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What is a Camera Lens Hood?

It may seem counterintuitive to put a hood on a lens, but there is actually really good reason for it. Some SLR cameras come with a basic lens hood along with the other basic included accessories but you can also find other separate models like the Sigma 72mm lens hood that can fit different lenses such as 18-250mm, 24-35mm, 18-300mm, 70-200mm, 70-300mm, 150-600mm, and more.

What Does a Lens Hood Do?

There are two main functions that a lens hood has:

  • Shading light: The primary use for a lens hood is to stop light from hitting your camera lens from the sides. Doing this reduces contrast resulting in images that have richer colors and deeper saturation so is ideal for macro shooting.
  • Protecting the lens: The second reason for using a lens hood is to protect the lens, zoom, and Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM). As lens hoods are strong and stick out, covering the lens, they can prevent damage to the front element such as fingerprinting, or even more serious damage. It is more difficult to scratch the lens or damage the autofocus when it is harder to get to, and the hood can provide some impact protection should you happen to drop your camera or knock it with some force. A point to note, is that a wide angle or fisheye lens will have a shorter hood compared to other lenses.

Why Should I Start Using a Lens Hood for My DSLR?

Using a lens hood can improve your photography skills and produce better photos due to:

  • Blocking harsh sunlight: Think of a hood as a pair of sunglasses for your camera. If the bright sun gets into your DG, DC, DN, or EX DG lens, the light reflects between the lens elements and causes white noise, ghosting and flare, which equals poorer image quality and can disrupt your focal length.
  • Night time use: You can also use a hood at night time to block out reflecting lights from around you so your DSLR lens can focus on what is immediately in front of it. This means getting more crisper and clearer night time shots.
  • Money saving: If you are a bit clumsy or have a habit of getting fingerprints on the lens, then try using a lens hood. Even small bumps and scratches can wreck an AF lens, which will mean you have to shell out more money for an expensive new one.

Do Sigma Lens Hoods All Look the Same?

There are two main styles of lens hood that you will commonly see other photographers using.

  • Petal hood: The most common shape you will find is the petal shaped hood that has curved notches. The sides are cut and shaped so that the hood is big enough yet won't appear in your shots.
  • Cylindrical hood: A cylindrical hood goes mostly with a telephoto lens, or a prime lens.

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