About that hood...
Yes, it's a rubber hood, and it is so low-pro because it is a collapsible rubber hood in it's compacted state. You can open it up into a standard hood (somewhat like an accordian action) and spring it back down into a nice small ring like you see in my pictures. It works well as a front edge protector also such as whenever you set the camera on a table and it rests on the lens.
They're not more than $5 in any mom & pop's camera shop. I've also seen them in Ritz Camera (Wolf's/Kit's/etc.) and on Amazon for roughly the same price.
grip: KM Maxxum 5D | Minolta 50mm f1.4 neck: Sony A200 | Minolta 70-210mm f4
backup: Fuji s6000fd | pocket: Fuji F20SE
sentimental: Sony DSC-S85
wife: Canon s800IS | 9yo daughter: Canon s410