What does a lens hood do?

Matthew James Oxlade
Updated on

Some lenses come with a lens hood, and some don’t. So you might think that they’re optional or wonder, what do lens hoods do? They have a lot of benefits and are worth fitting to your new lens for the following reasons.

1. Lens hoods protect your exposures

The key use for a lens hood is to prevent light from hitting the front lens component from the sides – lowering glare and also producing flare. Pictures taken with a hood set up can have more vibrant colours and even further saturation.

2. Added security for your glass

An additional use for a lens hood is to secure the lens. The damage prevented can range from a finger-prints on the front piece of glass, to a crack or break along the front of the lenses’ glass. Lens hoods are typically reliable and also stick out from the lens some range. Because the glass sits further back from the end of the hood when it’s fitted, it’s just that little bit of extra protection.

It also decreases the chances of something pokey impacting against your lens as you’re walking or rushing around. Lens hoods differ in size depending on the type of glass they need to protect. For example, ultra-wide angle lenses have really short hoods that are short, so they don’t appear along the edges of your photo when you take it. Even though they’re short, they do the job of protecting your lens and giving it that extra bit of security.

Hoods on longer focal size lenses use even more front lens aspect protection from rainfall as well as dust. Of course, if your lens is not weather sealed, you probably should avoid splashing it in the first place. A completely dry and clean front piece of glass on your lens will naturally deliver a much better quality photo.

Don’t forget, you can keep your hood on in reverse. This allows you to carry it around for when you need it and minimise space it takes up in your bag. It also ensures you don’t lose it. It’s easy to forget that it’s on in reverse, so make sure you remember to flip it around the right way when you’re shooting if you want to reap its benefits.

What does a lens hood do?

3. Faster packing and unpacking

I’m generally in a rush like everyone else seems to be. I know my lens is expensive, so I like to keep the lens cap on while I am moving about or packing it away in my bag or case. If I’m in a rush and I have my lens hood applied, I worry less because I know less is going to come in contact with the glass.

Should I buy a lens hood for my lens?

Lenses are expensive, and lens hoods aren’t. Canon L Lens collection lenses usually arrive in their box with the lens hood that suits that model. Regardless, your lens was probably quite expensive, so do yourself a favour and invest in a lens hood now you know what they do.