Summer 2005

As a student with little disposable income the cost of professional photography equipment is prohibitively high. Buying new lenses in Canada is completely out of the question as they are often 35-40 percent higher priced than the same items in the U.S once taxes are paid. Even at American prices the cost of a brand new 300mm 2.8 L IS for example is $4000. That would cover my tuition for two full years!!

My solution has been to buy used equipment that has been well cared for. If you know the market and make smart purchases my experience makes me believe that you can acquire professional optics and cameras at a greatly reduced price. With that said I bring you “Extreme Makeover: 300mm 2.8 L Edition”.

I recently purchased this lens for what I considered to be a very fair price. It has some blemishes to be sure but the glass is in excellent condition and the lens functions as it should. The major problem is that it was missing the hood and lens cap/cover.

Building the Hood

My primary goal was to build a hood that would perform the function it should, not way too much, be easy to mount, strong and stay in place. I discovered that the case from a 100 spindle of CD's might do the job as it fits perfectly and is light. However they are not all that strong and would be difficult to keep in place on their own. My solution was to use several insert pieces that would add to the stability of the hood and make it easier and more stable to mount.

The first thing I did was cut the top out of a 25CD spindle case leaving a 1/4 inch lip around the edge

The 25CD case that you just modified will become the attachment end of the hood adding stability and giving the lens something to but up against.

For the middle insert I found a container from a cleaning product that fit. If you cant find anything you could likely just use another 100CD case.

I used the cap from the cleaning product for greater stability at the end of the hood. I then determined how long I wanted the hood to be and marked this out with a sharpie and cut off the excess. For me this was the greatest length that could fit with the hood attached to the lens + 2x tele-converter on my 10D in my backpack.

Next I figured out the needed size of the middle insert and cut it to size.

This left me with the four pieces I would use for the hood.

I then cut out the end of the cap with a very sharp exacto knife.

Perhaps too sharp!

After I got a band-aid I filed down the cap.

This gave me my final four pieces.

Finally I glued them together with superglue and painted the hood (inside and out). Note that I painted my hood black because it is going to be covered up anyways. If you want to imitate Canon white I have read that Ford Cameo Beige or Tamiya model paint color XF-55 work well.

Making a Lens Cover

Because there is no lens cap for the 300mm f/2.8 I decided to build a lens cover similar to the ones provided by Canon. The upper part of the bag was made from a imitation suede material that was doubled up. The cap was made from vinyl on the outside followed by a blank cd for stability, a round cut-out of an old mouse pad for cushioning and then the imitation suede on the inside.

Protecting my Investment

I also wanted to prevent the lens from getting any more scratches in the paint. Using a spandex material I created a tight cover for the lens and hood. Essentially each piece is just a tube of the material that is quadrupled over. Given my lack of sewing skills I am quite pleased with the result.

And there you have it. A new hood, protective camouflage cover and lens cover all for under $30. To give you an idea of what the genuine replacement costs would have been consider the chart below.

Product Cost
My Cost
Canon ET-120 Lens Hood
Canon E-185 Lens Cap
JRF Neoprene cover
Total Savings
At least $500 USD