Now this is very big subject and many people have their preferences including me. I will only give a straight and honest opinion from my experiences. I do not and will not say you have to buy a certain brand or have a certain set up. Equipment should be fit for purpose and the most important thing is that it fits correctly and it works well for you. Are you comfortable and does it fit correctly? I have personal experience with Scubapro, Aqualung, Apeks, Shearwater, Suunto, Xdeep and Mares.
I personally use different brands for different things. For example, I use a Scubapro Hydros Pro for my back mount BCD. A Xdeep Stealth Tec 2.0 for my Sidemount BCD. I use Scubapro for my back mount Regulator but use Apeks for my Sidemount regulator kit. I use a Scubapro Galileo 2 for my main Computer but also use Mares Puk Pro for my Student Rental Computers. I also have knowledge of the Shearwater range and Suunto. I use Cressi and Scubapro wetsuits and Scubapro boots and Fins. All of my Rental Equipment is Aqualung, including BCD’s, Regulators and Masks.
I personally have tried over 10 different masks, why?
Because I want to find the best one for me and with something like a mask you actually have to use them to find the best one. I now use the Xdeep mask and it fits well. Now I have found one that fits well I won’t change. That’s just me.
With regards to Regulators, I like both Scubapro and Apeks, I have never had any troubles with either and like the way both works. I personally love my Scubapro Hydros, it suits me well and fits like a glove. I also like that its lightweight and parts can be changed easily. I also love my Xdeep Sidemount BCD, now I didn’t when it come out of the box because it took hours to set up but once I set up for me it is totally amazing. I did try an Apeks before the Xdeep but didn’t like it as much. Like I say it can be some trial and error.
I also love my Scubapro Jet fins, now these won’t be for everybody because they are very heavy but give me amazing power. I need this power as an instructor because I need to respond quickly and be able to fin effectively in currents when I have other divers or students. Again, fins will be trial and error just like your mask.
Many people ask what should I buy first. If you were to ask me, I would say a good Mask and Snorkel. You can take this anywhere in the world with ease. Your second purchase would be a computer closely followed with a Regulator set. I would then suggest Fins and a BCD and then a Wetsuit. How you buy your equipment and what you see as most important is your choice. I am happy to give my personal advice but there is no right and wrong. People may say differently but I can promise you there is no right or wrong in this and its totally personal preference.
My advice would not be pressured into any purchase and to try on different brands to find the one best for you. Do not allow yourself to be told you must have this and that. Don’t allow somebody to pressure you into buying a particular brand because it’s the “best” the best for them may not be the best for you.
As always, we are always happy to help you chose and will even go with you to the shop here in Egypt to get the best fit for you. Like I said we are not affiliated or do not sell equipment so you will only get very impartial advice.