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Every year we get exposed to photography accessories that are meant to revolutionize the game. Sometimes, these accessories come along and make our lives easier. However, most simply fail to live up to the hype surrounding them. You may have heard about a company called KUVRD. They made a product that really was excellent in their universal lens caps. So, when they announced the universal lens hood, we were excited. We’ve spent some time with the new KUVRD Universal Lens Hood, and we’re both amazed and dismayed. Find out why below.
If you haven’t seen the As Seen On TV like sales video for the KUVRD Universal Lens Hood, check it out on their Kickstarter page. The high energy video will get you excited about this product; there’s no doubt about that.
There are two sizes of lens hoods available. A smaller hood for lenses with filter thread between 54-76mm, and a larger one with filter threads from 72-112mm. The sales pitch shows that the lens hood can be used on 99% of lenses. It states that it will improve your workflow and never fall off. You’ll learn that it will help you shoot through glass by cutting out reflections and that it can be used as a frisbee (jokingly). The product’s packaging states it’s a 300% time saver, that it folds away easily, and holds 99% of circular filters on the market. That’s quite the list of claims, so I went about using the product in real-world scenarios to see if KUVRD’s claims hold up.
Note: KUVRD sent us their new Universal Lens Hood to test and keep. This has not swayed our judgment of the product. All of the views expressed in this review are our own. We’re telling you this because we’ve always been ethical and truthful over the last eleven years when it comes to our reviews. We plan on keeping it that way.
The KUVRD Universal Lens Hood Sounds Too Good to Be True
One reservation I had about the product is that the hood wouldn’t retain its shape when panning a camera or tracking moving subjects. The KUVRD universal lens hood is made from flimsy silicone material similar to that used in their universal lens caps. It really doesn’t look like it will stand up to much movement at all. Surprisingly, most of the claims listed above actually hold true.
The hood does hold circular filters really well. It has never fallen off the lenses I have used it with. The material stretches easily, which aids in attaching it to your lens. It even holds its shape when panning. Unless you violently shake your camera, you have nothing to worry about. If you see any vignetting, in most cases, you simply adjust the hood’s length by pushing it back towards your camera. So far, so good.
And It Keeps Getting Better
If you want to shoot through glass, this lens hood is excellent for it. Press the end of the hood against a window, and all reflections are instantly cut out. That’s really quite brilliant. This will come in handy when you’re at the zoo, for instance, and you want to get images of snakes or other critters kept behind glass.
The image above shows the KUVRD Universal Lens Hood holding a UV filter in place. This does indeed work, but you won’t be able to use variable ND filters or circular polarizers as you won’t be able to adjust them once they’re in place. This is a good feature in a pinch. I would obviously recommend using the correct size filter for your lens. Still, if you’re out and need to borrow a filter from a friend that’s the wrong size, you’ll be able to use it. The KUVRD Universal Lens Hood lives up to most of the claims, and it will impress, but then you’ll figure out its flaws.
Trouble In Paradise
Now, here’s the bad stuff. Yes, the lens hood likely fits 99% of lenses, but that doesn’t mean it will work with all of those lenses. If you plan on using the KUVRD Universal Lens Hood with a lens that zooms externally, walk away. I found that the KUVRD Universal Lens Hood works brilliantly with primes. Slap it on and go about your business. When it comes to attaching to lenses that zoom externally, you have to place the lens hood perfectly, or the hood interferes with the zoom operation. I tried this hood on three different zoom lenses and got the same results.
The Downhill Trend Continues
A 300% time saver this lens hood is not. Getting the hood perfectly attached to such a small area at the end of my 24-70mm f2.8 lens was challenging. Place the hood too far back, you’ll find that using your full zoom range will be difficult. The silicone gets in the way of the extending and retracting barrel. With the hood attached so close to the end of the lens, I was still getting vignetting even at its most collapsed point too. Then there’s the act of collapsing the hood. Videos from KUVRD will show that a simple press will collapse the hood. This was not the case for me. I had to fold each section individually, which took time and was a source of frustration.
Then there’s the magnetic like qualities to lint and other things this lens hood has. If you have pets, be prepared for hair to stick to this thing like glue. If you simply collapse the hood and place it in your camera bag, which KUVRD suggests, you’ll have a lint covered lens hood in about two seconds flat. Having a product that could introduce more hair, dust, and lint to my lens is not high on my list. Granted, a lot of these issues affect external zooming lenses only. Prime shooters, you’ll be fine. Still, some of the claims simply don’t ring true. That’s a shame.
KUVRD Universal Lens Hood – In Conclusion
The KUVRD Universal Lens Hood is an interesting product that tries to replace bulky plastic lens hoods. While many of the claims about this product from KUVRD ring true, some big caveats go along with them. What do I suggest? Well, if you mainly shoot with primes, then I would say to pick one up. Yes, there will be some frustration along the way, but the pros outweigh the cons regarding prime lenses. However, if you shoot mainly with zoom lenses, particularly ones that zoom externally, I have to say stay away. You’ll spend so much time trying to get perfect placement, you’ll wish you had just stuck with the petal hood that came with your lens.
You can pre-order the KUVRD Universal Lens Hood from the company’s Kickstarter page. A single hood costs $30, two hoods cost $50, and four universal hoods will set you back $80.