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Of all the items involved with DSLR photography the lens hood is possibly the simplest of them, it simply screws on to the front of a lens and stops stray light which causes lens flare, as well as being a simple item they also tend to be very inexpensive although when you get into the professional end of the market nothing is exactly inexpensive.
This particular lens hood (the Sony ALC - SH0010) is designed to fit the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 APO G lens, the lens itself costs around £1600 so you might understand that the hood for it costs almost £100 but when you think you can get a hood similar sized and shaped for less than £20 you might be led to have the same opinion as me, that really you are being ripped off.
Having said that the price is over the top which I stand by, the hood is of course of the highest quality as with most or all Sony products, it does its job excellently and looks good into the bargain. As well as stopping stray light when photographing it also offers a level of protection to the glass in the lens it is on, I would rather scuff or break my £100 hood then scrape or smash the glass in my £1600 lens.
The hood is simple to fit and remove so if you do not want it on the lens at all times then a half turn is about all that is needed and it comes free leaving you to shoot without it and a similar half turn locks it back into place.
The petal shaped design of the hood maximises the hood coverage whilst minimizing hood weight and is a very popular design with most hood makers and users.
Third party hoods will fit this Sony lens and this is the case with most lenses but what you have to watch out for is that quite often with third party lenses when you are at the lenses widest focal length you often get vignetting which is basically caused by the lens picking up the edges of the hood in the photo so you get a black rim round your photo, this of course never happens if you use the correct hood on the correct lens.
I know of some guys that shoot with hoods simply because it makes the lens look longer and more professional, guys that need this kind of extension may be making up for lacking length elsewhere, I don't know but I certainly wouldn't shoot with a hood for those purposes but for the purpose they are meant for they are a very useful piece of kit and certainly one people should consider.
If you happen to own the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 APO G lens then this is the only hood I would ever recommend for it. Sony does of course make a range of hoods to suit all their lenses and some of them may well fit other lenses too but be careful and always check for the vignetting problem before you buy any hood, most camera stores will allow you to try hoods out on your lenses before buying.
The length of this particular hood is 4 inches with a diameter of around 4 and a half inches, so not the longest hood by any stretch of the imagination, weight wise it is about 70g in weight which may seem quite heavy but personally I do not feel it alters the feel of the lens too much, after all it is a very big and very heavy lens so this added to it makes little or no difference.
It is made completely from plastic but almost all are and they are very durable and they do not tend to break easily and I can certainly vouch for the sturdiness of this one, I have knocked it off walls and floors whilst the camera has been round my neck with the lens on and I have dropped it kneeled on it and all sorts and it has never even marked and it has protected the lens brilliantly too.
It is another quality product from Sony but I mark it down by one star because I feel it is deliberately over priced because they feel if we can afford the lens we won't bat an eyelid at the price of the hood. I should say however that it has come down slightly in price it would seem as Jessop's now have it for £85.
As a manufacturer (of metal products) myself, I would love to discover just how Sony can charge SO much for a lens hood. Both of my Nikon lenses (the most expensive of which was £520) came with one included in the purchase price. R.