Knowledgebase
What is the difference between lens tints and coatings?
Posted by on 11 February 2014 08:57 AM

Our lenses break down into 4 categories Tinted, Mirrored/Chrome, Polarized and Photochromatic. Each have their own benefits and limitations.

Tinted Lenses

Tint lenses are more scratch resistant than mirror finish lenses and allow more light through increasing depth perception and features appear more defined.

Yellow & Orange working best in overcast or stormy conditions.

Rose or Pink tints perform best in flat light conditions; perfect for dusk or low light conditions.

Smoke tints offer the best protection on bright sunny days. As they filter out most of the sunlight they can reduce the amount of glare coming off of the snow but not as much as a polarized lens. With the reduction of light, it can be difficult to gauge depth and terrain variances on overcast or darker days.

Clear lenses will offer the best performance for extremely low light. These are best during heavy snow or night conditions. They will allow for maximum light penetration, providing contrast within dark areas of the snow to increase overall visibility.

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are more scratch resistant than mirror finish lenses. They cut glare from the sun almost completely so that you can see clearly what's ahead of you on bright sunny days. While mirror finished lenses can reduce glare by 10-20%, the polarization on these lenses will reduce about 99% of noticeable glare. Beyond cutting glare, polarized lenses increase contrast and definition reducing eye fatigue after a day on the mountain or trail. While polarized lenses have great optical benefits, because of the manufacturing process these lenses undergo, they are also the most fragile lens and are not recommended for high-abuse riding situations.

Mirrored Lenses

Have a thin mirror coating on the outside of the lens that blocks and reflects light coming into your eyes on sunny days and can bring out shadows, increase contrast, and offer better depth perception. They are as durable as a tinted lens, but are the most susceptible to scratches.

Photochromatic

Photochromatic lenses are lenses that darken on exposure to specific types of light, most commonly ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  Once the light source is removed (for example by walking indoors), the lenses will gradually return to their clear state.  Photochromatic lenses may be made of glass, polycarbonate (ours), or another plastic. 

Photochromatic lenses contain millions of molecules of silver chloride or another silver halide embedded within them.  These molecules are transparent to visible light in the absence of ultraviolet rays, which is normal for artificial lighting.  When exposed to UV rays, as in direct sunlight, the molecules undergo a chemical process that causes them to change shape and absorb portions of the visible light, causing the lenses to darken.  This process is reversible. Once the lens is removed from strong sources of UV rays, the silver compounds return to a state which allows all light through.

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