A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
What is the ULH?
A black silicone cone that will stretch fit to any lens, the Ultimate Lens Hood is an incredibly versatile bit of kit. Attach facing forwards to block out unwanted glare and reflections when shooting through a window, or fit backwards to protect your equipment from the elements.
The 60mm diameter for the ULH refers to your lens BODY size, NOT the filter size. If you have a 58mm filter, then you will want the full size ULH as the lens body will be larger.
What does it do?
Removing glare by day and reflections by night, the ULH can be used any time you need it. Whether you're shooting through a hotel window, a high-rise observation deck, the window of a bus or through an enclosure at the zoo - the ULH makes a massive difference, transforming a bad photo into a great one even before you start editing!
Fits to your lens, rather than attaching to the glass. This means you're free to move around, change your angle and adjust your camera settings without having to detach anything.
Leaves no marks on the window. This'll keep you on the good side of venue managers and their staff! The ULH is made of silicone, and is designed to rest against the glass, rather than attach to it.
Perfect for crowded areas. Often the busiest tourist attractions leave very little room - or time - for great images. With the ULH on your lens, you take up no more room than you would normally, but your photos will come out better than anyone else's.
Get drone-looking shots, without a drone. Ok, this one is a bit of a stretch, but you'll get such clear photos out of high-rise buildings that people won't believe they were taken through glass at all. Most cities around the world have banned the use of drones, so this is your next best option to get those cityscape bangers! (also works through helicopter windows...)
Much more effective than a CPL. Polarising filters are known to modify and remove some reflections at certain angles but don't work to fully block the glare (especially at night). A good quality CPL is expensive, they change the colours in your photo and you'll need adapter rings to fit them to all your lenses. If you already own a CPL, add the ULH to your kit bag and get the best of both! (and the added weatherproofing the ULH provides!)
Who is it for?
The ULH is a must-have accessory for photographers, filmmakers, and travellers alike. It's one of those things that while you may not use it every day, it'll earn its place in your bag in no time at all. If you've ever wanted landscape photos through a window, a time-lapse of take off and landing, or the perfect shot of a tiger at the zoo - the Ultimate Lens Hood is for you. (unintentional rhyme there.)
How do I use it?
The ULH can be used freehand or on a tripod. The freedom to move around without any complicated setup is a real bonus in popular tourist locations and zoos where lots of wandering people make available space limited. Not to mention many of these venues have banned tripods entirely.
With options to stretch directly over the lens itself, or onto your existing rigid hood, the ULH will fit any lens body diameter upwards of 60mm. You can tilt your camera to shoot at a massive range of angles, and even use wide lenses. (*fit-tested up to 128mm - Canon 200mm F2.0. Wide tested to 16mm at full frame with no problems)
Shown above stretched over the 115mm diameter hood from the Canon 100-400 lens, the ULH could comfortably stretch even further. There is also a smaller version called the ULHmini for all smaller lenses and cameras (inc. Moment, ExoLens & Lemuro)
There are a huge range of lenses out there, so that's why the ULH is launching in two sizes. Generally speaking, if you're shooting with a DSLR, Mirrorless or Bridge camera then you'll likely be needing the full size ULH.
If you shoot with a smaller camera, your smartphone (with a Moment, Lemuro or Olloclip-type lens), or a pocket point and shoot then you're likely to be needing the ULHmini. (see below)
The easiest way to find out is to measure your lens body diameter, or look at the specification on the manufactures website. It's not the filter size you need to measure, it is the overall body width.
If you're unsure which size is right for you email Support@UltimateLensHood.com and I'll get the answer to you!
Be prepared to be questioned by everyone about where you got the ULH, because anyone that sees it in action wishes they had one! Finding people to help demonstrate the ULH certainly wasn't a challenge, and no members of staff at test locations have ever made any complaints.
Whether you're using a Moment lens on your smartphone, a point and shoot camera (such as Canon G7X or Sony RX100), or a lens too small for the full size ULH - the ULHmini is what you need take incredible photos through glass and cut out that reflection.
