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How effective are Leica's slide-out hoods?

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I am curious about different peoples opinion about how effective are Leica's slide-out hoods. I have seen conflicting posts for some time. As an example one person thinks the 75mm APO-Summicron is optically an excellent lens, except the lens hood is ineffective so the lens is a poor design. Another thinks the lens hood on the same lens is just fine. I know I am talking about a variety of lenses over several generations. But I have a variety of lenses from several generations.


In some cases I have purchased additional hoods from third parties, such as from Mr. Overgaard, and some I have come to hate, like the plastic hood on the last version of the 50mm Noctilux f/1. One of the lenses I am most curious is the 50mm APO-Summicron, but I would like to ask about others as well...

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Difficult to answer unless you're the sort of person who enjoys doing tests. The less than scientific analysis for most people is:

- if it flares with the hood on = the hood is poor

- if it doesn't flare with the hood on = the hood is wonderful

So it's not surprising there are mixed views

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I'm a fan of the slide outs on my 50mm Summilux and 90mm - it was a reason I went for the 90mm Elmarit M over a Summarit. They block enough light for me outdoors and also the rain from the front element.


On a 50mm Summicron, the story is different as that lens is more prone to flare than the Summilux.






Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The short answer: every little bit helps. If you can find a long add-on hood that just barely does not vignette (intrude into the lens' field of view), then that will be more effective than a shorter hood. And Leica's built-in M hoods tend to be rather short, due to the constraints of lens size. I have a 1980 90mm Summicron with a shade a bit longer than the Leica M norm, because when retracted it covers the aperture ring, adding a few mm to the available length, compared to the later 90 f/2 slide-out hoods.


The long answer:


Let's be clear - ALL lens hoods are compromises.


The only almost-but-still-not-quite-perfect lens hood design is the one they use in Hollywood, where the hood is shaped to the final image rectangle, and can be adjusted per shot with a bellows or mask to "crop" the world to only that light that will actually land on the sensor or film. Because ANY light that gets past the front element of the lens may cause flare, reflecting off any part of the inside of the lens and camera - glass, inside surface of the lens tube, the inside of the shutter chamber.




Hasselblad made an adjustable bellows shade for their lenses: http://www.pisconeri.com/ForSale/2014/photos/PS_ForSale13_2031.jpg


As do large-format camera makers: http://www.ground-glass.net/images/toyo-view-lenshood-old.jpg


Still not perfect, because your lens does not have an infinitely small diameter, and therefore a hood that shades the top of the first lens element from an overhead light source may intrude into the picture if it also shades the bottom of the lens opening. To prevent the shade getting into the picture, there has to be a bit of leakage. But they are perhaps 99% effective.


But obviously those are designed for studio/static shooting, where you have time (a motionless subject) to adjust them, and space (to deal with an object larger than an M camera itself). And for perfectionists, they do need to be adjusted for every shot, since the lens' field of view (and thus the exact best hood opening) changes with focus - focused closer, the lens FoV gets a tad smaller,  and the hood can be adjusted longer to a nice tight-but-not-vignetting fit to the image edges.


Compromises needed for Leica M shades in active shooting:


- size (diameter and length). Which must fit within the lens structure for built-ins, minimize viewfinder blockage with any type, and simply not be detrimental to the "compact camera" Leica M ethos.

- shape - simple tubular hoods are/were cheaper to make, especially in metal. But a round hood for a rectangular picture area will always leak substantially at the top, bottom and sides. In this image, see the arcs of blue outside the picture area? That's light a round hood will allow to leak into your camera, without any benefit to the picture: http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/tutorials/cropped_sensor_view/image_circle.jpg


Leica has been making rectangular hoods that fit the Barnack format, going back at least as far as 1939:


XIOOM for 50mm Xenon/Summarit (1939): https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1245/2879/products/4_c206fa6e-f79d-47c4-893c-65e4ca61d429_large.jpg?v=1461904281

SOOBK for 28mm Summaron (1960): http://www.chapterlux.com/wp-content/uploads/16070035I-004-940x730.jpg


...but they ain't small, or cheap. And they do have to be correctly aligned on the camera, to avoid vignetting corners.


Recently, of course, Leica has revamped a lot of their wide-angle shades for the retangular shape, with a locking thread for perfect alignment. But not for longer lenses (probably to prevent excessive finder blockage). The v.2 Noctilux f/1 had a slide-out kind-sorta square shade - barely more effective than a simple round hood. The add-on bayonet hood for the V.1 blocked a lot more light: https://matthewosbornephotography.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/noctilux-f1-0.png?w=640


- cost. Not perhaps a huge issue for Leica, but it costs more to machine a hood with a round thread morphing to a rectangular front, than making a simple round tube and threading the back end. Molding plastic hoods has made complex shapes easier - note the "tulip blossom" hoods that are now the norm for most SLR lenses, introduced with the Nikkor 16mm full-frame fisheye in the 1960s, and the 13mm Nikkor in the 1980s, which approximate a rectangular opening with a simple round tube. (and also provide protection for the mountainous front elements).




Physical protection from impact or the weather is, of course, another function of lens hoods. Longer is better for keeping snow off your lens, but even the vestigial built-in shades help. But if you dent an add-on shade, you take it off and put on another. If you dent a built-in shade, the whole lens has to go in for replacement.

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Slide out hoods are a compromise between effectiveness and practicality. The 75 Summicron is an interesting example because it is a lens which can flare easily at times so it really should have an efficient hood. On the other hand such a hood would need to be differently designed to be efficient and would probably not be able to slide in or out. So it would make the lens bigger/bulkier and would probably need to be removed for storage so users might forget to put it back on. I have this lens and am thinking about buying an aftermarket hood which is far bigger because the built in one is irritatingly inefficient at times. The real solution would be to redesign a less flare prone lens ......

Edited by pgk
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