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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 03-28-2013, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I just recently bought a pair of Smith Precept with Copper Polycromatic Glass lenses.
My two roommates are guides on the South Fork of the Snake and one wears only smith, the other only Costas, so i was able to do some comparisons before i purchased. These Smiths just seem to make everything more sharp and defined. I noticed driving over the snake the other day on the way to work that I could see perfectly thru the water at 50 mph.

They are both make high quality specs. I think it's more of a personal preference.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I have some Costa 580s. LOVE THEM!!!!
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

Any preferences on Costa's lense colors? Fishing in the West US for trout. Trying to decide between Amber, Copper, and Mirror Green...which is a Amber/Copper base. Does the mirroring give any additional benefit for glare or is it just looks? Is the mirroring less scratch resistant?

Which ones are the lightest?

Thank you.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I have 2 pair of Smith Optics sunglasses and they are a PIA, as it relates to the screws at the hinges. They back out all the time. Keep meaning to get some Loctite to glue 'em in. I love their polarization, but if you're out on the river and half of 'em falls off, they're not much good.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I had that problem once with my Smith's, but they have not come loose again. Blue loc-tite...do it.

I guess on the ones I am looking at (Double Hauls)...the options are Copper or Green Mirror. If the mirroring does not make them any darker...I would probably go in that direction so I look cooler...haha
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I have the Costa 580's Glass w/ green mirror and I love them! My wife has Maui Jims and they are comparable I still like my Costa's way more
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I've worked in a number of fly shops and sporting goods stores that sold both. Both are high quality and both have been in the business a long while. Both make glass lens, or have them made for them, both have high tech lens other than glass. Both hit the advertising market hard but Costas gets a point or two on a more artsy fartsy mode of ads. In the end analysis my bet is what you hear in most cases is based on anecdotal evidence as any can lose a screw, etc and far too often folks make up their mind about what's best for them without really looking into the facts. Smith started back in 65, Costas in 85 and Action Optics, a brand of Smith's in about 92 and all do one thing well and that's provide a mirror at the point of sale display so the person can admire the image of them and their glasses. For some it's frame color, others opt for style, and some go for the ads they read, heard or seen but few really get into the nitty gritty, and really don't need to, since in this case they both have a great grasp on the "nitty gritty."

As far as mirrored finishes, the nod goes to Ray Ban who pioneered that back in the 60s, possibly before and who, by the way, has a superior product also.
The mirror works to and by reflecting sunlight away from the eyes. My favorite for water work (years as an angler, SCUBA and Swimming Instructor) was the double gradient lens with heavy mirror top and bottom knocking back the sunlight plus the reflected sunlight coming up from the water.

When it comes to lens shade, I like a couple variations, one fairly dark and one very light for morning and overcast day fishing. My lights are ultra light yellow Hobies another top notch glass. Of course good polarization is a must.

Speaking of lens color, it's a tad bit complicated but here's several forum posts that cover it pretty much from stem to stern. Best sunglasses lens color for streams... Read the first string, then look at the bottom for more posts on the subject.

My choices are light yellow for contrast under low light conditions, Copperish brown for flats fishing, green for mountain/stream fishing and were I a deep water fisherman, a darker blue. Your choice of lens color, or tint, depends on several factors but mainly the color of the fish, the color of the bottom and the colors reflected into the water from surroundings.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I use a pair of Smith Precepts with Polarchromic Copper lens for all around fishing. Mostly on the streams of Southwestern PA where light conditions can vary greatly but tend to be on the lower light end of the spectrum. These glasses are extremely versatile to different conditions. If I could pick just one pair for fishing, it would be the polarchromic copper lenses.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

Hey guys -

I am the one who did that interview, and it actually led to a series of additional interviews culminating in an article which is coming out in the next American Angler magazine.

I think there's some good information here and possibly some bad information.

Regarding weight: this has more to do with size of frame and lens than with glass versus plastic. Glass is a little heavier but that is more noticeable on bigger frames. I have a pair of glass Costa aviator-style glasses and a pair of super lightweight blade-style Smiths that I run in. I don't personally notice any difference.

Regarding quality level: the Costa 580 Silver Mirrors in glass are my personal choice as the best all-around lens, but lens choice is subjective. Most people I have put those lenses on do tend to agree. Costa says the 580 business is due to a formulation that deletes the 580nm part of the visible light spectrum, which as I recall gets rid of yellow light.

One thing I have learned talking to sunglass companies for many years covering this industry: they have more jargon and are less forthcoming than any other product sector. I am not sure I believe anything I hear from any of them, because what they do is highly technical and dumbing it down for a lay audience may render it less than completely accurate. However, in my experience, the Costa 400 series is similar to the Oakley polycarbonate and to the Smith polycarbonate glasses. 580s are more expensive than any of those three options and I think they do represent a quality upgrade, particularly in glass. I say that based on fishing and wearing all three companies' lenses for a long time. Your mileage may vary.

Smith is the only company to offer the photochromic lens technology and it is pretty cool. As I recall it is based on silver halide and works similar to old school film, except the "exposure" chemistry can be reversed. As you go into the sunlight the chemical reaction causes the material in the lens to darken, thus cutting light. It doesn't affect polarization quality but it can be very useful, especially in a light-color lens meant for early morning wear.

Oakley has done a good job of focusing on the ballistic protection aspects of their lenses and serves a lot of military contracts. For eye protection purposes they are probably the most extensively tested if that is a factor for you. I have also personally witnessed Oakleys being wholly manufactured in the United States at their factory in California. I believe both Smith and Costa import their glasses, if that is important.

Good luck with your choice,

Zach
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

Hey Zach, nice to see you over here in the NAFFForum. You have a wealth of knowledge and insight that I'm sure the members here are really going to enjoy. Woo Pig Sooie!
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