Special Ops Paintball: Proto Switch FS - Special Ops Paintball

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Proto Switch FS Quick-Change Thermal Lens Mask

#1 User is offline   anyman 

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 09:42 PM

A while back I bought a bunch of new gear from Spec Ops so I look nice and perty when I hit the field. Since I started playing paintball I had been using JT Spectra goggles, which worked great. Unfortunately moisture eventually caused the glue in the thermal seal to fail, creating a permanent haze. Fortunately (see the neato word pattern here), I had an excuse to get shiny new goggles and look perty.

Okay, when I was deciding what goggles to get it was between the Proto Switch FS, and the V-Force Profiler. As I'm sure you are aware from the title, I went with the former. I thought HEY! it has a quick change lens system, I can do a thorough cleaning in between games easily! WRONG! I also thought WOW! It comes in an Olive Drab/Black that will match my Camo (You see I'm a Pisces and a Winter, so I should dress accordingly with passive earth tones---okay, little bit of a tangent there :ghillie: ).

Okay, so why all the sarcasm? Well I'll start with the so called quick change lens. The lens is clamped in between a plastic frame, and the mask itself. The head strap connects with a sort of Twist Lock that holds the clamp tight. The quick change ain't quick. Getting the lens out isn't too bad (heck I could take apart a computer in a minute or so, that doesn't mean everything is going to come back together smoothly though, or even the right way). When putting it back together, the lens has a bunch of tabs that have to sit properly in their respective slots, otherwise there will be a bit of a gap between the lens and mask around one of your cheeks. With practice you do get better, but don't expect having time to give your mask the royal treatment in between games at the PB range. To be fair the system does work, and it is a heck of a lot easier than JT mask lens changes (TABS! TABS! TABS!--AHHH!). V-Force Profilers however have a claimed 5 second lens change....I haven't tried it, but I'm guessing their easier to putz around with.

Next is the field of vision. I'd say it has about the same as a JT Spectra(270 degrees), maybe a little less, around 260 degrees. It's pretty good, but you can do better. The only thing that irks me is that I can see my own reflection in the lens. You usually forget about it when you actually play and focus past it, but it is kinda weird to see your own eyes half an inch from your face. Profiler has unrivaled FOV, and is easily the winner against any goggle (but like I said I'm a Winter and the best tones to accentuate my--Oh nevermind).

As for Looks, I think Proto Switch FS goggles are the coolest looking out of any goggle system (though the new V-Force Grillz look pretty nice too). The olive drab matches my camo, and the mask has nice smooth lines. The air holes are pretty good. Not to big, not to small and its easy to breath. The head strap is pretty comfortable, and there is a chin strap too with a nice chin pad so you don't itch too bad.

The Proto Switch FS uses a Thermal lens (the EL uses a single). The mask doesn't fog at all which is nice, even on a hot humid day. Unfortunately, the lens uses a double pane where the inner layer is made of plastic and is glued to the hard main lens. The problem is that with time and moisture, the inner lens may fail, ruining the anti-fog air pocket, and creating a permanent haze. This has not happened to me yet, but it makes me very careful when cleaning my goggles. DONT GET WATER ON THE EDGES BETWEEN THE GOGGLE LAYERS....this can cause the glue to fail (you'd think they'd use higher grade glue for a $60 mask--but that's the price of color coordination).

The goggles do scratch easily, so only use the microfiber cloth it comes with. I found that if I get hit in the lens with paint splatter, I can't really wipe it off and see very well. Wiping the paint (even with the microfiber cloth) just causes everything to smear and get hazy. When you finally get off the field to do really clean it, don't wipe it with a damp cloth or anything like that. The best way to clean it is to carefully poor water over the outer lens to wash away the paint. Every time I try wiping it with anything, dirt always seems to get on there and smear, or else paint residue from the cloth smears on. As for the inner lens, just pour a small stream of water across it and tilt your goggles so the water does not run over the glued edges.
Just shake the goggles and let the little bit of water air dry, it usually does so fast, and you're guaranteed no smears.

Proto Switch FS goggles are decent goggles, but for their price range, V-Force gives you more bang for your buck. V-Force thermocured lenses are fog free with no crummy glue to worry about. I'm not going to sell my FS, but if I could go back in time, I'd buy Profilers.

#2 User is offline   Simmons 

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 04:11 PM

I've got a Proto Switch EL and, without having tried any other decent masks, I rather like it. It looks cool and now that I've replaced the 'anti-fog' lens with a thermal, I don't have any fogging problems. I must admit that I got a chrome lens, which looks amazing, but it can be a little difficult to see out of due to the filter on the inner lens for the chrome effect. There's no problem at all in bright situations (i.e. outside).

I haven't encountered the glue problem you described. Mayhaps because my lens is nearly brand-new :ghillie: , but a new thermal lens for the FS or EL (interchangeable) is only about $20. Not a bad chunk of change, depending on how long you've had the mask before the lens failed. You started out by saying 'a while back' which leads me to believe (though this is your second mask since) you've had the FS for some time. It's reccomended by many mask/goggle manufacturers that you replace the lens about once a year anyways.

As for me, I think I'll be sticking with the EL for some time to come. I may end up getting a new thremal lens thats not chrome for lower-light situations, but i've still got the single-pane. And I haven't had much trouble replacing the lens either. Make sure you put the lens in the black lens frame and then put the whole assembly onto the mask. Makes it much easier.

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#3 User is offline   BadAce 

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 11:21 AM

I have the Proto Switch FS too, and I love it! I put in a thermal lens and have had no fog issues at all. The only issue I have had with this mask is that I have had some streaking in the inside of the mask. But this is do to my excesive sweating and is easily solved by using a sweatband or bandana. Aside from that the only issue I have had is that the chin strap is too small for my fat head (I have to use a 7 1/2" fullback hat with a short hair cut!). The looks of this mask are great! I added a smoke thermal lens, you can't even see my eyes when I'm wearing it. Talk about sweet-ish! And as far as lens change time, before this mask I used JT masks (and way back in the day I used a Vents Predator, it has the same tab style lens that JT uses) this is much easier and faster! Much easier and faster!!! Did I say that twice? It most likely won't win any land speed records, but it is quick to use.

I love this mask and will not buy anything new (except a replacement lenses) any time soon. As far as V force is concerned. It seems Spec. Ops and all of their cronies really like them. But I am not conviced. A friend of mine got a V Force "Grill" and is now wishing he got a Proto Switch. I've never used a single thermal treated lens and I don't know if I will. I have always used thermal and they have always worked great so why change? And since V Force doesn't have thermal lenses (unless someone knows something I don't) I won't be getting any V Force products.
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