Zeiss Lens Technology

Tricia

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Every year it seems that goggle manufacturers are touting Zeiss lens technology in a variety of their goggles.
I've seen some really nice lenses in Zeal, POC, and Giro, bringing some great improvements to vision.

The lens in the Fovea Goggle in my profile picture is Zeiss. :eek:gcool

So here's a question:
Are you finding optics who are using world class technology by others (example - Zeiss) to be some of your best options, or are the companies who work on their proprietary lens technology (example Oakley, Smith) providing your favorite lens?
 

Living Proof

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As a very broad statement, I think the user community looks to ski gear reviewers, that is you and Phil, and others with access to new gear,, to help us out with advances in goggle lens technology. Personally, I bought into the Smith I/O system, and it is pricey, because of Phil's recommendation. I remain a fan of my Smith's, and, would not consider change just because of new claims of superior optics. My belief is that when there is something so much improved, we will know about it soon enough via "wow" reviews.

BTW, the acid test will remain low light performance, it's so easy to get bright light condition gear.
 

Alexzn

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One of these days I'll write a post on the goggle optics. In short words, no, a lot of those companies are using Zeiss for marketing. Most of the companies are good enough so nowadays the lens performance is dictated by the limitations of material. The play right now is mostly in tints and coatings, and I doubt Zeiss puts any of their antiteflevtion coatings on the goggles, after all they are designed to work on glass not polycarbonate.

I'm pretty bullish on a non polycarbonate lenses, which we should see more and more as a premium option. Right now they are only in a few brands, next year Smith should do it, and then everyone else would follow.
 

AmyPJ

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I can't even explain the clarity that the Oakley Prizms give. They truly do add an extra bit of "pop" or detail to the landscape. I'm a big fan.
 

Alexzn

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I can't even explain the clarity that the Oakley Prizms give. They truly do add an extra bit of "pop" or detail to the landscape. I'm a big fan.
The prism is actually a dead simple idea and implementation. Blue light scatters a lot more than red light, so Oakley just put a red filter into all their lenses and called it Prism. If you ever did black and while photography you would remember that the contrast enhancing filter was always red. Same deal here. It does work though.
 

Alexzn

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One of these days I'll write a post on the goggle optics. In short words, no, a lot of those companies are using Zeiss for marketing. Most of the companies are good enough so nowadays the lens performance is dictated by the limitations of material. The play right now is mostly in tints and coatings, and I doubt Zeiss puts any of their antiteflevtion coatings on the goggles, after all they are designed to work on glass not polycarbonate. .
Of course I meant to say anti-reflection.
 

AmyPJ

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The prism is actually a dead simple idea and implementation. Blue light scatters a lot more than red light, so Oakley just put a red filter into all their lenses and called it Prism. If you ever did black and while photography you would remember that the contrast enhancing filter was always red. Same deal here. It does work though.
That's crazy! I did do black and white photography in high school but don't remember what filter we would use for contrast. Anyway, they are making a KILLING on these things, because they are quite a bit more expensive than their other lenses. I definitely concur that it works, especially as my eyes age and contrast is getting harder to make out.
 

Read Blinn

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This Prizm thing interests me — I can't find out light transmission numbers, except for a few lenses. One transmits 10%, a couple transmit 20%, but the rest don't say. For me, below-the-tree line, overcast skiing, 70% is minimum. Not seeing it for Oakley.
 

crgildart

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I had a gig selling digital cameras back in the early 00s between big boy jobs and the Zeiss lenses were touted as among the best by the vendor reps and more savvy customers. The lens was the key factor to me picking the Nokia Lumina phone because the camera was the #1 thing beyond talk and text that I use a phone for.. still the case. I have no idea how camera and telescope lens competency transfers over to goggles and glasses competency though. I don't see the key lens company names (Zuiko, Zeiss, Sigma) on high quality eye gear anywhere else..

As for low light skiing, old school Vuarnets still do it better for me than the three different Oakley and Uvex Supravisions I use pretty often. Couple iSkis are also in the quiver but nothing comes close to genuine old school Vuarnet.
 

quant

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I can't even explain the clarity that the Oakley Prizms give. They truly do add an extra bit of "pop" or detail to the landscape. I'm a big fan.

That's crazy! I did do black and white photography in high school but don't remember what filter we would use for contrast. Anyway, they are making a KILLING on these things, because they are quite a bit more expensive than their other lenses. I definitely concur that it works, especially as my eyes age and contrast is getting harder to make out.



Nothing has changed since your high school days. Mid-yellow is still the “neutral” lens for B&W photography, red increases the contrast of colors 3 or 4 color bands away (from the chart they used in high school) like blue skies, green lightens trees, etc.

