This is part of a larger series; I’d recommend reading the overview first. Or not. it’s up to you.
Here’s my long-delayed bonus post for my UV filters.
I thought I was all done with reviewing Ultraviolet filters for a while. Actually, I never started, as I can prove that what I reviewed was not filtering UV light, so by definition I never reviewed a UV filter.
However, one of my friends mentioned that I kept comparing them to dollar store glasses, and asked if that was fair. I did look at some cheap reading glasses way back in my original post, but those were high quality glasses, costing $4.00 CDN. Technically they were dollar-store glasses, but maybe the dollar store bought them as clearance, and they were actually a good brand? I can’t retest them, as they belonged to a friend and I’m embarrassed to ask for them. So, in the interests of objectivity, I went to the nearest dollar store and bought two of the very cheapest reading glasses available.
These eyeglasses cost $1.25 each, and they certainly feel like it. The only metal in either set is two minuscule screws; Everything else is plastic, including the lens. The plastic is thin and brittle, the hinges feel weak, and I’m fairly certain that they will work for a week at most before they break. I am really not enamored with these reading glasses.
They are +1.0 corrective lenses, or at least they say they are, and surely they must get THAT correct, at least. They won’t work for me, as my vision is a lot worse, and I’m nearsighted, not farsighted. Lets just assume that they’re +1.0. Because they don’t match my vision, I can’t tell for certain, but it definitely seems as if the lenses don’t quite align properly in one set. They pinch the nose when they’re worn, with no way of adjusting them to make them more comfortable. They have sharp edges, just what you don’t want on your face. I think I heard one set crack slightly when I put them on, and a hinge has already broken. Did I mention I’m not impressed with these glasses?
These are NOT good glasses, is what I’m saying. These are desperation glasses. These are the type of glasses you buy five minutes before the store closes, solely because your real glasses broke and can’t be repaired until Monday. These are the glasses you wear when you gave up on the world, and want the world to know that.
By the way, did I mention I’m not impressed? I could have bought three chocolate bars for the price of both of these reading glasses. They are the worst glasses I ever bought, and might be the worst I’ve ever seen.
In other words, they are perfect! If the UV filters I tested cannot outperform these pieces of abject failure, I rest my case. Remember, most of the UV filters I bought, which were on the cheap end of the scale, still cost between $20-$32 CDN at normal prices. These migraine inducers cost $1.25 each, and I still feel cheated.
Here are the reading glasses:
They are both ‘Care’ brand glasses, and have identical labels.
When I say ‘identical’ labels, I mean it.
The two pairs have the same tags on them, with the same product numbers and bar code, despite obviously being completely different designs and (as I’ll show later) different lens types. They’re not even trying, are they?
They are saying that these glasses are the exact same, and who am I to judge? Answer: A reviewer, that’s who! And, speaking as a reviewer, if they don’t care, I don’t care. I’m not going to review these glasses separately, as according to the labels, they are, two copies of the same glasses. Any difference between the styles of the two, or indeed any difference in my test results, are therefore an optical illusion designed to trick the feeble-minded. They can share a single review.
So, for one last time(for a while, at least), my seven criteria for judging:
1- How is the packaging design(0% of total score)?
2: How is the protective case size & durability(5% of total score)?
3- Do the reflections off the glass look off-colour(5% of the total score)?
4- Does it block UV light for my full-spectrum camera(35% of total score)?
5- Does it block any light for my full spectrum camera(10% of total score)?
6- Does it block any UV fluorescence from a black light(35% of total score)?
7- How reasonable is the price(10% of the total score)?
It might not be the ideal way to judge them, or even a good way, but I’m not going to change criteria mid-review. As always, the jokes are mine, and the review is supposed to be serious but the tests are actually serious.
1- Packaging: 0 out of 5.
The ‘packaging’ was some paper labels attached to the glasses. It was a nice shade of pink paper, but looks like it should be for some off-brand first aid supplies. Not the type of first aid supplies that I’d use, though. More the type I’d give to someone who I don’t really like, just to prove that I’m not ignoring their injuries.
2- Protective Case: 0 out of 5.
Protective case? The manufacturers couldn’t be bothered to put protective FILM over the lenses, let alone a protective case. On the bright side, this meant that I didn’t have to smear the lenses with my own fingerprints, as other people pre-smeared them for me. Convenience!
By the way, I’m not getting any more impressed with these glasses yet.
3- Discoloured reflections: 0 out of 5.
… this isn’t promising. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the lens won’t block UV light, but there is often a correlation.
However, this does provide an excellent example of the aforementioned fingerprints. If anyone thinks that they might also see scratches, well, they’d be right. Again, this is how they were when I bought them.
