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Lens Buyer's Guide. Panasonic GH4 review.

My lens reviews: Olympus 9mm f/8 fisheye, Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, Leica 25mm f/1.4, Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8, Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm f/2.8, Sigma 19mm f/2.8, Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix X PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6, Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Leica Lumix DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro, Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, Lumix G 7-14mm f/4, Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye, Tokina 300mm f/6.3 mirror reflex tele, Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye lens
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Sunday 5 December 2010

Lens hoods

Frequent readers of my blog will know that I like to tinker with lens hoods. Here is a summary of some of the lens hood solutions I like.

Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake

This lens does not come with a hood at all. While a hood is probably not much needed from a stray light perspective, I still like to put a hood on my lenses for protection against objects accidentally touching the front lens element.

My favourite solution is to put a 46mm to 37mm step down ring as hood. This gives some basic protection of the front lens element, while keeping the overall package compact.

I've checked that there is no extra vignetting caused by the step-down ring.

In addition, you'll need a 37mm front lens cap. Both can be gotten from various auction sites for about US$10 in total.

This lens features a traditional focus mechanism, in which the whole lens assembly moves back and forth. Adding extra weight to this assembly is generally not a good idea. However, the step-down ring doesn't add that much weight. Less than a glass filter would, anyway.

Another solution is to get a 46mm metal screw in hood designed for Leica Summicron:

While this hood looks stylish, I think it adds too much bulk. Besides, you might not be able to fit the front lens cap inside it.

Panasonic Leica Lumix DG 45mm f/2.8 1:1 macro

This lens does come with a hood, however, I am sad to say that I find the hood completely hideous:

This hood does look stylish, and reminds me of the older Leica hoods. However, it is much too wide, and could have been used for a wide angle lens. But this lens is a short tele. So the hood does not do a good job of keeping stray light out.

I prefer a hood that is a narrow as possible, while still not inducing any extra vignetting. I found the solution I like by adding three extra elements to the front lens thread: First a 46mm stand off ring (glassless filter), then a 46mm-37mm step-down ring, and finally, a 37mm-28mm step-down ring:

I was almost a bit surprised when I verified that this combination does not add any extra vignetting. But the front lens element of the 45mm macro has a rather narrow diameter, so I suppose it makes sense.

This "hood" does not add any extra diameter to the lens, which is good. In addition, you'll need a 28mm front lens cap. Such a cap is pretty inexpensive.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8

In a move which has annoyed quite some fans, this lens is not sold with a hood included. There is a hood you can buy from Olympus, which fits in to the bayonet mount. However, it is quite expensive.

I bought a collapsible rubber hood for screwing into the 37mm front threads. It works great:

This rubber hood cost me US$13, including shipment from China.

Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake

Just like the 20mm pancake, this lens does not come with a hood. Again, I've used the same solution as with the 20mm pancake lens: A 46mm to 37mm step down ring as hood:

In this case, I had bought a grey ring by a mistake, so I had to paint it black with enamel paint. No big deal.

This lens features internal focusing, so I am not afraid of putting some extra stuff onto the front lens thread.

Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6 Mega O.I.S.

This lens does come with a hood, and I think the hood is very well designed:

The only problem I can see, is that it is awkward to insert and remove the front lens cap.

I still changed this hood, since it was a tad bit too long for my camera bag. I got a 52mm screw in metal hood:

This alternative hood is probably not as good for protection, but is is more practical to use, and it's easier to add the front lens cap after use.

Other lenses

The kit zoom lenses generally have well designed hoods, and I see no reason to replace them.


  1. Question - with the 46mm-37mm step-down ring on the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake and 37mm front lens cap, would I still need to get a filter? Would it fit if you put the 46mm-37mm step-down ring? Or do you just get a 37mm size filter?

    1. I think nobody need to get a filter.

      People use filters for many reasons, for example to protect the lens. If you feel this need, then I think you should forget about the step down ring and just use a 46mm filter in the first place.

      My philosophy is that with some basic hood, I don't need filters for protection. In this article, I have looked at how using a filter can ruin the image quality of a lens.. But there are different opinions on this matter.

  2. Im not a fan of the square looking hood for my Oly 9-18mm. Im looking at some cheap metal 52mm hood online but not sure if filters and len cap would play along. Any suggestion? Thx

    1. I think it will be hard to find a better hood for that lens, especially if you want to use a filter. The hood is going to have to be rather shallow if you buy a screw in hood, to avoid vignetting.

      For that lens, I would stick with the original hood.

  3. Hi, I intend to use ND filters with the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake.
    If I use a 37mm filter w the 46mm-37mm step-down ring on the Panasonic14mm f/2.5 pancake, will there be vignetting?

    1. Hello, I think this is not safe. A 37mm ND filter will add quite some length to the front of the lens, and I think you will risk vignetting with this combination. If you need an ND filter for this lens, I would suggest you get a 46mm ND filter to screw directly into the lens threads.

  4. Hi,
    I just got the Olympus (Zuiko) 14-42mm zoom and am looking for a suitable, collapsible lens hood. Can anybody help?
    Thanks, Hal

    1. what Olympus 14-42mm lens is that? The newest pancake zoom?

    2. Hi,
      It is the standard kit lens, not the pancake.
      M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R
      see it here:

    3. You could get a folding hood like this. However, you may need to fold it back when using the wide angle end of the lens to avoid vignetting.

      Personally, I would get a non-rubber hood for this lens. It is still quite compact.

    4. Hello Fredrik,
      Thank you for your ideas. I have taken your advise and ordered a JJC LH-40 rigid hood. As it is reversible on the lens it should not take up too much extra space in the camera bag.

    5. Just received the JJC LH-40 lens hood and it works just fine.

      Have you had a chance to look at the Tamron 14-150mm travel zoom? It is getting reasonably good reviews on line. I might be interested in a refurbished unit once they show up in the market place.

    6. No, I haven't tried the Tamron 14-150mm lens. Since the Lumix G 14-140mm lens is so good, I don't see the need for the Tamron lens.