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What mask do you use?

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Woo hoo!

 

I tried my DX30/60 in the pool last night, Sigma 15mm fisheye, YS-90DX. Certainly was interesting and I now need to spend my time getting used to strobe settings above water for a while.

 

One thing I did notice was how far my current mask holds my eye from the viewfinder. It's a Mares Lirica, which is fine for normal scuba but not the best for photography.

 

So I was wondering what masks people are using and hence what they can recommend - I know people generally recommend what they use :)

 

Cheers

 

Martyn

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Hey Martyn,

 

I use an older Ocean Master that is basically the same as the Z4. I chose it at the time because of the quick adjust mask strap and band, which are great, but it lacks in terms of using it for photography. I tried a couple other masks a while back, but what I figured out was that with the DX-3060 housing, it's not so much the mask that makes it tough to use as it is the viewfinder. A lower profile like an Oceanic Shadow(maybe wrong model) will get your eye a little closer, but it might not solve all of your viewfinder woes.

 

Tom

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When I started, I used a TUSA mask with the side windows. Not a low volume mask but it was great. A few years ago, I decided to try an Oceanic Shadow for use with my SLR. Didn't really like the feel so I went back to my TUSA. On my last trip, my trusty TUSA mask, died at the ripe old age of 14 (split in the silicone, they don't make replacements anymore) so I switched over to my spare, the Oceanic. I was miserable in it for a couple days -- the low volume really multiplied the effect of any water in it for me and the low air volume made clearing more of a challenge; the mask also seemed to fog a bit easier. I did get pretty much used to it after several days, but I went out and bought another higher-volume mask when I got home to use as my primary. My view is that a low-volume, black-skirted mask does help you see into the viewfinder a bit better, but if you're not comfortable with a low-volume mask, it is better to be comfortable and a centimeter or two farther from the viewfinder than closer and uncomfortable.

 

FWIW, Rodale's reviews have always been biased toward low-volume masks -- for some reason, they made a corporate decision that lower volume was better. Though their latest mask review admitted that low volume wasn't for everyone, low volume rating was still one of the three or four criteria in the test with a 1-10 scale that was factored directly into the results. Don't know why I went off on this tangent, but their reviews always seemed greatly flawed or biased in some way or another and it pi*&es me off. Now, they even bury the methodolgy way in the back and only present the "tester's choices" in the main article text. Ugh. No wonder more and more vendors are refusing to participate.

 

Mike

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Hi Guys,

 

If you do a lot of diving in shallow bright waters, then a mask with black silicone is a must. Otherwise you will get a LOT of glare from light entering the mask from the sides.

 

I have both a black and a clear mask (Big Eyes) and I alternate as needed.

 

I don't actually like the black mask though because I feel like I'm wearing blinders.

 

Cheers

James

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I'm with MikeO - I've never understood why low-volume masks suddenly became the hot new thing, but if I had to guess, I'd say "marketing."

 

My favorite mask used to be the huge Mares thing (I can't remember the name now) with two extra windows on the sides and two more on the bottom, angled down. Ugly to look at, and very high volume, but very comfortable, and the bottom windows (with plain glass) made it much easier to read small numbers on a wrist computer with a small display (like the unimportant ones that tell you how many minutes you're supposed to stay at what depth to avoid bad things happening). Or figure out which way a pygmy sea horse is facing. I'm shortsighted and use prescription panes in the main lenses, so it's sometimes hard to see things that are small.

 

The side-windows sound like a gimmick, but they weren't. They were actually angled back slightly, so when you looked sideways, you could actually see a bit behind you. Particularly nice if you're buddying with a diver who needs keeping an eye on.

 

Unfortunately, there was an intrinsic problem with the design - the frames tended to crack. I went through two before I gave up. I think Mares doesn't make them any more. If they brought it back with the design flaw fixed, I'd buy another in a minute.

 

My main mask for the past couple years has been the Mares Liberator. Black silicone. Medium-volume, reasonably comfortable. My backup mask (which I take with me on every dive in a pocket on my harness) is a BigEye. I don't like it as much as the Liberator. One reason is that the design seems to trap bubbles more easily, particularly if the mask is angled at all downwards. My primary second stage is quite small, but this doesn't seem to be a problem with the Liberator.

 

The key issue with a masks, as far as I'm concerned, is fit. Since some faces are broad, others narrow, with differently shaped and curved foreheads, temples, cheeks, etc., the mask that fits me perfectly may be terrible for you, and vice versa. There's certainly no one single "best" mask for everyone. If a mask doesn't fit right, then it will leak, and a leaking mask will ruin a dive.

 

Robert Delfs

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Errr........I use a black silicon Mares Lirica and find it to be pretty good. Admittedly I've only tried tried four or five other masks over the years but the Lirica seems pretty good at getting your eye close to the finder - compared to the Tusa's I had before at least. That's with an F90 in a Nexus housing so it's not a huge finder either. I thinks there's only so much you can do - and don't forget that things are going to be harder with a fisheye anyway due to the expansive field of view and smaller perspective of any subjects. Not sure I explained that well but I know what I mean :)

 

I've also heard the the Scubapro frameless is pretty good for photog's and keep meaning to try one.

 

Good luck,

Andy

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I keep going back to the Cressi Big Eyes as it gives a nice wide field of vision and it fits my face really well.

 

I tried a few others over the past few years and they just aren't as good for me - that includes the Cressi Horizon, the Tusa Liberator (or "The Fog Machine"), a couple of mares masks (not for me) and an Oceanic Shadow. Most didn't fot me right so were discarded for personal reasons and the Tusa mask never, ever stopped fogging up no matter what I tried.

 

BTW, one thing to know about the Cressi Big Eyes - if you have a big nose you wont want this mask. The nose pocket is smaller than all my other masks and the tip of my nose is touching the front of the pocket.

 

M

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I should have justified my comment on the Lirica in that it has also been the most comfortable mask for me - most others always leave me with a sore nose after multiple dives, or leak too easily. It's difficult to find both an ideal mask for photography and one that fits well (and after 10 years of diving, it's important to me to get gear that's comfortable to use).

 

Andy

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I've been wearing a Tusa Liberator for the past 3268 dives, mine only fogs up when I see people hanging off coral. This is the only mask of the modern composite era that fits my ugly face and accepts corrective lenses without hassle or expert fitting. It comes to bits in 30 seconds for total cleaning of the undisirable bio hazardous mixture of nasal residue and marine growth, and pops back together just as quick. Great too when you need to fit a new seal.

I do find before every trip a good whizz round with tooth paste removes any film and residue and thus prevents fogging.

From the picture taking point of view the mask is pretty good with SLR or ext optics.

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I had a mini shadow (until my buddy trod on it!) and loved it. Best mask I've worn as far as comfort and great for getting a good look through the viewfinder. Going back to my old higher volume mask(s) has been painful - its easy to miss whats happening in the corners of your shot.

 

A couple of things I noticed. The mini shadow is great is you have a smaller face :) But IMHO The lower profile seems to make it more susceptible to fogging ??

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In choosing a mask don't always get swayed by the price tag thinking it must be better.

 

I have been diving a Sherwood Genesis black mask and bought a replacement H20 brand that is the exact same mask for $20CDN. Or, about 10 cents USD.

 

I like the black skirt as unlike james I do not feel I am going through life with blinders on. :)

 

ps Bob, Your mask is not a Kleenex, repeat after me. Granted, in cold water diving you get a free pass on that.

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Scubapro frameless. Hated it at first, but now I love it.

 

And the price was right.... freeon the backside of Molokini at 80 fsw :)

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