Still using my "El-Cheapo" auto hood i bought about 3-4 years ago at a local Agri-Supply store for 49.99(something like a harbor freight but better in my opinion).
This sheild is the exact same one as the harbor freight sheild here ..just didnt have the chicago electric name on the box http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=46092
Ive used it for stick welding up on the iron..TIG Stainless in a reactor cavity in a nuclear power plant and TIG welding/repair equipment on turbine floor work in power plants and used it for welding new panels on vehicles/body work..etc
Im workin a Ga Power plant coal burner right now and using it,we are replacing all new steel plates on a coal bin..still working fine and never had a flash from it.
Only probelms ive seen for it is finding lens covers for it..tractor supply sells a Hobart "The Hood" sheild..the cover lenses fit this one perfect .so i buy lots of packs of them at a time when im there.i like this sheild most of all because the band is comfortable and the sheild is SUPER light.Ive dropped this sheild several floors and expected to be picking it up in peices when i got to the ground...its still working just as good as it did new.
As far as "Professionals" using the high dollar sheilds?..most yes..but in my line of work NO..we climb iron to the sky..always inside bad spots such as nasty dirty and dangerous paper plants,power plants..etc etc..i preferably use the cheapy so when it gets dropped or smashed by equipment or just plain stolen i only wasted a few bucks compared to 3-400.00
As Oldred has stated..most of the cheap AND pricy auto lenses are close or the same..its the headgear and sheild itself that is different from what ive ever seen..but dont get me wrong..there IS some JUNK auto's out there..ive just never had the displeasure of using one.
Huntsman now has come out with a new Auto-Lense that is just the size of a small filter lense for sheilds called Solera..solar powered and fits in the place of the regular lens shade in a sheild..ive tryed it at the last nuclear plant i worked and liked it,they gave me a brand new one to take home with me i like it so much. Ive used it for stick and MIG,havent had the chance to use it for TIG yet,it says a shade 10-11 according to the brightness of the light..here's a pic of it...