Which camera lens hood is best?
If you have a good-quality camera, you want to protect your lenses from accidental damage. And if you’re a serious photographer, you want to take photos that have no glare and flare to spoil them. Camera lens hoods attach to the front of your lens, where they can do both.
The lens hood you need depends for the most part on the way your lens connects to your camera and the sensors your camera uses to regulate how much light your lens captures. If you are looking for a lens hood that fits telephoto, zoom and wide-angle camera lenses, take a look at the Kuvrd Universal Lens Hood.
What to know before you buy a camera lens hood
Photography is experiencing a growth in popularity, driven by people’s desire to use real cameras to take real photographs, not just phones to take selfies and snapshots. The most powerful advantage modern digital cameras have over smartphone cameras is that they use interchangeable lenses to get different shots using different effects.
Why do I need a lens hood?
Block unwanted light: The primary purpose of a hood is to shield the lens from direct light, real and artificial. A lens hood extends beyond the face of the lens, blocking unwanted light that’s the primary cause of glare and annoying lens flares.
Add contrast: When you reduce the amount of light entering the lens, you get richer colors.
Protect lenses from damage: Expensive lenses get ruined when they crack and break. If you drop your camera, the lens hood will hit the ground first and absorb the blow. Replacing a damaged lens hood costs far less than replacing a broken lens.
Keep lenses clear: When you’re shooting photos and videos outdoors, raindrops and snowflakes blur your camera’s images. A lens hood keeps your lens dry so stray droplets don’t wreck your shots.
Rigid: Hard lens hoods provide more protection than soft ones, but they can be dented and damaged in accidents and often weigh more.
Flexible: Soft, flexible, rubbery lens hoods cushion wayward blows because they are built with a certain amount of “give.” An added advantage of flexible lens hoods is that they collapse into themselves and take up less space.
What to look for in a quality camera lens hood
Tube vs. tulip
Tube lens hoods are also called cylinder lens hoods. They are best for standard and zoom lenses with long focal lengths.
Petal lens hoods have curved rims that look like the petals on a tulip. This lets you rotate them to get different shots. Tulip hoods are best for wide-angle zoom lenses.
Easy on and off
As great as lens hoods are, you won’t want to use them all the time. Because they are made for reducing the amount of light that enters the lens, you might not want them on a cloudy day when the light is low and lens flare isn’t an issue. The easier your lens hoods are to put on and take off, the better you’ll like it.
Use lens flare to your advantage
Lens flares are one of the techniques used by professional photographers and filmmakers. Purposeful lens flares in just the right place at just the right time add a dynamic element to a shot. Special lenses create the streaking light look used in outer space movies to indicate mind-blowing spaceship speeds.
How much you can expect to spend on a camera lens hood
Most cost $10-$20, with a few well over $100.
Camera lens hood FAQ
What is lens flare?
A. Lens flare, also called lens glare and light flare, is caused when a bright light shines directly into the lens. It may appear as stars, streaks, beams or flares, and is most common with longer lenses. Deliberate lens flare is used by skilled photographers who shoot directly into the sun, but among amateurs it usually spoils an otherwise great shot.
How do I avoid flare and glare?
A. Just as your hat brim shields your eyes from the sun, lens hoods shield your camera’s eye from it. No matter how long or large your lens hood, the surest way to avoid lens flare is to never aim your camera directly into the sun or any other bright light.
Can I use a lens hood when I have filters on my lenses?
A. It depends on your camera, filters and hood. You can use one with filters if all your gear is made to work well together.
What’s the best camera lens hood to buy?
Top camera lens hood
What you need to know: This hood fits 99% of lenses and holds 99% of filters.
What you’ll love: This hood is flexible and collapses into itself like a plastic camp cup in three stages for wide-angle, standard and zoom and telephoto shots. It does not thread onto your lens, but stretches to snugly fit lenses from 70-90 millimeters.
What you should consider: This hood is a bit floppy for some.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top camera lens hood for the money
What you need to know: This three-stage rubber tube hood collapses to give you coverage for macro, wide-angle and telephoto shots.
What you’ll love: The screw-on tulip hood is designed to work in both directions. When you don’t need it, it screws on backward so you’ve got it at hand, but it doesn’t prevent you from using your lens cap.
What you should consider: It’s not compatible with every lens thread size.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is one of the most successful camera accessories ever funded by Kickstarter.
What you’ll love: This soft flex hood is 215 millimeters in diameter and fits any lens with a diameter between 49 and 82 millimeters. It collapses completely flat for storage and the anti-static soft-touch coating repels bits of dust, dirt and fluff to keep your lenses clean.
What you should consider: A lens hood this large is hard to keep steady in high winds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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