You’ll have probably noticed by now that there tends to be two main designs of full face snorkel masks – one comes with a curved lens, and the other one with a flat lens. The curved full face snorkel masks tend to have a rounded front that’s curved all the way along the front of the mask. Flat lens masks, on the other hand, have a flat front that slightly curves around the sides as it adheres to your face.
If you’re serious about what you do then you know you can only have the very best! So, which is the best – rounded or flat snorkel mask lenses? What are the differences between the two styles, if any? In this article, we compare the two styles in the ultimate full face snorkel mask showdown: Flat VS Curved full face snorkel mask lenses.
Curved lens full face masks
When you’re using a curved full face mask, the entire front of the mask is gently curved in an arc shape. This creates some distortion in your viewing due to the curvature. The distortion is spread quite evenly across the whole mask (so there aren’t any especially blurry patches or anything), but it does get a bit stronger at the edges where the curved lens meets the snorkel frame.
If you’re used to swimming around with your eyes open and enjoying a distorted underwater view, then you might not really notice a difference when using a curved lens. But then what would have been the point of investing in a full face snorkel mask? The idea is to enjoy enhanced crystal-clear views, not have the same distorted vision you get when opening your eyes underwater.
Note: There have been many reports of people experiencing dizziness and nausea while using the curved lens full face masks. This is more than likely due to the distorted vision, which can create a sense of vertigo. There’s nothing more dangerous than suffering these symptoms while out at sea – if you’re trying out a curved lens full face mask then make sure you have a buddy with you.
Flat lens full face masks
With a flat lens, there is no curvature in the front of the mask at all. So when you’re looking straight ahead there won’t be any distortion, providing you with crisp HD views. A flat lens full face snorkel mask offers vision that’s a whole lot more natural – you won’t even notice you’re underwater. Apart from the fishies and stuff.
That said, with a flat lens there will still be a little bit of distortion around the edges where the lens meets the frame again. This will just appear as a slight distortion around the edges of your peripheral vision – which is not something you really use while snorkelling anyway (look in front of you, that’s what we’re always taught!)
This distortion is also something that you can easily begin to block out of your vision as you use the mask more frequently. Since you’re looking out the front of the mask 99% of the time, that slight distortion around the edges will fade. On the other hand, since the rounded snorkel masks have distortion on the front of the mask, you’ll simply be getting used to distorted vision.
Flat VS curved snorkel lenses
So, what’ll it be? The round lens (which some might say looks cooler), or the flat lens? Here’s the final breakdown between the two:
- If you’re after the latest piece of equipment that’s been adapted & developed according to safety measures and customer feedback, then go with the flat lens. Less distortion, more clarity and natural vision.
- Due to the risk of causing nausea & dizziness in some people because of the distortion, curved lens full face masks are not recommended anymore. If you’re still finding them online, it may be the last few pieces of someone’s stock that they’re trying to get rid of.
- On the other hand, if you’re going to be taking pictures or filming your underwater adventures, a flat lens shows you exactly what those images will look like (because your vision will be just as crystal clear).
Our first version of the Ninja Shark full face mask actually featured a rounded curved lens. We were a little disappointed with the quality of the image, which didn’t look much different than your average goggles or cheap snorkel masks. So we designed a few more prototypes, underwent heaps of testing and experimentation, and eventually decided to scrap the curves and go for the flat lens. As passionate & dedicated snorkelers ourselves, we reckon this is the best way to truly enjoy undistorted underwater views.
If you’ve got any questions about the above, or still not sure which mask design is best for you, feel free to get in touch! We’d love to help out and share our expertise on the matter – we’ve tried and tested tonnes of snorkels and we know every obscure thing there is to know!