This Canon lens hood effectively prevents lens flare in the vast majority of cases. It frees you from worrying about lens flare and simply focus on composing your shot.
The inner surface of the hood is flocked (i.e. coated with a felt-like material) to make it non-reflective so light entering the hood cannot reflect off it and reach the lens.
The hood is made of hard plastic and protrudes about 2 1/4 " from the lens. It is a bayonet style lens hood and fits easily over your lens. It can be reverse-mounted if you find it too obtrusive. It is strong enough to help protect your lens from a substantial frontal impact.
Some of the knock-offs are reportedly more flimsy and their inner sides are not flocked -- Since I had invested a considerable amount of money on the 17-55mm lens, I didn't want to take chances and opted to get the genuine Canon lens hood instead. (Don't get me wrong, I, too, have my gripes about Canon charging exorbitant prices for "a piece of platic.") But in the end, I decided that it is *relatively* cheap insurance that will give me peace of mind.
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Bayonet, petal form, two-claw removable hood; attachable in reverse.The Canon EW-83J Lens Hood, like all other Lens hoods, is primarily designed to prevent unwanted stray light from entering the lens by extending and shading the end of the lens. In addition, since the end of the lens is extended, you also get the added benefit of some extra protection from accidental impact.