That title might be a little dramatic. I am sure there is some MacGyver situation where a lens hood could actually save your life, but for this post I can tell you for sure that it can save your lens.
For the better part of the last 14 years I have been a professional wedding photographer shooting an average of 25-30 weddings a year. A wedding photographer’s job can definitely be stressful at times and of course there are great times too. One of the biggest nightmares a wedding photographer or any photographer is to drop a lens and what it slow motion as it hits the concrete and cracks the glass or is just plain dead. Oh, the horror. Well, I can tell you from personal experience that having my lens hood on my camera lenses has saved me from my clumsiness….twice.
It is inevitable as a working photographer that you are going to drop something. We are constantly changing lenses and at some point in time you will get cocky or get distracted and that lens you were holding will just slip out of your hand and hurtle toward the ground. By having your lens hood you are giving your camera lens a chance of survival when you drop it. I’m not going to get into the physics of a falling object, but in the three cases I have dropped a lens (once wasn’t my fault…faulty camera strap) they have all landed on the front of the lens. Fortunately all three survived. One was without a lens hood, but it landed on some nice soft carpet. The other two did land directly on the lens hood and the lens hood took the brunt of the impact and saved the lens. On both occasions my lens hood was either busted or dented pretty badly. But better to replace a $30 lens hood than a $1200 camera lens. I still use my dented lens hood as a reminder to always protect my investments.
Another level of protection is putting a screw in lens filter on your lens. I don’t think they help much in a dropped lens case, but they can help prevent scratching and scuff marks on the glass of the lens.
Moral of the story…those lens hoods aren’t just to block unwanted light in your photo…they can literally save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Stay safe out there everyone.
This article is written for Canvas Press. To find out more about Canvas Press’ products visit www.canvaspress.com.