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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.
08
July

Edge Epic Scuba Regulator Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Edge Epic Scuba Regulator Review Posted in: Between $251-$500, Scuba Regulators

Edge has tweaked the Epic regulator for 2012, and the result is a set-up that garnered a Scuba Diving magazine Best Buy award in 2013. Insofar as changes, Edge lightened the load by using a nylon braided hose, put a universal ball swivel mount for that hose in the second stage. The standard features of the Edge include balanced diaphragm first stage; balanced pneumatic second stage; a soft, easy-to-use purge button; and a big, chunky inhalation-control knob. The reg performed well on breathing machine tests, and consumers in the field give the 2012 edition of the Edge high marks.

Average Price: $315, listed at $370.

24
June

Dive Movie Review: Dark Tide

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Dive Movie Review: Dark Tide Posted in: Below $100, Book and Film Reviews

In Dark Tide, Halle Berry plays a shark expert in South Africa’s False Bay, one who makes a habit of free-diving with great whites in open water. One expedition with her business partner and her underwater photographer husband, played by Olivier Martinez, goes horribly wrong, and her partner is attacked and eaten by a great white. Berry’s tour business goes into the crapper as she refuses to go near shark diving for a year, until her estranged husband comes along with a wealthy, thrill-seeking Briton and his son. The rich Briton wants to swim with great whites in open water too, and so the charter embarks on a trip destined for catastrophe.

Unfortunately, Dark Tide continues a modern trend for bad dive flicks. It also continues to career arcs for both Berry and Martinez. Let’s face it: it’s been more than a decade since Halle Berry notched a decent film on her resume that wasn’t an X-Man movie; while the only watchable film Martinez has ever appeared in was Unfaithful, and he wasn’t any part of that film’s success. As a straight drama, Dark Tide is a two-star movie at best.

As a dive movie, Dark Tide comes off slightly better. The location shooting at False Bay is as good as anything one is likely to see on a Discovery Channel Shark Week documentary, and if some of the underwater sequences are obviously “enhanced” with CGI, it’s still decent-looking footage. However, it can’t get past the contrived stinker of a story, so give this one a pass.

08
June

Intova Sport 10K Underwater Camera Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Intova Sport 10K Underwater Camera Review Posted in: Below $100, Underwater Cameras

Intova is well-known for it’s inexpensive underwater cameras, often providing the budget alternative in each category of dive camera. For a long time, the cheap, no-frills end of the Intova line was their CP series of camera, the latest being the CP-9. Now that line is joined by the Sport 10K, which although just as cheap or even cheaper, has a few frills to call its own.

The Sport 10K’s underwater housing is a familiar one, a clear plastic rig with spring-loaded buttons and rated for 140 feet (40 m). The camera is an improvement over the CP-9 in some respects, for while it has only basic point-and-click features for photos and video, it takes a step up in terms of resolution from 9 megapixels to 10 megapixels. However, the camera has one thing that makes it special — it is waterproof in and of itself, and rated for 10 feet (3 m). You can take the camera surface snorkeling or into the pool without the housing, and never need to worry that an some jerk on the dive boat or an errant wave will ruin your camera by dousing it with water. The waterproofing might even allow the camera to survive a leak during a dive.

As an underwater camera, the Sport 10K has the usual drawbacks for a cheap Intova underwater camera: you need to seat the camera in the housing just right, or the buttons won’t line up; and the camera uses two AAA batteries and is a major power hog, with barely enough juice to get through one dive of continuous use on a fresh set of batteries. However, Intova has made a major step forward in waterproofing the camera, thereby increasing its basic durability. That plus the step up to 10 megapixels make the Sport 10K a very good choice for divers who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a dive camera.

Average Price: $90

07
June

Sherwood Axis Scuba BCD Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Sherwood Axis Scuba BCD Review Posted in: BCDs, Between $251-$500

Sherwood’s Axis BCD was designed as a flexible, back-inflating BCD, suitable for cold water use while light and compact enough for travel. The air cell is wedge-shaped, making it steamlined while retaining enough volume to give the XL-sized Axis 42 lbs of lift. The integrated weight system can store 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in each pocket, while the rear trim pockets (non-ditchable) can store 5 lbs (2.25 kg). The Axis provides a stable platform, and Sherwood has gone out of their way to create a padded, comfortable BCD.

The Sherwood Axis has good cargo-carrying capacity. The left side of the BCD has a small pocket, a buckle/clasp and a large steel D-ring. The right waist has a roll-out mesh pocket, another buckle/clasp and D-ring set and a pocket for signal tubes. On the upper harness straps are a second pair of large D-rings.

Consumers gave the Axis BCD high marks, with LeisurePro users giving it a 4.5-Flag rating. The sole caveat among owners is that many report the inflator tends to come unscrewed, and requires regular attention between dives. The latest version, updated with Sherwood’s CRQ-3 weight system, earned a 2013 Tester’s Choice Award from Scuba Diving.

Average Price: $480