Lens Cap and Hood Problems

Eugene

EOS M50
Aug 24, 2012
39
0
www.youtube.com
Hey guys!
I'm an engineering student and currently working on design flaws of existing lens caps and hood. I'd like to ask if there is or are anything in particular that you don't like about existing lens caps and hoods, and would like to see improved on?

Please let me know your thoughts! :) whether it'd be losing it constantly, not knowing where to store it, wasting time to take them off/putting on etc.
 

AvTvM

EOS 5D MK IV
Nov 4, 2011
3,165
0
lenscaps: latest version of Canon, nikon, oöympus, sony and most other makers' lenscaps is pretty much perfect. after many years even canon lenscaps now have center pinch and outer pinch mechanism. quality of material is generally very good. durability of mechanism is generally also very good, but not all makes are equal.

prices for OEM spares are way too high though, but that is a pure marketing/corporate greed issue. luckily cheap chinese copies are abailable and although often somewhat inferior in quality, but with some luck yoj get them "good enough".

technically, lens caps could be a bit slimmer, current gen is about 5mm thick, but a very minor issue.
losing lens caps is a real problem, happens all the time. i have not yet encountered a satisfactory solution yet: dont like lens cap tether with cap dangling from lens, very disturbing when shooting.

automatic lens caps are used on many compact and bridge cams where lens with small diameter front element is bolted on to camera body. typically in conjunction with powered lens extension mechanism. works mostly well when new, but mechanism is often very delicate and prone to break/fail after some use, knocks, dust/dirt etc.
requires power/motor drive. have not sen such a mechanism on interchangable lenses. would be a good solution, provided power supply, motor/mechanics, long-term durability and cost are in check.
 

AvTvM

EOS 5D MK IV
Nov 4, 2011
3,165
0
lens hoods:
design/quality, bayonet attachment to lens is technically very good with current gen lens hoods.

biggest issue is marketing/corporate greed: as opposed to (most) competitors, Canon does not invlude lens caps with their lenses, except for (expensive, luxury, premium) "L"-line of lenses. oem prices are absurdly high. liwer quality, but good enough chinese copies are luckily available for many lens hoods. situation a bit more complex than lens caps, because hood is specific shape for each lens.

issues are size (diameter for wide-angle lenses and depth/width for tele lenses), somewhat mediated if lens hoid can be put on lens in reverse position as typically implemented. this keads however to many happy-snapper n00b users on the streets who are too lazy and or stupid to take reverses lens hood off and mount it right way on lens. they rather use kens with hood in reverse position, even if it almost blocks caccess to zoom ring ...

losing lens hoods is an issue too, but due to larger size much less so than lens caps.

there are very few lenses with manually extensible lens hoods built in (some tele lenses in older versions, eg Vanon EF 200/2.8 L - 1st gen). if technically well designed, it is an ideal solution, hood is always alonv when beeded, but dors not waste precious space in photo bag and cannot be lost.

many years ago, in an attempt to solve size/space issue of lens hoods flexible lens hoods made of rubber that fold together to a small ring in "parking position" were popular. while still available, they went "out of fashion". main ussue being that each lens needs a specific design of hood for max. efficiency and those flexi-hoods are only available in a "universal", round, simple shape - only acceptable for prime lenses in focal length range of roughly 35 and 85mm. as soon as deeper hoods or wider hoods or tulip shape hoods are required to prevent inwanted light to rech lens front element, existing flexi hoods are no solition. typically they were screwed into filter thread, blocking it for filters.

a smart folding design lens hood coveribg multiple shapes for an entire range of lenses would be of some interest, and potentially a successful kickstarter project. but not easy to design. additional difficulty comes from non-standardized, highly proprietary bayonet attachment on lenses. with canon hood attachment varies with every different lens. only universal mount point is filter thread, which also comes in multiple sizes with 43/49/52/58/67/73/77/82mm being most common. hood mount ring could be double threaded, so filters can still be used.
also: tulip shape hoods need to be in correctly oriented position when mounted - easy with specific bayonet mount, not so easy to achieve using filter thread. screw-in also more cumbersome than single twist and click/locking bayonet mount.

so there you have a few nice engineering challenges. all the best!
 

