Using lens hoods

Many lenses ship with a hood, which is advisable to use in a number of photographic situations. A lens hood provides protection for the lens, such as from bumping into things or if the lens is dropped, and it can prevent things, such as raindrops, from getting onto your lens and affecting an image as well. If your lens did not come with a hood, Canon makes several from which you can choose.

Generally, hoods mount to a lens bayonet style (meaning they don’t require screw threads, they attach by turning and locking them into place, similarly to how a lens attaches to a camera). Canon hoods are notorious for varying as to how tightly they secure to the lens, so you may want to adjust yours by using a dab of museum wax (available in most art stores, used to help secure things like vases or small objects to a counter or ledge) to tighten and/or smooth the mounting action. If your lens hood mounts loosely, in particular, it’s best not to handle the lens by the hood. Also, be careful when mounting the lens hood not to thread it incorrectly when you twist it on — you’ll be able to tell if you’ve done so by looking at the side of the lens; the hood will be obviously misaligned.

Perhaps the most important purpose of a lens hood from a purely photographic standpoint is that it helps to prevent lens flare by preventing too much light from coming in from the wrong angle. Lens flare is quite difficult to edit out of a digital image, so preventing it is key to ensuring unwanted light doesn’t affect your photograph.

A rubber lens hood, as shown in 7-7, is especially worth considering, and it has a special purpose: It can protect your subject as well your lens. In a number of sports venues where photographers are shooting very close to the action — such as on the sidelines of pro basketball games — photographers are required to attach these soft lens hoods to their lenses. This protects the athletes from injury against a hard camera lens or hood if they happen to run full-force into a photographer located in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because I shoot in many crowded international places, such as open markets and sports crowds, I also find a rubber lens hood to be much friendlier if I bump into people with a camera dangling from my shoulder. An added bonus is that rubber hoods tend to be significantly less expensive than the hard-plastic type.

This lens has been fitted with a rubber lens hood, which helps protect it both from extraneous light as well as from bumps and knocks.


The curved notches designed into some hoods do more than add a camera cool factor — they are patterned exactly to the rectangular shape of your CMOS and the images it reads, allowing light to be accurately and evenly cast onto the sensor. Typically, petal-shaped hoods are most effective with wide-angle lenses.

Category: Lens accessories

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