However, mask manufacturers like to tell us that their product will give us a better view of the underwater world. This gives rise to a plethora of different masks on the market.
We all have our own idea of what suits us and, as we quickly grow accustomed to the limiting effects of refraction, we get used to what we have.
I know divers who love those big old round masks that take a couple of litres of exhaled air to clear of water if they flood. I know divers who like tiny low-volume masks that make them look like Robin to my Batman. I once used one. But all this changed when the original Cressi Big Eye was introduced.
Cressi came up with the idea of large, deep glasses that were tilted from the forehead at an angle. Divers got a better downward view of kit mounted on their chests. It didnt give you a wider view, but it did give you a deeper view than any other mask
The Big Eye was an immediate success - or it would have been, were it not for some small design defects in the buckles, where a pin could drop out and leave you either groping in the gunwales for it, or without a usable mask.
Cressi solved the problem with the Matrix.
It had the same sort of teardrop-shaped lenses raked at an angle. Many other mask designers emulated the look of the Matrix and Big Eye, but Cressi had the raked-angle idea sown up with a patent. In a recent side-by-side mask comparison it was a firm favourite, and far cheaper than other masks we really liked.
The newest mask from Cressi is the Big Eye Evo, with similarly shaped lenses raked at an angle, but with newly designed pivoting strap-buckles and frame.
Alas, I need a prescription lens in my mask to see where Im going. I blame it on Anno Domini (no, thats not a pizza delivery company). I could appreciate that the new mask looked very smart, but until I had the lens fitted I needed the input on its efficacy from someone else.
So I lent the Big Eye Evo to George Brown (a regular Cressi Matrix user). He found that it was just as good for glancing down and monitoring the important displays on his Inspiration rebreather.
George told me that his Matrix sometimes leaked because of the hairy bits on his cheeks, but that he encountered no such problem with the Big Eye Evo. Thats probably because it has a rim of a different type of silicone around its skirt that makes a firm seal against the skin of the face. It appears as a dark line in the photograph.
So not only does it not leak, but it looks as though it wont leak. The Matrix is dead - long live the Big Eye Evo.

Mares X-Vision Liquid Skin, £54
Oceanic Pioneer, £59
Atomic ARC Subframe, £100

SKIRTS Transparent or opaque
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