old-pr-pix

EOS 7D MK II
Dec 26, 2011
410
54
Look at some of the newer Olympus designs for inspiration. Their automatic opening lens cap for the pancake zoom lens is clever (model LC-37C). Stays on the camera and automatically opens when the camera is powered on. It's the only implementation I know of for such an automatic shutter on an interchangeable lens system (downside-no filter provision). Also, their retracting lens hood for the 40-150 f2.8 PRO lens is brilliant -- don't know why others have not copied it yet (patients perhaps?). Lastly, their newest lens hoods have a recessed locking button that significantly avoids inadvertent unlocking and partial rotation of the lens hood (ever notice a weird vignette pattern because your lens hood was bumped and no longer locked in the right rotation? Seems to happen on my 24-105L way too often.)

Untethered lens caps are a pain -- what to do with them? Pocket, hold in hand, holder that clips to camera bag strap? Nothing perfect so far. Tethered caps are equally problematic as explained above. Center pinch design that grabs filter threads seems to generally work o.k.; but, I do have a couple lenses where I never seem to catch the engagement right and the cap pops off with the slightest bump.
 

haggie

EOS 80D
May 11, 2016
153
53
In the earlier replies, lens caps that are part of the lens are mentioned, and even those that require some (electrical or electronic) mechanism to be deployed.

Such automatic lens caps can mainly be found on cameras with fixed lenses.
The automatic lens caps on these cameras require the user to be as careful as when no lens cap is in place. This defeats the whole purpose of a lens cap. Because with a scratch on the front element, it is aften still possible to take good photos. With an automatic lens cap that does not open due to damage or malfunction, no photos are posible any more. Game over!

If an automatic lens cap introduces some vulnerability due to the mechanical and electronic components used to implement it, then the lens cap becomes a burden instead of a help. Therefore I will never buy a lens (for a DSLR, that is) with a built-in lens cap that is vulnarable to rendering the lens unusable.
 

LordofTackle

EOS RP
Nov 25, 2014
291
0
+1 to most of AvTvM said about the lenscaps.

My personal preference is to take the lenscaps off the lens and then store them in my pockets (pants or jacket). However, a small downside to this practice is that the dust in the pockets creeps into the lenscap and, later on, ends on my lens.
Therefore, a minor improvement from my side would be a kind of encapsulation of the inside of the caps (if even possible). OTOH, this might make them overly expensive (still cheapo compared to the lenses).

The plus side of my habit: I have never ever lost a lenscap so far. :p
 

mpphoto

EOS T7i
Dec 15, 2013
78
5
Lens caps are pretty good now. When Canon only supplied the side-pinch caps, I would immediately replace them with center-pinch caps. I find them much easier to remove, especially when a lens hood is on. Now that Canon has switched to center-pinch caps, I don't need to buy third-party caps as often as I used to. I think the Canon and third-party center-pinch caps seem to stay on the lens better. They also feel more durable.

LordofTackle said:
My personal preference is to take the lenscaps off the lens and then store them in my pockets (pants or jacket). However, a small downside to this practice is that the dust in the pockets creeps into the lenscap and, later on, ends on my lens.
I too keep lens caps in my pockets while shooting, which does lead to lint ending up on the lens eventually. Whenever I notice the cap is dusty, I use a rocket blower to clean it.

I did have a problem with the lens hood for my 24-105mm f/4L this weekend. It was hard to get on and off. Too much friction. I don't know if it wasn't mounted right or what. I don't remember having trouble with it before. I had a similar issue with the bayonet mount lens hood for the old EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. I ended up putting a tiny bit of shredder oil on the track to lubricate it. Not the greatest solution, but now the hood goes on and off easier.

I'll take this opportunity to say I don't like the lens hood for Canon's 100-400mm Mk II. The little door in the hood for adjusting a circular polarizer is a good idea in theory, but it's just annoying in practice. I got tired of that door sliding open all the time so I put gaffer's tape on to keep it shut. If Canon offered a version without the door, I'd consider buying. The key word is "consider." The hood with the door in it costs $65, so I'm sure an alternative hood would be almost as expensive.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,455
1,282
Hoods and caps are fine. My biggest beef with the front element is that filters as a necessary evil that I always need to change out. Threading them in and out is slow.

