Are lens hoods a must, even when using polarizer filters? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Has anyone experimented with not using lens hoods when using polarizers? What prompts the question is among other things the unpracticality of placing the polarizer las furthest away from the lens when also using polyester filters, as in the Lee system. Because the polarizer must rotate it can not be placed furthest away from the lens, and that would be the hood's filter slot -because the hood can't be rotated without vigneting. The setup then must consist of the hood and two adapters. The furthermost adapter for the polarizer can rotate and the hood attaches to it. The adapter closer to the lens carries the polyester filters. The whole gizmo gets too long and causes vigneting with wideangle lenses. If at least the hood were not needed that would help making the whole thing less cumbersome and reduce the possibility of vigneting.

-- Julio Fernandez (, December 03, 2000



I agree with your analysis regarding the Lee system. You have discovered one of the several weaknesses of this setup for large format, and wide angle usage in particular. There have been recent posts where people have given opinions about the need for a shade. Because of what you've described, I've given up on trying to use the Lee shades, and just use a foam core board or the dark slide to shade my lenses. I would still prefer having the option of using a shade. I had a recent shot ruined by flare even though I remember being very careful using the darkslide to shade the lens.

-- Larry Huppert (, December 03, 2000.

Julio: A good lens hood is an important piece of photography equipment and adds considerably to the quality of your pictures. Even if light falling on your lens doesn't cause flare streaks, it can degrade the image due to internal flare. Look at a scene with your eyes with the light coming from the front and side and then shield the light by looking through a tube or lens shade. You can see the contrast change. There is a discussion down a few questions on the use of lens and camera mounted lens shades. A camera mounted shade lets you mount what filters you need before the lens with minor problems and give you good shading. Also, the camera mounted shades are square, with prevents cutting corners off with the hood. Next best is to shade the lens with the dark cloth. A wire frame with the dark cloth draped over it makes a great lens shade.


-- Doug Paramore (, December 03, 2000.


For what it's worth I have never used a lens shade and have never seen a problem in my images for not doing so. I am careful, however, to "shade" my lens with my hat or dark slide. From a convenience standpoint a lens shade makes sense in that you don't have to struggle with holding something to shade the lens while using your other hand to trip the shutter. However, not carrying a shade around is one less thing to worry about while out in the field.

-- Mark Windom (, December 04, 2000.

If anything it's more important. Most polarizers are uncoated, or at best single-coated. If you have a multi-coated polarizer it's either a Hoya or a very, very expensive B&W/Heliopan.

-- Wayne DeWitt (, December 05, 2000.

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