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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Tifosi Optics Q3 Sunglasses > Test Report by Jo Ann Moffi


INITIAL REPORT: October 17, 2007
FIELD REPORT: January 7, 2008
LONG TERM REPORT: February 25, 2008

Tifosi Optics Q3 Eyewear Pearl White
Photo Courtesy of Tifosi Website

Name Jo Ann Moffi Backpacking Background:

I was introduced to backpacking about 15 years ago when I met my husband. We have been backpacking, canoe camping, car camping, hiking, and participating in all sorts of outdoor activities ever since. We live in a border town (US & Canada), so we spend lots of time in both countries for our outdoor excursions. When making a decision on gear, I like to go lightweight and practical. I don't like to carry around extraneous bits and pieces.
Age 34
Gender Female
Height 168 cm (5 ft, 6 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lbs)
Email Address jomoffi AT gmail DOT com
City, State, Country Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Product Information

Manufacturer:  Tifosi Optics, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufactured In: China
MSRP: $59.95 U.S.
Colour: Pearl White (Also Available in Matte Black, Metallic Blue, and Metallic Silver)
Listed Weight: 24 g (0.85 oz) 
Actual Weight: 24 g (0.85 oz)
Material: Frames: Grilamid (homopolyamide nylon), Temple & Nose Piece: Hydrophilic Rubber, Lenses: Polycarbonate
Fit: Medium to Large Faces
Listed Measurements: None provided.
My Measurements:
Inside temple to temple: 12.5 cm (4.9 in)
Temple to End of Ear Piece: 12 cm (4.7 in)
Center of Nose to End of Ear Piece: 15 cm (5.9 in)

INITIAL REPORTTifosi Eyewear Package
Date: October 17, 2007

Item Received: August 14, 2007

The Tifosi Q3 Eyewear arrived in a box containing a carrying case, the frames, 4 pairs of lenses, and a cleaning cloth that doubles as a drawstring bag for the eyewear. No instructions were included with the eyewear, but it was pretty easy to figure out how to pop the lenses out and change them. I requested the frames in the Pearl White colour. I was expecting a white that had a bit more of a pearl like sheen, but these frames are very white. It will be interesting to see if they maintain their brilliance throughout the test period. The eyewear included everything mentioned on the manufacturer's website and I can identify all the features of the frames and lenses mentioned on the Tifosi Q3 webpage.

When I opened each individually wrapped lens, I found that 3 of the 4 pairs had scratches on the outside of the lenses. The clear, yellow, and AC red all had scratches: the yellow and the clear having scratches on both lenses, and the AC red had scratches on only one lens, but it was the most scratched out of the bunch and right in the center of my field of vision. Each lens was individually wrapped in a small plastic bag and stapled at the open end. I have to wonder if it wasn't the staple that scratched the lenses, but it was too difficult to tell if the staple was the culprit. I contacted Tifosi's customer service phone number and spoke with a very nice man who advised me that since the lenses were scratched right out of the packaging, there would be no charge for replacements. He asked me to print out the warranty form from the Tifosi website and send it in along with the scratched lenses with a brief synopsis of why I was returning the lenses. Normally Tifosi charges $10 U.S. for replacement lenses under their warranty. The lenses carry a lifetime warranty.

I plan on wearing the eyewear while hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, canoeing, running, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding and for any other activity that comes my way that I feel the eyewear would be functional for. I will be checking on the fit of the frames, how well each lens type works in various light conditions, how each feature of the eyewear performs, the durability of the frames and lenses, and how easy they are to care for.

Date: January 7, 2008

Testing Locations:
Day hiking, trekking, and canoeing in the following areas:

