I have Nikon D5200 with 18-55mm kit lens, and I want to buy a lens hood. Some related questions:
- Will the lens hood increase the photo quality?
- What are the types of lens hood?
- Should I be looking at a "petal" lens hood or a circular one?
In general yes, but not always! If the sun is in your field of view, then unfortunately, the lens hood cannot block that. Also, at times, if you happen to have a UV filter on and then a hood on top, this can at times create vignetting. It doesn't happen with all hoods, but can do so with some after market models.
Also, with some zoom lenses, you may find that you still get flares and unwanted reflections if you are using a petal hood and have the camera in a vertical orientation. I quite often find myself turning the hood or using a newspaper to create a shade.
Most common are, Petal; used for wider angle primes and zooms, and complete circular with felt interiors, used for larger primes and Zoom lenses. Wider angle lenses need the extra cutout on each side to allow for the maximum width of the lens.
For the 18-55mm, you need to be looking at a petal hood in order to ensure that no light is blocked from either side and therefore you are capturing the complete image.
Aside from preventing you from banging the front of your lens when you're careless, lens hoods help prevent lens flare in certain lighting situations where a strong light source is out of the frame, but still on axis enough to send light into the lens. Think of looking off into the distance with the sun in your face and you raise your hand to shade your eyes. The lens hood acts like your hand.
My advice is to buy the lens hood designed to fit your lens.