First the housekeeping. I got up at the crack of dawn Sunday to watch Spartacus ride away from a snacking (read inattentive) Tom Boonen at Paris Roubaix. The reaction of Dutch commentators summed up the winning move better than the images..."Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom" (2:25) one exclaimed in recognition that Cancellara was gone and Tom was hung out to dry. That makes two incredible race moves in as many weeks for the Swiss dynamo. And kudos to Specialized for notching a classic win on the Project Black Roubaix. I spent a whole day three weeks ago photographing prototypes of that frame ;-)
I can't mention Spartacus without saying how much I'm enjoying the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I don't know how the series will fare when it tries to capture major battle scenes, but while the focus rests in the intimate confines of the gladitorial school rife with plotting, murder and mayhem (did I mention sex) it's fantastic. Great performances by a stellar cast of veterans and newcomers. Might be a cameo role for the real Spartacus in season two if he slays a couple more opponents like he did in Flanders and PR.
After a brief intermission, I returned to the Spring traditions of the Masters where a sullen Tiger Woods was doing a bad Ray Charles impression with those ridiculous sun glasses, and hitting several un-Tiger-like shots that I imagine Ray Charles might hit had he played golf. Always a fan, he has diminished significantly in my eyes and unless he starts getting some good advice I fear he may go off the deep end like a certain Michael Jackson. He's already wearing one glove afterall.
Let's dispense with the strange glasses and look at some cool ones from Giro.
First the basics. The Filter is Giro's newest model with a beautifully sculpted compact frame. I like the fit at the temples on this big head; secure but not too tight. The rubber nose bridge is firmer than its spongy counterpart on my Oakley Radars. I've had to purchase a replacement nose piece for the Oakleys in just under two years of use. I can't see that happening with the Filters.
Lenses are superb optics by Zeiss, known for legendary glass and by the way some beautiful manual primes that will eventually find their way into my camera bag. The Filters come with two sets of lenses. The Silver/Titanium frames pictured are outfitted with Rose Silver and Orange Selector lenses. Interesting story behind the development of the tints. Giro tasked Zeiss to come up with formulations that were relaxing to the eye while increasing contrast and depth perception. Performance, not cosmetics determined the eventual choices. All lenses filter the full spectrum of UVA, UVB and UVC light.
What really distinguishes the Filters from every other sun-glass system with replaceable lenses is what Giro calls their Pop-Top retention technology. I struggle to squeeze the nose piece on my Oakley Radars to release the single lens, worry about breaking the frame and end up with fingerprints all over them. As you can see from the four-picture sequence below, the Filters employ a unique cam to lock and release the lenses. It couldn't be easier and there's zero chance of damaging the glasses in the process. Really a clever piece of engineering that increases the likelihood you'll actually change lens tints under different conditions.
Since wearing the Filters those Oakley Radars have been riding in the team car.
|Pop: turn the cam upwards||Remove Lense|
|Slide lense into frame||Rotate cam to secure lense|
Giro's Havik II sunglasses come in full and compact models to fit different faces and rider preferences. Personally I prefer the compact style, there's more than adequate coverage and a little more airflow behind the glasses (on my face) which is always good to avoid fogging. The Havik II feels a little more open and a shade lighter than the Filter. Having just said that I quickly weighed them confirming the Filter is 28g and the Havik II 26g. The sensitivity borne of years of club feeling. "That face is 2 degrees open" lives on. Wish some other sensitivities still worked as well.
Having experienced the sheer brilliance of the Filters when it comes to changing lenses I have to say it's hard to go back to the system employed by the Havik. You compress the nose bridge between thumb and forefinger on one hand and push it out of the frame with the thumb on your other hand. From there I still find it a struggle to apply the right force to disengage the single wrapping lens from the frame. I can't do it without plenty of fingerprints. Advantage Filters.
So there you have it. The Filters are available in 6 frame colorways (matte black, gloss black, silver/ti, gloss red, white/blue, striped tort*) and 5 lens tints. The Havik II Full: 3 frame colors (red, matte black and matte silver) and 5 lens tints. The Havik II Compact: 5 frame colors (matte black, gloss black, matte silver, pearl white, pearl red) and 5 lens tints. *not sure on availability
The Filters retail for $200 (2 tone frames are $220) while the Havik IIs range from $140 to $200 (most colorway/lens combinations are $170). If a compact frame size suits your face, I think the Pop Top feature on the Filters is well worth the extra cost.
If you've not tuned into Spartacus: Blood and Sand yet you might try watching the show wearing a pair of Giros with Orange Selector lenses. You get enhanced slave girl contrast and protection from all the blood splatter. I'm off to Sea Otter for four days, expect lots of imagery next week.