UN 39mm square hood review (for XF27mmF2.8)

Introduction

If you haven’t worked this out already, I’m a square lens hood fan. If they made a square hood for my iPhone, I’d probably buy it. The 27mm is an amazing little lens, compact, sharp and other than the plastic construction, there is not much to complain about but it’s been missing a hood and there aren’t many decent hood options available for it. Yes, I get that pancakes are supposed to be compact, but the X100 is the same conceptual with a host of hoods available from Fujifilm.

From what I have seen to date, the filter thread hoods to date were frankly dismal, and with no bayonet mount, there simply aren’t many alternatives. In combination with a camera like the X-E3, which is such a good looking camera, putting the 27mm on it feels like buying a Ferrari and painting it pink. If I wanted an ugly camera, I would have bought a Sony.

I’d resigned myself to a hoodless existence, not the end of the world but accepting that until Fujifilm brought out another 27mm, my chances of a hood were virtually nil…until now.

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Purchasing process

This hood comes from a company I haven’t heard of called UN. I have no idea who they are, there is very little information about them. To find this little baby, I had to head all the way to Amazon Japan, as I couldn’t find it listed on the other Amazon sites. Fortunately they have an English version of their page and they ship to Australia. Before you head off to Amazon and order 5, there is a warning…they aren’t cheap. At about $50, it’s nearly half the price of the lens if you bought it on cashback.

Expensive? Yes, but it’s worth remembering Fujifilm’s lens hoods sell for about $100. Shipping was great, ordered Monday from Japan, arrived Thursday. Second time I ordered Thursday, arrived Monday.

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Construction

Construction quality is very good but deceptive. The deception is not a problem on their part so it’s not like they misled anyone, it’s my assumptions that did that. Due to the metal filter I assumed it was an all metal hood because it is fairly solid. It’s actually a metal ring attached to resin. As a result, you have to be fairly careful with the hood to make sure you don’t overtighten the screws and crack it, a mistake I made. I ended up ordering two hoods, the first broke after I tightened it a little too much.My recommendation is to leave the hood with a little bit of play so if you need to you can rotate it slightly.

So yes, the construction is good but you also have to be careful with the screws or it will crack, because it’s not metal despite what it looks like.

Did some temporary repairs to my XF27mm square hood until the replacment arrives. Seems to have done the job. The combo now looks like a mean ass combo with the X-E3.

Aesthetics

From an aesthetical perspective, it’s spot on. They’ve done a great job of hiding the extremely narrow filter thread size, one of the major annoyances. You can still see the gap between the lens and the hood, but it’s not as bad as some of the alternatives and I think it’s about as good as you could ask for. Bare in mind this hood wasn’t designed for the XF27mm, it was design for a 39mm filter thread so it’s suitability to the XF27mm can’t be expected.

The hood shape is closer to the shape of the Fujifilm style hood on my 16mm and 23mm than the Haoge style I have on my 35mmF2, and I prefer that style of hood to be honest.

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Function

Obviously it’s all completely pointless if it doesn’t actually work, for example, if there is excessive vignetting, or if it impedes on the outer areas of the lens. Fortunately in this case, there are no such problems and the hood the works as expect. No vignetting, and given there is no hood on the lens standard, it can only provide better outcomes than nothing.

Obviously, you need to be aware that a hood like this may not work with the Fujifilm cameras that have an optical viewfinder as the hood may be in the way. If you have the X-Pro, you may want to see if this will be a problem.

With normal lens functioning, the hood is not perfect and it’s worth noting you can expect to have problem. Where you will find issues with the XF27mm is over-tightening although it only appears at smaller apertures, not at f/2.8 for some odd reason. It’s not necessarily overtighting from a user perspective, but from a lens/hood perspective, because if you screw in the hood too far, you will find that the hood impedes the lens function when the lens retracts.

As the lens moves back and forth, the hood bumps the outer ring of the lens causing an error on the camera and you will get a lockup that forces you to restart the camera with a message “Please turn the camera off and on”. Realistically it isn’t hard to fix, simply leave the hood on the lens so it hunts, change the aperture to f/5.6 and screw on the lens hood until you find it firm enough not to move through normal use, but not too tight. Tap the shutter button and if it causes the error, and unscrew slightly if it does. On my camera, it’s firm enough that it won’t move but could move if it was bumped.

If you were using the hood permanently on the XF27mm and were worried about the movement, you could opt to use some loctite to keep it at a point where it won’t cause problems, but still keep it firm. I take no responsibility for damage so be very careful and use the loctite sparingly. I’m only proposing this as an option and I haven’t tried it.

I may try it later depending on how firm the hood stays so I will update the article if I end up doing that and what the outcome was.

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Conclusion

It’s expensive for what it is, but it is very good quality and it looks amazing. Is it good value for money on a cheap lens like this? Absolutely not, but we don’t always do things because they make sense or are logical. Sometimes we just do them for the hell of it. This is definitely going to stay on my 27mm as a permanent attachment. If you have $50 lying aside burning a hole in your pocket and a 27mm lens which is one of your favourites, then this is a no brainer.

As mentioned above, it’s far from perfect with the XF27mm so if you have the lockup problem, consider using some loctite to keep it firmly in place without overtightening.

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