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Apparel Review

For Photo-Realistic Optics, The Choice is Clear : Costa Del Mar


Date: 9/14/10
Tackle type: Sunglasses
Manufacturer: Costa Del Mar
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.08 - EDITOR'S CHOICE!

Even though the 2010 ICAST Best Eyewear Award did not go to this company, it seems as if this Cost Del Mar wins the award virtually every year. Why not? Only a handful of serious sunglass manufacturers really build product specifically for the angler and while Costa's was born in the salt, freshwater anglers, or more specifically, bass anglers have really gravitated towards this company's product for their solid optics and stylish designs. It's been a long time coming, but finally, here's our take on the Costa Del Mar product and their Hammerhead frames.


Costa Del Mar Hammerhead w/ Silver Mirror 580 Lens Specifications

Frame Style Hammerhead
Frame Material Grilamid TR-90
Available Lens Options 12
Frame Color Tested White/Black
Lens Color Tested Silver Mirror 580 (glass)
Case Hard Plastic
Included Accessories Micro Fiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
MSRP $250


Impressions: While they've been around since the late 1960's, the Costa Del Mar story really took flight in the early 80's where they gained attention and support from organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Key Largo Florida, Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes America's Cup Team, Surfer Corky Carroll, The Cousteau Society, The F-16C Eastern Demo Team and more. Now their list of known customers spans the worlds of sailing, racing, military and law enforcement, surfing, aviation, divers, and of course, fishermen.


Introducing Costa Del Mar's Voyager Series, Hammerhead Frames with Silver Mirror glass lenses.


What makes Costa Del Mar such a sought after product in the world of outdoor enthusiasts? As with any sunglass manufacturer, it's all about the lenses. Costa owns two patents surrounding their lens technology. A technology that is designed to block the yellow light and enhance the red, blue, and green spectrum resulting in photo-realistic contrast and color that you literally have to see to believe.

The Hammerhead frames are one of at least sixty six available styles from Costa Del Mar.

Field Tests: Our story with Costa Del Mar began early in 2010 when Zander and I were shopping, stocking up for a weekend adventure reviewing tackle. We happened by a Costa Del Mar display case and decided it was about time we gave this storied manufacturer a try. And try we did. After rifling through and trying on several different styles and frame designs, we finally each found a pair that suited our big heads. For some reason, the fit of the frames in the display case, on our modest faces were somewhat inconsistent even within the same style. This is one product we recommend checking out in person to ensure the proper fit.

With a reputation born in the saltwater world, Costa has made a strong push into the freshwater market, and more specifically, bass fishing.

My choice in style was the Hammerhead. Nestled within their Voyager series, the Hammerhead shades feature a full wrap, full frame design built of Grilamid TR-90 Nylon. This material is highly resistant to UV rays resulting in a frame that won't break down over time - at least due to exposure to the sun. All Costa hinges are stainless steel and feature movement beyond 180 degrees for a snug, but comfortable fit on wider faces like yours truly.

Both the silver mirror finish features a copper base making it a great choice for variable light conditions.

As with any pair of sunglasses, looking through the lenses in the store provides minimal feedback of how your experience will be outside. All you can really do is judge whether or not the optics are clear and distortion free. One big plus for Costa Del Mar? They offer a full array of lens colors in optically superior glass. Polycarbonate lenses may be more shatter resistant, but when polarized, they tend to distort peripheral vision and this is a compromise I am unwilling to make. Glass lenses are also more scratch resistant when that inevitable drop to the pavement occurs.

Jess demonstrates the attractive, all around style of the Costa Del Mar Hammerhead frames.

Costa Del Mar offers a dizzying array of lens colors and while we would have liked to try them all, that's just financially unfeasible even for TackleTour's Enthusiast Tackle Editor. Both Zander and I relied upon the advice of Hi's Tackle Box shop owner, Jonah Li and selected the Silver Mirror lens - a lens designed to perform well in variable light conditions as experienced by many freshwater anglers. Jonah told us it is a popular lens amongst fly fishermen.

The Hammerhead frames are made of TR-90 Nylon for long lasting, UV resistant performance.

Out on the water, this advice proved solid. I'm very picky when it comes to shades with the true test of any pair being how they perform in variable light conditions. While the Silver Mirror lens is still a tad dark for me during low light, overcast conditions (yes, I wear shades even with overcast skies), overall these lenses have done quite well for me. There's no beating yellow or light amber lenses in heavy shade or overcast skies, but the Silver Mirror lens has a copper base helping it perform better than grey lenses in low light conditions. When switching from bright to a lot of shade, if you can't carry two pair of shades, this lens color is an acceptable choice.

Stainless steel hinges that bend beyond 180 degrees are the backbone of these frames allowing for great flexibility in fit.

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