December 3, 2022

Using lens hoods in cold weather could be ruining your photos

You might not have experienced this concern yourself if youve not been shooting truly long lenses in the cold. This is most likely why I havent experienced this concern myself, either. Typically if Im out in the cold snow in winter, Im photographing the landscape or an individual in the landscape and the longest focal length Ill utilize is maybe around 150mm– not even close to the 600mm lenses utilized in Steves tests– and I likewise usually do not utilize a lens hood unless Im having flare concerns.

One thing I hadnt experienced when I had been shooting in the cold, though, is random lens softness. He saw that he was getting really soft images on his Nikon Z9 when shooting wildlife out in cold (single digit ° F) temperatures.

He suggests either leaving your gear outside to adjust to the colder temperature level before you begin shooting so that the heat in the front lens component has dissipated or just do not utilize the lens hood– at least early on before your equipments changed to the temperature level. The absence of lens hood does not stop the front element from providing off heat (it most likely makes it happen more rapidly), however the unrestricted air flow takes it away rapidly enough that it does not trigger any concerns.

And this isnt just a Nikon issue, either. He was getting the very same outcomes with them all regardless of whether it was a Nikon, Canon or Sony camera and lens combination. It turns out that it might actually be a heat concern.

Steve at first spotted the issue with both the Nikon Z9 with the Nikon 600mm f/4 E lens and his wifes Canon EOS R5 and Canon EF 600mm f/4L. The lens hood was in fact making the images softer.

Obviously, Steve could not check every lens and hood combination out there and posits that this may be a concern with some much shorter lenses, too, depending upon the style of the lens hood and it might not be a concern with some longer lenses for the exact same reason. If youre facing softness when youre out shooting in the cold, it needs to probably be the first thing you examine before you try anything else.

Steves hypothesis, which seems rational, is that the temperature level differential in between the cold air and the warmer front lens element is permitting warm air (from the lens) and cold air (from the environment) to meet and blend inside the lens hood causing the exact same kind of concern that triggers distortion with long lenses on hot days. The warmer and cooler air will have a somewhat different index of refraction and where they fulfill and mix therell be all sort of various varieties.

Is this an issue youve stumbled upon before? Did you find out what was causing it?

One thing I had not experienced when I had been shooting in the cold, though, is random lens softness. Normally if Im out in the cold snow in winter, Im photographing the landscape or an individual in the landscape and the longest focal length Ill utilize is perhaps around 150mm– not even close to the 600mm lenses utilized in Steves tests– and I likewise usually dont utilize a lens hood unless Im having flare problems.

Steve at first found the problem with both the Nikon Z9 with the Nikon 600mm f/4 E lens and his partners Canon EOS R5 and Canon EF 600mm f/4L. He recommends either leaving your equipment outside to adjust to the chillier temperature prior to you start shooting so that the heat in the front lens element has actually dissipated or just dont use the lens hood– at least early on prior to your gears changed to the temperature level. The absence of lens hood doesnt stop the front element from giving off heat (it probably makes it take place more quickly), but the unhindered airflow takes it away rapidly sufficient that it doesnt cause any problems.