Tests & Reviews
The Minox BD 7×28 is a unique binocular… and that’s not a distinction many can claim. Designed by Volkswagen, the slimline barrels linked by a narrow but very solid metal bridge high on the instrument makes it look incredibly sleek and modern. It leaves almost the entire barrel exposed for a really comfortable wrap-around grip (what Minox calls its “Comfort Bridge” design). Optically it’s excellent… with one caveat… you can’t focus both barrels at the same time.
It is not that often that I get a fairly uniquely designed binocular to review, so when the guys at MINOX asked me if I wanted to review their compact fixed focus BD 7x28 IF binoculars, with its open bridge design I was immediately interested.
A good pair of compact binoculars needs to excel in a wide range of areas, this is because I tend to use them more than any other pair. The reason for this is that they are so easy to carry with me, and so I do - I take my compacts with me just about everywhere I go.
For example good compact binoculars should easily fit into my golf bag, or in my carry bag when I go out mountain biking, hiking or to watch a football game. They should easily fit in the cubbyhole (glove compartment) of my car or just in my jacket or shirt pocket when I going out for a walk. So not only do they need to be compact, but also tough enough to handle being left in a bag and be able to take the heat inside my car when I forget to take them out. As well as this, I also want the view through them to be as to as good as possible, but at the same time they should not be too expensive as to be irreplaceable!
As Director of Sales and Marketing/Outdoor Channels for MINOX Sports Optics and formerly Vice President of Sport Optics for Leica Camera Inc. (NA), Terry Moore is a recognized authority on high-quality sports optical equipment, including "glass" designed for the steadily growing birding market. Born and reared in Oklahoma, Moore exhibited an early interest in the outdoors and pursued schooling as a field biologist before focusing on business. His career grew from part-time work in a camera store to sales and sales management in the consumer photographic industry. In 1995, he established Leica's Sport Optics Division. An enthusiastic birder himself, Moore has traveled extensively in the pursuit of this passion.
Moore gives Birding some professional advice on choosing binoculars, previews the optics of the future, and reveals why - when it comes to optics - birders and hunters are more alike than they might think.
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 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.