Bird Watcher's Digest, November 2007: Midpriced MINOX HG Bincocular Round Up
by Michael and Diane Porter
Minox HG are among the binoculars of note
from the 2007 Midpriced Bincocular Round Up
[...] The new Minox HG series includes outstanding binoculars, a few of which fit (barely) into our mid-priced array. We looked at the Minox HG 8x33 and the 8.5x43, each of which can be found for under $800. Other sizes are available at somewhat higher prices.
In our optical quality tests, the Minox HGs were excellent. They also have some of the nicest-feeling engineering and smoothest-turning focus knobs we've found in any binocular. The addition of a distance scale on the focus knob (made possible because the wheel turns less than one full rotation in going from closest to most distant) gives the HG binocular the unique function of acting as a range meter.
The central focus wheel also serves as the easy-to-turn, locking diopter adjustment wheel. The eyecups, with gentle detents, twist out with unusual smoothness and precision. Eye relief for glasses wearers is excellent, as is the optical quality.
Several of our testers remarked that the HG gave a nice feeling in the hand. We judged it to be a great buy for someone looking at the upper end of the mid-priced field, for quality comparable to the high-end binoculars.
By Dave Anderson
If there’s ever a golden age of optics, we’re living in it. There have never been better rifle scopes, spotting scopes and binoculars than those made right now. Never has your money bought so much quality or such amazing performance.
Just about the time I think optics manufacturers can’t impress me any mire, along comes a binocular like the MINOX HG 8x33 BR aspherical. […] It certainly isn’t what I’d call an inexpensive binocular, but its performance rivals that of binoculars costing far more.
The MINOX 8x11 is an excellent example of what I have found to be a tremendously useful class of hunting binoculars. I suppose you could call this class mid-size, in between the mini pocket models (s.g. 8x20) and the fill size models (e.g. 8x42).
Resolution is critical. The ability to resolve detail is the reason we carry a binocular. To compare resolution I like to use sheets of newspaper with letters of different size. Having to actually read the words sorts out different levels of quality.
Whatever method you use, eventually you have to answer the question “compared to what?” I compared the MINOX to a current premium 8x32 model costing nearly twice as much. (Incidentally checking resolution while handholding the binocular is a waste of time. Set it on a solid rest and don’t touch it.)
I was amazed to find the MINOX matched the resolution of the far costlier model. I could not see a difference. If I could read a word with one I could read it with the other. […] Lens coatings get more sophisticated all the time. MINOX calls theirs M* coating with up to 21 layers to modify light waves. Whatever they do, it works. These are simply outstanding optics.
[…] In low-light conditions performance was superb, equalling or bettering any mid-size binocular I’ve ever used, and I’ve had some dandies.
As an eyeglass wearer, I appreciated the excellent eye relief and the retractable eyecups with four click-stop positions. Even if you don’t normally wear glasses you’ll like this feature when wearing sunglasses or shooting glasses. The binocular is comfortable to hold and handles well. One turn of the large knurled focusing ring takes focus from infinity to the closest focusing distance of 6.6’.
The more I used this MINOX 8x33, the more liked it. It may seem odd to call a binocular in this price range a terrific value, but with performance rivalling that of far more expensive models, that is just what it is. It’s a perfect example of why these are such exciting times in the optical field.
By Mark Kayser
First Impressions can be deceiving. Like when I first wrapped my hands around the MINOX BD 10x44 BP binocular. The wide frame seemed rather beefy compared to the various other models I had recently toted in the field. I attributed it to the Porro-prism design. [...]
Okay, so the MINOX BD seemed a bit big, but that notion disappeared as I effortlessly spun the focussing wheel and viewed chattering prairie dogs 300 yards in the distance. I dropped the binocular from my eyes and lifted it again, confirming that it was as clear as the naked eye, but with 10x performance.
“Let me borrow your binocular,” I asked my buddy during the varmint shoot. He handed me his name-brand roof-prism binocular that cost twice as much. For several minutes I went back and forth between the two, amazed that the Porro-prism MINOX binocular could deliver the same quality. [...]
