Lens Hood / No Lens Hood?

Michael Laubscher All Authors, Michael 2 Comments

The lens hood question is one that always pops up…

A Lens Hood

In the simplest form, the lens hood is a piece of plastic that clips onto the front of a camera lens and extends beyond it.

Its Purpose

I believe that a lens hoods serve three primary purposes;

1 The intended purpose of a lens hood is to reduce lens flare;


2 – Protects the lens as it provides a barrier between a potential hazard & the glass elements of the lens. 

3 – It eliminates a lot of fine dust particles from falling onto the glass of the lens.

Now you may also be asking what are all the “different” lens hoods used for as they all look different shaped so funny?


These lens hoods are only found on your wide angled and/or zoom lenses. These strange looking lens hoods are called “petal lens hoods.”  This shape allows it to extend as far as possible beyond the lens without showing up in the frame.  Lenses are circular, but the pictures we take are rectangular, yes?

If these petal lens hoods were perfectly round, the corners of the hood would be in the picture. This would NOT be ideal at all!

Not all lens hoods are petal lens hoods without the weird cut-out shape and are completely enclosed. This type of lens hood is called a “round lens hood.”  Prime lenses have round lens hoods more often than zooms, because they don’t have the added difficulty of keeping out of the way as the lens zooms out.

So just to clarify, lens hoods are lens specific!


Should I use a lens hood on my camera?


The short answer is yes.  I almost always have a lens hood on my camera because while shooting without a lens hood can still produce great pictures most of the time, there can be that chance of lens flare (which can add value at times) and also if any light happens to bounce into the lens from the sides, the contrast and color in the image can be significantly reduced.

However, there are some lenses on which a lens hood is simply unnecessary such as the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. The reason for it is that the plastic on the lens already extends behind the glass of the lens, so the glass is recessed.  Therefore, the lens itself acts as a lens hood.  There is nothing wrong with using a lens hood on such a lens, but it is hardly necessary in most situations.

I hope this answers your questions as to what a lens hood does and why you should use it.

Until next time;

Happy Snapping!


About the Author

Michael Laubscher


Haunted by the allure of spectacular wildlife and African sunsets. I am a hunter-gatherer of natural light and candid moments, an appetite whet with a taste of the unknown and the smell of home; “This Is Africa”! I look forward to sharing life long experiences with you and helping you capture them. Please feel free to go check out my Instagram account

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Comments 2

  1. Kristina Kraker

    Hi, Michael,
    My husband, ‘Michael’ and I are booking a trip with you next year -Big Cats and Tuskers. The safari is for July 2019. My question is should we book for November instead? I just saw that you are going to Samburu in November. From what I have read, Samburu offers not only elephants but more abundant animal/bird viewing. If I am mistaken, please advise. We want to see big cats and elephants. Thanks so much.
    P.s. I think I am driving Tammy nuts with all my questions!

    1. Gerry van der Walt

      Hi Kritina,

      Hope all well and thanks for the message. Mike is still on safari so for now I thought I’d pop in. With big cats and elephants being your main focus you can’t go wrong with either option. Samburu is great and offers a very different wildlife experience to Amboseli. Both are equally great and it will all come down to the types of sightings and images you’d like to get. You won’t go wrong with either choice and I think it’s going to be a great discussion to explore the options. Let me know if I can assist with anything else and Mike will also be in touch when he’s back in the office. Oh, and don’t worry about all the questions to Tammy or any of my Wild Eye team. It’s what we do and we love helping! 🙂

      Have a great day.


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