Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gear: Switch Vision's Magnetic Interchangeable Lens System

The first thing that I will say about Switch Vision's new sunglasses with their "Magnetic Interchangeable Lens System" is that they do not, under any circumstances float. More about that later. The second thing is that they most certainly do solve a problem faced by fly fishers who need to be able to spot fish in varying light conditions.

When I go fishing I generally start early and end late in the day. This means fishing in light conditions that run the gamut from morning fog, bright mid-day sun, to the low light conditions of dusk, all the while still trying to spot fish and appreciating the help and protection that good quality polarized lenses provide. I have found dark gray lenses to be an excellent choice for bright days casting in the tropics or even bright days on a small stream but in my opinion amber lenses which allow more light into the eye are much better for spotting trout on small blue line streams winding their way through dense forest canopy. Since most of us don't want to lug around two or three different pairs of sunglasses, interchangeable lenses that are easy to switch out on the water make sense.

Switch Vision has come up with a unique answer to this problem by creating a lens changing system that uses tiny yet powerful magnets to secure the lenses to their frames. The magnets hold the lenses firmly in place but also allow for a very quick change. The replacement lens literally jumps into the frame when you get it close. A lens change to a new color takes less that 5 seconds to complete.

In our sample set, the polarized lenses provided excellent clarity and vision was comparable other premium sunglasses I have worn. Weight was slightly heavier than other glasses with polycarbonate lenses. However they were still lighter than their counterparts equipped with glass lenses. I found the frames to be comfortable and the wrap around style did a great job of keeping light from seeping in at the sides of the frames.

The standard Switch product offering which retails for $249, comes with no less than three pairs of lenses. However only one pair in the set is polarized. Fishermen will want to create their own package with their choice of lenses. Two sets of polarized lenses in your choice of colors along with a low light amber non-polarized pair will run you $334, still comparable to the price of other premium brands with only one color option. The lens options come in their own individual "pods" which protect them and easily fit into the pocket of a fishing vest for quick access. One item we found odd was the lack of a hard case for the glasses themselves. Most brands at this price point come with a case but Switch includes a bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth. We wouldn't let this keep us from purchasing a set though as it is easy enough to pick one up at your local drug store.

Back to the part about them not floating, I discovered that fact when I inadvertently flung our sample set into a local black water lake while swatting at a large wasp with my hat. No amount of dredging the bottom brought them back to the surface. Switch Vision sunglasses with their innovative magnetic lens interchange system are available in a variety of styles from various retailers or via Prescription lenses are also available. If your vision needs include the ability to adapt different lenses to different lighting conditions these innovative glasses are an excellent option.

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