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Old 06-22-2014, 07:34 AM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

There is more to just the lens, but how the frames fit your face. I have Costa 580g and Smith Polarchromic glasses, both are great. I prefer the Smith's and have done a decent amount of side by side comparison. I then purchased a second pair of Simth's in a different frame, these are noticeably different. A side by side with the Costa's with the second pair, the Costa's come out on top. So the moral of the story is finding a pair that fits your face and has good lens, regardless of brand.
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

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Originally Posted by nctribute View Post
There is more to just the lens, but how the frames fit your face. I have Costa 580g and Smith Polarchromic glasses, both are great. I prefer the Smith's and have done a decent amount of side by side comparison. I then purchased a second pair of Simth's in a different frame, these are noticeably different. A side by side with the Costa's with the second pair, the Costa's come out on top. So the moral of the story is finding a pair that fits your face and has good lens, regardless of brand.
I know fit is key...which is why buying online is a **** shoot unfortunately. I have a pair of Smith Action Optics, the Sol-X lens at the time was their best. they are polarchromic glass and are crisp and super sweet. but they were given as a gift and while they fit well and work for general use they let way too much light in around the sides, they do not fit close, and are not good on the water.

...
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Old 06-22-2014, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

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Originally Posted by dean_mt View Post
I know fit is key...which is why buying online is a **** shoot unfortunately. I have a pair of Smith Action Optics, the Sol-X lens at the time was their best. they are polarchromic glass and are crisp and super sweet. but they were given as a gift and while they fit well and work for general use they let way too much light in around the sides, they do not fit close, and are not good on the water.

...
Soooooo, the bottom line is that sunglasses are like fly rods!

You have to try them out on the water before you can be 100% sure they're the ones.

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Old 06-22-2014, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

In a perfect world, yes, but being able to test out and compare 3 or 4 rods, or pairs sunglasses, on the water is rarely if ever possible. So the best we do is stand in a parking lot and cast or look through different shades. But with glasses even more than rods, I wish I could take some options to a river.

...
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

Still looking so still researching ... ah the internet and spare time, the 21st C rabbit hole!

One of the ways I research any techie thing I buy is to search for the problems, not the praises. There are plenty of praises, and in 95% of the comparisons the Costa people are a little nutty. "Nothing even comes close!" all that stuff. I think part of it is that when you pay $225+ for a pair of glasses you convince yourself that they are the best on the planet, I understand, I do it too.

When searching for poor reviews I am troubled by the number of complaints about the customer service and the warranty at Costa. Like so many "lifetime" warranties there are decent charges to get things fixed. There are a lot of complaints about this. Less, but still enough to trouble me are the complaints about the rubber on the stems wears and comes apart from the plastic frame, this is a common issue. Even less so, but more than a few experience the lens lamination breaking down. It's all repair or replaceable, but with the known service issue I am scared off.

Smith on the other hand, I know the quality as my last pair was still great 10 years later before the vanished! The polarization is sealed between two layers of glass, forever. The frames are made in Italy, not Taiwan. And I really like the chromatic, or light adjusting, feature.

I am leaning toward Smiths again...
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

have had several pairs from both brands, and smith's chromapop lenses that came out this year(ish) are the best lenses on the market right now.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Smith Optics vs Costa Del Mar

I found this older thread and thought it deserves to be resurrected. I am a certified optician and I have worn both Smith and Costa.

I have tried both Rx and non-Rx lenses from both companies. Here is my take:

Smith has awesome customer service, especially for plano (non-prescription) sunglasses. They make decent products. They have been making high end polarized glass lenses for a number of years. These are really excellent. The Polarchromatic Copper Mirror are an excellent freshwater fishing lens. The glass Ignitor is one of the best options for a low light polar lens. Their newer offering, Chromapop, is a polarized trivex. It does not use traditional polarizing film. This lens is the same idea as Costa's 580 technology- increase color perception by limiting transmission at specific points in the spectrum. Although it is the same idea, the technology (top secret) is different. I think Smith glass lenses are better than Chromapop for optical clarity, but would choose Chromapop (Bronze Mirror) if impact resistance is important.

Costa 400 lenses are more or less like any other good polarized lens. 580 refers to Costa's patented polarized filter that selectively cuts out yellowish light (580 nm wavelength). It works really well. Most 580P lenses are trivex material, but more are being made with polycarbonate depending on the model. In my opinion, the Costa 580G glass lens is the pinnacle of polarized lens technology today. Again, I would choose the 580P if impact resistance was important. I actually wear 580P trivex in my Rx Costas, because their Rx glass doesn't come with the very helpful backside anti-reflective treatment which reduces glare off the lens interior (most good non-Rx polarized lenses have this). I like the Costa Silver Mirror (on copper base) for fly fishing in Wyoming in Montana. I even find it to be dark enough for me for flats fishing. The green mirror is slightly darker and more reddish, and is better for those with sensitive eyes. The mirror does cut a little more light compared to the straight copper color.

Both companies make excellent products. Of course, frame fit is very important- you want something that contours your nose well, doesn't rest on your cheeks, and vents adequately. Both Smith and Costa make great products, but I give Costa the nod mostly due to what they are doing with new frame offerings. Smith is going BIG and WIDE, leaving smaller faces with only a few options. Costa has a lot of fun new frames out, I am wearing the Rafael right now and love it. There are other options out there too, I would also look at Maui Jim glass lenses. Hope this helps.
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