> I am seeking guidance on equipment selections for use with air. I am
> working on a budget of roughly $3,000 for BC, Hoseless Computer,
> Camera, and optionally - full face mask. (maybe roughly $500 each +
> Are there any hoseless computers to avoid? What do you recommend?
If you buy a new computer, look at the Aladin and Suunto.
If you buy an older computer, keep in mind that they tend to be a little more
liberal on the NDL's. Moreover, make sure that the manufacturer will still
service an older computer. Some computers, like the Genesis Escort are good air
computers but Genesis has stopped making them. Finally, buying used means no
warranty. This is relevant. Having said that, there are a lot of old Oceanic
computers on the market that are still ok. Also, Mares makes a couple of very
simple utilitarian computers that I like.
Don't bother with Air Integrated. It's not worth the money and the extra
functionality is deceptive and virtually useless in reality. (I should know, I
bought one and found out the hard way).
Buy a computer that will do Nitrox even if you think you'll never dive Nitrox.
The cost is virtually the same and the extra functionality may just come in
handy at some point.
> Should I consider a full face mask?
This is a matter of personal choice, but if you compare the costs, I'd say that
a full face mask isn't worth the money.
> Is there any reason not to get a
> full face mask? If so, which one?
> Are the "Scuba Lab Testers Choice" ratings a good indication?
The testers choice award is subjective but in my experience the recommendations
are ok. Rodales also focusses on the fashion conscious (and perhaps the
inexperienced) segment of the market so there are some excellent bits of gear
that don't get reviewed and some really crappy bits of gear (HUB's, for example)
that do. You have to decide for yourself what's important to you. Personally,
I chose function over form because that's the only thing that matters when
you're in the water..... (I'm also someone who, if I can't find the bit of gear
that I need, will buy something close and modify it or make my own).
Anyway, don't ignore Rodales but do keep in mind who their audience is.
> What other goodies should I consider? (Spare Air for example?)
Absolutely not. Spare Air is undersized and useless for it's intended purpose
(bail out). If you really want a redundant bailout (a good idea, btw) then you
need minimally a 3 liter (19 cubic foot) pony bottle.
Also, depending on where you dive, a flashlight may not be a supurfluous luxury.
Seems to me that you'll need a regulator, weights, exposure suit etc too.
If you do much boat diving, a DSMB, reel, whistle, and/or noise maker are nice
As for the camera, I'd learn to dive first and start taking pictures after
you're comfortable with the diving.
> Should I upgrade my old Plana Avanti fins?
Is there something wrong with them?
> If my questions are a little 'off', please understand that I am not
> even certified yet.
Your budget is reasonable for gear but you don't need gear. After everything I
wrote down, I'd would utimately recommend that you buy only a mask, snorkle,
fins (your fins are ok) and spend the 3k on training. While in training, a
shop will provide you with all the gear you need and using rental gear will give
you the time you need to form an opinion about what you need and would like.