I'd like to see a secure magnetic solution for quickly swapping them out, but everything I've seen on this front is decidedly budget quality and requires extra pieces / rings / etc. or they don't play nicely with hoods.

- A
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,455
1,282
One other thing -- adjusting a CPL under a hood is a PITA, especially with longer lenses.

Though Canon has introduced a CPL 'window' in the hood of the 100-400L II (pictured below), I think a simple rubbery knob/wheel could be used instead of a window. The knob could be turned from the outside and it would automagically rotate the CPL (given the plurality of CPLs, you'd need to have some sort of press/spring-loaded fit of this knob, but one would think that could be sorted). You could also have something like a skinny rubberized ring (like a full circumference focus ring) on the hood to drive the CPL itself, but I imagine the knob idea would be cheaper to produce.

- A
 

Attachments

Sep 2, 2013
7
0
Here is a crazy idea: how about some sort of slot on the bottom of the lens hood that could accommodate a raised notch on the top of the lens cap? The lens cap would be stowed in this location during shooting.

The same thing could be achieved through magnets or velcro, but the slot arrangement would be more secure. It would prop the lens up a few millimeters when camera and lens are placed on a flat surface.
 
Aug 22, 2010
1,635
333
49
Uk
www.GMCPhotographics.co.uk
I like my lens hoods to have their outer edge to be flat...when I am using multiple cameras and I need to put one down, I can stand one of my cameras and lens pointing down and it doesn't fall over. Unfortunately most wide lenses don't allow me to do that. The newer 35mm f1.4 IIL's hood is an improvement in that regard. the old one was curved on it's leading edge. Although it's good to see the newer generation of wide lenses have much improved hoods...the 16-35IIL's hood was totally hopeless design.

I preferred the hood and reverse zooming action of the old 24-70 f2.8 L...the hood actually worked better at all zoom ranges. Because the hood attached to the body and not the end element, the hood was very stable in high winds. Because the lens was longer at 24mm and shorter at 70mm, it meant that the hood worked really well at 70mm and 24mm, where as the newer design means that you have a hood for a 24mm on the end of 70mm lens (at the long end).

Worn hoods that rattle or wobble in high winds are a liability and need to be replaced. But generally, the new batch of hoods on more recent lenses have been a vast improvement over the older ones.

The older caps are simpler, lighter and thinner but the newer pinch caps are more easier to use and slightly cooler.
 

Eugene

EOS M50
Aug 24, 2012
39
0
www.youtube.com
Hi everyone,
I'd just like to thank each and every one of you for your detailed responses - after some analysis, it has really helped us identify the main problem with existing lens cap and hood designs.

We're currently working on a few concepts to hopefully help eliminate the problems and make using lens cap/hood at lot more efficient and effective. Once we've chosen a conceptual design, we'll start protyping. I'll keep you all updated!

Again, many thanks for all your input guys! Really appreciate it :)
 

AvTvM

EOS 5D MK IV
Nov 4, 2011
3,165
0
Eugene said:
...
We're currently working on a few concepts to hopefully help eliminate the problems and make using lens cap/hood at lot more efficient and effective. Once we've chosen a conceptual design, we'll start protyping. I'll keep you all updated!
excellent! Please do so! 8)
 

JonAustin

Telecom / IT consultant and semi-pro photographer
Dec 10, 2012
641
0
Horseshoe Bay, TX
GMCPhotographics said:
I preferred the hood and reverse zooming action of the old 24-70 f2.8 L...the hood actually worked better at all zoom ranges. Because the hood attached to the body and not the end element, the hood was very stable in high winds. Because the lens was longer at 24mm and shorter at 70mm, it meant that the hood worked really well at 70mm and 24mm, where as the newer design means that you have a hood for a 24mm on the end of 70mm lens (at the long end).
+1

Although the 24-70/2.8L II is much improved over the original by all accounts, I thought that the original's reverse zoom and hood designs were brilliant. It's a shame Canon didn't (or couldn't) maintain the same designs and still produce the stellar performer that the successor is.

