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What’s This Lens Hood Thingy For?

What’s This Lens Hood Thingy For?

Photo Tip Tuesday - What’s the lens hood thingy used for anyway?

Need a new or replacement lens hood? Search here.

I’ve been asked many times, “What’s this thing (lens hood) for?” or “Do I have to use this?” Well in short, the lens hood is our friend, and here’s why.

1. The lens hood helps prevent stray side light from entering the lens and causing lens flares.

2. It creates a “safety net” around the lens which acts as a protector against oily fingers, jumping toddlers, and flying fish.

3. Let’s admit it, we want to “look” professional when we photograph. Most lenses just look way cooler with the lens hood attached.



If you choose to not use the hood, no problem, but just take it off and put it away. I’ve seen many people shooting with the hood in it’s “storage/packed” position. The hood in this position is not helping in any way. In fact, it’s completely covering and blocking the focus ring on the lens and other functions like the auto/manual focus switch, etc. Make the lens hood your friend, you’ll be glad you did.

Missing a lens hood or need a replacement? The lens hood is sized to fit the outer edge of your lens, so a 55mm wide lens will use a 55mm hood for example. Here’s a link to find your lens hood.

Need a new or replacement lens hood? Search here. Or search “lens hood” at Adorama or B&H Photo.

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So cool! I never realized how important that hood thingy is. Thanks so much, I learn so much from all your posts!


I recently bought a Nikon D5000 and the kit that comes along with doesn’t have a lens hood. When I bought a lens hood, I tried shooting with it. Some shots that are zoomed out creates a black blurry object on each side of the picture and it doesn’t look good for me. I guess it is because of the lens hood. Do you think I got the wrong lens hood? it is a flower type/petal type lens hood.


Perhaps the hood you purchased was a universal lens hood. Obviously it’s not helping when you’re zoomed wide. If you take a look at the specific hoods that come with lenses, they are usually scalloped with sections missing in the corners. This is to keep the hood out of the shot when you are shooting wide. Your solution would be to see if there is a specific hood for your exact lens, or, if you’re adventurous, trim the corners off the hood your purchased. Let me know if this helps.


i think no. 3 is the main reason we love the lens hood. yes, it offers protection, but it seems like one of those must haves for the bag if we’re to be considered a real photographer. when i was shooting film 20 years ago, i never used a lens hood or a filter for protection. we baby our photography a lot more today and less emphasis seems to be put on the art of photography, but the gear we ave or are using to take a mediocre shot. thanks for the post. i do use my lens hood, but not often, it depends on the lighting situation.



Thanks Ken! What’s the difference between the lens hood that you showed in the video (curvy sides) to the one that has the same length all around its’ sides?


Good question Carla. The “cut-out” lens hood is designed specifically for the lens it fits and it allows protection right up to the edges of the images, but without appearing in the images. A universal circular lens hood may be slightly visible in your images, especially if you’re shooting with a wide angle lens.


The scalloped or ‘wavy’ lens hood is designed for zoom lenses and provides the maximum protection throughout the full zoom range without vignetting. Circular lens hoods are more suitable to prime (fixed focal-length) lenses as they can be tailored to give 360 degree protection at a particular focal length.

In my old Nikon film days I used all prime lenses with circular metal screw-on hoods and never used protection filters or lens caps for that matter. Now, the majority of my Canon zooms have dedicated wavy lens hoods that correspond to their zoom range and use a bayonet mount (push-twist) so they are always in the proper orientation.

The lens hood is an awesome bumper for your lens. I have never scratched any lens in 25 years of daily use in the studio or on location through rigorous use of lens hoods. And the stray light that the hood is blocking would degrade your image by reducing colour saturation, giving the picture a milky quality, and also would amplify the appearance of any dust or smudges that are on the front of your lens element.

And yeah, they look cool too.


Thanks Bruce,
I think I agree with every point you made there. We are on the same page. Thanks! :)


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