Why You Should Use a Lens Hood

Today’s Post by Joe Farace


Flare: This occurs when light strikes the front element of a lens and is scattered through internal reflections and within the elements themselves. Flare makes its presence know in visible artifacts or as an overall haze across the image making it look “washed out.” There was a (misguided?) time in my photographic past when I sometimes used flare as a compositional element in an image. I guess it was the latent J.J. Abrams in me, although at the time I didn’t know who he was. These days I don’t feel the same way.

Protection: Unlike some of my photographic compadres I’m pretty careful with my gear but accidents happen and banging a lens against an immovable object can by mitigated by a lens hood. Hey, it’s happened to me once but never again.


hood.lensBack in the good ole days of film photography every lens sold came with a lens hood. And not just any hood but a real jumping-up-and-down screw-on metal lens hood. Nowadays most camera companies make lens hoods optional and expensive. To be fair, some lens companies, such as Tamron, include a lens hood at no extra cost.

If your main objection to using lens hoods is that they cost too much I can only add ‘I feel your pain’ but I also have a solution—third party lens hoods. Take one of my favorite mirrorless lenses, the Olympus Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8. It’s hard to beat for portraiture and I love everything about this lens except the cost of its lens hood. The official Olympus LH-40B hood costs $34.15, while the Vello LH-40B version is only $10.99 and they look a lot alike. But wait there’s more. You can also do what I did and get a JJC LH40B hood for $7.99.