The ULHmini works in the exact same way as its bigger brother, allowing you to shoot at a wide range of angles and even use wide lenses (such as Moment 18mm). Made from the same super tough, yet stretchy silicone, the ULHmini can be fitted to lens diameters from 25-60mm with ease. It will also help weatherproof most point and shoot cameras too!
It wouldn't be a truly versatile piece of equipment unless it did more than one thing. For those not shooting in an urban environment all that often, the ULH makes a brilliant cover to help protect your camera from the elements.
While not a completely watertight solution, fitting the ULH in reverse does add a lot of protection to your setup. Whether it be rain or spray, mud or snow, sand or gravel - the ULH keeps all unwanted debris off the camera and lens while maintaining easy access to all the buttons.
ULH does not prevent anything getting onto the front element. This can be sealed up by attaching a protection (or simple UV) filter to the front of your lens, as the manufactures recommend. Crucially, the ULH will keep the camera clean and prevent any ingress into the buttons or lens mount.
Whether you're using a weather sealed camera and lens combination or not, it doesn't hurt to have a bit of extra protection. If you're not using a weather sealed combo, it's even more important to keep it covered when in less than ideal conditions!
An unexpected but extremely useful function: The Ultimate Lens Hood makes a great changing pad. Whether you're looking to swap lenses on a rough and uneven surface, needing to put your camera down on the sand, or just looking to protect your camera from scratches when you stop for lunch - the ULH is the perfect travel companion.
^ check out the prototype gallery at the top of the page for more images comparing side-by-sides and the result of the ULH in a wide range of environments.
The idea for the ULH was born from a trip to Japan back in 2015. Back then I was a snowboard instructor, and was lucky enough to travel from the UK to Japan for the best winter season of my life. Before getting started I spent a few days exploring Tokyo, and almost all of my photos from inside the many observation decks/towers turned out rubbish. [fully crap]
By day, the issue was the suns glare bouncing off the glass, and at night it was reflection from interior lights that transformed all the windows into mirrors. I could see everyone around me was struggling with the same problem, and I bet if you're still reading this far into the campaign then you've also had your fair share of these issues too!
Fast forward to now - with lots of past projects under my belt - the ULH is finally ready to launch! I have developed it through several iterations to arrive on what I fully believe to be the best combination of size, stretchiness and toughness for it to truly live up to the title of Ultimate Lens Hood.
Made from a compression moulded silicone, the initial tooling for the full size ULH is already paid for and complete. There are a few minor modifications I am planning to make. The first is to make the outer brim a little chunkier - this will help it hold its shape a bit better, and the second is to add in the ULH branding marks. The ULHmini tooling will be started during the campaign!
One of the early discoveries was the colour: The ULH has to be black. Any other colour gives a horribly tinted vignette as it reflects the light and changes the colour of your photos. Black doesn't reflect any light, and therefore doesn't vignette or tint. Simples!
So that's pretty much everything I think there is to say on the ULH!
As I said in the video, I am really pleased with this product and am super excited to get production started. This is far from my first Kickstarter campaign, and will definitely not be the last either!
If you have any questions, please message me directly or comment on the campaign and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can! If there are frequent questions, I will add to the FAQ.
So now you've seen the full campaign...
If you like the ULH please pick your pledge tier from the options above and share the campaign with everyone you know! I need your help to get this funded, and into the hands of filmmakers and photographers all round the world.
Thank you for reading to the end, and thank you for your support :)
Risks and challenges
Often with custom moulded (or injected) parts one of the major delays and risks is in the production of the tooling. However, this has been dealt with because I had the tooling produced for the ULH upfront and all images/video you see of it in the campaign are the real deal. The small tweaks and changes will be happening during the campaign (once the goal is hit!) and production will be ready to start as soon as KS release the funds a fortnight after the campaign ends.
Another big risk with Kickstarter campaigns is when they become popular and go very highly over funded because fulfilment can become overwhelming. By using an experienced 3rd party to handle all fulfilment and knowing the maximum output levels with my manufacturing partner, these risks too have been avoided!