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Should I use lens hoods?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by SojiOkita, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    617
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Hello everyone.

    I'm wondering if I should try using lens hoods...
    I'm not using them now (I just got 2: P45-150 and PL25 - the last one is huge).

    The problem with hoods is that they take some space in the bags (if I choose to use them I would leave more lenses at home), make the lens changing process longer (if you store them reversed and the lens), and make more difficult the use of filters (ND, polarizers).

    And they're expensive, even the non official ones (some lens do not even have official hoods...).
    I'm also quite skepitcal about the hood efficiency for zooms on their longest focal length.

    I'm not (at all) interested in the protection they can offer, however, I'm wondering if I should use them fort the optical benefit (flare reduction, contrast etc...).

    What do you think?
    In which conditions do you use hoods?
    Did you experience some noticeable difference in the pictures with / without the hoods?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    Just what space do you think the hoods occupy? Ones like on the 40-150 retract for storage or accessing the cap or putting on a filter. Old style hoods are simply reversed for storage. No serious about of space needed at all. I always have a use hoods to reduce flare and to keep dust, dirt, and water drops on the lens front element to a minimum. An of course the hood can provide protection for the front element.

    Compared to the cost of camera bodies, lenses, or good bags, hoods are inexpensive.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. scott rawson

    scott rawson Mu-43 Regular

    114
    Oct 17, 2015
    west yorks
    If you want to look more pro like yes....they will offer benefit as you say with flare...but are fiddly,make telephotos much longer and obvious when you might be trying to low profile shoot (ie street/candid)..I am by no means any good , but tried with and without...Honestly its bit like the pixel peeper folk who over analyse...cant say I have ever noticed lower contrast or excessive flare....shot most of my best shots (mainly Nikon) without any hoods...never been an issue with the panny 25 f1.4 or my panny 20 f1.7...so for me pointless...But I,m sure plenty will shoot me down in flames for saying this:p
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    617
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    O9-18 and P25 have rectangular hoods. Each one take the space of another lens in the bag.

    That means everytime you change a lens, you have to reverse the hoods of the 2 lenses you're switching.
    That takes time and add drop risks for the lens.
    I like to switch lenses quite often so it's clearly a constraint for me.

    (for the protection part, I totally understand that some people use hoods for protection, but that's not what I'm looking for).
     
  5. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    I use the retractable hood on the 40-150 Pro but don't bother with the hood for the 12-40. I tried both lenses with and without and quite honestly can't see any difference between hooded and hoodless. Lens coatings are so good these days that IMHO hoods are rarely needed.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For combating flare, etc, just shade the front of the lens using your free hand.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  7. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    389
    Oct 12, 2015
    Aint nobody got time for lens hoods.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  8. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Depends on the lens and if I'm changing lenses often (and only hoods which reverse). Generally yes though.

    Some like the 12-40mm are pretty much useless and I leave it on permanently to provide slightly more protection for the front of the lens, reversing it only gains a few cm so I don't bother.
     
  9. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    I just use them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  10. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I just mentioned it on another thread around here a day or two ago that hoods can actually assist in changing lenses as you can set lenses down on their hoods while taking off or putting on the other one. If you are not juggle two lenses in your hands then there is less chance of dropping them. For active shooting, if you are likely to be switching the lenses back again soon, then simply leave the hoods in place until you are done for the day. Ya a little longer but if your bag has the space then over all the hoods on might mean quicker lens changing time and a bit more protection. Also when you are in a hurry having the hood on allows you to slide it in your bag for the time being withOUT a lens cap with less risk of the front element rubbing against the bag material.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
  11. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    617
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Most times there are no flat surface available when I change lenses, so I'm not sure the hood will help.
    The only thing is that maybe you can use the hood instead of the cap (not as good as a protection for the front element though).
     
  12. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    389
    Oct 12, 2015
    Most lenses have a recessed front element anyways (at least the 6 I own) so you can set them down without. The exceptions being the wide angle zooms I think?
     
  13. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Lens hoods stop direct light from a light source such as the sun or some form of artificial light striking the lens at an angle and producing flare or reducing the contrast of the image you capture. They have no effect if the light source is directly in front of you and you can see it in the viewfinder because the only thing which would block the direct light in that situation is a lens cap and that means you don't get a picture, and they have no effect if the sun is behind you and striking the back of the camera rather than the front of the camera including the lens. In between they can provide benefit, even in some circumstances a lot of benefit, but how much benefit depends on the depth and design of the hood. The shorter the focal length, the wider the lens hood is going to have to be, and that also means the bigger it has to be, if it's going to provide significant benefit. The depth of the hood, how far in front of the lens it extends, also plays a big part in how effective it is going to be.

