Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are lens hoods overrated? You can block lens flare with your hand.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Most, if not all, lenses are supplied with a lens hood these days. A regular tube hood is commonly supplied with telephotos and petal type hoods are supplied with wide-angle lenses and zoom lenses. The petal types are built as such because the sensors are rectangular, and if you noticed, the hood extension is longer on the vertical portion of the sensor. It stands for a good reason as when using a wide-angle lens, the tip of the hood would be part of your picture if it was as long on the horizontal axis.

Since I use rotating filters such as the Circular Polarizers and split Neutral Density filters, I need a quick way to rotate the filters. Although Pentax has a removable door on the bottom, where you can logically rotate your filters with your thumb, I found that it doesn't work all that well. Because you apply the pressure with your thumb, this has a tendency of putting more stress on one side of the filter and the rotation becomes much harder. It would be great if hoods would rotate as well, but that wouldn't work with petal type hoods.

It is for that reason that I rarely install the supplied hoods on my lenses. First, they increase the length of the lens and become a hazard. Secondly, I can use my hand to block the sun rays just as good as a lens hood can.

You can also get a collapsible rubber hood with filter threads, install it like a filter, or over the filter you are using. That way, the filter and the hood will turn together.

P.S. I found a website that actually lets you download a PDF file containing some of your favorite Pentax Lens hood. You just cut it out, fold it and slide it on your lens. I would paint it flat black myself. Check it out.

I also found this ingenious person that made a good looking hood himself.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque
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