Lights play an undoubtedly important role in photography and cinematography: unique aesthetics can be expressed by controlling the light. But the other side of the coin is that your creative works can be destroyed if unnecessary lights impact your lens during the shooting process. The quality of your images decreases exponentially with poor contrast of colors. When bright light enters your camera’s lens, it scatters after hitting the camera sensors, resulting in an unwanted lens flare.
To solve this problem, people invented two accessories for light blocking: camera matte boxes and Lens hoods, which will be introduced in this article. By analyzing their differences, this article may help you decide which to choose for your camera.
Two Ways to Block the Light: Lens Hood and Matte Box
Primarily, let’s figure out two questions: What are lens hoods? What does a matte box do? A lens hood is an extension that you can affix to your camera lens to protect the lens, but the amount of light that goes through the lens cannot be adjusted.
Contrary to this, a camera matte box is an accessory attached to a camera as it envelops the camera lens altogether. There is a French flag on the box for you to adjust until your picture has achieved the perfect light and shadow effect.
Differences Between Lens Hood and Matte Box
In a matte box vs. lens hood debate, both of the two accessories are considered to be useful tools. Still, their differences are quite obvious, embodying in the following five aspects:
Lens hoods are mostly made of rubber or plastic, some of which are collapsible and extendible. The matte box is made up of plastic, aluminum alloy, or polycarbonate material, contributing to its strength and strong durability.
Lens hood usually comes in two shapes, including cylindrical and petal. But in fact, they work the same way – the shapes are designed for aesthetic instead of practical. As the name suggests, a matte box is a rectangular box with an adjustable French flag to change the light before it reaches the lens, eliminating the lens flare.
Attaching a camera matte box to your lens needs merely two steps: slide the box over the lens and tighten the screw on the clamping system. The added step of screwing the box makes it steadily connected to the lens to provide full-cover protection.
You do not need any screw to mount a lens hood – just line up the hood with the lens and tighten it up. It seems more convenient, but when you accidentally drop the camera, the lens hood is easy to fall off without the fixed screw, thus causing damage to the expensive lens.
Most lens hoods are cheaper than matte boxes – after all, the latter gives more features and aesthetic experience. However, buying a quality matte box can save you recurring payments because they last longer and provide better protection for your camera lens.
The most prominent feature of the camera matte box is the availability of extensions, which is absent from the lens hood. With designed slots for inserting filters, the matte box provides convenient and fast adjustment of color temperature and saturation, supporting your capture of instant inspiration.
After concluding the above five differences, you can now accordingly consider which is more suitable for you.
Which Light Blocker Should You Choose?
Lens hood is usually considered the starter pack of photography because of the low price and barely sufficient functions. Therefore, it suits the needs of amateurs and newbies who do not have a limited budget to be invested in photography. Similarly, many start-ups can also rely on this before ultimately jumping onto the matte box.
But for film-making companies and experienced videographers who always pursue perfection, a camera matte box as professional gear is more recommended. The point is approved by the fact that almost every professional photographer is equipped with a camera matte box.
SmallRig’s Matte Box 3196: the Best Matte Box for You
Made up of Polycarbonate, 6061 Aluminum alloy, and carbon fiber, SmallRig’s matte box 3196 is an all-inclusive camera matte box that is designed specifically to cater to modern-day photography needs. To more specifically, the outstanding points of this matte box are:
- It has a 180-degree adjustable top flag and an adjustable angle knob to block the light as you want without any vignetting;
- The top 1/4″-20 threaded holes and anti-twist 1/4″-20 threaded holes on the bottom make it available for more attachments.
- The dedicated filter frame provides a handle for you to slide in and out, leaving no fingerprints on the filters which affect the shooting;
- The matte box can be attached directly to a 95mm lens, which saves your money on buying the adapter rings. But you can also buy Φ52/55/58/62/86-95mm adapted ring from SmallRig if you prefer to add multiple filters, including UV, GND, CPL, and more.
SmallRig camera matte box is an innovative solution to the photography and videography needs, as it provides professional media creators with access to perfection.
By developing problem-solving products, SmallRig becomes a one-stop solution supplier that satisfies your desire for efficient working flow, helping its global customers capture the elegant and aesthetic aspects of life. Even if you are just a traveler who likes to click nature’s beauty using phones, SmallRig has portable and multifunctional accessories for you as well. Check its website to receive the best discount for the powerful camera accessories now!