Lens Hoods are necessary

Out of all the acces­sories to buy for your cam­era, is it truly nec­es­sary to invest in a lens hood? The answer is YES. A lens hood will help pro­tect the front of the lens from bumps and acci­dents, but it is also great for pre­vent­ing lens flare. Lens flare hap­pens when light does not flow through the lens to the sen­sor or film but instead, bounces around the lens ele­ments. This cre­ates unusual and unwanted (nor­mally) arti­facts in the image. Com­mon shapes include poly­gons and lin­ear streaks. How­ever flare can also wash out an image in addi­tion to the weird shapes it cre­ates. The shapes of these arti­facts are depen­dent on the lens ele­ments, the aper­ture blades and the angle of the light.‚ A com­mon sit­u­a­tion where this hap­pens is when you are shoot­ing into a light source like the sun or the light source enters the lens from an angle. Although the sun is the most com­mon thing to cause flare, any light source can cause it if it hits the front of the lens at the right angle.

The sim­ple solu­tion to this is buy a lens hood. They are inex­pen­sive and they help pre­vent stray light from enter­ing your lens. Many pros keep them on their lenses 100% of the time, even at night, since city lights and car lights can cause flare.

You could use your hand to block the light of course… it is cer­tainly a cheaper alter­na­tive! But for the long run, the lens hood will be quite ben­e­fi­cial in both pro­tect­ing your lens (from the wild party hap­pen­ing next to you) and in pro­duc­ing shots with­out the ‘unwanted’ flare.

Check out this link in our pho­tog­ra­phy forum for more infor­ma­tion or to com­ment on this topic.