Hoods offer several benefits to the photographer. The Canon EW-72 Lens Hood for EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM Lens shades the lens from stray light that may result in an unwanted discoloration or hazing of the image, or the appearance of lens flare. Shading your lens helps improve contrast and image quality. A hood is not required to eliminate these problems, as any item used to shade the lens will provide the same protection from stray light. The hood is convenient in that it is built to offer protection while ensuring that it will not inadvertently find its way into your image. Photographers often state the protective abilities of a hood as a reason to have one.