The Panorama mask by IST Diving Systems is the most radical design change for dive masks to come along in years. Virtually all dive masks for the last two decades have been constructed with plastic frames. The Panorama mask frame is machined from a solid piece of aircraft-quality aluminum. The aluminum gives the mask several great advantages. The most obvious is strength. I will never forget an incident on a dive boat that drove this home. A diver had left a plastic frame mask on a bench, and another diver went to sit down with his tank and “crack, crunch” the mask was history. Not only was glass shattered, but the frame was broken as well. While there is no guarantee that this mask can survive this kind of abuse, we all know that metal is stronger than plastic. This aluminum frame mask is tough!

The biggest advantage of this mask is that because the aluminum frame is stronger, it can be made smaller. The inner frame of the mask is less than 4 mm. With this small, ultra-thin frame, the mask can fit much closer to your face giving a wider view of the underwater world. This is one of the widest view masks I have ever experienced. The wider the view, the better the mask. A wide view mask is second in importance only to the mask sealing against the face.

This mask also seals very well. It seems that with the mask fitting closer to the face, more space is left in the mask skirt to seal against the face. The crystal silicone skirt is soft and supple and fits easily and comfortably against the skin for a solid seal. In addition, with the mask sealing closer to the face, more room is left for deeper nose recesses. This mask makes it very easy to pinch your nose to clear your ears.

Another radical design feature of this mask is buckle placement. Instead of the buckle attached to the frame as with most other masks, buckles with the Panorama are attached to the skirt. This allows the mask to accommodate a wider range of face sizes. It also adds to the comfort of the mask.

Other features of the mask include a new buckle design for easy adjustments, OL-55 optical lens compatibility, and a notch for easy lens replacement.

And besides, this mask just looks cool! The sharp, edgy metal look give it a look that is unlike any other dive mask. The Panorama mask is available with a black or clear silicone skirt with the aluminum frame anodized in plain (my favorite), blue on a black skirt (the sports car look), and a gold frame (a little too cool for me).

For more information, visit the IST web site at and click on masks.