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by Russell McMahon

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Canon prices on these things are crazy, has anyone had a problem with a knock-off? What factors should I consider when evaluating a lens hood?

$2.95 Lens Hood from China

Knock of lens hood EW-83E

$31.84 Lens Hood from Canon

Canon lens hood EW-83E

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2  
Even in the image examples supplied you can clearly see what is likely the biggest downside. The OEM Canon hood is completely black in the inside, the cheaper off brand hood has white reflections on the inside. If you are buying a hood to reduce lens flair, this is potentially a big disadvantage. –  dpollitt Apr 27 '13 at 14:32
    
@dpollitt: If you look at the user photos, you see that the canon hood reflects the light just as much as the knock-off brand. Most likely, they are exactly the same in every way, and this is just another example of paying the brand-name premium –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Apr 28 '13 at 6:51
    
The exteriors are about equally reflective. But the interior surfaces, which is what counts in terms of lens flare, are markedly different. Notice the absolute black lens hood interior? Canon adds flocking to the inside of their lens hoods. –  Michael Clark Jan 21 at 0:19

4 Answers 4

I've used knock off hoods for many of my Canon lenses that weren't supplied with one. I've never had a problem with fit or vignetting, at least not due to the hood. Some of those lenses had so much peripheral illumination drop-off you might as well call it vignetting! I've always bought them from fairly well known dealers such as Adorama or through amazon.com

The only place where the factory hoods are a little better is that the higher end ones that usually come supplied with the longer "L" lenses are lined with a fuzzy material that helps trap dust before it reaches the front element. But the hoods for the wider angle "L" lenses, at least my older ones, don't have that material on the interior surface.

Update: I checked the hoods for my wider angle "L" lenses and they also have the matte material lining, it is just not as "thick" as that used on the larger hoods.

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Nope. No difference if they are the same shape. You MIGHT (and i stress might because its never happened to me) have problems with it staying in place if the tolerances for the plastic aren't right. But as I've said, its never happened to me.

If you're looking for budget hoods, have you considered printing your own?

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Not quite that cheap, but great idea =) for $5 I'll take plastic over paper. I also like the protective effect they give. I don't mind paying, but seriously $32 for a piece of plastic? They must take their customers to be fools. Actually the Canon pricing structure has really pissed me off, I'd almost try Nikon not knowing if they're any better. I was going to get a T4i until i read all of the people complaining about its lack of the T3i's digital zoom. –  Evan Carroll Apr 27 '13 at 8:44
    
I think real name products should be 50% over knock-offs. That's generally the rule for TVs, laptops, hard drives, etc. For Canon, knock-offs are often 25% of the retail price. –  Evan Carroll Apr 27 '13 at 8:46
2  
@EvanCarroll - there is basically no reason to ever use digital zoom, so it makes sense that they took the feature away. The only advantage it gives is taking less space on the card and cards are cheap. –  AJ Henderson Apr 27 '13 at 16:59
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@EvanCarroll - digital zoom simply discards the rest of the image. It's simply applying a crop to the overall picture. If you want to be serious about photography, you should be doing post production on images and a crop in post is going to almost always be better than a crop while shooting. All you save is a little disk space on the card. See the question here –  AJ Henderson Apr 27 '13 at 17:23
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Sure, if you're talking about RAW pictures, but if you're talking about video that's not true. –  Evan Carroll Apr 27 '13 at 17:39

Beware of vignetting: A number of recent after market hoods screw into filter threads and tend to vignette at the low end of the zoom range (or always for a fixed length lens).

This happens because they are too deep (aka badly designed) when screwed onto the camera and worse again if used in front of a filter.

If a lens is designed to just not vignette as supplied or with a standard depth filter it may be impossible to not cause vignetting with a screw on hood on top of a filter as there must be some material outside the front of the lens or filter body's front face due to mechanical considerations.

If vignetting is marginal you may be darkening up your corners somewhat without noticing it, but reducing quality somewhat. If you camera has automatic vignetting correction (eg D700 has) the camera may be "correcting" the problem but is so, probably at the cost of edge quality.

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Badly designed, or just badly matched to the lens and focal length you're using it on. –  mattdm Apr 27 '13 at 12:14
    
@mattdm All that :-). If you ignore my "... If a lens is designed to just not vignette as supplied or with a standard depth filter it may be impossible ..." but still sticking with filter thread screw on ones which is what I was talking about. "Why haloo. I'd like a lens hood for my xxx brand yyy model kk to lll mm lens please." /' Why certainly sir. This piece of half-inexpensive rubbish is exactly what you are looking for, what we sell to ALL our customers (if you don't buy you're not one) and you'll hardly notice the vignetting before you get out of the store'. 'Next please...'. Leaves ... –  Russell McMahon Apr 27 '13 at 14:11
    
@mattdm - My response may have been unclear :-). Filter thread screw on hoods add something in front of the filter thread they are screwing into. If there is a filter already in place and if the lens is designed to JUST not vignette with 1 filter in place, then adding a 2nd, or a hood that screws in, pushes you over the limit. But most such hoods are not thought through and add vignetting depth more than a basic filter would. The N salepeople I met who offered me a screw on hood when I was trying to buy a replacement for a lost Sony SAL18-250 hood all were unconcerned about vignetting issues. –  Russell McMahon May 7 '13 at 1:56

The main difference would be how good they are at being matte and non-reflective. Canon typically coats the inside of their lenses with a really matte felt and makes them of high quality plastic.

That said, part of the cost is also to offset the R&D that Canon had to do to find the correct shape. The third party doesn't have to worry about that, they just have to worry about cloning whatever shape Canon puts out, so they are going to be able to make a similar quality product more cheaply.

The trick would be to find a third party lens hood that is of similar build quality. It will probably still be in the $10 to $15 range if the official hood is $30-$35.

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There's not much R&D involved in designing a hood. All you need to know are the angles of view of the lens, and the dimensions of the front element and attachment point. Canon only puts the matte coating on the hoods for the larger lenses. The hoods for my EF 17-40mm f/4L, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, and EF 24-105mm f/4L were all supplied by Canon with the lens and do not have the matte coating. My EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II does, as well as Canon's longer telephoto lenses I have used. I've bought perfectly usable generic hoods for $5-8 new from Adorama and through amazon.com marketplace. –  Michael Clark Apr 27 '13 at 23:00
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Update: I checked the hoods for my wider angle "L" lenses and they also have the matte material lining, it is just not as "thick" as that used on the larger hoods. –  Michael Clark Apr 27 '13 at 23:15
    
@MichaelClark - doesn't it require some balancing between the vignetting it will cause and the amount of light that needs to be blocked. I would think the lens design would impact what angles of light could cause problems. Granted, that's all part of the research for the lens design in general. –  AJ Henderson Apr 28 '13 at 5:22
    
A properly fitted lens hood will not block any light rays that would fall on the objective lens (front element) from within the lens' field of view and follow a direct light path through the lens to be included in the part of the light circle that falls on the sensor. What it blocks are light rays that enter the lens at an angle wider than the lens' field of view and bounce off other interior parts of the lens before striking a lens element in a way that it is refracted into the light path that winds up in the image circle. –  Michael Clark Apr 28 '13 at 6:27

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