Several years of my youth were spent as a pool man in Southern California, where I developed an appreciation of high quality sunglasses. The cheap ones wouldn’t last, and can even be worse than not wearing any eye protection. So I’ve been wearing Oakley and Ray-Ban for about as long as I can remember. That old ZZ Top song never told you what happened to your eyes from wearing Cheap Sunglasses for 8 hours a day in the sun.
Most people take great care of their expensive sunglasses, but I don’t seem to have that ability. Look at a pair of sunglasses I’ve had a while, and you’ll see lots of wear: scratched frames, scratched lenses. I have a pair of Oakley GasCans with the original lenses all scratched up. They used to be my favorite pair, but they were about to be put out to pasture.
…until I was contacted by Revant Optics, who offered to send me a pair of their replacement lenses for review and asked if I had a pair of Oakley that needed new lenses. I sure do! This company makes replacement lenses for higher end shades. They sent me a pair of their Elite HC3 “polarized stealth black” replacement lenses and this is what I will be reviewing.
The funny thing is that it never dawned on me how easy it was to replace lenses. If I had known this, then I wouldn’t have all these pair of scratched sunglasses, some of which I’ve given away rather than throw away.
Revant Optics is an optics company specializing in replacement lenses for good brands of sunglasses like Ray-Ban and Oakley. Their web site is well done, and prices seem fair for high quality lenses. They also appear to offer free shipping site-wide, which always gets my attention since I am an Amazon Prime addict.
These are Elite HC3 polarized replacement lenses for Oakley GasCan sunglasses. My review sample came with a white Revent micro-fiber pouch and a cool looking sticker. While I know it’s the shape of a diamond and I even get the “c3” reference, the sticker looks like it should be on the armbands of some futuristic storm troopers.
Official Specs (From Revant)
Revant has a helpful youtube video showing how to replace the lenses.
My new lenses arrived in a tiny box, which also contained a white pouch and a cool looking sticker. Everything looked legit, and I folded the lenses over each other while they were still in the plastic to see if there was some sign they were truly polarized. And yep, it makes a prismatic pattern that I would’ve captured in the photos if I wasn’t in such a hurry to install them and put them on my face.
|Hail to the Emperor?|
I’m not a physicist, but these sure look polarized to me. There’s a lot of fakes out there. Before I mounted the new lenses on my GasGan frames, I took the two new lenses and overlaid them, rotating them to see the telltale prismatic patterns. Had I acted like a true professional and not some kid excited to get his new shades, I might have captured this effect with the camera. But it’s definitely there, and I can sometimes see the prismatic effect in the right light holding them at a certain angle.
Polarized Lenses Factoid
Doing some routine research into polarized lenses for sunglasses, I ran into something that really surprised me. Polarized lenses make it harder / impossible to read small LCD screens like you would find on a phone or tablet in sunlight. My phone seemed to be mostly unreadable in sunlight, and now I know why. If it’s bright enough to have the sun shining on my phone, then I’m probably wearing shades.
Fit and Finish
The best I can tell, there are no flaws of any kind in the finish of the lenses. The “Elite” logo could probably be etched a little crisper, but I’m not a fan of the of the logo anyway. I’m more concerned with the finish of the lenses, and they look great. I have old eyes but a new camera, and if these lenses have any flaws, my camera can’t see them.
I’ve worn my shades with these new lenses for a full week now and it’s been plenty of time to get a feel for how well I like them. They are nice and dark, which I definitely prefer. The polarization is really good, too. Driving in the late afternoon during summer is a great test of shades, so I’ve really put these new lenses through their paces.
One thing that stood out to me about these lenses is their exceptional clarity. Looking through glare out into my sunny backyard as a test, I swapped back and forth with my polarized Ray-Ban Wayfarers. I was surprised that the Wayfarers are still a little darker, but compared to these Elite lenses, the Wayfarers have a greenish-tint and aren’t nearly as clear as these.
Having used them a week, I can find no noticeable scratches, nicks or other damage. A week after originally buying the GasCans, they already had scratches on the stock lenses.
|These new lenses are nice and dark!|
Now I have everything I liked about my GasCan frames (ruggedness, wrap-around) with optics as good or better than my Italian-made Ray-Bans. These are back to being my go-to pair of shades. The little logo in the corner sometimes distracts me once in a while, but overall these lenses are legit. I think they should make the logo a little smaller and maybe put it in the top corner.
The best I can tell with my non-scientific testing, these Elite lenses are much better than the stock made-in-USA lenses my GasCans came with. Better glare protection and clarity for sure, and less prone to scratches.
|“OK, there, I smiled”|