In the world of third party accessories for your camera, or really any product for that matter, quality can be hit or miss, usually miss. For more technical items, sometimes it’s best to stick with the maker of your camera or a well known third party, especially when it comes to items with electronics, to prevent mishaps or even injury, especially in the case of electrical items or batteries. When it comes to benign items, like lens hoods, prices run the gamut while quality and design also come in at all possible levels, from excellent to downright trash.
Fujifilm is well known for stratospheric pricing of their accessories, almost in direct contradiction with the very reasonable pricing of their cameras and lenses. At least with these wildly high prices one can expect a high level of quality, fit and finish unrivaled by most Chinese or Vietnamese third parties or white label manufacturers. It quickly becomes a question of value for the camera owner. For example, Fujifilm includes a plastic, petal shaped lens hood with their 23mm ƒ/1.4 lens that seems overly large and not that great, but at least it come packaged for free. However, Fujifilm also offers a metal, octagonally shaped lens hood with cap that’s far more compact, durable and effective, but at $70, is what most would consider overpriced.
Of course, there are any number of plastic or rubber universal lens hoods that will outperform the included lens hood that’s more compact but these all use the filter threads for attachment, and either prevent use of ND filters and circular polarizers or at least interfere, making the process cumbersome. Recently though, Vello, JJC and Haoge have come to market with their own line of metal lens hoods that closely match Fujifilm’s optional designs but significantly undercutting them on price. Even better, the first two brand names are relatively well known third party manufacturers while all three seem to be using a shared design, quite possibly all sourcing their products from the same white label manufacturer
They also overcome the problem with universal designs by using the original bayonet hood mount your original hood uses to keep the filter threads free and accessible.
I decided to give 3 of these lens hoods a try, starting with the 23mm ƒ/1.4. I first noticed the JJC metal lens hood listing on Amazon when searching for the Fujifilm optional metal lens hood and looked to be a carbon copy. Within the same listing, they offered a variant they labeled as “Innovative Design.” To be thorough, I ordered both since they were the same price for each, although the first came with a lens cap while the latter did not.
Let’s start with JJC’s version of Fujifilm’s design. It’s exactly that, a metal lens hood and cap that’s a copy of the Fujifilm design, down to the millimeter, but only $35. Even the details were spot on: ribbed inner surface with matte anodizing and gloss anodized outer surface, a lip on the outer edge for the dust cover to slide along to secure it when closed and a comfortably tight, accurate fit to the bayonet lugs. There’s a white dot to align the hood onto the lens and minor branding along the top edge that’s easily made less visible by rotating the hood 180-degrees before installation, if that’s your bag. The only physical difference is in the plastic cover: while the Fujifilm is flexible plastic with a leather-like texture and their brand name molded in, the JJC cover uses a textured vinyl decal and no branding. JJC’s product photos show a Fujifilm styled “X” on their cover but the actual product had no such thing, likely done away with after a consult between marketing department lawyers, I’m sure. Otherwise, it’s a tit-for-tat reproduction of the real thing and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn they’re both made in the same factory. Compared to the gratis, plastic lens hood, this is much more compact and convenient, like the Fujifilm optional hood, worthy of being put on and left on the lens.
The “Innovative Design” hood is quite different, beginning with its size. A large rectangle with clipped corners more than an octagon like the Fujifilm design, the fit and finish are similar, if not identical, but that’s where the similarities end. The end is widely flared and thus takes up more room inside your bag but the depth is similar. The primary difference is this hood forgoes its own lens cap, the design allowing use of the original, round lens cap instead. Here’s where the question of benefit comes down to user preference, the choice between compact size versus the convenience of needing only one lens cap. You have the freedom to remove the lens hood at will and still maintain the ability to protect the front element with the original lens cap; the Fujifilm style requiring the user to choose between using the lens hood and cover full time or carrying the original lens cap for when you want to remove the hood, with the difference coming down to the amount of room you’re willing to make for it in your bag. Either way you go, the price is $35 for either design, Innovative or “less innovative,” so from a value proposition, you cannot lose.
For my 35mm ƒ/1.4 and 18mm ƒ/2 lenses that share a 52mm filter diameter, I purchased a Haoge metal lens hood for Fujifilm 35mm ƒ/1.4 from Amazon for $45. The initial benefit of this hood is that it will fit both lenses as they share the same filter bore and bayonet mount. Granted, both lenses come with high quality metal lens hoods from Fujifilm for free but they both share a design flaw: the hoods prevent use of the lens cap so the hoods come with their own rubber ones that are friction fit and refuse to stay in place. The Haoge design overcomes this by allowing use of the original, plastic lens cap.
The hood itself fit on both lenses easily, the marks lining up the bayonet lugs accurately, the hood rotating smoothly and locking into place with a well defined click at the hard stop. The inner surface of the hood is ribbed with matte black anodizing, to better block stray light, that contrasts with the gloss black anodizing on the outer surfaces. Again, branding is very subtle and can be placed more discreetly along the bottom by rotating it 180 degrees prior to installing. While a rounded rectangle, the overall size is only slightly larger than the original lens hoods and shouldn’t take up noticeably more room inside your bag. Since it’s interchangeable, you only need to buy, and store, a single lens hood should you own both lenses like I do.
Bottom line is that all three of these aftermarket lens hoods are excellent value, especially compared to the prices at which Fujifilm insists on marketing their optional lens hoods.
All three brands offer a complete line of metal lens hoods with bayonet fittings for many of Fujifilm’s lenses, from their ƒ/2 line of WR primes with 49mm front elements all the way up to 67mm to fit the 16mm ƒ/1.4. To make your decision a little easier, JJC and Vello’s lineup offer a clone of it plus a redesigned or “improved” version alongside it. Haoge, on the other hand, seems to offer only clone versions of Fujifilm’s designs, with few variants. All three also offer lens hoods that support the X100 series cameras in 3 different styles: original, vented and Leica-like vented square, and in two colors: silver and black.
So if you need, or just want, the optional metal lens hood for your lens, you could do far worse than to pick one up from any of these brands. The quality of materials, fit and finish equals Fujifilm’s offerings but at nearly half the price, utilize the original bayonet lugs and have modest branding that won’t detract from the camera’s understated design. And even then, the labels can be hidden easily.