  • Hiawatha Highlands, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The Hiawatha Highlands is a 3000-acre (4.6 sq mi) wooded area. There are 50 km (31 mi) of maintained trails as well as many more unmaintained trails requiring navigational skills to wind through. This area contains a range of forest types including red and white pine old-growth forests and dense boreal stands of jack pine and spruce linked by a network of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
  • Voyageur Trail, Algoma Region, Ontario. The Voyageur Hiking Trail is an over 500 km (311 mi) discontinuous trail that extends from the Nipigon River Recreation Trail beginning just north of Red Rock, Ontario and ending at South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island in Ontario. Each area has its own local club which is responsible for maintaining and adding to the trail every year with the goal of a continuous, non-motorized trail extending across Ontario. The area I spend most time in is very similar to the Hiawatha Highlands; in fact, a lot of the trails tie together.
  • Lake Superior Provincial Park is a 1600 sq km (994 sq mi) park located in the transition zone between the Great Lakes deciduous and Boreal forests. Its vegetation is comprised of sugar maple and yellow birch in the hardwood areas, white spruce and white birch in the uplands and white cedar, black spruce and tamarack in the lowland areas. The harsh climate and topography has a significant effect of the climate and conditions in the area, especially along the shore of Lake Superior, where wind, waves, and spray create a challenging growing environment for vegetation.
    • Two day backpacking and canoeing trip to the Fenton/Treeby Lakes area in Lake Superior Provincial Park. A 16 km (10 mi) leisurely paddle with a few portages thrown in for good measure. We also spent some time exploring the bush and trails to adjacent lakes in the area. Lots of pine, spruce, cedar, poplar, and birch trees. The rainy weather we have been experiencing has made the ground quite soggy in low-lying areas and has made the creeks and rivers bulging at their banks.
  • Goose Creek State Forest, Frederic Michigan. Part of Michigan's Shore-to-Shore Riding/Hiking Trail. A relatively flat section of trail that meanders through pine and spruce forest with fairly open areas under the trees.
  • Appalachian Trail, Northern Georgia. The Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to Unicoi Gap meanders along ridges with an elevation range from 762-1372 m (2500-4500 ft) through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Most of the leaves were off of the trees and the trail was leaf covered, thicker in some areas and slippery when damp. There were muddy sections and several creek and river crossings as well as some beautiful areas of fast moving water and waterfalls. The forest is mostly hardwood. The creeks and rivers have dense rhododendron bushes lining their banks. 
Testing Conditions:
The temperature during the Field Test stage has ranged from 24 to -21 C (75 to 6 F) with sun, overcast skies, rain, snow, and wind.

Testing the Eyewear:

As mentioned in my Initial Report, 3 out of the 4 sets of lenses came scratched and I sent them back to Tifosi for replacement under the warranty. I am happy to say the replacement lenses arrived about 3 weeks later and all were completely scratch free.

I have worn the eyewear for all of my outdoor activities for the past 3 months. They have been hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing as well as being worn while commuting back and forth to work and running errands. The eyewear has been on my face almost daily since I received them.

I consider my face to be of average size. The eyewear fits my face great, the nose piece doesn't pinch and the bottom of the frames just touches my cheeks when I smile. The nose piece doesn't slip if I am sweating. The nose piece also doesn't leave me with an uncomfortable feeling of them being stuck to my face either. The eyewear is snug enough that I haven't found I needed a leash at the back to keep them on.

The eyewear has a couple of features that I have found function very well. The first being the Polycarbonate Decentered Lens which is supposed to eliminate any magnification or distortion in the field of vision. I have not encountered any distortion in what I am looking at when wearing the eyewear. I have experienced this in the past with other sunglasses and ski goggles, so I find this a very nice feature for defining terrain when hiking or skiing.

The second feature I particularly enjoy is the Glare Guard Glare Reducer. I haven't experienced any instances of glare from the eyewear while hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing. This is also true while driving which is when I have found glare to be a problem with other sunglasses I have owned. The only place I have noticed glare was when looking into creeks and streams, but this is understandable, as the lenses are not polarized.

The last feature I will mention here is the Ventilated Lenses. Tifosi accomplishes this by a cut out on the top and bottom of the lenses towards the outside of the frames and at the extreme edge of the lenses with a gap between them and the frames. For normal wear without any exertion, the ventilation was adequate. However if I was exerting myself either hiking quickly or climbing hills, cross-country skiing, or biking, as soon as I would slow down or stop, the lenses would fog. They would also fog if I had a hat on pulled down close to the frames.

Four lenses were included with the eyewear:
  • Smoke Blue - 12% light transmission. This amount of light transmission is what I am most familiar with when I think of wearing a pair of sunglasses. They are what I would pop into the frames for the sunniest conditions up to very light cloud cover. 
  • AC Red - 27% light transmission. These lenses I have found to be the most functional for me over the past three months. We have had lots of overcast days where it wasn't raining, but where only a peep of blue sky was visible once in a while. I also found these to be the most appropriate lenses for walking in shaded woods on bright sunny days when I would want some light transmission, but not as little as the smoke blue lenses provided. 
  • Yellow - 68% light transmission. For days when it was raining lightly or had heavier cloud cover, these lenses were great. They really sharpened the terrain and made for less eye fatigue. I liked these most when driving on overcast days. 
  • Clear - 98% light transmission. These lenses I didn't use much at all. I popped them in when hiking in denser brush more to protect my eyes from any stray branches, but it would have to be a fairly cloudy day for me to use them. It wasn't much different than wearing no eyewear at all. 
Unfortunately, I have been less than satisfied with the durability of both the lenses and the frames of the Tifosi Q3 Eyewear. Despite having had to get an exchange on three of the original lenses that were included in the package, I have had additional issues with the durability of the lenses, especially the smoke blue and the clear lenses. I am very careful with them: when swapping lenses, the pair I am removing goes right into the case and the pair I am putting in go right onto the frames, the eyewear is stored either in its case or in the cloth bag provided when I'm not using them, I don't throw them around with other gear, and I'm careful to keep abrasive things away from my face when I am wearing them. Despite all this, the smoke blue lenses and the clear lenses have several scratches on them in my field of vision and the edges are chipped a bit from putting them in and out of the frames. The AC red and yellow lenses are also starting to show small scratches around the edges from popping them in and out of the frames. Tifosi does offer a lens replacement guarantee for a $10 shipping and handling fee, as long as the eyewear are a model available in their current year's catalogue. I haven't sent them in yet, but given the amount of scratching on the smoke blue and clear lenses, I probably will.

