Model S

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3M Crystalline Tint vs. Spectra Photosync?

edited November -1 in Model S
Any opinions or thoughts as to which is better? Trying to block the most UV and HEAT, without the traditional blacked out look of window tinting. Thanks.


  • edited November -1
    By pure spec on Totaol Solar Energy Rejection you'll do better with photo sync. That is what I have. I also like it. Having said that not sure if real world you would notice my ch difference. They AC on the car is good and not sure if the AC would really run that much less to make a real difference.
  • edited November -1
    Wondering also if those with PhotoSync or the 3M film also had their windshield's tinted, and if so, is there a noticeable heat reduction as a result? The tint installer I've been talking to says that tinting the front windshield is not necessary because the windshield is already designed to reduce heat AND there would be a "halo" effect if the windshield were tinted because of the concave design/shape. Any thoughts?
  • edited November -1
    I just had Spectra Photosync installed: 75 on windshield, front windows and pano roof, and 55 on all rear windows. If you want a completely stock look, get 75 all around, but even if you got 65 on the rears, probably only you'd notice the difference. My 55 is only really noticeable on closer inspection. I think if I did it all over again, I might get 45 on the rears, since 55 is somewhat lighter than I imagined it would be.

    In any case, regardless of the visible light blocking level you get, Spectra Photosync offers practically the same IR rejection across the board.

    Since putting it on, I have not had a really hot day yet to properly test it out, but I figured it was worth the extra expense just to get that last bit of efficiency out of the car and also to better protect the interior over time as I don't usually bother putting a cardboard sunblocker on the windshield.

    One thing to note: I do wear polarized sunglasses and the windshield tint does cause certain surfaces to show rainbow patterns. It doesn't bother me, as the rainbowing doesn't wash things out or blur important details, and in fact most surfaces are unaffected, but it's interesting to see how some surfaces rainbow extensively (e.g. practically all windows in cars). If you feel this will bother you and you don't wish to wear non-polarized glasses, then you might want to reconsider tinting the windshield.
  • edited November -1
    Not sure where you live. I took delivery of my 85D 2 weeks ago in Maryland and drove to Florida. First day of the drive was in cold weather, so windshield was not an issue at all. Once I crossed into Florida however the heat coming from the windshield was VERY noticeable. There was no heat coming from the pano roof at all.

    Yesterday I had Photosync installed on all glass except for the pano roof. I did get the windshield done with 75 and the rest of the car in 35. Much less heat entering through the windshield, but I haven't done much driving since the tint work was done. I'll report back after a few more days.

  • edited November -1
    So... Uhm... How many of you are vampires anyway...?
  • edited November -1
    As I have light skin, I am mostly interested in UV protection. Tesla, Fremont gave me these protection % numbers for UV.
    Windshield= 96%; Rear Hatch= 99%; Sunroof= 100%; Side windows= 61% & Quarter Windows= 57%.
    When I looked at 3M film they had products that were almost clear.
  • edited November -1
    All good info here. Thanks to all those who have posted their comments and experiences with the various tint products.

    will be interested in your followup after you've had some road time in the sun with your new tint.


    Vampire ;)
  • edited November -1
    Lot of threads on this, but photosync is the best. Its a very clear quality tint and for low level tints it blocks a lot more heat. I got 65(yes 65) on the windshield and 35 all around. It's really not blacked out at all and would have wanted a darker shade if photosync had it. 20 or so will black it out. Photosync, as I said, is very clear, so even with 35 someone can still see you decently in daytime. Choose the same level for front and back looks nicer to have both front and rear windows the same level. But as someone mentioned, its not a huge total energy difference at the darker shades...its the light shades of photosync that is above and beyond other tints... so if you want light tint but good protection, go with photosync... the windshield is key, whatever u choose... i got our blue s85 tinted a week or two ago... shoutout to house of tint in visalia did an awesome job and i got to watch it. Very professional. I live in fresno and there are no photosync installers here. House of tint was much better priced than bay area and did a great job, highly recommend it. If I lived in a cooler climate(Fresno is hella hot in case you dont know), I woulda done Crystalline 20 everywhere else and just put photosync 65 on the windshield cause I like the blacked out look.
    Anyway, there are a lot of threads on this already so search them out and look at people's pics. -gluck
  • edited November -1
    Had the windshield done last week and the sides/rear done 2 months ago.
    Windshield: Photosync 75
    Sides/Rear: Photosync 35

    Heat difference from the day before/of the windshield tint to the day after (same parking spot/orientation, same high temp) was about 20 degrees (103F to 82F interior). I expect the differential to match or exceed the Florida side-by-side tests reported at TMC (30 degrees) once my Arizona road trips start.

    I will probably still invest in pano covers/shields since quite a bit of heat came through this past week at 90F in March. 120F in August will not be fun. That said, I already use less AC this week than last, due to the windshield tint clearly, and appreciate that I'm not baking the inside of the car quite as much.

