>>2747327 To keep hard light sources from hitting the front of your lens in a way that would cause flare and lower contrast in your image due to internal reflections, and also to protect the front element of your lens from being hit by stuff.
>>2747367 That's exactly true. Shapes like these are used on wide angle lenses, the right and left elements are purposely smaller so they don't get in the frame (the horizontal side is longer than the vertical due to the sensors aspect ratio).
Longer lenses (80mm+) don't need such design because the FOV is really tight.
>>2749632 Let me tell you why I don't like lens hoods. They make the camera bigger. Filters can sometimes be a pain when you have a lens hood. Even if you reverse the lens hood, it still requires some fiddling before you can use the lens.
There you go. Hopefully now you can understand why some people who dislike lens hoods. Even I will break one out on the odd occasion that I absolutely need one.
From what I know, the lens hood is used for preventing lens flare from objects such as the sun or lights. It can also serve as a lens protector because it helps cushion the fall if you drop it, but UV filters also serve that purpose.
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