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Darmok
08-27-2007, 16:55
Hi!

I'm very very new to scuba diving (I'm going to do my OW in 2 weeks). I'm shopping for the basic gear and reading opinions... I have a question regarding clear skirts vs black skirts, what's better for a beginner? I would like to get into taking pictures later on and I've heard that the black skirt is better for that, but I dont really understand why the light coming in the mask would affect so much... any suggestions?

mwhities
08-27-2007, 16:56
Just go black. ;)

Michael

TAH 73
08-27-2007, 17:01
A clear mask can be a little "brighter" underwater and can be a little better for people predisposed to claustrophobia, whereas a black skirt doesn't turn yellow over time.

Zenagirl
08-27-2007, 17:15
Try both, see which one you like. If you're buying a mask from an LDS they should let you try them in the pool so you can see if you have a preference. I have one of each and don't feel there's much of a difference, so just pick whichever one I feel like wearing at the moment.

My husband is an underwater photographer and he wears a mask with a clear skirt, but prefers a single lens mask instead of the double ones.

BSea
08-27-2007, 17:24
I have used both. I like the clear skirts. But there really isn't much of a difference. I know the "ALL BLACK" crowd don't like the clear with color, but to each his own.

Darmok
08-27-2007, 17:31
Try both, see which one you like. If you're buying a mask from an LDS they should let you try them in the pool so you can see if you have a preference. I have one of each and don't feel there's much of a difference, so just pick whichever one I feel like wearing at the moment.

My husband is an underwater photographer and he wears a mask with a clear skirt, but prefers a single lens mask instead of the double ones.

My LDS said I can't try things in their pool because everything is new (not sure what that means), I'm leaning towards the Mares X-Vision without liquid skin after everything I've read, and after trying it in a LDS. It seems to fit well. I guess I won't know until I get in the water. I did a Discover Scuba class in Cancun about 3 weeks ago and I had no problem with the cheap mask that they gave me (all of us got the same mask basically), I'm not sure what it was...

Subaqua
08-27-2007, 18:02
Maybe if you just try it in the shop (not in the pool) you can see what you like the most. I used to have a clear mask and I just tried a black one last week. I don't think there so much difference. Maybe you can feel the difference in clear water though as I was in very poor visibility. One negative thing about the transparent skirt is that it will turn yellow.

tnfireman
08-27-2007, 21:04
I have both, I only use the clear skirted mask for a backup. The black mask is more comfortable (fits better).

DivingsInMyBlood
08-27-2007, 21:41
go black if you want some cool points (look like a sea ninja kitted all out in black) or go clear if you want to let that little tiny bit more of light in.

scubasavvy
08-27-2007, 21:43
Clear skirts tend to get spotty and later on they get yellow. Go with the black, you'll look cool and it won't turn nasty colors...

ianr33
08-27-2007, 21:49
My LDS said I can't try things in their pool because everything is new (not sure what that means),

I would be looking for a different LDS.

It is important to try a mask on in the water and breathing from a regulator.The reg changes the shape of your face and may make a mask leak even though it seemed fine in the shop.

Darmok
08-27-2007, 22:37
Thanks for all the advice, I went with the black from Scubatoys!

ian
08-27-2007, 23:33
My LDS said I can't try things in their pool because everything is new...

Find a new LDS. Seriously.

I dive with the Mares X-Vision clear skirt. I don;t like having a black skirt around my eyes.

In the days of film and looking through a viewfinder, the photographers claimed that the clear skirts let in too much light when trying to look through the viewfinders. With large LDC displays on digital cameras underwater, this arguemnt has pertty well gone the way of the Dodo.

It's what you prefer. The clear skirt WILL yellow within a year. There really isn't much you can do about it. The discoloration doesn't affect the flexibility of the silicon skirt or the seal, though.

JugglingMonkeys
08-27-2007, 23:39
The discoloration doesn't affect the flexibility of the silicon skirt or the seal, though.


Or its life?

Phestr
08-28-2007, 03:53
I dove with the colear skirt for a while, but now I have the Oceanic Shadow with black. Not much different, except looks cooler, and if you happen to get magic nose goblins hanging out in your mask, no one will know.

WV Diver
08-28-2007, 06:54
Black cuts way back on glare and gives you a better prespective on color.

Clear masks work best in low light, overcast weather, but the glare, for alot of us, is alot to deal with on bright sunny days. But they do seem to help those who are a little claustrophbic.

Zenagirl
08-28-2007, 07:24
We've had the same masks for nearly 3 years with clear skirts. Neither are yellowed. I think it's because after every dive trip I apply a thin coat of silicone grease to the skirt for storage.

mm_dm
08-28-2007, 07:50
I use the black because, for me, there is less light diffusion and I can see better with it. Just my .02

greyzen
08-28-2007, 08:12
I dove with the colear skirt for a while, but now I have the Oceanic Shadow with black. Not much different, except looks cooler, and if you happen to get magic nose goblins hanging out in your mask, no one will know.

THat was why I went with a black skirt...

