cacatman

No one knows 'cacat' like cacatman!!
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Updated by cacatman 28th January, 2020

Thanks to @SEAN WAYNE (@Linegear Japan Admin in Linegear International/Marketing Director for Linegear Japan (with @Japanese Jellyfish)), I was able to get hold of a pair of NXT Varia Photochromic lenses for Romeo 1!

Introduction
We all know that Linegear is best known for their quality reasonably priced aftermarket replacement rubbers for X-metals. Less known is their range of aftermarket lenses.

To be honest, normally, I don't do aftermarket lenses. I have had/do have several pairs though (most of them collected when I first started my Oakley journey several years ago). I have some Revant Optics, custom cut corrected optician clears (for reading), seek optic hack lenses, and a transition pair from Linegear. I've even had some fuse lenses (didn't like them at all!!!).

Technical Specifications
Transmission ranges from 16%-60%
Gold mirror coating with 100% UV protection
BC (Base Curvature) 8 ie. suitable for R1
Base tint - Pinkish tinge (Officially recorded as "Light brown") ie. tint when looking through lens
Operating Temperature -40 degrees C -> 120 degrees C!!!
Material - NXT (whatever that is)
Manufacturer - Essilor Sun Solution (I.C. Japan), but I believe lens itself is made in Malaysia. Mirror coating and cutting done in Japan
Distributor - Linegear
Impact protection - Not stated anywhere

P.S. @Wavecloud may be interested in this lens

Packaging
On unboxing, it was well protected (the lenses pictured are my old matte dillon lenses), coming in a hard plastic box and bagged.
IMG_2571.jpeg


Impressions
It's winter here in Amman now. Overcast days seem perfect for this lens. I used this lens for 3 days. I'll continue to use them this week and update accordingly.
IMG_2565.jpg


Weight-wise, the lenses are lighter than Dillon lenses (my electronic scales aren't working, unfortunately). They feel equivalent in weight to OEM. Edges are smooth.

The lenses themselves fit perfectly and securely in the frame.

They appear marginally thicker than OEM lenses (see below).
IMG_2557.jpeg


From the front, they sit exactly flush. But from the rear, the bevel edging can be seen. It's way more exaggerated in my picture than in real life. Certainly no impact from a visual acuity point of view during use.
IMG_2556.jpeg


I was extremely impressed with the clarity of the lenses. I'm no lens expert, by any stretch of the imagination, but these were the clearest aftermarket lens I've personally used (by a long way).

I didn't notice any dark spots or areas of distortion or weird "dark matter starbursts", that I got with the dillons. Objects were appropriately "sharp". I didn't get headaches from usage.

Subjectively they seem to be significantly clearer than the gold matte Dillon lenses that I was using in this pair. Optical clarity seems at least as good as OEM Oakley lenses IMHO. In fact, I think there would be quite close on objective testing. There is very little distortion laterally as well.

Matte Dillons look great in Oakley frames, but I think I will keep this Linegear pair in until I get another R1 frame.

It's an extremely pleasant feel and easy on the eyes during usage (traditionally, I haven't liked persimmon lenses because I don't like the look from the outside, even though I don't mind the base tint).

The look of this lens is pretty cool from the outside. It's got a goldish type mirrored finish. Not as bright as OEM 24 k lenses (obviously). Because it is a photochromic lens, it also depends on the lighting conditions. When it is darker, it becomes more "gold". In brighter light, it seems to change to a brown gold -> pinkish colour from the outside.

Lens in cloudy conditions facing the sun
IMG_2566.jpg


Pinkish base tint. Reminds me more of a persimmon lens. Similar in range to a VR50 (but a V50 has a browner base tint).

Lens facing the sun
IMG_2567.jpg


Comparison with a 24k OEM lens indoors.
It is much closer to OEM gold iridium and certainly doesn't look out of place with the titanium finish.
IMG_2573.jpeg


Pros
Fantastic clarity
Fantastic clarity
Perfect fit into frame
Fantastic clarity
Very little distortion at periphery
Great colour combo that isn't available OEM.
Versatile lens for low to even bright conditions (sweet spot - cloudy days IMHO)
Well packed/shipped fast (even to Jordan!!!)

Cons
Bevel could be less obvious from the inside
Cost - the list price is USD$115 (but check with @SEAN WAYNE for current pricing).

Conclusion
People have strong opinions about aftermarket brand lenses. That's a discussion that can be found elsewhere on this forum.

If I can put it this way. If Oakley rebadged this lens and sold it as part of the range, I very much doubt anyone would notice, in terms of visual acuity performance.

It is more expensive than most other aftermarket lenses, except dillon. It's cheaper than buying an average priced current OEM lens and custom cutting it.

Is it worth it? On balance, I definitely think so! If I get a leather mars, I'll be definitely substituting the exact same Linegear lens into it. If you're buying the lens, get better value by buying some other stuff from Linegear.

What this lens offers is a different colour combo from OEM without the compromise in visual acuity. The question really is, whether you're willing theoretically to buy an aftermarket brand


Disclaimer
I have corrected 6/6 vision with contact lenses and mild astigmatism.
I share no business interests with Linegear or @SEAN WAYNE.
Didn't test impact or scratch resistance.
 

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