This is a pity, because the Italian company has really worked in recent years to come up with a product that measures up to almost any other regulator on the market, and the Ellipse Titanium, when it first appeared, seemed to have done the job.
Of course, the word titanium does not sit easily with nitrox in some divers vocabulary, which is why Cressi has now brought out the Ellipse Steel. This is an inexpensive yet high-performance regulator, and will certainly suit anyone on a budget. Despite its heavier-sounding name, it doesnt weigh much, either.

First Stage
The new MC5 diaphragm first stage has four medium-pressure ports but only one high-pressure. One hp port is OK unless youre using a gas-integrated computer and want the back-up of a mechanical pressure gauge as well.
Its a compact item and, protected by a shell of black elastomer, should stay looking smart for years. The ports are arranged around the first-stage barrel, and attached hoses fan out from it.
Im told that a newly designed sliding poppet-valve cylinder within it is made from self-lubricating technopolymer that should keep it functioning well even after a lot of use.

Second Stage
The elliptical second-stage housing is fairly unusual-looking, and the only in-water adjustment is a lever on top of the tube that leads to the mouthpiece, with a vane within it that attempts to disrupt the air-flow when needed.
This is meant to avoid free-flows at the cusp between water and the surface air. These occur in regulators usually because the flow of air through the second stage is so clean (in order to reduce the work of inhalation at depth) that a venturi effect occurs, causing a pressure-drop behind the pressure-sensing front diaphragm.
This pulls it in slightly, causing the valve to open more. The effect is exponential.
I feel that the vane used in this regulator to break up the airflow is too far down the delivery tube to the mouthpiece to have much, if any, effect. There is a heat-exchanger inline, where the hose meets the second stage.

Purge Control
This worked well, provided ones finger came from the side, but it was harder to find if reaching up with one finger from below.
Once found, it proved quite stiff to operate, but the purge flow was progressive, and satisfyingly effective.

Comfort
The second stage seemed lightweight in the mouth, although it did protrude a long
way forward.
One problem I encountered was that, as an underwater photographer trying to get low-angle shots near the seabed, I often had to turn my head on one side to see through my DSLR cameras eyepiece.
At this time the medium-pressure hose supplying the second stage was vertically above the regulator. This caused it to tend to free-flow.
Tweaking the venturi plus/minus control appeared to have precious little effect.
At normal orientations, exhaled air seemed to flow easily past the side of my face without obscuring my vision much, despite the exhaust-T being very compact and neat.
For the ordinary leisure dives of forward-facing divers, it seems ideal.

COMPARABLE REGULATORS TO CONSIDER:
Mares Prestige MR12, £199
Apeks ATX40/DS4, £198
Oceanic Alpha 8 CDX5, £211

SPECS
PRICE
£196
FIRST STAGE Balanced diaphragm
PORTS 4 mp, 1 hp
SECOND STAGE ADJUSTMENTS Venturi plus/minus
FITTING A-clamp or DIN screw
WEIGHT 900g
CONTACT www.cressi.it
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