The Design
The Atomic Venom is a single lens design with the glass set in a hard plastic subframe. It features a black double-layer low-volume silicon skirt with the strap buckles attached directly to it. The buckles feature a neat squeeze-to-adjust button on the top.
The strap is soft and pliable and split at the back to enable even distribution at the rear of the wearer’s head, much as you’d expect for a top-end mask. It’s the lens that sets this mask apart from the competition and, let’s not kid ourselves, once you’ve found a pattern that fits the contours of your face, the lens or lenses are the most important feature on any mask.
The lens used in the Venom is produced by the German Schott Glass Company and is made of glass that has reduced iron content.
Iron particles remain in normal glass after the manufacturing process, giving it a green tint that can significantly reduce light transmission and vision. By removing the iron the glass ends up clear and of a high optical quality.
Atomic calls the result “Ultraclear Schott SuperWhite” glass. The Venom is available in black with a choice of red, blue or grey accents, with or without a special anti-reflective coating (ARC), and I had been loaned the latter version.

In The Water
The first time I wore this mask it was immediately apparent just how wide the field of vision was. I could see a lot more around me than I had expected, the horizontal and downward views being 95° and 50° respectively.
The ultra-clear glass was really noticeable. In fact the best way to describe it is that it wasn’t noticeable at all – it was as if it wasn’t even there. The view was so clear and undistorted that I became unaware of its presence. I can’t let you know whether the ARC was an advantage, because I couldn’t tell that it was there either.
The silicon skirt felt soft against my skin and the double seal, helped by the fact that the mask was a good fit for my face, kept any water ingress at bay. The nose pocket is quite large and didn’t press against the bridge of my oversized hooter, something I quite often experience with other models of mask.
The strap was stretchy and held everything in place without needing to over-tighten it, and the neat little one-touch buttons allowed me to adjust the tension quickly and easily.
The volume is around the medium mark, with the lens a little further away from my eyes than I’m accustomed to. I had to adjust the dioptre setting on my camera’s viewfinder to compensate – not a big deal, I know, but I really struggled on the first outing, on which I was shooting macro on manual focus settings.
Once sorted I was able to enjoy the clear view offered by this remarkable piece of optical glass.

Conclusion
As with everything in life, if you want the best you have to pay a premium. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Atomic Venom is one of the very best masks out there – the materials and design are top-notch, but it’s the glass that puts it in pole position, and optical excellence is expensive.
As I’m getting older my eyesight is starting to deteriorate and I need all the advantage I can get. The Venom with Schott Ultrawhite glass may not be my saviour, but every little helps.

SPECS
PRICES £124, with ARC £141
LENS Single, Schott Ultrawhite
COLOUR Black with either red, blue or grey trim
CONTACT www.atomicaquatics.com
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