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Prizms, Photochromics, Or....? For the best all round experience without a mountain of lenses.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I will be stopping in the states in a few weeks so will have the opportunity to pick up some new kit at somewhere between half to a third of the price it would cost back home.

The amount of skiing I can do at the moment is restricted to a couple of weeks per year.  But I’d really like a set of goggles that will cover the whole spectrum as I am sick of losing precious days and enjoyment to the weather.  I think it is worth spending a little more now if it means they last a few years (as opposed to the cheap crap I’ve had before).  And if I later add more lenses to what I have then that is fine as well.

Have been looking at the Oakley Flight Decks with the “Prizm” lenses.  It seems there isn’t much difference in price between the replacement Prizm and their Standard lens, yet there is a big difference for the whole goggle.  This makes me inclined to buy something like a Hi-Persimmon goggle with a Prizm Black Iridium replacement lens and the price adds up just slightly more than the Prizm by itself.

While I have been able to try these goggles on I haven’t been able to compare lenses as the local stock is limited.

I’d be interested to know what the crossover is like with the various lenses.  Ie. Would the Prizm Black go low enough to pair with a Hi-Yellow/Persimmon? And if not, should I be looking at the Prizm-Jade as a better all-rounder?

I’m also intrigued by the Photochromic lens that Smith does, though I haven’t tried their goggles on and I prefer the style of the flight-deck.  I do prefer the idea of photochromic as I think this would reduce the hassle of having to switch lens (even if switching is easy!)

Also what colour do the lenses ACTUALLY give off from the outside?  It seems Oakley is being deliberately deceptive with their photography.  Do the Prizms actually have a matt-white finish???  And is it possible to change the strap, if not now at a later date when they release more?  Their plain black-or-white straps simply suck!  I’d rather the retro styling they have on their other models.

 

Thanks!

PT.

post #2 of 17
Plenty of info if you search.
This thread has prizm info at end:
http://www.epicski.com/t/109403/desperate-for-the-best-flat-light-goggles
Same with this:
http://www.epicski.com/t/106729/goggles-and-what-are-my-options

Also search for Smith lenses. Good thread on those.
Change Straps? Prob not. Write to Smith.
post #3 of 17

If you're going to go with Prizm, go with the Rose. It's far more versatile and has really good low light performance. I don't think the Prizm Black is particularly special. From my perspective, it doesn't perform any better than many other bright-light lenses... just has the rose base color with lower VLT.

 

Also, I hate changing lenses on the Flight Deck. Personally, I think it's too much of a pain. I just leave the Prizm Rose in all the time now.

post #4 of 17
Hehe...i like the Black Prizm for bright light but it is too dark for general use.
Don't think anyone had really been gaga over a photo sensitive lens. I would consider a polarized lens or something in the mid 30's for Visual Light Transmisdion as a general purpose lens.
Or as suggested, just get a low light lens and leave it in. I've done the low light goggles and dark sunglasses at Abasin in May which can have quickly varying light levels. Just put the goggs up on the helmet and switch to sunglasses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post

Due to their cost, we've only gotten one of the I/Ox Elite Turbofans in so far this season.  Ours is the Red Sol-X with the Sensor Mirror (blue) as the low light second option.  The goggle is crazy well built, and they've improved the fan control a great deal.  I've never been a raving fan of photochromic lenses in general, although they do have a niche in general ophthalmic eyewear.  But in skiing, the photosensitive molecules just don't unwind, and wind back up quickly enough to be practical in many of the lighting conditions on a mountain.  The commercials lie!  (There, I said it.)  wink.gif  The 'simulations' on TV show lenses changing from clear or light tint to dark in a matter of seconds - when the reality is they take approx two minutes fro their clear/light state, to achieve full darkening effect, and anything from 8-20 minutes to return to clear again.  Another factor on snow with this type of lens, is that the molecules are slightly temperature dependent as well.  Add to this the increased exposure to UV at altitude, and the lenses are more likely to get dark and stay dark...even in moderate overcast conditions.

