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Do I need a lens hood?

From high-tech lenses to fancy filters, there is a sea of accessories, camera gear and gadgets that promise to enhance your images. However there is one humble accessory that often gets overlooked.... and that is a lens hood.

How can a lens hood improve your photography and protect your camera gear?
Improve your photography - lens hoods.

So what exactly is a Lens Hood?

A lens hood is a simple yet crucial accessory that is designed to be attached to the front of the camera lens. The size and shape may vary depending on the lens, but generally it resembles a tube that extends beyond the lens and shades it from stray light. Most lens hoods are made of plastic or metal and are lens specific.

Why should you use a lens hood?

Reducing Lens Flare Lens flare is when unwanted light hits the lens and creates artifacts, these are typically streaks or circular bright spots, also sometimes called ghosting. Typically lens flare occurs when shooting in the direction of a bright light source such as the sun or a street light. A lens hood can help to block out the stray light and minimise the risk of lens flare, thus helping you capture clearer, more vibrant images.

Improving Contrast and Colour Saturation Lens flare may also reduce contrast resulting in hazy, flat and washed-out looking photos.

By preventing stray light from entering the lens, a hood can help maintain better contrast and colour saturation in your photos.

Protecting your investment. Aside from its primary function of blocking unwanted light spoiling your images, a lens hood also provides a layer of protection for your lens. A correctly fitted lens hood helps shield the front lens element from accidental bumps, scratches and fingerprints. So when should you use a lens hood? Whilst some will tell you that you only need to use a lens hood on a sunny day, in our opinion we feel that if you have a lens hood then you should use it - there are no negatives to using a hood, so if only for the benefits of protecting the lens - its worth it.

Lens hood tips 1. Ensure the hood is correctly attached. An incorrectly fitted lens hood can restrict the field of view of the lens and also cause vignetting (darkening at the corners of an image).

2. Choose the right hood for the lens. It is worth checking to ensure you use the appropriate hood for your lens, wide lenses will require a shallow hood whereas a telephoto lens will require a longer / deeper hood. 3. Reverse the hood for storage. Most lens hoods can be attached to the lens in reverse for storage, saving valuable space in your camera bag.

For more on lens hoods, check out our video...

Where to buy lens hoods. Amazon has some great deals, but it is important that you purchase the correct hood for the lens, so check online or speak with your local camera dealer for more information.

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