The frames of the eyewear are also less than I expected for durability. Around the bottom outside edge of the frames where the lenses insert, there are little dents in the plastic from popping the lenses in and out of the frames.

The cloth bag that was included with the eyewear does a great job of cleaning the lenses without leaving any small fibers behind. The case is a great addition to the package and makes keeping the lenses organized easy. It would be nice to see it a bit smaller as it is cumbersome in a backpack when space is at a premium.

February 25, 2008

Tifosi Eyewear in WinterTesting Locations:
Most of my outings have been in much of the same areas as in my Field Report, specifically the Hiawatha Highlands and Voyageur Trail systems. For specific details on those areas, please check here.

Testing Conditions:
Weather conditions in and around Sault Ste Marie, Ontario have ranged from 5 to -30 C (41 to -22 F). We have had the whole gamut of winter weather conditions from cold, clear days to full on snowfall. We have also had a few milder days thrown in as well.

Continued Testing of the Eyewear:

The Tifosi Q3 has continued to be the only pair of eyewear I have worn during the test period. I wore them for almost every day for driving and walking to work, running errands, and for all my outdoor activities. 

They continue to fit well. The hinges are still snug. The only time I have noticed the frames themselves to be a problem is when I try to wear them with my MP3 player's headphones that hook over the top of my ear. These are my preferred headphones as they do no bounce off when I am running or skiing. I have resorted to using earbud headphones for the test period so that the eyewear will sit properly over my ears. This hasn't been much of an issue since I have worn some sort of a hat for most of the winter and that has kept the earbuds from falling out of my ears.

As we have had quite a bit of overcast weather, the AC red lenses have continued to see more use than the other three lenses. I really like the way the AC red lenses reduce glare on snow. They make picking out contours in the snow easier than without wearing them. The picture to the right is of me wearing the eyewear with the AC red lenses.

I have had a couple of opportunities to test the eyewear in very windy conditions. On one particularly stormy day, the wind speeds averaged 60 km/h (37 mph) with gusts to 88 km/h (55 mph). Walking was very difficult at times. The eyewear blocked the wind quite admirably for my crazy jaunt to the grocery store. I used the yellow lenses on this occasion to sharpen the snow features as snow was blowing all over.

On really cold days, -16 C (3 F) as an example, I like to wear a face mask that covers my nose down to under my chin with a hook and loop strip that fastens around the back of my head. There is an opening for breathing just under my nose and it is perforated around my mouth for breathing. I had some trouble with fogging of the lenses when wearing this together with my hood being done up and with a hat pulled down to the top of the eyewear. I had to really pay attention to how I was breathing to keep the lenses from fogging up. The more snuggly I could get the mask, hat and hood around my face, the less the lenses fogged. If I stopped and stood still for more than a few breaths, the lenses would fog. I have also found this to be true of other eyewear I have worn in the cold with this set up, so this is not a unique issue to the Tifosi Q3.

The eyewear has accompanied me 2-3 times weekly for running around my neighbourhood and into local parks. The AC red and yellow lenses really help out to see the contours of the snow trail through the park; especially where other runners and walkers have sank through the harder packed areas on the edge of the trail.

Neither the lenses nor the frames seem to have any additional scratches. I have not contacted Tifosi about the replacement of the lenses under their warranty as I wanted to maximize the use of the eyewear during the test period. As I mentioned in the Field Report, I will be contacting them to replace the smoke blue lenses as the scratches are in my field of vision.

Things I Like About the Tifosi Optics Q3 Eyewear:
The variety of conditions the lenses are functional for.
Their comfort on my face.
How nicely they cut the glare from snowy terrain.

Things Don't I Like About the Tifosi Optics Q3 Eyewear:
How easily the lenses scratch.
The bulky case.

This concludes this test series. Please check back then for further information. Thank you to BackpackGearTest and Tifosi Optics for the opportunity to test the Q3 Eyewear.

Read more gear reviews by Jo Ann Moffi

Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Tifosi Optics Q3 Sunglasses > Test Report by Jo Ann Moffi

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