The human eye still wins here.  Our irises are capable of much greater (and effective) changes to lighting conditions than any manufactured lens will likely be.  Ideally, for a given ski day, observe the light before you go up, and have at least a basic idea of what the weather is expected to do during the day.  Rarely will you go from bright sin/bluebird to heavy overcast and snow repeatedly in the same day.  Find a lens color that you feel comfortable with for the given conditions, and get out and ski!  Remember to treat your goggle lenses like you would your favorite Blu-ray disc...meaning don't throw them haphazardly into a backpack or ski bag.  Scratches are bad for vision.  Take a bit of care in how you clean them after a day out, as moisture can damage and destroy some lenses - usually the inner 'anti-fog' surfaces.  If you can find a good goggle case, buy one, and use it! 
post #5 of 17

Tog are you sure for polarized lens?? I love polarized lens for my every day Oakley sunglasses, but for skiing, I would hate that thing. Ice plates are not all that visible anymore (at least with right conditions, and when you would need to see that, I bet I would always have right conditions for polarizer to work :) ), and for skiing, I still love to see them. So personally for goggles I wouldn't get polarized lens. But that's based just on this what I have seen when sliding down the course with polarized sunglasses on, not for actual skiing, as I have never been skiing with polarized goggles.

post #6 of 17
I've skied with polarized sunglasss and like it but again it's personal. Never used polarized ski goggle lenses mainy because they're not common and used to be way more expensive. Now they all are expensive so they're not that different. I definitely like them. For me it seems to calm and sharpen the world. I also much prefer the Oakley Black Prizm to the Fire Iridium even though they both have similar VLT rates. I like the view inside the Black Prizm, I tolerate the Fire Iridium.

Are you saying you couldn't tell a wcup race was ice with polarized glasses on?

Read this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

Brian, did I miss it?  I  understand that the color and coatings of some lenses are designed to reduce contrast, so that shadows are not so dark. also used in bicycle lenses.


Here's the simplest answer.  ALL tinted and almost all "clear" (technically it's impossibly to get a true 100% transmission from any lens) will reduce contrast to some degree.  But again - the human eye perceives light differently across the visible spectrum, and from one individual to the next.  My "blue" will probably be very slightly different from yours for example.  The difficulty with sight is that it's so subjective.  What is perfectly comfortable to one individual concerning levels of glare, optical noise and the overall accuracy of a given lens may be a complete and instant headache/nausea/diplopia...sometimes even seizure in someone else.  Granted, that level of reaction is rare, but it can occur and I have seen it on more than one occasion.

Finding a given tint color cast and density that is comfortable for you in a given lighting condition usually isn't horribly difficult, but it can take a little bit of trial and error, and some time.  Be patient, and don't think that you should be stuck with just one or two lenses for everything you want to do.  Just as there isn't a single ski that will do everything on the mountain, there is not a single lens that will either, in fact probably even less so with lenses.

The color of a given tint can make quite a difference in perceived clarity and sharpness.  Try some different stuff and see what feels comfortable for you initially.  Ask the optician/shop tech to let you take several lenses outside (do NOT look at the sun...just look around as you normally would).  Pay particular attention to the blue light areas of shadows, near and far.  Look at color perception and the amount of 'pop' some lenses afford to certain color bands.  Look at the amount of muting effect other lenses offer.

Some very general tint color cast tendencies are as follows:

Grey/Grey-Green/Grey-Blue: Comfortable in bright sun conditions.  Like a volume knob on a stereo these lenses tend to attenuate all visible frequencies down at approximately the same rate.  Not very effective in low light, flat light, or in areas of enhanced blue light (including short wave reflection) such as snow and water.

Brown/Amber/Rose:  Comfortable in most light, but particularly effective in changing/variable light, low light and in areas of high blue light and shadows.  These casts tend to 'enhance' color perception and definition in reduced light scenarios.  These tints act more like a graphic equalizer in that they attenuate very specific frequencies and boost others.  They also tend to enhance the human eye's natural light perception in the yellow/green band of the spectrum, generally about 555nm and above.

