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What's the best color of goggle lens?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I was skiing this weekend up at Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl with my dad, brother, and sister this weekend.  On Sunday (Sugar Bowl day), there was a decent bit of snow coming down most of the day.  We had pretty low light and not stellar visibility (bear in mind, I took the photo below on my cell phone so it looks a little darker than it really was).

 

 

 

At lunch, my dad and my brother got in a discussion/argument about lens color for goggles.

 

My dad just got some new goggles with removable lenses and he traded out his tinted lens for a clear one.  Now, my dad was saying clear was the best lens for the situation.  My brother thought there must be a better alternative for bringing out definition (or that at least the clear lens had to be polarized to do much). 

 

So what do you guys think?  What color lens is best suited for what conditions?

post #2 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heebeejeebee3 View Post

 

At lunch, my dad and my brother got in a discussion/argument about lens color for goggles.

 

 

Was it kinda like this thread?

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/82416/looking-to-buy-new-goggles

 

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 13

A lot of people on this forum love the Smith sensor lenses...

 

I personally use the Oakley high intensity yellow for overcast and flat flight days because they seem to do a good job of increasing contrast for me, and the grey polarized for sunny days. While it is dark, I also find the polarized lens isn't that bad on overcast days either - but I also like it because it makes me look like darth vader, which is obviously the most important thing.

post #4 of 13

In really low light, clear is the way to go.

Polarized will cut light transmission by 1/2, and will do nothing to enhance contrast in those conditions. 

Yellow is very helpful in enhancing contrast in flat light conditions once you've got enough light to see clearly.

I'm a big fan of glacier glasses when it gets really bright.

post #5 of 13

If you go online to a store like backcountry, they have a list of every lens and what it is engineered to do. the main factors are: percent of light transmitted, and contrast enhancement. and no, I wouldn't ever go clear except for night skiing by lights or moonlight.

post #6 of 13

I like sensor or yellow in those conditions.  All I can say is, when wearing sensor or yellow lenses in flat light, if I take my goggles off for some reason, the amount of blue is overwhelming and really cuts down on definition. That would be the same as clear.

post #7 of 13

That looks like pretty flat light in that photograph. No goggle can create shadows (contrast) where there are none.

 

But where there are any shadows at all, the conventional wisdom goes that the shadows will be bluish (especially when reflecting a bright blue sky). The complementary color to blue is orange, so orange lenses, theoretically, darken snow shadows better than other colors by selectively blocking blue light, thus increasing contrast the most.

 

That's the theory, and from my experience, it is true. While I've used every lens color from clear to yellow to rose, in flat-light situations I prefer some shade of orange or amber. But those rose-colored glasses can sure make things look extra good on a sunny day!

 

Really, anything from yellow through orange/amber to red (rose) will do a pretty good job of enhancing shadows and increasing contrast in most situations. The worst colors, of course, are their complements: green/blue/violet. Gray--which keeps colors truest to life and can be great for driving--is not much good on snow either.

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #8 of 13

Lens colors depend on the person. You see some ppl have different color preception as is shaded color blindness or age,ect.

post #9 of 13
Quote:

 

Lens colors depend on the person. You see some ppl have different color preception as is shaded color blindness or age,ect.

 

 

Different color perception would surely account for personal preference about what "looks best." But it will not affect the lens's effectiveness at blocking shadows and increasing contrast. You can easily see the pure effects of lens color on contrast by using colored filters on a camera with black and white film (or B&W digital--makes no difference).

 

Yellow, orange, and red filters are staples for serious black and white photography. It's amazing what a deep red filter will do to the contrast between blue sky (turns black) and white clouds! By contrast, (!) a blue filter will make the sky near-white and the clouds almost disappear with very little contrast.

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #10 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

 

Lens colors depend on the person. You see some ppl have different color preception as is shaded color blindness or age,ect.

 

Or peripheral vision vs. focused vision.   

 

Ever noticed how you -can't- quite look directly at blue or violet Christmas lights? 

 

No blue in middle of fovea. 

 

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/vision/rodcone.html

 

But, if you don't really care about centering and focusing on every part of the snow you cross,

blue does offer significantly higher gain.  Sharper peripheral vision.    Like at speed.

 

 

post #11 of 13

I switched to Oakley's High Intensity Persimmon Lens from the regular Persimmon Lens this season and found that they make a huge difference in flat light. 

post #12 of 13

In conditions like you posted I just use my regular rose tint lens that I use on bright days.

 

I break out the sensor mirrors when you can't tell if you are moving, what direction you are moving and if you are even going downhill. The type when you are instantly disoriented and fall over standing still.

 

On those days I really wish I had a clear lens.

 

 

 

post #13 of 13

Add me to the list of yellow-lovers. I use those for low-light days, and polarized all other times. Seems to work for me.

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