Sunday, May 5, 2019

JJC Lens Hoods

Buy your OEM hood here.
OEM = OMG! Lens hoods are a necessity when working outdoors in the presence of other sticky fingers. While their effectiveness in blocking stray light can be problematic, they are very effective in keeping errant digits off the front element of your camera's lens. Depend on it, sooner or later a big, juicy thumb print will find its way onto the front element of your lens, so anything you can do to prevent this should be considered. And if you add the protection provided by a glass UV filter, so much the better.

When the Fuji X100 was first introduced in 2010, it was universally hailed as a contender for the Greatest Camera In The World award, and rightfully so. But one thing did not sit well with most photographers: the inordinately expensive lens hood. Retailing for about $70.00, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) hood was considered far too expensive for what it did, although I never heard anybody criticize the overall quality of the product. As a former film photographer, I had already acclimated myself to the astronomical prices commanded by genuine Leica accessories, But $70.00 for a newly manufactured Japanese product? I don't think so.

There was another issue that may have added to the manufacturing cost of a suitable lens hood. For whatever reason, the 49 mm filter threads, hidden beneath a protective bezel ring, are male (external), the exact opposite of the nearly universal female (internal) threads normally encountered. This means that if you want to mount a filter, you needed some kind of adapter that would have female threads on the camera side AND the filter side, something the Fuji hood addressed. A sticky wicket, none the less.

Get your hood here.
Enter JJC. This Chinese manufacturer makes a close copy (cheap knockoff) of the hood for under $15.00 through several EBay vendors. Workmanship? The hood feels a little gritty when installed, but other than that, it's perfectly serviceable.  And with the money you save you can afford a first-rate UV filter. Just be sure you buy the hood that includes the phrase "filter adapter" in the description.

You may notice the slots cut into the hood. This feature dates back to the original lens hoods designed for use on rangefinder cameras where the slots would allow you to see "through" the hood when using the camera's viewfinder window.

Order your hood here.
Hood For The X70: The OEM hood for the X70 does not have the ability to take a filter. The hood itself looks a little like an inverted bowl with a hole that matches the angle of view of the built-lens' 28mm equivalent angle of acceptance. Perhaps the designers felt the added protection provided by the hood would make a protective filter unnecessary. However, the JJC designers felt otherwise and included a filter adapter similar to the one on their X100 model. The final product is a real winner in my book.

You will notice that the slots have been omitted. Since the X70 does not have a viewfinder, there is no need to provide the see-through cutouts.

Photo source here.
Dedicated Hoods For Specific Lenses: My final JJC purchase was thus rectangular lens hood for my 56 mm F 1.2 lens. In this case, the OEM hood is a simple plastic tube that attaches to the lens' bayonet mounting flange. JJC has copied the rectangular hood format used on some of the Fuji primes, and also copies the snap-on cover in lieu of a lens cap. You can still install a protective filter on the lens, but you cannot install a center-pinch lens cap when this hood is in place.

One might argue that the shallow design of the JJC hood wouldn't shield the lens as well as the deeper "soup can" OEM version, since the hood can also be used on the Fuji 23mm F 1.4 lens. Even if it didn't, the compact design still provides sufficient protection from fingerprints, a hazard I consider far more real than a beam of errant light. And I simply like the way the hood looks. After all, you can never have too many style points.

You can order yours here. Price should be under $40.00.