Review – Lenskirt – Is this the best lens hood for eliminating reflections?
We have been Travel Photographers for a long time. There are many challenges in photography and it is up to the photographer to use the tools at their disposal to overcome these challenges. In travel photography, you constantly come up against the dilemma of cutting reflections through windows/glass. Ideally, it would be better to not shoot through windows/glass at all, but many times this is unavoidable.
Several years ago we booked accommodation at one of the best hotel locations in Sydney to view Sydney Vivid, an annual light festival where many of our notable landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge are illuminated with lighting animations. Although the view was outstanding, the room unfortunately only had fixed glass windows to shoot through. Even though we turned off every internal light in the room, it was still extremely challenging to reduce all the reflections. We tried our lens hoods, rubber lens hoods, and CPL (Circular Polarizing Filter) positioned as close to the glass but none of these worked sufficiently to rid the scene of ALL reflections. Eventually, with a lot of help from a dark jacket and copious amounts of masking tape, we were able to eliminate all the reflections. Below is one of the images we took.
After the event, we decided to research a better way to shoot through windows/glass and we discovered the Lenskirt. It looked ideal and some of the online reviews spoke about it favourably, although many people referred to it as an expensive gadget that they would rarely use. As we had planned to visit Japan and knew that we would be in situations where we would have to shoot through windows/glass we decided to bite the bullet and purchase one. At the time, these were extremely expensive (AUD$120.00 at the time of writing) and considering what you were getting for your money, you’d want to be using it a lot. Is it worth it? Read on…
We bought our Lenskirt XL at a reputable Sydney camera retailer. Unfortunately, when we opened the box we found that a couple of the suction caps were missing. Another Lenskirt was promptly mailed to us from another state. Fortunately, this one was complete. The Lenskirt XL measures 13in (33cm) X 9in (23cm) with a 12in (30cm) depth and weighs about 160g (5.64oz). The reason we bought the XL version is that it is more suitable for wide-angle lenses and gives you better opportunities at shooting at more extreme angles. The hood is comprised of 4 sections and each section consists of thick black material. As these sections are fairly rigid, it makes it simple when attaching to glass using the suction cups attached to each corner. The remainder of the Lenskirt is made from a softer material that fits over the front of your camera lens. This section can be tightened around the lens by a cord with an adjustable round plastic cord lock. The Lenskirt folds up quite easily (see above) to fit into most camera bags. Pretty simple – but does it work? Read on…
Above: Paul using the Lenskirt in Shanghai.
Sorry, not the best shot showing the Lenskirt but we think you get the basic idea.
Above: Use the slider to see before and after the use of the Lenskirt. Taken from Sydney Tower Eye.
Does it work? You bet your cotton socks it works!!! We have used it on 2 trips to Japan and trips to Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai, not to mention domestic travel and it has been a lifesaver in situations where we just would not have been able to get the shots. Here are just a few places that we’ve found it useful on our travels –
- Cable car windows on Lantau Island in Hong Kong
- Oriental Pearl glass viewing platform in Shanghai
- World Trade Centre observation deck in Tokyo
- On the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) and other trains in Japan
- Mag’s Park Shibuya 109 observation deck overlooking Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo
- Cityscape shots from our hotel in Yokohama, Japan
Yokohama, Japan – Shot with a Sony A7Riii + Sony FE 24-105 f/4 lens + Tripod + Lenskirt
30mm – f/8 – 15sec -ISO 100 – Shot taken through our hotel room window.
There are many who think that this gadget is overpriced for what it does, and rightly so, this is an expensive gadget. But it is an expensive gadget that we’re willing to live with as it is a perfect solution in our photography for capturing images that would be otherwise very frustrating. In travel photography, there are tools that you don’t use every day such as – square filter systems*, polarising filters*, and even some lenses. Well, the Lenskirt falls into this category and although we won’t be using it every day in our travels it will still have a permanent place in our camera bag and will be there when we need it.
* We recommend the use of Urth filters. Use the discount code ‘widescenes‘ at checkout to receive a further 15% discount on all their products.
RATED: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The Lenskirt is available in Regular or XL sizes. You can purchase this item in Australia at DigiDirect. Outside of Australia, you can buy direct from Lenskirt or on Amazon.
Interested in more product reviews? Check out some of our other photographic product reviews.
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