History and impressions aside he MINOX BD 8x44 BP binocular is quality at an affordable price. […] An innovative internal focus knob – a first in Porro-prism binoculars – rotates easily but has enough tension to stop and hold the focus with no creep. It also aids in ensuring a waterproof seal since the eyepiece doesn’t move forward of back from the main body of the binocular like traditional Porro-prism models. [...] I sank my pair in the tub for an hour with no ill effects.
To zero the binocular to your eyes, MINOX located the lockable dioptre adjustment in front of the focus wheel. Once you adjust it to your eyes it’s out of the way and free of any accidental twists. For extended eye relief, users can turn the twist-up eyecups with click stops to accommodate eyeglass and non-eyeglass users alike. All surfaces are rubberized to increase grip and the ergonomic feel of the product. Even the eyecups and focusing wheel – two areas most manufacturers overlook – received the rubberized treatment.
Porro-prism binoculars have another trait that seasoned users enjoy: the 3-D effect. An increase in the spacing of the objective lenses enhances the 3-D quality, or depth perception, of the image going to your eyes. This aids in precisely locating your target and with range estimation, which is, incidentally, where the MINOX shines. While not the lightest or the sleekest binocular on the market, the BD certainly will match any unit in its price range for performance.
I used the MINOX on a prairie dog shoot and its clairity aided in my spotting efforts to direct missed shots from my friend and to clearly see hits. I also toted the MINOX BD along while scouting for whitetails. From atop a bluff I was able to spot the points of a shed antler sticking out of the alfalfa.
By Jeff Murray
Most experts agree: If you can’t afford quality optics, save up until you can make a discriminating purchase. The reason is that when it comes to binoculars, you usually get what you pay for – usually. While there are many fine brands to choose from [...] a “best buy” candidate for 2007 is the BL series from Minox. The BL 8x56 and BL 13x56 perform like binoculars costing two to three times as much, thanks to a light transmission rating of 92 percent. This kind of performance results from a combination of high-end glass from renowned Schott AG Germany, a nitrogen gas filler and 21 layers of M coating.
By Stuart Bourdon
We decided to take a long look through the MINOX BD 10x44 BP binoculars, and this is what we found: This high-end product is a Porro-prism design, a less popular construction due to its typically higher expense and weight, but Porro offers enhanced light-transmission quality characteristics. Porro-prism designs are also said to have better “tree-dimensional” viewing of an object due to the inherently increased objective lens spacing. […]
The MINOX BD 10x44 is a good example of the company’s history of miniaturization and quality. It has good upper-end magnification (10x) with a large (44 mm diameter) objective lens, in a relatively compact (5x7.25x2 inches) size. The exit pupil is generous (5.5 mm diameter), passing large helpings of light, and it will focus down to 13.12 feet, good for scoping butterflies. It is neither an anchor nor a feather, but at 24.3 ounces, the MINOX 10x44 BP ended up in my daypack, not around my neck on the trail.
The design of the sturdy metal housing is sleek and comfortable in the hand. The highlight in case design, however, is the focusing system. Instead of the usual individual eyepiece diopter adjustment, the main focusing wheel in the center is used for diopter adjustments. The center focusing wheel cap is lifted and turned to change functions. Once the diopter is adjusted to the user’s eye and the center wheel cap is set back in the proper position, the dioptre correction is protected from unintentional changes.
Another nice feature are the twist-up eyecups with click stops. This makes it easy to find and set just the right eye relief so you can enjoy the full field of view offered by the MINOX BD 10x44 BP when wearing eyeglasses. […]
The housing has a rubberized outer coating that makes it easy to grip. Its lenses are top-quality German glass and feature multicoated surfaces for enhanced color and light transmission.
We were impressed by the MINOX BD 10x44 BP’s performance. It offered a sophisticated dioptre focusing system, was easy and quick to use, and allowed excellent viewing of low-light-level shadow areas with clarity and detail.