    Apart from that benefit to your pictures if you've got a light source in a position which could be detrimental to your image and a hood which is effective with the light source where it is, a hood can help prevent damage to the front element of the lens from knocks and drops without causing some of the problems that the clear filters some people use for that purpose can cause.

    It's a choice. Hoods can help but they do take up space in your bag and you have to actually use them on the lens in order to get the benefit. If you think the benefits of using them outweigh the disadvantages associated with using them, then they're worth it. If you don't think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages then they're not worth it. You have to decide for yourself but even if you do think they're worth using they aren't going to help with every photo you take. As I said, if a bright light source is actually visible in the frame they aren't going to help, and if the sun is behind you they aren't going to help. They can help if the bright light source is in front of you but not visible in the viewfinder, and they can provide some protection to the front element of the lens against bumps and the like.
     
  14. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    617
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    That's right, but to be able to know if the benefit is worth the constraint, you have to be able to know what possible benefit you would get.
    That's what I miss, a clear comparison with / without hoods in several situations.
     
  15. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Why don't you try doing a comparison and just find out for yourself?
    Fred
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    Hoods perform several very different functions. Keeping sun off the front lens element, protecting the front lens element, keeping rain, dust, and fingerprints off the front lens element. How does not having a hood protect the front element or help keep rain or fingerprints off?
     
  17. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    617
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Because I don't own hoods for most of my lenses;)
    Some of them don't even have official hoods (when I see that JJC produces the same hood for my 14 & 20 mm... I have strong doubts about its efficiency).
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    617
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    As I said I'm not interested in the protection function of hoods.
    I never had any problems in more than 10 years that a lens hood would have avoided (the only lens I broke fell - with the body - from 1.50 m on rocks when I released the body from my tripod without wearing the neck strap... the lens absorbed the shock for the body... a hood wouldn't have help).
    Considering the number of lenses I have owned... the total amount of hood prices would be superior to my most expensive lens.

    However, an obvious optical advantage can make me change my way of working.
    I think I'll make some tests with my PL25 - the hood is huge and ugly but is probably a good hood... I also think it makes if less descreet - especially with children.
     
  19. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    You can do tests for the lenses you do have hoods for and see what benefits you get with those lenses. If you like the benefits, that will show you what you MAY be able to expect from hoods with your other lenses.

    The problem is, of course, the efficiency of any hood because not all hoods are equal. If the hoods you have aren't effective you won't get useful results. I think the hood that comes with the PL 25 is an effective hood so that would be a good lens to run some tests with. Just go outside, pick something to shoot in early morning/late afternoon when you can get the sun in the frame. Start off either with the sun directly in front of you and in the frame or with it directly behind you, take a shot, turn slightly and take another shot, turn a bit further and take another shot, and keep repeating until you've turned 180 degrees and are facing in completely the opposite direction. Do this twice, one with the hood on the lens and once without. Compare the shots with and without the hood and you will see the difference the hood makes plus get an idea of when the hood is effective and when it isn't. You can then decide whether or not the results are worth it to you.

    And the point is whether or not the results are worth it to you. What's an important benefit to one person is unimportant to another so you can ask for other people's opinions and they can give their opinions honestly, but they could think that hoods are useful and you could end up thinking they're not or it could go the other way, they think that hoods aren't useful and you think they aren't. There's also the possibility that you could decide that the effect of a hood is useful to you when you want to get one particular look to an image, and that the result without a hood might be better for getting a slightly different look. Just because you have a hood for a lens doesn't mean you have to use it all the time.

    Experiment. Run some tests with the hoods you have. See what happens and what you can do with and without a hood. You're trying to make photos which please you so other people's opinions about what works best when they're trying to make photos which please them may or may not be useful to you and you have no idea how useful or useless their opinions are to you unless you try it for yourself. We all like different things.

    If you'd never tried chocolate what do you think would give you the best outcome: ask a lot of people if chocolate tastes nice and make a decision based on what those people say having got wildly differing answers ranging from "I love it" to "I hate it", or trying a bit of several kinds of chocolate (light/dark/white etc) and seeing what you think. That's the kind of position you're in at the moment. Think of the lens hood as chocolate and you have no idea what chocolate tastes like. Are you going to take a poll and see what everyone else thinks, or are you going to take a bite and see what you think? It's your choice.
     
  20. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Following on from testing with/without hood - test what happens when you use your hand to simulate a hood in real time by looking at the EVF and moving your hand in/out in a flaring situation.

    I've never seen a hood much deeper than a palm width and since the light source is almost always from one direction a hand which cups one entire side of the lens is almost always sufficient.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4