Also, everyone I spoke with basically said
"If you want to pretend you can see out of the sides, we'll pretend with you... or go with black." :smilie39:

TAH 73
08-28-2007, 08:17
I wish Mares hadn't dropped the EsaView (6 window) mask. Best of both worlds, black skirt, 6 windows, lots of light, lots of vis all around.

meesier42
08-29-2007, 10:50
I like my clear mask, so what if it turns yellow, my X-vision is 4 years old and has a couple hundred dives on it, and it hasn't turned yellow yet. Keep it clean and out of the sun it should postpone the yellowing for a long time.

Now I have heard that black is an improvement if you do photography

Flatliner
08-29-2007, 11:15
I have tried both and prefer black.

Buoyant1
08-29-2007, 11:25
I have both, and like both...

subsur
08-29-2007, 11:29
the clear one is ok for low visability water, light does not penetrate well and there is no glare. if you dive in high visibility water, the black one is probably better as you don't get much glare.

loudgonzo
08-29-2007, 13:16
I have a black skirt, never tried the clear. The guy at the shop where I purchased it said the black skirts are a little more flexible and contour to your face better than the clear. Don't know if that's true, but in the end, I just thought it looked cooler anyways. :smiley20:

Xspect
08-29-2007, 20:53
Black.. the clear can change color

texdiveguy
08-29-2007, 20:56
Black!

berick
08-29-2007, 21:04
I've been diving a clear Mares X-vision for the past 3 years. I bought a black one about a month ago. I'm taking them both to Cozumel next week so I'll let you know what I think afterwards. My clear one is starting to yellow as others have stated, so, the black should look like its maintained better in a couple of years.

wxboy911
08-30-2007, 07:55
Mine is clear and it seems to allow some better visiability-I think it lets more light in and helps in low light situations...The biggest factor in masks is fit so start there. I do think you pick up some extra cool points with the black skirt.

willardj
08-30-2007, 08:36
I have 1 of each.. They both serve for diff. type's of diving.. Just depends on what kind of diving I'm do that day.

Scoobidoo
08-30-2007, 08:52
Clear! The black skirt gives me tunnel view and makes me nervous, I had to move my head around a lot to find out what's happening around me when I hear stuff. With the clear skirt, I can "glance".

ian
08-30-2007, 09:33
The guy at the shop where I purchased it said the black skirts are a little more flexible and contour to your face better than the clear.

Actually, it's the other way around.

Silicon rubber is anturally clear. The manufacterer has to add colorant to make it black. Unless it is specifically a plasticizer, an addative will reduce the flexibility of the rubber. In this case, though, it won't be by much.

Ian
PADI DM #235405

thor
08-30-2007, 15:42
Black cuts way back on glare and gives you a better prespective on color.

Clear masks work best in low light, overcast weather, but the glare, for alot of us, is alot to deal with on bright sunny days. But they do seem to help those who are a little claustrophbic.


I use a black mask. I was recently trying out a mask with a clear skirt, on a sunny day. When I surfaced, I felt like I was going blind from the glare. Now granted, you shouldn't choose a mask by how it will work above the water, but just one more reason why I prefer my masks like I prefer my beer. Black.

Aussie
09-01-2007, 10:24
I always use a Black skirt mask as I get no reflection on the glass from the sides which you do with a clear skirt. Its a must when using a camera (DSLR) as you can focus quickly through the view finder. Unlike some comments about modern underwater photography, your still looking through a small view finder on a DSLR.

I noticed alot of people are using the Mares X-vision masks. I personally do not like them as their frame is very weak and have seen far too many crack and leek. I have seen a fair few go back to the dealer here to be replaced time after time.

It might be a question for Larry about which masks are prone to breaking or to be replaced?

Aussie

Osprey
09-04-2007, 11:49
Is the skirt just regular silicone? In body modification, when you have silicone ear plugs or tunnels in, you can use rubbing alcohol (on a q-tip) to take the coloration out of it and have clear jewelry again.

ScottZeagle
09-04-2007, 12:31
Black for me....

DevilDiver
09-04-2007, 12:33
OK...Someone has to say it.

Once you go black, you won't go back!:smiley2:

Who loves ya momma, Oh yea!

divechaplain-sara
09-04-2007, 13:10
I may have to give a mask with a black skirt a try. I like my clear one just fine though. I like that little pit of peripheral vision that it allows (ie--I can see movement of something big). I haven't noticed glare, but I mostly dive in lakes.

RonFrank
09-04-2007, 13:23
It's a personal subjective thing. However most photographers like black skirts myself included.

Clear skirts don't provide you additional *vision*. What they tend to do is allow light in and that can reflect on the lens.

RonFrank
09-04-2007, 13:26
I noticed alot of people are using the Mares X-vision masks. I personally do not like them as their frame is very weak and have seen far too many crack and leek. I have seen a fair few go back to the dealer here to be replaced time after time.

It might be a question for Larry about which masks are prone to breaking or to be replaced?

Aussie

XVisions generally break when the user replaces the lenses. They crack the frame, and likely don't even notice. Then they break from the stress of a minor crack, and usage which makes it worst.

