eBay E46 Hood & the Panasonic 20/1.7

Concept: 2 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: It works, it's cheap, it's aluminum.

The Long Version: When I was looking at the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, I wished that there was a hood available. Flare is really not an issue with the 20/1.7, and having a hood won't stop those rare instances of ghosting - I was simply looking for something to replace a prophylactic clear filter. There are rubber shades out there, but protective hoods need to be at least a hard plastic, and I really prefer metal. I've been spoiled by the classic screw-in hoods from Nikon and the modern bayonet ones from Zeiss, which makes eBay an odd place for me to end up.

I blame Mike Johnston. He had a post on TOP - essential reading, by the way - that casually included a photo showing an 'E46' hood from the `bay on his GF1, so that's where I went. I've heard the name "jinfinance" get positive mentions around the forums, so when I found him/her selling this screw-on metal shade online, how could I not order it? After all, it's not even ten dollars (US), and that includes worldwide shipping. The hood arrived so quickly that I had forgotten that I ordered it - I had mentally filed it under 'Early September' and it caught me by surprise when it showed up a week earlier than that.

I picked the vented style as an aesthetic conceit; its function is identical to the standard design, but it's a better spiritual match to the rangefinder gear that will most often be joining the GH1. The inside of the hood is lightly ribbed, and the whole thing is painted matte black. As usual it screws on to the filter thread of the lens and isn't threaded itself, so it has to be placed on top of any other filters. The tight interior means that there's no chance of using the original Panny lens cap, although a centre-pinch style would be fine. Using a cap with this bad boy attached is mildly missing the point, but maybe there are some rare conditions that would need both.

The hood doesn't obstruct the lens or cause any vignetting, which is fairly fundamental to its success. Also important is that it looks cool, and this one delivers on that as well. My only complaint is that the white '46mm' painted on the hood doesn't end up centred on the Panasonic lens, but I can hardly blame the anonymous factory in China for that. Next time, I'll just look for one that doesn't have any markings on it at all. All things considered, this metal hood does its simple job very well, and I would have paid two or three times as much if I saw it in a store. Not too shabby.


  1. There is a look about a tool that telegraphs it's abilities, and that is as satisfying to the senses as the use and the output of the tool itself. It this particular case, it is the lens hood that adds to the je ne sais quoi of the lens and the camera. This is but another example of how important the little details are in overall design.

  2. It's an odd thing, but my Camera Happiness Level does go up when I'm using the set with the hood. I've always liked the way the 20/1.7 looks on the GH1, but the hood just gives it a little extra `tude. It's still small, and most importantly it's still small enough to fit in the same slot in my camera bag, but now it just seems a little tougher.

  3. Well, it's the fact that there is a hood for the 20mm, and such a nice one at that, that is pushing me over the tipping point to purchasing my own copy. There is no hood for the Olympus 17mm. I can certainly use the extra stop-and-a-half, and I have learned to enjoy the shallow depth of field available with fast lenses wide open.


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