This is why you often see ski goggles in warmer tint casts.  Also, mirror lenses will further effect the final transmission curves of any given lens.  Tints absorb, and mirrors reflect.  In example, a brown lens will absorb blue light and transmit warm color tones.  But an orange/red mirror will reflect those colors and skew the lens to a greenish/blue color.  A Grey/green lens absorbs reds, oranges and yellows slightly more than the rest of the spectrum, but a green/blue mirror will shift a lens towards rose/amber.  Remember that the base tint will gave the greatest bearing on the final color your eye sees, approx. 70%-80%.  The mirror will influence the last 20%-30% of the color cast on a lens that has it.

Polarization is also something to bear in mind.  Contrary to what some say, polar lenses DO NOT, make ice invisible.  They do tend to reduce glare in general, but they do so in a very specific manner.  Reflected light from ice is neither completely polarized, nor is ice on piste ever reflecting from a truly optically flat surface.  Add to that, that most polarized lenses are not 100% efficient.  The level of tint in a polar lens somewhat proportional to it's effective polarization - but it is not a linear relation, nor is it consistent from one brand of lens to another.  Whether or not to ski under a polar lens is a personal choice - there is no right or wrong answer here.  Some like it (I'm one of them) and others don't, and it's all good.

Make sense?  I hope so.  I do tend to ramble!  smile.gif

Bri~
post #7 of 17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Are you saying you couldn't tell a wcup race was ice with polarized glasses on?

Well there's very few WC races that are not on ice, so you can't miss it, but that's not the point :D It could be personal thing, and I have never been skiing with polarized goggles, but as I wrote, I have one pair of every day Oakley sunglasses with polarized lenses, and normally when I go to course, I pretty much always go with normal sunglasses and not with goggles, so sometimes those polarized ones are the ones I have. So based on this "experience", and based on knowing how polarized lenses work (polarized filter is pretty essential tool in photography, even though not used much with sports), I just don't like it. It's not you don't see it. If sun is right, if and if your angle is right, you really don't see it. I mean it's not like ice doesn't exist, but "glare" (i guess that's right word) is not there, and in most cases you see ice plates because of this glare.

Otherwise I'm always more on bright side for lenses. Pretty much everything I do, I do with Oakley G30 lens (mtb, running, xc skiing, even up on glaciers on sunny summer day), and some few years old orange Scott lenses for goggles, which reminds me, I need to finally get new goggles and helmet :D For everyday sunglasses I have darker, and fire iridium is on one, and it looks nice from outside, but to look through, I don't really love them, and I really don't imagine how I could ski with them. Prizm on the other side sounds really interesting, but never had chance to see it in real life.

PS: I totally agree with you that polarized lenses make things more crisp/sharp. I don't know if it's because it's polarized or it's just better quality of lens.

post #8 of 17
It might have as much to do with the base tint as the polarizing film.

I skied with some Kaenon brand polarized sunglasses at altitude, 11-13+ thosand feet, (in May so very bright sun), and liked them. Much better than the Fire Iridium. Haven't compared to Black Prizm, but the Kaenon polarized have a higher VLT I think so would have a better range of use.

Still, there are people that will use a light lens under similar conditions and be fine with it. I will literally get sick if I do that but can ski all day in the east coast at low altitude with bare eyes and no problems except when very bright which is rare.
So... ?
post #9 of 17
post #10 of 17

2 yrs ago i bought a pair of  the Zeal Detonator SPPX photochromatic lenses.  they were good, not great.  the photocromatic lenses did darken and lighten with conditions, but they didn't go far enough.  in flat light conditions, they were too dark. in sunlight, they weren't dark enough.

i now use a pair with replaceable lenses; a little bit of a hassle, but i now have better vision with them.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback!  I find it interesting seeing the condition graphs for the oakley lenses on the other thread, just wish they included all of their lenses instead of just a few...

 

It seems a good combo would be Prizm Jade with Hi-Yellow.  I now think the Prizm Black would simply be too dark for me overall.  It seems a lot of people are raving about the Prizm Rose... Considering that it's not worth getting the prizm by itself, what "standard" lense would you pick to go with it? 

 

Has anyone actually used the Smith Photochromic Red Sensor Mirror?  It sounds like Photochromic would be fine to wear in most conditions so long as they aren't changing back and forth too rapidly?  It says VLT is 20-50%.