I've had one for close to two years (100 dives) and have no issues. I have not attempted to pull it apart and change out the lenses.

Manny-R
09-04-2007, 13:36
clear here. lets in ambient light. i was told black is more of a straight foward type mask... look ahead, and see only ahead, with light from the sides blocked off by the skirt. never used a black one, and i like my clear one. (mares demon mask)

the gooch
09-04-2007, 17:05
Black skirt only for me.

CompuDude
09-04-2007, 18:43
I have and like both.

The black is better for photography. It also hides the contents of your sinuses, which get pushed out from the pressure reduction when you surface, no matter how clear you thought your sinuses were when you descended. It also doesn't yellow with age... if you want to go to extreme measures to protect the skirt of a mask, you can delay, but not prevent the yellowing of clear silicon. This is a non-issue with black.

Black goes better with my hard core tech gear.

OTOH, when I'm vacationing somewhere tropical, I love the free feeling I get from my fun colored clear skirted masks. I also wear a clear skirted mask when in the pool with students, because frankly it looks a little less intimidating.

But I know they won't stay clear for long, and there is some glare to deal with when the sun is in the wrong place, so every once in a while I regret wearing the clear one.

They're both good. And fit trumps all. But I tend to prefer the black mask. If I had to choose only one, I would definitely pick the black one.

paintsnow
09-04-2007, 22:32
i dont like the x-vision too much and i have one still :[

i would look at the dive rite line of masks

they sell them online but have a mask fit guarantee so i dont think it will be a problem, they also have a lower volume, making them easier to clear

Charlotte Smith
09-04-2007, 22:37
Go Black...it feels better...

Black-Gorrilla
09-04-2007, 23:19
i use black, like blinders on a horse. im always finding the eels that are hidden, and the rays in the sand.

DiverBob
09-05-2007, 12:27
I have owned a Mares X-Vision mask for going on three years. I really like the mask for two reasons, first it fits me perfect and I have a moustache so I always expect a little leakage but the X-Vision really minimizes it. The Second is the "low volume" design placing the glass closer to the eyes in turn giving an awesome field of vision.

I do take UW digital photos and have found it difficult to see the display on my camera in very bright hi vis conditions on 30-50ft dives.

It has began to yellow a bit.. I am careful to rinse with fresh water after every dive and keep it out of the sun as much as possible. I have not yet had a need to change the lenses so when the time comes, I'll opt for a new mask....

Might try black after reading everyones opinion but it will need to pass the fit test first!! :smiley2:

DiverBob
09-05-2007, 15:33
Update - After a much closer inspection of my X-Vision mask... I found some small cracks in the frame. Looks like I have something add to my birthday wish list! :smiley2:

Click here to see photos in "Mares X-Vision Cracked Frame" thread (http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?p=45259#post45259)

munitor
09-06-2007, 20:23
My wife and I use the dive rite frameless single lens masks which come only in black. She's always like the clear masks, but after FINALLY getting a mask that fits good all the time, she was willing to make that sacrifice. As for me, I've tried both and prefer the black for less glare.

somewhereinla
09-06-2007, 21:04
black is better for underwater photography.

berick
09-10-2007, 09:12
After trying both in Cozumel last week, I vote black.

Capt Hook
09-10-2007, 13:04
Doesn't really matter IMHO, haven't noticed any difference taking videos.

Coaster
09-10-2007, 13:11
I'm finding out that I don't my clear mask as much in low viz bright conditions (water 2-3ft viz and bight sunlight).

DiverBob
09-10-2007, 13:54
I ordered a Mares X-vision Liquid Skin mask in black and silver. After wearing a clear mask for 5 years, I tried my buddies black skirted mask... I opted for the darker silicone. The X-vision has an incredible field of vision so definitely not a "tunnel effect" with this mask.

Coaster
09-10-2007, 14:02
I'm finding out that I don't my clear mask as much in low viz bright conditions (water 2-3ft viz and bight sunlight).
Sorry...left a word off..
I'm finding out that I don't like my clear mask as much in low viz bright conditions (silty water 2-3ft viz and bight sunlight).

greyzen
09-10-2007, 15:20
I swear by the dark skirt...

The clear skirt just makes stuff too bright and makes you think you can see out of it too much

I-NEED-AIR
02-04-2015, 16:29
go black if you want some cool points (look like a sea ninja kitted all out in black) or go clear if you want to let that little tiny bit more of light in.

Bah we laugh at people who show up on the boat with shiny "purdy" gear on, not to mention make sure we ONLY flash our Open Water cards. Then we stay on the boat and let "Mr. shiney gear" giant stride in first. As soon as he's out of sight we roll over on the far side of the boat and stay as far away as possible from him. Yellowed, beat up and leaking streams of bubbles is what u want. Show em how "salty" you are.!

I-NEED-AIR
02-04-2015, 16:44
I had a dive instructor once who had a BC vest that was the color of a faded burlap sack, looked like it had been made from an old table cloth. And the piece la resistance? It was too small for him and looked like one of them cutoff-above-the-belly-button shirts that were popular in the 80s. I knew then that that was the look I wanted:)