I Recently went on the hunt for a lens hood for some of my pawn shop acquired lenses. For some reason they never seem to have them on them when you buy used. After some research I decided to give Zeikos another shot, since many of their affordable options have been more than adequate in the past. So for around $5 I think i may have found a viable hood.
Why buy a cheap hood?
Many of the items I review give you good reason for looking to the aftermarket…..price. So why would I just not buy a factory lens hood? It’s small, made of plastic so it has to be cheap right? You would think so, but that is not always the case. I have a pretty good selection of lenses, and if I was even able to find the original lens hood, the prices ranged from $15 on the low end to upwards of $40 on the high end to get the original lens hood designed for my lens.To the right is a factory Sony lens hood that costs somewhere in the middle to upper price range.
This brought me again to try and locate a less expensive alternative, that would allow the photographer to keep some money in their own wallet for once.
When dealing with lesser priced knockoffs, and Chinese items, I have found brand to be a rather ambiguous thing. Chances are you can order ten different brands of the same item and eight of them will be identical. Just branded to the dealer you got them from. This includes many “Name” brand items. I have bought a few things and found the name brand was the same Chinese knockoff with Canon or Sony stamped on it. Which isn’t a bad thing for you. Pay attention to this and you can get some insanely cheap deals. I chose Zeikos in this review just for familiarity sake. Realistically, the Zeikos items are among the cheapest to purchase as well. They also have performed very well for me in the past and I am guessing they have a very good Chinese supplier.
The first thing you need to do is determine the size of lens you have.We are not referring to the telephoto or focal length of your lens. we are referring to the Diameter of your lens. On your lens somewhere, most likely on the front ring, is a number next to a symbol that looks like a circle with a slash through it, (|)55, this indicates the filter diameter of your lens. In this lens case it is 55mm. Which happens to be the first one I bought a lens hood for. You may get lucky and have several lenses with this same diameter and be able to use the same hood on them…..Maybe!! I will explain more on this later. If you are looking for a factory replacement lens hood then this number doesn’t matter. You will be using the model number of the lens to order it. But for all aftermarket hoods your going to need to know this.
You will notice on most lenses there are a few slots on the outside, front edge of the lens. These are so that the factory lens hood will slide onto and twist lock into place. This is by far the easiest and better of the mounts for any lens hood. The problem is that apparently not everyone got the memo that if they all used the same mount it would simplify the lens hood purchasing process. Sound familiar?…. Hot shoe vs Minolta mount. But no, we have to all have our own version. Not only do they all have their own version, they also change them periodically just for the heck of it. So your odds of finding this kind of mount that will work on multiple lenses, from different manufacturers is pretty slim. One serious advantage to this mount is that with many of this style hood you can reverse the hood and lock it into place facing backwards for storage, also affording a bit more protection during transport.
The second kind of mount is more universal, as it utilizes your standard filter mount threads on the inside lip of your lens. These very simply screw into the threads where you install your filters for your lenses. Yes it takes a bit longer to install this way than the twist lock. But not that much more. The one draw back is that you cannot reverse the hood on most of these mounts to store it. All of the hoods i have ordered so far are of this type.
Now what shape of lens hood should you get. Should you get the plain Cylindrical, or Conical style, or the flower petal design, know also as petal or tulip shaped? This is based largely on what kind of lens your using. If your using a telephoto lens then your going to want a Tulip shaped hood on your lens. This makes sure the edges of the hood aren’t seen in the image (vignetting) when your at the shorter focal lengths. This is where there are dark shadows only at the corners, from the hood blocking out the light.
For a fixed focal length, or Prime lens, I would recommend a solid conical lens hood. Keeping in mind that the length of the hood is directly proportional to the focal length of the lens. So a smaller 18mm lens will have a much shorter hood than a 200mmm fixed lens will.
So I ordered two of the Zeikos hoods. One the Zeikos ZE-HLH72 72mm Hard Rubber Lens Hood (Black) the other is the
–Zeikos ZE-HLH55 55mm Hard Rubber Lens Hood (Black). I gave less than $6 for each of these, so I have no fear of losing much. In the title of both you see ‘Hard Rubber’ in the description. This is the first thing I noticed while I unpacked them. Neither of them are what I would call rubber. They are both injection molded plastic, nothing more.
Both have a locking ring installed on the threads to enable you to lock the hood in place while shooting. Not needed unless you have a high end lens that doesn’t rotate the front portion of the lens when you focus. Otherwise you need to turn the hood to avoid catching the petals in the frame and causing vignetting.
The 55mm Hood
The first hood I tried on was the 55mm on my Sony 18-55mm DT lens. When I unpacked it I noticed right away a lot of slag (left over mold material) on the seams from the mold. I tried to clean some of this up before I used it. When I went to screw this hood on the lens, it took three or four tries to get the threads lined up and started into the mount. Then it was pretty stiff screwing it down enough to feel would lose it.
I took a few shots to experiment and this is where I noticed that you need to pay attention to the orientation of the hood. The image above was taken at 18mm and with obvious skewing of the lens hood. I started to notice Vignette on this lens even with correct orientation as early as 27mm. Everything above this length was good though.
The 72mm Hood
My results with the $6 lens hood so far have been less than stellar, but I still proceed with the 72mm hood on my TAMRON Aspherical AF LENS 28-200mm. I notice right off that the larger hood looks much cleaner, less slag and the edges are more defined. I put it on the front of the lens and it screws right in the first time, no friction. I figured this must be a fluke, so I took it off and tried again with the same results.This hood works great as far as fit goes. But I still ran into the same vignetting problem, though not as severe as the 55mm. I noticed it at around 50mm and lower on this lens.
The final results are that the lens hoods I purchased work for some things and will do what they are supposed to, but not for wide angles on telephoto lenses. This is no fault of the hood except that when they advertise for all lenses, maybe they could make the bell a bit wider to accommodate. I have since returned the 55mm hood I bought and they sent me a replacement that was much better as far as fit goes. I took the one for my 200mm lens and cut down the length of the petals to about an inch and now I have no vignetting at all on this lens. So for the money you get what you pay for and they will work. I definitely think they work better on Prime lenses though. Just be aware of the problems and you will be happy with your purchases.
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