Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Costa del Mar new Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses review - are these the best polarised lenses for our conditions?

If I could have the Costa del Mar 580G Green Mirror lenses surgically welded to my eyeballs then I’d book in for the operation right now - if there’s a better polarised lens for bright conditions especially then I haven’t yet come across it, and believe me, I have worn all kinds of polarised sunglasses all around the world in all kinds of light conditions. In my opinion, Costa del Mar polarised lenses are the best. That Green Mirror lens colour on tropical saltwater flats especially are just awesome, and for the most part I really like that same lens colour in our somewhat changeable conditions as well. As is so often the case, the best stuff costs, and Costa is not a cheap polarised sunglasses brand.

So when I first strapped a pair of the Costa Tuna Alley sunnies to my face with these brand new Sunrise Silver Mirror 580P lenses in them, well I wasn’t remotely sure. If it helps, the 580P Costa del Mar lenses are made from polycarbonate and are also cheaper than the 580G (glass) lenses - I have used both kinds over the years, and whilst I have yet to put a scratch on a glass Costa lens, I have managed to put a couple of tiny little scratches on their polycarbonate lenses - but as for noticing a big difference in how well the different lenses perform? OK, I like to think that I can easily see how the glass lenses are superior, but out in the real world? I’m not so sure. The 580G and the 580P lenses are all outstanding, and what lens colour you might prefer is a personal thing.

So whilst I have used most of the Costa lens colours over the years, I keep coming back to the Green Mirror, hence the world looking somewhat different when I first used this brand new Silver Sunrise Mirror lens colour. Above is a screenshot lifted from the Costa del Mar website which is their representation of how this new lens colour makes the world around you look, and whilst I’m not convinced by how accurate this visual representation really is, yes, there’s a strong kind of yellow, silvery contrast boost sort of cast to these new lenses. I found this blurb about these new lenses: “The Sunrise Silver Mirror lens is described as ideal for low light situations, great for any sight casting applications and Costa’s most versatile lens for changing light conditions. It allows 30% light transmission compared to the typical 10% to 12% and does this successfully while maintaining a 99% polarisation efficiency – making it the highest light transmission of any polarised lens on the market.”

“Having been in field testing with some of our pro staff since last summer, the early indicators are that we have a game changer,” said John Sanchez, Vice President of Product Design for Costa. “It will transform the way sight fishing anglers approach wearing glasses throughout the day. The Sunrise Silver Mirror sharpens contrast all day, but performs best under the toughest low light conditions, making it ideal for dusk and dawn performance and cloudy fishing days. The mirrored finish also helps deflect harsh light away from the eye to ease eye strain and help reduce eye fatigue.”

Do those sort of light conditions sound at all familiar to those of you who fish in countries such as the UK and Ireland? I do love a bit of sunshine, but surely we are more used to rapidly changing weather, with light levels often all over the place? Give me my 580G Green Mirror lenses on a big blue sky day - and to be honest I think they do pretty damn well in variable light as well - but in reality? Well as I said, I wasn’t so sure when I first gave these new Silver Sunrise Mirror lenses a go, but I stuck with them and how different the world looked when I first put them on. Very different to what I have been so used to for so long now, but wow am I glad I stuck with them!

To the point that these new Costa del Mar Silver Sunrise Mirror sunnies now don’t leave my fishing rucksack. It’s almost as if this big US company has had a look at the sort of light conditions we get over here and decided to make the perfect polarised lens for us - obviously this is not the case, but after a lot of time with these new lenses I am now of the opinion that they are a bit bloody brilliant for our conditions. They take the light and boost it right up - contrast is very important to me with my photography, and I love how these yellow/silvery tinged new Costa lenses really help to boost contrast when the light is a bit flat. OK, so I wouldn’t choose these particular lenses if I was heading off on say an Indian Ocean photo fishing job and the often insane brightness levels, but even when our own light gets bright I find these Silver Sunrise Mirror lenses good to wear.

And obviously from a purely polarisation point of view they are outstanding, indeed I had a slightly embarrassing situation the other day which I shall blame entirely on these new Costa lenses! When I am fishing with mates, I ask them to carry a walkie-talkie principally so that if we are fishing a distance apart they can give me a shout to come and photograph a nice bass or something like that - providing there’s a rockpool or whatever to safely put the fish in while I make my way over………...

Anyway, Mark and I are out fishing the other day, and we are a few hundred yards apart and out of sight of each other - he comes on the radio to say he’s just landed a bass and did I want to come over and photograph it? Yes I did, so Mark puts his bass in a rockpool and I make my way over while he carries on fishing. As I start clambering down the rocks I spy his bass sitting high and dry on the rocks, so I radio down to him to say something along the lines of: “Mark you dopey tit, you haven’t put the bass in a rockpool.” “Yes I have” comes the reply. But there’s the bass, sitting on the rocks but not in a rockpool. Bless him, he must have lost his marbles I am thinking to myself. Seriously, all I can see is his bass NOT in a rockpool…………..

Not a great photo I know, but I am having to hide the backdrop.

Not a great photo I know, but I am having to hide the backdrop.

Until I take my sunglasses off. Now who’s the tit?! There is his bass sitting in a nice little rockpool, as happy as can be and waiting for me to take a few photos and then be gently slipped back. OK, so polarised sunglasses should of course help you see into the water by cutting out a lot of glare, but I can never recall literally all the water disappearing like that! I genuinely could not see a drop of water in that rockpool with these new Sunrise Silver Mirror sunnies on. Having called Mark a tit at least three times over the radio, there’s me now eating a healthy portion of humble pie! I am really liking these new Costa del Mar new Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses and I can’t wait until they make them available in my all time favourite Permit frames from Costa. I know Farlows and Sportfish tend to carry good stocks of Costas if that helps, and also speak to the nice people at Chesil Bait'n'Tackle