Sports eyewear company, Tifosi Optics, doesn’t quite hold the same cachet as some of the bigger eyewear brands out there like Oakley and Rudy Project, but then it isn’t necessarily chasing the same territory. Instead, Tifosi’s sports sunglasses are destined to straddle that large middle ground between bargain-basement bins, and the ultra-expensive gucci shades.
Tifosi has been doing its thing since 2003. In that time, Tifosi has grown to become one of the largest sporting eyewear brands in the US, and it has now amassed a truly enormous range of glasses. I counted no less than 43 in the current lineup. With options to cover sports such as cycling, golf, running and tennis, Tifosi seems to have a frame and lens shape for nearly every purpose and every head shape.
The Camrock is one of the newest models from Tifosi, and the glasses are designed with fully enclosed lenses, an adjustable nosepiece, and short rubber-tipped arms. There are several frame colours, and you can choose to have a standard version that comes with three interchangeable lenses, or for the same price, a photochromatic option that comes with a single light-adjusting lens.
The model I’ve been riding with is called the Light Night Fototec. In Tifosi-speak, Fototec is its photochromatic lens option, which means the lens magically changes tint depending on how bright or dark the environment is. ‘Variable Light Transmission’ lenses are becoming more common these days, and they’re a great option for covering a wide variety of riding conditions without need for swapping out lenses.
The ‘Light Night’ bit refers to the tint of the glasses, which in this case is the most clear Fototec lens that Tifosi offers. According to Tifosi, the tint transitions from 75.9% light transmission (meaning it lets a lot of sunlight through), down to 27.7% (meaning it lets less sunlight through). Tifosi also offers the Fototec lenses in a Smoke tint for brighter conditions, as well as a Brown and Red lens that are suited to more specific conditions.
In terms of fit, the Camrock glasses have loads of adjustability, and it’s worth playing around with the nosepiece to get the glasses sitting comfortably on your face. The rubber tipped arms can also be bent around to hug your noggin more closely, but the arms can’t be bent up or down. However, because the arms are relatively short, I haven’t encountered a whole lot of interference with the harness on my riding helmet.
The Camrock has a good wrap-around fit, but overall the coverage isn’t huge. Tifosi claims the Camrocks offer a Medium-to-XL fit (it makes certain models that are specific for smaller and larger heads), but while the frame is pretty generous in terms of its width, the lens coverage is a little smaller than I’d like. Because the Camrock uses a full frame to enclose the lenses, the lower portion of the matte black frame does come into your peripheral view quite a lot, though not in a particularly distracting way. Other full-wrap options in the Tifosi lineup worth considering as well include the Escalate and the Dolomite 2.0, which offer a slightly different fit and shape. Of course it’s worth mentioning that the full lens wrap style also offers more durability for the glasses, so there’s less chance of the lens getting scratched up when they inevitably fly towards the dirt.
As for the lens, I really like the Light Night Fototec option. Distortion is non-existent, with the Camrock providing a smooth field of vision across the entire surface area. I’ve used this lens tint before with the open-frame Tifosi Seek glasses, and found it covered almost every riding condition I’d typically encounter while mountain biking. At its most clear, the Light Night Fototec lenses are just about usable for night riding – I’ve done it plenty of times, though I’d still recommend using a full clear lens if you’re night riding a lot.
At it’s darkest, the Light Night Fototec lens will shield you from bright sunny days in the shoulder seasons, and to be honest, pretty much anything the British summer will throw at you. If you’re riding in other parts of the world in really hot, bright summery conditions, like in Spain for example, I’d recommend electing for the darker Smoke Fototec lens to get more protection from glare. Otherwise for the changeable conditions encountered while riding around the north of England, the Light Night Fototec lenses are perfect.
One thing to note is the transmission time. Tifosi claims it takes the Fototec lenses about 12 seconds to transition from full clear to full dark. I’ve ridden with these around open moorland climbs and down valley descents, where this transition has been quick and unnoticeable. However, if you’re riding through wooded singletrack under bright, sunny conditions where there’s lots of dappled light, this is the kind of scenario that any photochromatic lens struggles with. One moment you hit a bright beam of sunlight through the treetops, the next you’re plunged into a dark patch of shade. Because the transmission time takes a few seconds, you can sometimes find the tint of the Fototec lens to be too dark or too bright for those split second changes. It’s no fault of the Camrock glasses, as every photochromatic lens does the same thing, but it’s worth bearing in mind if that sounds like a scenario you encounter a lot. If the conditions aren’t so bright and glarey, then it doesn’t present itself as a problem, and for me, having the glasses do the work so I don’t have to change lenses is well worth it.
A good-fitting pair of glasses that offer loads of adjustment. The lens coverage could be deeper for added protection, but otherwise the Camrock Light Night Fototec offer good tint-adjusting versatility and top value for money.
|Product:||Camrock Light Night Fototec|
|Tested:||by Wil Barrett for|