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Atomic Venom ARC mask: Initial impressions

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by stuartv, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,774
    3,514
    113
    I'll say right up front that I don't think the following is going to be anything new to people who already know about the Venom ARC.

    I got a Venom ARC this week. I had a chance to get one at a very good price and I'm sure I can move it for no loss if I don't like it. I have two buddies that dive Venoms (non-ARC) and they love them. So, I decided to try and it for myself, just to see how it performs for me.

    As far as I know, this mask is the most expensive scuba mask on the market. It sells for $259.95 on LeisurePro. ARC means it has Atomic's Ant Reflective Coating, which adds $60 to the price of a non-ARC Venom.

    All I have done so far is clean it and try it on in my kitchen. In doing so, I was comparing it to my $29 DGX Ultraview mask and my $38 Mako Spearguns Minimums mask.

    The main thing I wanted to see for myself is if the ARC actually does anything.

    Pictures of the Venom ARC usually make the lens appear to have a purple tint. In person, it looks perfectly clear - unless you hold it where the light hits it at just the right angle, and then it does have a purple tint. Before holding it in my hands, I would have thought it would not be a useful mask for teaching because I always want my students to be able to see my eyes. in reality, I will verify in the water, but I think it will be just fine for teaching.

    In order to "test" the ARC, I stood under the overhead flourescent light in my kitchen and put each of my masks on my face (one at a time, duh! :wink:). I tilted my head to the side and turned so that the overhead light was just coming in at an angle, not shining right into my eyes.

    With the other 2 masks, I was able to find an angle where the light was coming in from my right and in my left eye, I could see a visible reflection of the light on the lens. I.e. I could see out of my right eye just fine. But, if I closed my right eye, a reflection on the inside of the left lens made it heard to see through an area of the left lens.

    With the ARC, I was able to reproduce the same thing, except that the reflection in my left eye was dramatically less. My conclusion is that the ARC does do what they claim it does.

    Other than that, it feels like it does not fit my face or seal as well as either of the less expensive masks. But, I have learned that the only true test for that is to dive it and see. Dive will tell...

    I compared the field of view of the Venom to the DGX, which has the widest FOV of any mask I have tried so far. I put the Venom on and walked up to a doorway until the width of the door exactly filled the width of the mask. I changed to the DGX and it is definitely wider. Instead of just the door, I could see a bit past the molding around the door frame on each side (while still standing in the same spot, of course).

    Whether I keep the Venom ARC is really going to come down to how it performs in the water. If it leaks at all, it's gone. If it does not leak at all and it doesn't fog, I will keep it. My DGX does leak some, sometimes. The Mako mask also leaks sometimes, plus I'm still having trouble getting the Mako mask to stop fogging.

    I do also have the $29 DGX Ultraview mask with their ARC. But, I never thought to test it the way I did the Venom ARC, and now I seem to have misplaced it. I can't find the DGX ARC anywhere. :( It IS different than the Venom ARC, though. The coating on the DGX mask definitely gives it a tint when you look at it from the outside. If ever find it, I will compare it to the others.
     
  2. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    751
    428
    63
    Thanks for your impressions. Having dived (dove? diven?) for a long time with Atomic regulators and the Atomic Frameless mask I am partial to the Atomic brand. But, for the asking price of the Venom I would expect extraordinary and flawless performance. Something like never leak, never fog, and Panovision. Since I am a fair weather diver I can't see how a marginal improvement in transmission or internal reflections would be a incentive, especially if FOV is cut down.
    If my original Frameless were to disappear I would go with your previous recommendation of the DGX. I am a big fan of value.
    I will be looking forward to your underwater impressions of the Venom.
     
    Sam Miller III likes this.
  3. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,774
    3,514
    113
    For the record, the FOV on the DGX is HUGE. Bigger than my Atomic Frameless (the first mask I bought, when I started diving). The Venom having a slightly smaller FOV is no real knock, in my book. The Mako Minimus has a FOV that is even (slightly) less. It is still fine. Of them all, I would take whichever one leaks the least.

    As for the ARC thing, I think most people are probably just used to the sight-impairing effects that happen with lenses (of any type, including eyeglasses and sunglasses) that don't have an ARC. But, if you try some eyeglasses with an ARC and compare them back-to-back with eyeglasses that don't have an ARC, you suddenly realize, not how bad the old glasses are, but how much better they are with an ARC.

