lens shades

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With 35mm I have always used a lense shade outdoors. Of course the lens shade never got in the way of the lense controls. When I see photographs of large format photographers in books and magazines, I seldom, if ever, see them using any kind of lense shade. I would like to get this forums concensus on the use of compendium hoods, or any other lense shade for that matter, with large format photography. Thank you----JimJ

-- Jim Jasutis (jjasuti!@tampabay.rr.com), April 24, 2001


I think this forum will tell you that it is 100% required.

Some LF photographers will shade the lens with a hat or darkslide as they take the picture, and may explain why you don't see an attached shade on some cameras, but I, and others here, will tell you that you can have problems with extraneous light besides just the direct sunlight, and a full shade should be used.

-- John H. Henderson (jhende03@harris.com), April 24, 2001.

Jim: A good lens shade can do more to improve your pictures than just about any other accessory. Internal lens flare from lack of a shade can degrade both color and black and white images, as you know from your 35mm shooting. Many lenses get a bad rap for poor contrast when all that is needed is a lens shade. Many LF shooters pull the focusing cloth forward to use as a lens shade. I have done that myself and it works pretty good, but a proper shade is better. You have to be careful when using a lot of movements not to let the shade cut off the corners of the image. A square shade works much better. We have all see photos of Saint Ansel using his hat as a shade, but most of the photos of him show a proper lens shade.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), April 24, 2001.

Jim, I'll probably stir the pot a little on this one but: I very seldom use an actual lens shade when I am shooting B&W. I kind of look at the reflection on the surface of the lens and position the dark slide to block out the more glaring hot areas .....when the camera is pointed down I don't worry about shading at all simply because the ground is more uniform and doesn't usually have hot spots. I have yet to see any evidence of flare in side by side tests (with and without a lens shade). B&W can often use a little boost in the shadow areas, anyway.

Color however, is a different story, especially when shooting hand- held because not only does flare affect shadow density it also affects saturation and compensating for these defects after the fact is difficult - even more difficult than holding the camera in one hand and the dark slide in the other.

Good shooting,

-- Bruce Wehman (bruce.wehman@hs.utc.com), April 24, 2001.

For a convenient, hands-free lens shade, check out the Ebony lens shade clip: http://www.ebonycamera.com/acc.html

The clip slides into the flash shoe. You attach the ground-glass protector to the clip, and use it as a shade. The flash shoe has to be on the front standard.

Badger Graphic stocks the clip.

-- Michael Chmilar (chmilar@acm.org), April 24, 2001.

I am convinced that using an appropriate lens shade, preferably a compendium, to prevent off-axis light from hitting the lens, very positively influences the colour saturation, contrast and therefore the apparent sharpness. Normal and apochromatic lenses are corrected only for in-axis rays, so off-axis rays have negative influence on above mentioned parameters. (Only spherochromatic lenses are corrected for off-axis rays and I never heard about any LF spherochromatic lens for a common mortal.) At least the theory says, paradoxally enough, that beside situations in which any strong and directed light source hits the lens, using a lens shade is very important in diffused light (i.e. fog), because then the light rays hit the lens in the same proportion from all directions. I like using a compendium either on my Wista 45 or Toyo 810 and try to extend it to the maximum (it is too short with long lenses anyway and I will perhaps make masks like Hasselblad does). Once I have focussed, I stop down the lens to the working aperture, control the edges of the picture on the ground glass with the loupe while playing with the compendium until it is about to appear in the picture. I push than the compendium back, but only as little as necessary to move it out of the picture but achieve maximum shading effect. An alternative to the compendium is for instance the Cokin modular hood that I was using for quite a while. Once you determined how many elements are needed for each of your lenses, it works quite well. But it is plastic and can generate reflections in some conditions, so you would perhaps like to cover it inside with black, non reflecting fabric. It also another inconvenient, it is rigid and cannot be oriented like a compendium when you use front standard movements. If you use long lenses, you can also make a kind of longer square cardboard of plastic tube that fits aroung the Cokin modules and you slide it on them it forward or backward like a zoom to achieve maximum shading effect. Properly shading the lens can be quite a bit of work. I cannot say that the effect is always striking but I like doing it to ensure that I did everything to make the best picture possible, technically speaking.

-- Emil Salek (e.salek@net2000.ch), April 24, 2001.

Apparently I'm in the minority...I never use a lens shade. It's just one more piece of equipment to add weight to the backpack and cause further frustration when trying to deal with all the other nuances of LF photography.

I do, however, use my hat or dark slide to "shade" the lens from the sun. I have never noticed a problem with the final result using these methods.

Go Mariners!

-- Mark Windom (mwphoto@nwlink.com), April 24, 2001.

Another vote for the strategically placed darkslide. The problem with compendium hoods is that there's basically nowhere to hang them on a folding view camera, and if you use camera movements (the whole point of LF surely) then you have to adjust the hood as well. Any fixed hood that crops the image circle closely enough to be of use, will vignette as soon as any rise, fall, or cross are applied.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 25, 2001.

Pete's answer made me think: the image circle of LF lenses is so much larger compared to MF and small format lenses, even when taking negative size into account. Where does all this extra light go to? Unless it is completely absorbed by the bellows it would somehow make it's way onto the film?! For that reason, shouldn't lens shading be much more important in LF than in smaller format photography?

-- Andreas Carl (andreas@physio.unr.edu), April 25, 2001.

Lens shading is important, but until a manufacturer produces one at a reasonable price, I'll make do with a piece of black card. Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), April 25, 2001.

Hi Jim, I used to rely the strategic positioning of my dark slide to block unwanted sun and reflections, and I have the negs to demonstrate that technique. You can see the corner of the dark slide, hat, or whatever I was using that day in the neg. Save your self a lot of frustration and spring for a decent shade. Best, David

-- david clark (doclark@yorku.ca), April 25, 2001.

I can't claim to have lots of large format experience, having shot only a few hundred sheets of 4 X 5, but I haven't seen any noticeable issue with lens flare in any shots I've taken.

It sure would be nice if all the compendium shade folks would post a with and without picture to back up their claims.

-- Lloyd Chambers (photo@llc4.com), April 26, 2001.

I have found that overcast days are best for shooting LF...less contrast, less flare.

-- Alan Cecil (puck_ac@yahoo.com), May 07, 2001.

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