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Kit Review!

One of the most important pieces of dive equipment is the mask… if it leaks continuously throughout a dive then the dive no matter how good is ruined – you just want to get out of the water and throw the thing in the nearest bin!  But choosing a mask for fit is very much of a personal thing; what is leak proof on you is not necessarily the case on someone else. 

In this month’s Holiday Diver we test 3 masks from 2 different manufactures; the first being the new Liquid Skin from Mares and much raved about in many reviews.  The other two come from TUSA; the Visualator (which has been available for a few years now) and the latest M24 Powerview (which in Black Silicone is proclaimed as the underwater photographer’s ideal mask). Our tests reveal some surprises…

 
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Mares Liquid Skin mask Vs TUSA´s Visualator & Powerview

Text photography and tested by David Oldale

My old friends – Kent Diving & Watersports sent me through a new mask to try: Mares Liquid Skin. The paperwork supplied gave all the usual hype – but could it deliver what it promised?

Well actually to tell you the truth – NO! In all Holiday Diver Kit Reviews we promise to test the kit over a number of months on many dives  - this mask lasted 2 dives before being demoted to the bin – it leaked so much that I was sure that there were more sea creatures inside the mask than in the surrounding sea! Now we all know that everyone should try a mask for fit before purchase and in this case it wasn’t the fit that was the only problem – the mask was just defective; just how this got through quality control is just beyond belief! The paperwork claims 270% higher elasticity for perfect fit, adapts to facial movement and offers a greater seal virtually eliminating water leakage – this may be so but no matter how good it fits your face it will never seal when water can enter between glass/frame and silicone skirt!

The second claim – 45% softer on skin for unparalleled comfort – meaning gone would be that mark around your face left by the mask after diving (which doesn’t last too long anyway) – Yes absolutely; in this respect I would wholeheartedly agree with Mares as no detectable mark could be seen after taking off the mask.

Vision – I found little to write home about and definitely not as good as TUSA’s Visualator. The mask-strap clips appeared to be somewhat on the flimsy side although they didn’t let me down –  (in the 2 dives carried out).

On the plus side the Liquid Skin silicone is a definite step forward and one that all face-mask manufactures should follow but this mask did nothing for me and ruined two very decent dives as I had to clear the mask of water continuously! RRP £45–00p. I consider that I am being rather generous in rating it…

Below Average… 2 out of 10

 

TUSA’s Visualator – was supplied once again by Kent Diving & Watersports. It fitted like a glove and did not leak! TUSA’s blurb professes up to 2.5 times increase in vision over other masks whilst the inner volume has been reduced. At first try, I really did not notice any difference and then I compared it to a number of other masks – I was amazed at the increase in vision! The mask-strap clips seemed most adequate and allowed a five-position vertical adjustment – this might seem like a bit of sales-pitch, but it works and fiddly it is not! With the Visualator you can actually fine-tune your mask to fit really snug and be leak free! Ninety- one dives later this mask is lasting – as it should… RRP £49–00p. 

 

 

I did notice that included in the Visualator range is a special mask for underwater photographers (the M-14QB); it is supplied in black silicone and has a super-thin form – I have yet to try it.

 

Great… 9 out of 10

As Holiday Diver issue 3 was about to go to print I received by special delivery the TUSA Powerview Mask – the latest model that is just about available in all TUSA retail outlets. The model sent was the M24QB (designed for underwater photographers and those that like a black-silicone mask, it can also take corrective optics if required).

I found that the angle of vision was the same as the Visualator– great! But and it is a big but… the finish was vastly superior ie; excesses of silicone had been removed and the skirt now boasted a rounded roll-back edge (making for a better and more comfortable face to mask seal). Even with a 5-day growth of beard this mask stuck like super-glue. The mask-strap has now been contoured and looks substantial whilst still retaining the clips that allow a 5-position adjustment. In fact this mask has all the advantages of the Visualator and then been improved. The M-24 is also available in clear silicone with a variety of coloured frames. I loved this mask!

Please remember to try your mask for fit prior to purchase – what is right for one may not suit another… RRP £49–00p. 

Excellent... 10 out of 10

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