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Monday, May 11, 2009

Print your own lens hood

Today's link is to, which has a giant selection of .pdf templates for printable lens hoods. Can't find what you need? They even have a little "make your own" applet, where you can select shape and size.

Why print your own lens hood? Some lenses don't ship with one, most notably the 50mm and the 18-55mm kit zoom. Some lenses only have round hoods available, which don't offer the same protection from flare that petal hoods do. Replacement hoods can be expensive, especially for a specialty lens you only use occasionally. Paper hoods are lightweight, and can fold down to almost nothing for easy storage and transportation (a good choice for travel).

50mm lens hood
© 2009 Simon Hucko

I used their template for my 50mm f1.8 lens and got a custom, DX formatted petal hood that fits snugly over my lens. When I don't need it, it folds down flat and takes up essentially zero room in my gear bag.

A few caveats with this. The first is that these hoods are designed for 1.5x or 1.6x crop bodies. If you're shooting film/full frame, check out their sister site: The second is that the templates are designed on the A3/4/5 standard paper size. Most are still usable with letter paper, but make sure that you set it to center on the paper and print 100%, not scale to the paper/margins. Finally, depending on the lens design these hoods may cover up the manual focus ring (such as on the 50mm). This doesn't bother me too much, since I only manual focus in one of two situations - shooting static objects like flowers with a very shallow depth of field, or shooting in low light where the auto-focus has trouble. In the first case, I can slip the hood off to focus and slip it back on again. In the second, I probably won't have to worry about flare anyway. Either way, the low cost and effectively zero bulk make it worth having even if it only gets used occasionally.


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