@ the OP: much success with your design efforts!
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,455
1,282
JonAustin said:
Although the 24-70/2.8L II is much improved over the original by all accounts, I thought that the original's reverse zoom and hood designs were brilliant. It's a shame Canon didn't (or couldn't) maintain the same designs and still produce the stellar performer that the successor is.

@ the OP: much success with your design efforts!
From personal experience, the 24-70 f/2.8L was optimal for shading, sure, but it was a nightmare for travel, hiking, etc. That hood was simply massive and tended to require special a shell-game rearranging of dividers in my bag.

And reversing the hood on the lens for easier storage (a) dramatically increased its 'holstering footprint' in your bag and (b) made quick draw-and-shoot activities very difficult as the hood was so big it blocked your focus and zoom rings when you reversed it!

So as much as I appreciate what that hood + reverse lens zooming direction did well, it had some clear drawbacks as well. I understand why Canon abandoned it.

- A
 

Attachments

Zeidora

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 15, 2015
668
10
I only have one "normal" Canon lens, the 180 macro. The lens hood is made of plastic. Alignment of hood with bayonet is not fool-proof, and the amount of torque required is rather a lot, while there is no click-in mechanism. Compare to Zeiss, where there is no misalignment issue, rotation is butter-smooth, the click-in stop is present. So on the material science side, finding some plastics that have the sliding characteristics of metal would be great.

With Zeiss WA hoods that have the corners cut out, there is a possibility of mounting the hood in such a way, that the cut-out corners are not in the image corners, which causes the image corners to be cut off. Fool-proofing that the lens hood is impossible to mount out of that alignment would be a good design advantage. There are the alignment dots, but those cannot be seen in dim light.

Having a universal standard for hood bayonets would be great as well. Today every manufacturer has its own particular bayonet, so they are not interchangeable, which is annoying. Filter threads, for instance, are all standardized. This may be more of a legislative issue, like with the phone charger connectors.
 

LesC

EOS RP
Jun 27, 2013
274
72
Essex, UK
500px.com
Slightly off-topic maybe, but I'd like a lens cap/cover you can use with the Lee Filter Holder attached. Lee used to make theire adaptor rings with an internal thread so you could use a regular lens cap, but now don't.

Perhaps a push-in cap similar to the plastic caps they supply to fit on adaptor rings when the holder isn't fitted or a slot in cap like Cokin use (I made my own out of a piece of 2mm black perspex sheet ;)
 

GammyKnee

EOS RP
Jan 24, 2013
246
2
I often shoot in cold, windy conditions where my fingers are numb, so my ideal lens cap would have a good deep pinch-grip design, and perhaps the internal grip surfaces (the ones that make contact with the filter thread) could be shaped somehow so that once crudely positioned the cap would almost guide itself into the final position. The single best cap I've experienced to date is the one that comes with the Canon EF 35mm IS USM; that's pretty easy to handle in all conditions.

As for hoods, my preference is for the twist-and-click bayonet style. The best example of this in my collection is the Tamron 45 f1.8 hood; I could put that one on blindfolded. The worst is the clip-on hood for the Canon 85mm f1.8, which is always fiddly and not exactly secure when it's on. What I would like to see most of all though is consistency - there's too much variation in attachment styles, even within a single brand.
 

jprusa

EOS RP
Apr 29, 2013
399
70
LesC said:
Slightly off-topic maybe, but I'd like a lens cap/cover you can use with the Lee Filter Holder attached. Lee used to make theire adaptor rings with an internal thread so you could use a regular lens cap, but now don't.

Perhaps a push-in cap similar to the plastic caps they supply to fit on adaptor rings when the holder isn't fitted or a slot in cap like Cokin use (I made my own out of a piece of 2mm black perspex sheet ;)
Never bought anything from this guy but someone else may have. http://www.thefilterdude.com
 

LesC

EOS RP
Jun 27, 2013
274
72
Essex, UK
500px.com
jprusa said:
Never bought anything from this guy but someone else may have. http://www.thefilterdude.com
I have actually bought an WA 82mm adapter ring from there and it does still have the internal filter thread as Lee's used to have. They're ok but a little less sturdy than the Lee rings and the filter holder is a somewhat looser fit on these rings but not bad for the money.

I even asked Lee if they could make a WA 82mm adapter ring with internal thread and they said it couldn't be done!