Originally Posted by Uilleann
Yep. Easy answer: $ale$.
Make more colors, the kiddies will buy them all up because they look all steezy with their rad new gear yo!
As much as I like Smith Optics, they aren't immune to the fickle whims of the goggle buying hordes. The blue mirror gives the best definition in low light, as it reflects blue away from the eye, and pushes perception into the yellow band of vision. This is ideal for humans in most flat and low light scenarios. The red and gold mirrors do the exact opposite - and will skew vision into the blue/teal and green bans respectively. So while those mirrors may *look* cool from the outside, they aren't generally doing your eyes any favors from the inside.
I'm curious about this. I'm trying to decide between the Red Sensor (60%), Blue Sensor (70%), and Gold Sensor (70%). I ride in the PNW. My enemies are flat light that washes out any depth perception in the terrain as well as fog. As in, can't see the ground a few feet in front and riding blind fog. My enemy is not the sun (for the one day a year it comes out bright, I can just use my ignitor mirror).
It seems widely accepted that a yellow base tint provides the best depth perception. Why did Smith stop offering this entirely? All three of those are light rose. I have I/O goggles, so I'll have to choose between those regardless, but I'm curious.
Although these three have similar VLT, they vary significantly on the spectrum chart. Gold appears to be very close to clear, allowing more light in all bands vs the other two, with the exception of a the lower half of the blue band showing more with the Red Sensor. Right around 400-430 or so.
There is one other potential drawback with the Blue Sensor Mirror, which doesn't directly relate to optics. Blue light suppresses melatonin production, so filtering it, especially in conditions where there is minimal blue light to begin with, might make you more tired (a recent study even suggests blue light will do more to wake you up than caffeine: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2238581/How-blue-light-car-good-coffee-keeping-alert-wheel.html). Other studies suggest increasing blue light makes you more alert: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831986/
As for depth perception, this study seems to suggest that allowing blue light increases the error in depth perception: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17879652. I'm not sure if that is related to the white out caused by flat light or not. The problem in that situation is not that you cannot judge distance, it seems more like there is just a loss of contrast and everything is the same color. So blocking blue light might help depth perception, and while that is nice, I don't think it is a major enemy compared to the others. If I think a tree is 600 ft away and it is actually 500 ft away, it won't really matter unless I'm going extremely fast. Unless the depth perception issue applies at very short distances, then I could see that being a problem.
Basically, if you look at the contrast chart here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrast_%28vision%29#Contrast_sensitivity - an ideal lens would change the appearance of the terrain in low/flat light from the upper part of that image to looking more like the bottom part. Is that even possible to do by altering lens color? Is there even any advantage to using a colored lens in that situation?
Another point in favor of the Blue Sensor Mirror might be that blue light exposure in general supposedly degrades your vision faster. I'm not sure how true that is or how much of an issue it is.
Considering the weather conditions described, and my goals...based on your knowledge and experience, and the charts provided by Smith, can you say under which conditions the Gold Sensor Mirror would perform worse than the other two? And what helps the most with whiteouts? There are probably more factors I am not considering, and I'm probably wrong about some of my conclusions here.
For Smith's Blue, Red, and Gold Sensor, when would each be the best, and when would each be the worst?
Edit: Also, this statement from the Smith website is really confusing:
RC36, Gold Lite and Yellow are used on overcast days or if you are spending a great deal of time in the trees. Green and Rose are often used as intermediate options.
Gold Lite and Yellow make sense there (neither of which they sell anymore), but RC36? How is a 36% VLT lens better than their 70% VLT Rose lenses such as Blue Sensor Mirror for overcast days or in the shadows? Is it RC36 not meant for medium bright days?