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Mask field of view - opinions please!

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
I'm trying to choose a low-volume mask. My applications are recreational rather than competition - maybe some spear fishing also.

I have no problem diving to 75 -80 feet, and could probably go deeper but am trying to progress gradually (been diving less than a year).

The Omer Abyss mask fits me well, but is the field of vision on this style mask too restrictive for spear fishing and general sightseeing?

I am currently using the Dacor Bandit for deep (to me) dives and the Sporasub Spartak for shallower ones. The Bandit gives me way less visibility but the Spartak seems too large volume below about 50 feet. So I am currently looking for a mid-level mask - low volume with good visibility. A local dive shop carries the Sporasub Samourai which looks great but I also have my eye on the Picassso Nulla (www.picassoamerica.com). The Picasso is more expensive and must be shipped, but Cliff recommends Picasso so highly that I haven't decided. I look forward to other comments on this subject.

Mask manufacture

Just for your info, the Sporasub Samouri, Cressi Superoccio, OMER Abyss, Mares and Picasso equivalent are made on the same moulds, with mainly cosmetic differences. I personally choose OMER because of all the colour, texture, and different lense choices. For suits, you can't beat Picasso quality right now, but I've dealt with Mark Labocetta at OMER; he is a nice guy who has given me good prices on the products I have ordered. The least expensive way to go would be to buy the Mares version at DiveInn for 23$(I think).
The field of view on these masks is pretty good I think, although sometimes I like diving with a somewhat wider 2 window Scuba mask from Sherwood.
Just make sure it's black(or camo)!Cheers,
Erik Y.
clear skirt or black??

Well, I have the Omer Abyss in hand and it seems very comfortable, so it sounds as if I made a good choice. I got the blue/black, so I hope that works too. The folks at Omer are indeed very nice and helpful, and their products seem to be high quality.

Without even taking the mask to the water, it is apparent that the lack of peripheral vision through the skirt makes a big difference. I've been using a much larger, clear-skirt mask (Tusa Liberator) and this will be quite a change!

There seem to be two schools of thought here -
a) use a black skirt to screen out stray light and help you focus;
b) use a clear skirt to allow you get a glimpse of things approaching from the side.

Which is safer? Which is better? Is it purely a matter of preference, or are there situations where one or the other is better?

By the way, many thanks to all who respond to this and other of my beginner questions. My enthusiasm for this sport is increased greatly by the help I've recieved on this forum. I hope I can reciprocate at some point.
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b) use a clear skirt to allow you get a glimpse of things approaching from the side.

I think this may be overrated. I use a clear skirted mask for scuba diving and have had many a large tarpon sneak up on me from the side unnoticed. The most useful things i have found about a clear skirt mask are scuba related. it is easier to see items clipped off at the shoulder and to keep track of your buddy.
Thanks for the replies. After using the Abyss mask, I've figured out that one of the biggest differences between it and the mask I used formerly (a Tusa Liberator) is that the frame on the Abyss is much wider at the bridge of the nose.

This creates a problem with glancing to the sides, as the opposite eye sees the frame. It does force one to focus straight ahead and in the distance, which is probably good for speer fishing. However, I dive in spring caverns, and looking far ahead is not as important as making sure you don't whack your head on the rock 6 inches to your left!
I have been diving for over 10 years and I have tried all kinds of masks. The one that I have been using for the last 10 months is the Mares Target. It has a great field of view, I use it for lobster hunting, spear fishing and deep diving.

Thanks for all the replies. Because I had already purchased the Omer Abyss (at a great price from Pirate Scuba, by the way), I kept it and have to say that after getting accustomed to the change from a big snorkeling mask, it is great. It is so comfortable that I find myself keeping it on my face, even when I'm head out talking to another diver. I used it all day Saturday on a marathon spring diving trip with Scott - great day Scott!) and loved it. I have not used the other masks mentioned, but the field of view with the Omer Abyss is really just fine, albeit not as wide as the milk jug I used to put on my face!
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Reactions: Erik
Re: Mask manufacture

Originally posted by Erik Y.
Just for your info, the Sporasub Samouri, Cressi Superoccio, OMER Abyss, Mares and Picasso equivalent are made on the same moulds, with mainly cosmetic differences.

What about a spora sub dessault? Is that just a samurai with cool lenses? A Rodales review said it was smaller, but I've tried them on (not in the water) and they all seem to be the same mask with different color plastic. And what do you guys think about the Rodales reviews?
cressi big eyes

aside from the deeper freediving styles, cressi has the "big eyes". i had always thought that this was a large volume mask and never considered it. i definitely suggest that anyone going through a shop that has one try it on. you won't believe the difference in field of vision, and it is classified as low volume since the lenses come in close to the cheek bones. i was sold the minute i put one on. and being a spearo, not having to move your head so much to see everything saves so much energy, it's unreal. i still have cressi's superocchio, mare's target, and sporasub's dessault(same as mares) and opt for the big eyes all the time for spearfishing.
Another mask with a wide feild of view you might consider is is the Aqualung Sphera


I have one and it has an excellent feild of view, is very light and very low volume. The down side is that their is some distortion around the edges (and the plastic lenses can pop out if you push to hard - though they go back in easily).

I love them for freediving, don't like them for Scuba.

Cragrat aka David Nesbitt
Ottawa, ON
Cressy Big Eye

Definitively a good mask, the cressy big eye have a large field of vision and it very waterproof. All the debutant that tried my mask were impressed by it's waterproofness.

I have a clear skirt mask and i dont use it any more. when on surface, i get blinded by the sun too easily. So maybe for night dive.
Cressi big eyes

I also use the Cressi Big Eyes. I got them for scuba, and was gonna use them for freediving until I got round to getting a 'proper' freediving low volume mask. But I haven't found any problems with the volume of the mask (at least down to 20m), so I just stuck with it. The field of vision really is great.

What I want to know is if the Big Eye's volume is really comparable to say the Sporasub Samurai? The lens of the Big eyes *does* come very close to your cheeks at the bottom (practically touching), but I was wondering if the large area of the 2 pieces of glass would increase the volume of the mask?

In other words, if you look at it in profile, the internal volume is 'shallow' or very flat, but from the front view the area is probably bigger than a sporasub mask.

Anyone have the big eyes *and* a freediving mask out there? Maybe you could try to compare the volumes! Maybe wear each mask, then fill them up with water, and try to compare how much water each mask holds! Would be a pretty funny sight if you did that at home!

Anyway, just my $0.02.

Dive safe.

I also use a Aqualung Sphera at the moment it provides NO resistance for me to about 80+ft but as was mentioned it distorts around the edges, what wasnt mentioned is that none of the lens is flat so there is distortion all round, it isnt noticable for just looking and diving but if spearfishing Id avoid it because you may think your aimed at the fish when infact your not!
For me my favourite all round mask is the good old Piccasso Black team. An idea for wanting extra wide FOV for spearfishig try a clear silicone mask instead of black, this lets you detect movement through the sides...
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