Choosing the Right Camera Lens


Choosing the Right Camera Lens


Lesson Info

Lens Hoods

The lens hood, this is often, I might say this is the most misused piece of camera equipment that I see out in the field. It's in competition this between the lens hood and the tripod, just seeing people doing crazy things, not using them, leaving them on reversed and so forth, and so many lenses come with lens hoods. Not all lenses, there's a lot of manufacturers that don't supply lens hoods and they're available for $30 or $50 or something like that afterwards, and there's a couple different styles. What it's designed to do is to block stray light from hitting the front of the lens. Now when you take your camera out and you point it at something, it's gonna have a certain angle of view, and there's a potential that you might be shooting the sun or some other bright light source in there. Now as light enters through the lens, it can potentially refract and defract off of the various lens elements in there. Your lens is corrected as best it can for this sort of situation. Now you obvio...

usly don't need to worry about any light behind the lens, but in between these two is what I would consider the flare zone. If there is a bright light that can hit or see the front of your lens, it may cause a problem because if it can hit the front of the lens, that means it can refract and go through the lens and start bouncing around and having some of that light end up on your sensor, which is gonna mean a loss of contrast and that's gonna appear as a lack of sharpness on your image. The way to correct for this is of course to use the proper fitting lens hood to block off all the extraneous light that you do not want in the frame. So, as you take a look at this camera, in my studio you'll see two lights and a reflector actually reflecting in the lens itself. So when we take a hood and we add a hood onto the front of the lens, if it's the right-sized hood and it's in the right position it can cast a shadow over the front of the lens and now those bright light sources are not causing a problem in the lens. So here's an example of a photograph taken without a lens hood. It has a lack of contrast. It's got a couple of flare spots on it. Let's add a lens hood to it, and you're gonna see that we're gonna get better contrast and less flare. Let's take it back to split screen and you can see a clear difference between using a hood and not using a hood. Now there are some cases where using a hood will not make much difference at all. If you're inside of a room that's evenly lit with lots of different lights, it's not gonna make a big difference, but it never hurts. It's always good to use a lens hood, or at least it's almost always good to use a lens hood. So I encourage you to use a lens hood. Keep those stray lights from hitting the front of your lens. Now you will notice that different types of lenses have different types of lens hoods. Telephoto lenses tend to have this round hood, and then wide-angle and zoom lenses will have this scallop-shaped hood, and people often wonder why is it shaped so funny? Well, here's a little video why. You can see it's an unusual shaped lens, but, viewed from the camera's perspective, when you look through it it provides a perfect rectangle of protection for your lens, and that's why it's there. It's shaped to have as minimum amount of material to have the maximum amount effect. Now one area where lens hoods are not very helpful is for those of you who use built-in flash. There's a potential that the flash is coming very close to the lens and, if you add a hood onto it, it's gonna block the light from hitting your subject. So if you are using flash indoors with a built-in flash, you probably wanna take the hood off. If you're using an add-on flash, the flash is probably high enough over the lens that it's probably not a problem but worth checking out for sure. Sometimes lens flare can be nice. It can be just part of the flavor of the photograph, of the picture you're taking.

Class Description

Once you’ve chosen the camera of your dreams, how do you know which lens will maximize your camera’s capabilities? Join camera expert John Greengo as he explains what the best lenses are to add to your camera bag. He’ll explain:

  • Which lens is best for specific areas of photography
  • The technology behind lenses
  • How to use specialty lenses including macro and fisheye
  • Tips on operating and maintaining your lenses

John will also talk about lens accessories including hoods, mounts, filters, and teleconverters. By the end of this class, you’ll understand exactly what lens you’ll need to take your best photos!