I finally had an opportunity to jump on the Prizm bandwagon with the Prizm Road. This set was for the New Racing Jacket and I had the chance to try them out today. While I was excited to take them out, I didn't have high expectations. I have become sort of a snob in that I gravitate towards polarized lenses almost exclusively. Not that I can't appreciate a non-polarized lens; only that I get quite a bit of glare in my environment so non-polarized tend to give me a headache after a while. That said, the Prizm Road surprized me in how comfortable they were. They did a great job providing contrast without being too dark. While polarization would have been nice, there are other attractive features that make Prizm Road worthwhile nonetheless.
The first feature to be noticed is the familiar +Red Iridium. The hue is mostly purple at the center, turning red, orange and yellow towards the edges. Prizm Road is noticeably different from the standard +Red (grey base) which has a very stark red-on-blue effect in its +Red. Instead of a sharp contrast, the Prizm Road base give the +Red Iridium coating a brigher and warmer transiton between spectrum colors. The Iridium effect is close to the OO RIP and both are very similar when laid side-by-side. Only a mild amount of red, orange, and yellow reflection ultimately come through, but the colors still shine brilliantly enough even to offset the darker hues in the center. That alone is worth giving Prizm Road a try.
The Prizm Road base, however, is what really got me exited for this lens in the first place. I love trying out a new Oakley lens; I think this is truly what makes Oakley sunglasses different and special. The Prizm Road base comes off like a light magenta, a pink with a light purple accent. It isn't very dark - at least not as dark as the Oakley images on the website make it seem. This gives the lens a wider range of light conditions to operate in and making it more suitable for longer use. The pink hue reminds me of the G30 and G40 where it is somewhat noticeable at first, but then seems to all but disappear as time goes on and I would almost forget I even have a lens in after a while.
The Prizm Road is of course meant for cycling or running. I am not a cycler and I haven't taken them for a run yet. I did, however, use them for the one thing I do a lot - driving! I know ... not a driving lens, but whatever - strap in! The lens provided a good amount of contrast when worn, comparable to Warm Grey & G30. Perception & clarity were enhanced and I could more easily separate objects form one another as I moved along. This was not achieved with a color "boost" as with VR28 so color-wise, objects like foliage, signs, etc, aesthetically remained pretty much the same. Instead, the contrast was achieved by the sharp detail of objects as they moved relative to their background (or as I moved relative to them). As the sun began to set, the contrast properties relaxed and some intensity attributes took over. It wasn't very strong as if I switched to a Persimmon or Yellow lens, but it was at least a demonstration of its versatility in lower lighting conditions. The only real downside was the dashboard glare pretty much the whole way. It's hard to complain since I knew that was going to happen so, it was easy to ignore for now and enjoy the trip. I am sure this will eventually get old, but not before I get my fill of something new.
I can only imagine how crisp things will be in a future polarized variant of this lens. For now, I will just have to ponder how satisfying Prizm Road turned out to be. For a snob like me, it was pretty impressive. I hope the rest of Prizm turns out to be this nice. Prizm Road is marketed as a niche lens which is technically true. I do think, however, that Prizm Road has enough versatility that it can be used in a wider variety of situations. I took mine driving and did just fine. I am sure that when I get this out on foot, it will do even better. Take a minute to check this out in person before you buy as this probably won't be for everyone. But I also think if you do pick one up that you will be very happy with it.
Overall: 4 - Highly Recommended - Get One at First Opportunity!