… just how many people touched these lenses? Is there a group of people who wander around, smearing eyeglasses with their dirty hands? Is it a cult? Can I join?
4- Blocking UV light from entering the camera: An ‘it’s complicated’ out of 5.
Now we’re getting into the meat of the review. Does my camera detect any UV blockage?
There’s no hint of darkened lenses using my short pass filter, and my Schott BG40+UG11 filter combination doesn’t appear to be much better.
It is very slightly darker looking through the lenses than otherwise. Most of the other UV filters I reviewed were the same; as mentioned in their reviews, it seems more likely that the glass/plastic blocks some UV light even without any filtering coating.
I’ll give the glasses the same rating as I gave those other filters, a 1 out of 5.
The ‘frameless’ pair of glasses show a hint of darkening when seen through the short pass filter.
And as seen through the double stacked filter?
They’re slightly worse than the ‘mystery filter‘ I reviewed previously(a filter of unknown provenience), but much better than most of the filters I’ve looked at. The mystery filter got a 4 out of 5, so I’ll give these a 3.5 out of 5.
I’m now a little impressed.
Side by side, the difference between the lenses is obvious.
I’d normally say that the frameless pair of glasses is much better at blocking UV light than the framed pair, but again, according to the labels, they are the exact same model of glasses. Instead, lets look at it in the quantum sense, as a superposition of glasses. These ‘Schrödinger’s glasses’ either get a 1 out of 5 or a 3.5 out of 5, but you won’t know which until you measure them.
5: Blocking light in other wavelengths? 0 out of 5.
A zero might not be completely fair, as technically, they block some visible light. By ‘they’, I mean the fingerprints on the lenses.
Although the fingerprints could be considered a filter, I’m excluding them from this test. they don’t block anything in the visible spectrum.
In the infrared range(with a Zomei 680 nm filter)?
That’s a firm ‘no’. I’m not too upset, as I’m not looking at infrared filtering. These glasses have already exceeded my very, very, low expectations.
6: UV fluorescence: 1/3.5 out of 5
It’s already clear that the two glasses have different lens filters, so I’m looking at them side-by-side. Just to compare them better, here are some other objects to compare them to: my prescription eyeglasses(still easily the best UV filter I’ve tested yet), a Vivitar UV filter(ie one of the many, many, fake filters i tested), and my ‘Mystery filter'(ie the only working UV camera filter I’ve tested)
The shadows cast by my prescription glasses are easily the darkest. The Mystery filter comes second, and the frameless Care glasses are a close third. the framed Care glasses might be slightly more shadowed than the Vivitar filter, but neither casts any shadow to speak of.
Another superposition, then? Another 1 out of 5 and 3.5 out of 5 seems appropriate.
7- The Price. Well…
Well, it’s cheap. that’s not what I’m looking for, though. I have a specific question. Is it good value for the price? I don’t know just how well it corrects vision, and I would seriously bet on them breaking in less than a month. The lenses seem misaligned in the ‘framed’ set so that one lens is pointed slightly higher than the other, and as a result it may damage your eyes to wear them. They can or can’t block UV light, so you have a 50% chance of getting one that does it. Would anyone actually want these glasses? I wouldn’t.
On the other hand, they’re not just cheap, they’re VERY cheap.
5 out of 5.
Well, if I had been reviwing the lenses seperately, the frameless pair of glasses would get a final mark of 59%:
… which would easily give it a respectable third place. It easily beats the former third place winner, the Schott BG40, which is an infrared filter that is advertised specifically as a filter that does not block UV light, and a filter I only tested as a control.
The framed pair of glasses?
Only 24%, which would still put them in 5th place(6th place if the frameless glasses are added to the contenders).
I’m only giving them one review, though, as there is no way to order one pair instead of the other. In that case, the ‘superposition’ is a confusing 59% or 24%.
Maybe it would be better to average them? I mean, I could have done that all along, but I like to pretend to be smart, so I had to throw around quantum mechanics buzzwords that I don’t understand.
As an average, they get a 41.5%. That’s still a third place, edging out the BG40 by 1.5%. The BG40 can go back to what it does best, and not be a placeholder for something it was never intended for.
So, to answer my original question, yes. Dollar-store reading glasses can easily exceed UV camera filters at blocking UV light. for $1.25, the worst pair of glasses block UV light as well as a $33 camera filter, and the better pair is much, much better than any UV camera filter that I bought, other than.
They might be objectively awful, but they can block UV… maybe… or not… so third place.
and that’s one of the most optimistic reviews that I’ve given!