I did an article recently on the Fuji lens hoods, and in some respects this is a follow up because it involves replacing these hoods with something which is a little more respectable. For those who want to read the article, you can find it here, but the short and the sweet of it was that the vast majority of the stock hoods supplied by Fuji were pretty dismal, the 23mm f2 and 35mm f2 being part of that group.
Overall, I like Fuji, I like their cameras and I like their lenses, but their standard hoods that come with their good lenses are terrible.
I haven’t heard of Haoge before, there is very little information about the company. I couldn’t find a website for them and the only online presence seems to be on eBay and Amazon. Amazon had some fairly good ratings for their hoods although they do provide a fairly broad range of photographic accessories. Given the limited availability of bayonet mount metal hoods, I thought I’d give them a shot.
On a side note, it is a pity about their web presence because I actually think they might get a bit more exposure if they put up something up. No one I know of is aware of the company and from the looks of it, they make some nice gear.
Ordering process and pricing
I ordered off eBay and just to be clear, they’re not cheap, at least not for a third party hood or compared to the filter thread versions doing the round. The hoods are A$73 (US$55) each so they aren’t that much cheaper than the Fuji 35mm f/2 vented hood which retails for just over A$100.
Why would I go for something which is only marginally cheaper than the vented hood? It’s a mix of size and looks. There aren’t a whole lot of hood options for the 23 f2 and 35 f2 and unlike the Fuji 23 f1.4, Fuji don’t offer a square hood for 23 f2 and 35 f2. Most of the third party lens hoods have filter mounts which I don’t like. I like taking off the hood on occasion and filter mounts aren’t ideal for that.
As can be the case sometimes from China, the shipping was lengthy, taking nearly 3 weeks to arrive which was within the timeframes they estimated on eBay. I ordered on the 14th Feb and it arrived on the 2nd March. eBay gave my estimated arrival was between the 6th and 20th March and so it was earlier than expected. They offered an expedited shipping option but at an additional $100 per hood, I decided I wasn’t that desperate. My suggestion to them is to offer a more reasonable expedited shipping, because although the shipping times are conservative, the long wait may put off some buyers.
The hood comes in a box that looks like recycled cardboard along with some foam to protect the hood. Packing is tasteful and seems pretty reasonable. I don’t expect people to go over the top when it comes to packaging a metal hood
Construction and value for money
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the construction. The price was quite high and they offer cheap filter versions, so I was hoping it wasn’t a disappointment. It wasn’t.
Construction was very good, pretty much Fuji like, in fact, if it wasn’t For the Haoge logo nobody would even know the difference. It is really well made, the finish is good with no machine marks, the black coating seems to be of a high quality.
The metal on this hood is also very light, so light that it’s mistakable for plastic when you take it out the box. I think they have done well to achieve this, because the 60mm metal hood is substantially heavier than this.
On inspection of the mount, the higher cost of the bayonet mount does seem to be valid, although how much higher the manufacturing costs are higher over the filter mount, I couldn’t say. What I mean by this is that Fuji’s bayonet mount doesn’t seem to be the simplest mount and even the plastic 23mm hood seems to consist of multiple components, rather than a single moulded plastic piece. This seems to be the same reason you’ll see screws in the photos of Haoge hood, so there must be some reason why it can’t be manufactured as a single part which adds to the cost.
Fit it is one of the most critical part and Haoge do not disappoint. The fit is perfect. It’s the right balance so it’s still easy to get on and off, won’t damage your lens and it’s also not going to fall off in a hurry.
I’ve reserved performance primarily for vignetting, field of view etc. I’ve taken some pictures which I will upload to the review to show the lens with the stock hood, no hood and the Haoge hood so I will upload these when I get a chance.
Personally I can’t see any noticeable impact with both the 23 and the 35 but I also don’t have the technology to do so under a varied set of conditions that may exposure problems with it.
So as you have gathered already, it’s a very good hood and an excellent alternative to the vented hood that Fuji offer. Is it worth the premium that Haoge charge? I think so but I also freely admit that it’s probably more than most people want to spend. I think if it was priced closer to the A$50 mark they may find a lot more buyers but I don’t know how difficult and costly this particular design is to make so maybe that’s just an unreasonable expectation.
For a lot of people, the $20 filter mount may be an acceptable alternative and I guess it comes down to one thing…how important is a bayonet mount for you? For those wanting the bayonet mount, there isn’t a lot of choice. From what I have seen, there are only a handful of third party options with bayonet and only for limited lenses. That doesn’t leave owners with lot of choice. Personally if I could find a decent metal bayonet mount for my 50-140, I’d take it tomorrow.
It is also worth noting that if the price of this square hood doesn’t meet your requirements, they do offer the vented style for A$65 which is almost half the price of the Fuji version so it’s not the only option if the vented is your preference, I personally prefer the square.
So, overall, I give this an 9/10, with the lost point coming mainly from the cost rather than anything relating to quality.