    Having worn glasses a good chunk of my life - and being somewhat OCD, I guess - I have come to notice when glare on the inside of a lens is making it harder to see. In diving, I have always thought that a concern would be light coming into my mask, illuminating part of my face, and then that part of my face creating a reflection (i.e. glare) on the inside. It's like when sunlight is so bright that it lights up the dashboard of your car so brightly that the reflection in your windshield makes it harder to see out. Imagine if your windshield had a coating and no matter how brightly the dash was lit up, it never created a reflection in the windshield glass.

    On a dive, I think there are several ways you can have the same thing. You could be in very bright ambient conditions. E.g. a shallow reef dive at noon in the Caribbean. Or you could be in a deep, dark hole using a bright light. Either way, stray light could be coming in and illuminating your face to the point it creates its own reflection.

    Time will tell, but I am looking forward to having a mask with an ARC. If the rest of the mask "works" for me.
     
  4. StefinSB

    StefinSB Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Santa Barbara, CA
    607
    334
    63
    Thanks for the review. Wearing glasses since a very young age and always with ARC. I suspect however the benefits of an anti reflective coating on a scuba mask to be marginal at best. If it floats your boat and you have the cash to burn why not.
     
  5. jgttrey

    jgttrey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    410
    400
    63
    I have one and whether it is the ARC or just better glass, it does seem to make some very small difference. But, it's very small and perhaps just wishful thinking.

    That said, it's a nice mask and high quality. It just doesn't seal very well for me. YMMV, of course. I hate it when people ding masks for the fit just because it doesn't fit their particular face. I do think it "runs big" though. Seals fine on the "vacuum test" but not so well underwater, even though my face is not small.

    Also, I like to wear my masks fairly loose and this mask is really heavy, easily the heaviest I've tried. That means means I need to tighten it up more than I'd like, especially on the surface. For point of reference, I usually dive the Cressi Big Eyes Evolution, which feels weightless compared to the Atomic.

    I guess I'd get used to it if it fit my face better, but for me the fitment is just off enough that it isn't worth it for me to futz around with it and the optical quality, while nice, is not so different from other good quality masks.

    No question it is a high quality unit, but just didn't work for me.
     
    stuartv likes this.
  6. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,524
    2,935
    113
    Since Hal Messsinger patented the first US diving mask in 1940. which was marketed by Sea Net, there have been numerous modifications to the basic dive mask to increase visibility.
    The lens were curved ( US Divers)
    The lens were brought closer to the face (Swimaster wide view )'
    The mask had two lens ( Pinocchio )
    The lens have been tinted (almost all manufactures )

    Tinting of the lens has been a reoccurring activity since the 1960s - so far none were successful
    In todays market place there is a possibility that it will be accepted and successfully marketed for many years into the future
    I will be following your evaluation of this mask

    For $260.00 hard earned Yankee dollars ! Wow!

    Sam Miller, 111
     
  7. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    2,804
    2,368
    113
    I have around 100 dives on my Atomic Arc. I brought it because of the intensely bright conditions here in the Middle East. It's okay. Frankly I don't' notice a difference in real life. It fits well and doesn't' leak - but then few masks leak on me.

    Apart from that I was underwhelmed. It has been demoted to a teaching mask and sits with a snorkel attached. I wouldn't' recommend it because I don't feel it's anything special.

    Similarly I've used the Tusa Paragon - similar to the Atomic with it's coating and also at the $200 price. I was loaned it to try and put 30 dives on it. Exactly like the Atomic, nothing special and a bit of a gimmick really.

    My preferred mask is the Beuchat Maxlux S I have 3. Their skirt is so soft, it was the only mask ever to have given me a squeeze They are really comfortable and seal easily. I always carry a spare, and if a students mask leaks pass my spare to them and the problem is solved. Our shop doesn't sell them otherwise they'd do a roaring trade. In Europe they're about $50 USD

    They also come in lots of pretty colours too - black is so boring :)


    EDIT: For tinting to avoid bright summer sun in the pool I took and old mask to a car window tinting shop and they used some 25% off cuts. It worked well as a one off until the pool water broke down the adhesive after a month. So it would be a PITA to make permanent but it served the purpose when I was spending most days in the pool during the summer for a month
     
    Sam Miller III likes this.
  8. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    751
    428
    63
    Unfortunately it doesn't look like the Maxlux is available in the States.
     
  9. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    2,804
    2,368
    113
    Remember it's the Maxlux S The S is the important bit. The plain old Maxlux is just in black. Looking on the Beuchat site There seems to be a fair few stockists (dive centres) in the US I'm sure they must be able to order if they don't' have stock - the colours shown on the Beuchat site are pretty much identical to the actual real life colour (if you needed to order online)

    Hope that helps
     
  10. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    9,967
    5,278
    113
    I find only 4 dealers in the US, nothing near me in Pennsylvania or Florida:(
     

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