christopher Harmon Avatar
    Christopher Harmon

    I use one to protect the lens etc, esp if the front element is curved and a filter is not practical.

  6. Hugh Dom Avatar
    Hugh Dom

    Looks cooler for one. ??

  7. Don Navarro Avatar
    Don Navarro

    Yes many benefits

  8. Bert Sirkin Avatar
    Bert Sirkin

    In over 50 years of shooting I’ve used a hood 2 or 3 times, and on at least one or two of those occasions, I damaged the hood. IMHO, when I see a lens hood, it’s an automatic sign of an amateur photographer trying to look pro. A lens hood is more likely to cause damage as it extends the lens. I too use my hand on the rare occasions where flare may be an issue.

    1. Anthony Hamer Avatar
      Anthony Hamer

      I’m curious how you’ve even done that. Even the flimsiest lens hood I’ve seen would stand up to minor abuse, are you playing catch in the middle of a parking lot with your lenses?

      Also dunno where you get the idea that a lens hood would damage your lens, that makes absolutely no sense to me. I totally understand not wanting to use one though, with how bulky they can be sometimes. I find myself running into flare that I can’t easily block out with my hand (10+ second exposures) often enough that I usually leave them on my lens.

      1. Bert Sirkin Avatar
        Bert Sirkin

        Most lens hoods today are plastic, and it doesn’t take much to damage them. If your hand can’t block flare, than a lens hood certainly can’t. If you find yourself getting flare shooting into the sun and using a 10+ second exposure, you’re doing something wrong! Also, a lot depends on the quality of the lens coatings – lower-quality lenses are often much more susceptible to flare.

        1. Anthony Hamer Avatar
          Anthony Hamer

          Well, that would be because I do mostly nighttime photography and sometimes bright lights are unavoidable since people seem to like to leave them anywhere and everywhere. Aside from that, if it’s a particularly small lens hood I might leave it on the lens, but I’ll sometimes take them off my larger lenses for during the day or if I know there won’t be lights.

          Aside from that, if a little piece of plastic around the front of my lens cna help me take better photos with less effort, I don’t see why not to use it.

        2. Kaouthia Avatar
          Kaouthia

          So, you’ll handhold a DSLR with a 300mm f/2.8 lens with one hand just so your other hand is free to block flare instead of popping on a hood? I bet that makes for some real steady shots. :)

          1. Bert Sirkin Avatar
            Bert Sirkin

            If you’re shooting into the sun with a long lens, you’re more likely to fry your shutter (assuming mirror-lockup or mirror-less). I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a shot taken with a long lens that had the possibility of any flare! Indoor sports photography is an exception, however. That’s the only case where I can think of that a lens hood makes sense.

          2. Kaouthia Avatar
            Kaouthia

            “If you’re shooting into the sun with a long lens, you’re more likely to fry your shutter”

            Huh??!?

            “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a shot taken with a long lens that had the possibility of any flare!”

            So, you’ve never seen any backlit wildlife photos then? You need to hit up Google Image search more. :)

          3. Bert Sirkin Avatar
            Bert Sirkin

            If your shooting into the sun to get a back-lit subject, a lens hood will do you NO good. It can only help if the sun is at the edge of the lens’ field of view. If this is the case (sun at the edge of the field of view), a lens hood MAY help, but probably wouldn’t.

          4. Kaouthia Avatar
            Kaouthia

            Where did I say those backlit photos had the sun in the shot? There are PLENTY of places the sun can be in front of the camera, creating a silhouette effect on your subject without the sun actually appearing in the shot but still casting light on your front lens element. That’s where lens hoods WILL help. If you don’t like ’em, don’t use ’em, but millions of photographs shot by others disagree with your supposition.

    2. John Beatty Avatar
      John Beatty

      I beg to differ with your whole idea of lens hoods are bad. Also, if it comes to that, a damaged lens hood is way better than a damaged front element. I use them as I use a lot of my other camera gear/accessories, as needed. Oh, and come off your high horse of judging a person on the looks of their gear. Really that is being a little egotistical on your part.

      1. Bert Sirkin Avatar
        Bert Sirkin

        ((I beg to differ with your whole idea of lens hoods are bad. ))
        and that’s your right to do so. :)

      2. Kaouthia Avatar
        Kaouthia

        I don’t care about hoods getting damaged, but honestly, if something’s going to kill your front element, a hood probably isn’t going to stop it anyway. :)

  9. Dasga Lim Avatar
    Dasga Lim

    I use lens hood allllllllll the time.

  10. Laroye Avatar
    Laroye

    I do video and unfortunately on my camera it is impossible to use a lens hood and a variable ND filter…

  11. Nick Avatar
    Nick

    I use one when it’s raining so I have something to hook my rain sleeve to on the front of the lens.

  12. cheers22 Avatar
    cheers22

    Looks better with the hood. If your camera looks good it’ll take good looking pictures.

  13. jdizzl Avatar
    jdizzl

    I did, but stopped. I mostly shoot primes for small kit, and well, if you put a lens hood on, they aren’t so small anymore. And some are as big as the lens itself. I will use them if doing a serious landscape shot or portrait, but just for day to day use? no. They add unnecessary bulk to my kit when walking around.