Why are tulip lens hoods costlier than cup lens hoods? Both types appear to be made of same material. Is it only the design, or something else?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably a duplicate of Why are some lens hoods petal shaped and others not?, although that doesn't address cost. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 18, 2013 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cost is the main point of the question, so it is hardly a duplicate of one that doesn't address cost. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 18, 2013 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Seriously what is the point of this question? Next up "Why are red cameras more expensive than black?" \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    May 18, 2013 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt Seriously, "Why are red cameras more expensive than black?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Sourav
    May 19, 2013 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt have you looked at the cost of red paint lately? (and yes, that's not entirely tongue in cheek, one of the reasons airlines are dropping red from their colour schemes is that red aircraft paint is more expensive than other colours, especially white). \$\endgroup\$
    – jwenting
    Jul 10, 2013 at 5:34

2 Answers 2


Most of the difference is explained at Why are some lens hoods petal shaped and others not?, with the remaining question being the cost.

And, I don't think the basic cost premise is correct. See cheap tulip hoods at B&H, where they start at $4 -- a dollar less than the cheapest circular hood. So the answer to "why are tulip hoods more expensive?" is... "they're not".

The Canon / Nikon branded hoods are more expensive, but even then, there's no real difference based on shape. If you take a look at Canon or Nikon lens hoods sorted by price, you can see both shapes mixed in at different price points. While it does happen that the very cheapest models for SLR lenses are small rings of plastic, as you go up, there is no general pattern where one type is cheaper.

In fact, the most expensive lens hoods (Canon, $700; Nikon, $1000) are just tubes with no petal shape. These hoods are for extreme telephoto lenses where the tulip shape provides no benefit (see the other question), and it's clearly supply and demand (particularly, rarity in this case) which determines the price. That's true at lower price levels too.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you go for Nikon/Canon then the questions stands! (: \$\endgroup\$
    – Sourav
    May 18, 2013 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not really. I'll update my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 18, 2013 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wow. I wonder if people ever actually buy those $1000 lens hoods. :O \$\endgroup\$
    – NULLZ
    May 18, 2013 at 16:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @D3C4FF: When you spend $18,000 on the new Nikon 800mm lens, a grand for the hood sounds down right reasonable! It's only 1/18th the price of the lens! :P \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    May 18, 2013 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plenty of photogs owe a significant debt of gratitude to a lens hood that has protected a very expensive lens, when said lens is dropped, dragged or just swung around without careful attention, smacking it into a rock wall (purely hypothetical of course). Having a lens hood made sturdy is very useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – cmason
    Jul 9, 2013 at 20:12

Why are most things the price they are? Two primary factors:

  • The cost of production. The more complex shape requires more production expense. The tulip also requires more materials for any given lens, since the cup version could only be as deep as the shortest parts of the tulip or vignetting in the corners would be an issue.
  • Supply and demand. Assuming a somewhat free market, items which are higher in demand can fetch a higher price, even if they cost no more to produce than another item that is seen as less desirable.

Both factors are probably in play in the case of tulip shaped lens hoods vs. cups. If properly designed, a tulip lens hood is functionally more effective than a cup.


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