Monday, July 27, 2009

Review of Diamond DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver

Who was that masked umpire?

Today I get to review the Diamond DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver. First, let me express my appreciation to the folks over at Diamond Sports. Dave Pherrin and Chris Coffing have been phenomenal! It takes a little faith and a lot of confidence in your product to send a sample to some internet yahoo for review. Fortunately for Diamond, the DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver is a home run!

Before I discuss this mask in-depth, I would like to relate a personal experience I had with Diamond. Last year I purchased a DFM-UMP in black from a big box store for $65. I was extremely happy with the mask and used it from March to October. During the season I took a 90+ fastball to the mask and a weld on the ear protector separated. Not a big thing, but a slight annoyance. At the end of the season I contacted Diamond and they instructed me to return the mask via the store I purchased it at. The store contacted Diamond and they shipped a new mask to the store. The entire process took about a week and didn't cost me a dime. I am very happy with their customer service and my Diamond mask!

Alright, enough of the love-fest. On to the review! Giddy Up!

The Diamond DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver weighs 12 ounces without pads or harness. That is lighter than its step-brother, the DFM-UMP black mask, which weighs 15 ounces (step brothers pictured at right). Why the difference? The silver is made from aircraft aluminum, while the black mask is made from hollow tubular steel. While steel is generally stronger than aluminum, it weighs considerably more.

That's not to say that the silver is weaker than the black mask. I tested the DFM-UMP silver during a recent adult tournament (The Show-Me Games, see below post) and took one serious shot directly to the mask. It left a small red mark on the mask, but no sign of denting. At left is a close-up of the aluminum frame.

As it is packaged with quick-dry pads and harness, the Diamond DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver weighs 16 ounces - ONLY ONE POUND!!! That puts it in the class of FM-58 PRO-PLUS Gold Super-Xtreme Lightweight Face Mask from the Official Call (reviewed here) and is lighter than the advertised weight of the Wilson Titanium (not yet reviewed). It is very comfortable to wear and not much different than my DFM-UMP in black (only a little lighter).

Having said that, replace the quick-dry pads ASAP. The pads are simply not comfortable if used for an extended time and will grab at your stubble if you are not freshly shaved. Diamond offers an inexpensive 50/50 leather and vinyl replacement pad that is vastly more comfortable, or Wilson pads will fit this mask also.
The cage is curved and not a low profile frame like the Wilson Chrome Moliben (see picture, left). The increased angles deflect foul balls and prevent full-on-impacts to the mask (and concussions to your head). The mask also features protective bars on the sides and top of the mask. The top bar adds to the mask's weight, so I really appreciate that Diamond made the decision to value my safety over reduced weight.

The Diamond DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver is absolutely the best value of all the featherweight masks. A quick look around found these prices:




Take it from your Kemo Sabe: the Diamond DFM-UMP Umpire Mask in Silver is an outstanding mask from an outstanding company at an outstanding price! Hi Ho, Silver! Away!
_________________________________

***UPDATE***

Dave Pherrin of Diamond Sports has clarified some errors in the article. Dave notes that I have compared the DFM-iX3 UMP Silver (umpire’s mask) with a DFM-iX3 PRO Black (technically a catcher’s mask). WOW! Apparently what I thought was a DFM-UMP was is actually a DFM-PRO mask! I AM embarrassed!

Dave says that Diamond will soon offer the DFM-UMP in aircraft aluminum with a black powder coated finish. This new black mask is the exact same aircraft aluminum cage as the silver with the same weight and pads.

Dave also points out that the added weight to the DFM-PRO is due to the double-bar protection on the front of the mask, highlighted in yellow (see picture below).


Thanks, Dave, for the comments and feedback!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pete-

What is your take between the Diamond Silver and the Official Call Magnesium? Which one is better? Aluminum would seem to be lite but not real strong and prone to breaking/bending when hit. I am looking to upgrade my Wilson 3009x that weights somewhere in the 12 pound range or at least it feels that heavy in the 5th inning. Advice?

Thanks for the reviews of all the products that you do...keep up the good work.

JR

Pete Reiser said...

I was recently able to inspect the Wilson Titanium - very impressive! Also very costly!

I have worked the majority of the year using the OC magnesium mask. It is tough, durable and extremely light. It also costs considerably more than the Diamond. Both masks come with the same crappy pads. My choice would be the OC magnesium (magnesium is generally considered stronger than aluminum), but with budget constraints I would pick the Diamond.

Jim Kirk said...

Wouldn't get too worried about the DFM-ix3 catchers and DFM-UMP umpire's mixup. It's basically the same mask with the difference in the additional bar and your points about it are still valid.

Just wanted to let you know that the changeover has already occurred where the Diamond black mask is already being made in the aircraft aluminum alloy with powder coating rather than the steel tube.

It's actually so recently we've yet to change our description, images and buying guide to reflect it.

Keep up the good work.

Jim Kirk
Owner
Ump-Attire.com

Warren Befort said...

I purchased (from Baseball Rampage) and used the Diamond DFM-UMP mask in silver aircraft aluminum this past season for high school baseball/softball, summer rec ball, and American Legion baseball. I loved it! The light weight was great but still felt like I had the protection needed to fend off the foul balls. The field of view is also very good. The extended ear flaps and tab at the top serve as added protection. I have yet to replace the cloth pads but most likely will before the 2010 season. I would highly recommend this mask to anyone wanting a quality, lightweight mask.

Anonymous said...

ive had this mask for six games behind the plate now. tonite i got hit with a vicious foul tip and felt nothing. one of the best masks ive ever had and ive had them all. secondly, i have a goate and the pads dont bother me at all. also i think the pad are fine the way they are. i hear everyone changing the pads for wilson or whatever else pads. thats rubbish . these pads are just fine. and the weight is unbelievalbe, an ounce heavier than my champro pro plus. this mask is awesome and very light and perfect the way it is. no need to change the pads. and i bought from baseball savings for 49.99 plus 6.99 shipping.

Anonymous said...

Pete
I have the Rawlings mask that weighs 2 pounds
Do you think I should get the Honig's mask with team Wendy padding or the diamond and replace the padding. Does 8 ounces really make a difference in their weight?