 

Also quite like the Anon MIG goggles and they do a couple of "fade" lenses which might be interesting to try.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PresentTense View Post

 

It seems a good combo would be Prizm Jade with Hi-Yellow.  I now think the Prizm Black would simply be too dark for me overall.  It seems a lot of people are raving about the Prizm Rose... Considering that it's not worth getting the prizm by itself, what "standard" lense would you pick to go with it? 

 

 

What do you mean it's not worth getting the Prizm by itself? Which Prizm?

 

HI Yellow is good, but I still prefer the Prizm Rose. I've never been a huge fan of the look of yellow tints, and I think the rose tint gives slightly better contrast for me. And the Prizm Rose can be used in basically any lighting conditions, whereas you won't want the HI Yellow when the sun is bright.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kauffee View Post

What do you mean it's not worth getting the Prizm by itself? Which Prizm?
What I meant is that if I buy a goggle that comes with a standard lens plus a prizm replacement lens, it costs practically the same as a goggle that comes with prizm.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

So I think I've got it narrowed down to Oakley...

 

Please correct me if I'm wrong...  From reading elsewhere it seems that photochromic lenses, while the transitioning isn't so much of a problem now, they just don't sit at the darkness you really want for the conditions, so you are more likely to get what you want by picking a lens you like.

 

I don't really like the Smith I/O in terms of looks, they cost more than oakley and I really don't think their lenses are any better.

 

I quite like the look of the Anon goggles, but I don't know enough about them really and they are one I haven't tried on.

 

 

I'm now debating between Canopy and Flight Deck.  I prefer the look of the FD but the Canopy has more options and also a Master-Chief look to it which I kinda like.  I think that essentially they are the same goggle in terms of quality and visibility...  I don't actually believe that mounting a lense OUTSIDE of the frame instead of INSIDE actually reduces the size of the frame and therefore the visibility like the manufacturers want you to.  You still have to look past the plastic!

 

I'm also debating between getting a Prizm Jade Iridium for all round use, with a Hi-Yellow for low light, or getting the Prizm Rose for everything except the best days and having something like Gold or Blue Iridium for when it's too bright for the P-Rose.

 

I prefer the look of the Jade (I think) but somehow I think it is more sensible to be covered for bad conditions all the time, except when it's beautiful and they aren't likely to come.

 

I don't think I'm ever going to be looking at the sun long enough to need the darkest of lenses, even though they are the best looking!

post #15 of 17
What part of the country are you skiing?
You can't really have a goggle without a low light lens. Unless you have another and can use that. that's when you need goggles -snow,liquid snow.

The Canopy isn't that bad to change lenses but the first time you'll hate it. One possible advantage to an external frame is some protection from tree branches.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 

Tog are you sure for polarized lens?? I love polarized lens for my every day Oakley sunglasses, but for skiing, I would hate that thing. Ice plates are not all that visible anymore (at least with right conditions, and when you would need to see that, I bet I would always have right conditions for polarizer to work :) ), and for skiing, I still love to see them. So personally for goggles I wouldn't get polarized lens. But that's based just on this what I have seen when sliding down the course with polarized sunglasses on, not for actual skiing, as I have never been skiing with polarized goggles.


Primoz,

 

I have been happy with my Scott Duel Lens which is a polarized lens.  I have not had difficulty seeing ice with these goggles.  However your MMV as they say.  If you can try them out for yourself before you buy.

post #17 of 17

Last time I checked (about a year ago) the photochromic lenses available for ski goggles operated within a fairly narrow range.  For example, if I recall correctly, the Smith p/c lens shifts only between 20% - 50% visible light transmission (VLT).  On a bright-sun day, 20% might be sufficient "blockage" for some -- but I really like my Green Sol-X lens, which is at 15% VLT.  For low-light days, having only 50% VLT is not enough light for my (old guy) eyes.  For those days, I have the Blue Sensor Mirror lens, which allows 70% VLT.   My middle lens, BTW, is the Ignitor Mirror, with 35% VLT. 

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