I believe there is no such thing as a perfect lens for all conditions, which is why many skiers have two or more goggles (easier than swapping out lenses). The principles we learned in high school photography are the same for skiing, except we see in color and not B&W. Certain colors add contrast, some are better in fog, etc. One advantage of Zeiss and other premium manufactures is tolerances. They claim to put out lenses that have less distortion. They also claim to have invented more innovative tints. So instead of a “blue blocker,” the Zeiss tint claims to let some blue light in making the mountain views (and sky) look more realistic. Does it work better than lenses from other premium brands? Perhaps Phil and TC will let us know.
 

AmyPJ

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This Prizm thing interests me — I can't find out light transmission numbers, except for a few lenses. One transmits 10%, a couple transmit 20%, but the rest don't say. For me, below-the-tree line, overcast skiing, 70% is minimum. Not seeing it for Oakley.
The Prizm Rose is an excellent low-light lens. I have no idea what the light transmission is, but it is high. What I like about them vs. other low-light lenses I have used is you don't get blinded if the sun does come out, or it's an intermittent clouds/sun day.
 

Jon

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The Prizm Rose is an excellent low-light lens. I have no idea what the light transmission is, but it is high. What I like about them vs. other low-light lenses I have used is you don't get blinded if the sun does come out, or it's an intermittent clouds/sun day.
I could go really in depth about the prizm lenses(and others for that matter), but the vlt on the rose actually spans the 45-55/60ish range. The tint on the prizms is not just a red filter, it is a lot more complex that works with the coating(Also different from other lenses). The higher vlt is the reason why they're pretty good even when its bright out and the prizm technology(which is mainly new tints being used to create that red, which allow better control of the light being let though which in turn enhances the contrast by filtering out the "white noise" light so to speak) is what helps the googles perform really well in low light conditions. But yes, the red tint is great in low light and also, as mentioned above, enhances contrast as well.
 

Read Blinn

lakespapa
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The Smith Sensor Mirror has a VLT of 70%, and from what I've read, VLT is the thing — for old eyes, anyway. I think I'd have to pass on the Prizm thing until they upped the VLT number.
 

John O

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Honestly, with no ability to "demo" goggles (putting them on my face in a shop doesn't count) combined with the fact that goggles seem to have exploded in price in recent years... I simply don't have the luxury to comparison shop. I have instead decided to pick a goggle with a good reputation that fits my face and helmet and make the best of it. For me, that used to be Oakley and is currently Smith. I'm happy enough with my I/O's and they won't be replaced anytime soon.

So to answer your original question, I probably don't have an informed enough opinion to know, but I am very happy with my Smith lenses.
 

James

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I have the prizm bright light lens. Definitely a good lens. Is it worth $100? No. Esp since I got a tiny scratch on it right in front of the eyeball.
Zeiss may just be lending a name with no real difference. Sure, real Zeiss optics in binoculars and camera lenses are superb.
Oakley just talks smack and gives zero info on their Prizms. There were some statements posted by them which said nothing.
Simply put, a lens with 45 55/60 ish VLT ?? well what is it? Can't be a great low light lens. Not enough transmission. You need light to see. It can be a great general lens though. Which is kind of what people want.

In the east you can get away with just a low light lens.
 

Alexzn

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VLT is important but it's not everything. As the light travels from an object to your eye it can scatter from objects as well as from the lens material. So in addition to "signal-to-noise ratio", determined by VLT, you have to reduce scattered light (this is what lens tint primarily does) as well as try to reduce additional dispersion introduced by the lens (that's what lens material does). There is a lot of BS being spread around by manufacturers and marketers, that's why choosing the goggles is so hard. Unless @Jon from post 13 enlightens us on the details, the Prism technology is just upping up the red tint on the lens. It does make sense for blue light reduction, which is a primary culprit for scattered light, but it ain't rocket science Oakley is making it to be.
 

nay

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Another nod to the Prizm. One of my requirements was to be as single lense as possible simply acknowledging permanent drawer space for second lenses, and especially to not get caught up in Anon's game of selling different lenses based on frame color. The M2 is going to be a three lense goggle for a lot of people, and that's three bills on the budget. But at least they have earth magnets :golfclap:.

Anyway, I have fairly sensitive eyes to bright light (always in sunglasses) and I use the Flight Deck rose prizm in all light conditions. It is definitely an excellent low light and broad spectrum contrast lense, and I haven't felt a need to "darken" more. To the extent that's a personal thing, I think providing excellent terrain contrast over a decent spectrum is more important than "low" or "high" light. We don't ski light, we ski terrain contrast (or lack thereof) and I'm not sure that correlates most directly to either optical quality or extra lenses.
 
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