    For those of you agonizing over tint darkness: from inside, the difference between the 35 and nothing was quite slight. Further, at night, should you get pulled over, when shifted into Park, the dome lights will illuminate the interior and make it easy to see inside. Try it for yourself. You'll roll down both front windows anyway, one presumes.

    A friend just had her car done (sides, rear, windshield) with Photosync 45, 45, and 75 respectively. It looks great as well. We independently evaluated the top tints (including 3M Crystalline, Air 80) and concluded that for the extra $400-500, Photosync was the way to go. Her concerns were more UV/nasty rays related, and mine were more heat/glare-related. We would recommend Extreme Autowerks in Cerritos (Los Angeles County) for the tint.

    I have for some reason up to 3 pairs of polarized sunglasses in the car at any given time. Let's call them good, better, and best. With the best pair, I see very few artifacts/distortions from the tint. What I do see are not bothersome, and I'm one of those people that prefers a spotless field of vision.
  • edited November -1
    @KennyB: Where in FL did you get the Photosync done? I'm in the Daytona area and taking delivery next Tuesday. Thanks.
  • edited November -1
    PhotoSync is the way to go. Windshield is a must. Because of the size and angle more heats are coming from there than windows. With 75 tine you won't notice it even at night.
  • edited November -1
    Totally agree on the photosync, it's great stuff, has awesome heat rejection without looking gangsta'. I also have 35 all around (including pano) and 75 windshield. You can check it out in person when the fabled meet and greet comes to pass ;)
  • edited November -1
    Is that the Custer meet and greet in May, the fabled SJC stogies, whiskey and lawn chair event, RushX in Long Beach in April, or the next (presumably October) unveiling event at Hawthorne or Fremont?

    These Tesla people - so social. Heh - I say that while being somewhat of a nomad myself, but the point remains... I do appreciate the range of vehicles seen - whether dead stock, with tint/other than stock rims, or significantly modified, one thing is certain - everyone has a story. Kinda fun, really.

    Has anyone figured out a way to clean the windshield once tinted without being concerned about scratches? Those triangular gadgets don't appear to be all that robust, but I don't know anyone who has one. Thinking about making my own.
  • edited November -1
    Does the color change on the windows with light exposure?
  • edited November -1
    Aren't tints on front windows illegal? Is it just the level of tint? Btw, I'm in NY.
  • edited November -1
    I'm in Fort Lauderdale. Tint shop is in Boca Raton. They're the only authorized PhotoSync dealer in south Florida. They did an excellent job on the tint and clear bra.

    Here is my follow up...
    Today around 11:15AM-12:30PM, I went to a local park where there is Level 2 chargers out in the open. Thermometer on the car read 86 outside. I had the A/C set to 69 while I sat inside the car. There was VERY LITTLE heat coming off the front windshield and virtually none coming through the side windows. Before the tinting you could feel the heat on your lap while more. Super happy with the PhotoSync. Again, I had 75 done on the windshield (yes, it is illegal, but virtually undetectable) and 35 done on all the rest of the windows. Did not touch the pano roof. Never feel much heat coming from it.
  • edited November -1
  • edited November -1
    Taojones - my detailer uses some kind of microfiber cloth that has never made a scratch on my last three cars over 7 years. I'll ask him next time he comes around.

    Auto P85 - yeah, it darkens a touch with increased light (like the Crizal eyeglass lenses). It's not dramatic, but definitely helps it provide shading during the day without being blacked out at night.

    artmat - in California, at least, it is illegal :) I've had a few conversations with some kind police officers who basically told me that 75 or lighter is pretty much safe. If someone's near quota or having a bad day, though, no guarantees.
  • edited March 2017
    so photosync still better then 3m crystaline?
  • edited November -1
  • edited July 2018
    Is there a significant price difference between the two (Photosynch and Crystalline)?
  • edited July 2018
    When I priced out in San Diego, for everything but front seems to be $300 difference, and Sprecta Photosync is the cheaper of the two - and it seems that most reviews favor spectra?
  • edited July 2018
    Happy with my crystalline.... got 40% side/rear Windows. $435
  • edited July 2018
    They wanted $1100, and $1250 including front Windshield!
  • edited August 2018
    Getting quotes in LA area for PhotoSync for my upcoming Model 3 of $1500+, which I consider high (but, hey). Have a BMW 3 Series w/ PhotoSync and aren't overly impressed. I made the mistake to tint the front windows 65 and it is way way too light, I heat up like a baked potato, and this is in the lenient summer temps weather on the west side of LA (~78-85F during the day in summer). I have the windshield done in 75 and seems not to do anything, likely because of the mistake I made with 65 on the fronts. The rears are 35 and seem fine.

    Not super sure on the whole activation thing, remb reading one report that it doesn't work after a relatively short period (10 months? don't remb where I saw this). I've had the tint for about 3 years and I haven't seen any visual or performance degradation, but my car doesn't spend enough time in the sun at any one time to "activate" I guess.

    If Crystalline is not significantly cheaper (from an equally top-quality installer) I will probably stick w/ PhotoSync, but go w/ 35 all around (and 75 on front). Unless there is data 3M is on par/better in real-world situations.
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