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Your outdoor hobbies shouldn’t cost you your firstborn child. Binoculars are integral to your outdoor experience, but you might not have $500 to put on a pair. Can you get a quality pair of binoculars for a price that doesn’t kill your wallet?
Turns out, yes. Minox’s BV line is a reliable but budget-worthy option for new or intermediate hobbyists. The Minox BV binoculars are excellent for general use. Let’s take a closer look.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Minox Binocular
Minox uses durable materials and high-resolution lens systems. Some of their more advanced models can be quite an investment, but the BV line is intended for a wider audience who may not have the budget or the will to invest so much.
The BV line isn’t exactly that $50 Walmart pair, but they will get you a high quality set for less than $250 to start. The newer BV II line has replaced most of the original BV, but you can still find some BV models around.
The BV line can be adjusted for glasses wearers with twist up eye cups and click stops. They give you a full field of view with sharp edges even if you need corrective lenses of some type. Most have neoprene straps and cases included.
Presenting The Minox BV Binoculars
The BV model has multicoated lenses that reduce glare and increase viewing clarity. It uses a roof prism with phase correction, so you’ll get an image in high clarity and definition even in lower light conditions.
Minox binoculars are tough, and the BV line isn’t any different. The BV BRW model is waterproof down to three meters and highly dust resistant. It’s Fog proof, using a nitrogen filling to reduce fog even when your temperature is fluctuating.
Rubber armor helps protect the binoculars from impact and makes them a lot easier to grip. When you’re out in wet, cold weather, you’ll probably be glad that the rubber makes them comfortable and reliable to hold onto.
Underneath, the body is lightweight aluminum. They’re full-sized binoculars with a 10 times magnification. The lens diameter is 42 mm, so the total field of view is going to be around 342 feet at 1000 yards.
These are particularly good if you’ve got middle-aged eyes. The exit pupil of the binoculars aligns well with the iris of most middle-aged eyes, so if you’re a late-blooming hobbyist, this set may give you a lot more satisfaction than binoculars with different specifications.
- Rubber coating on the aluminum body: durable but lightweight
- Multicoated lenses for reduced glare
- Roof prism with phase correction for better clarity
- Still might be out of your price range if you need an extremely budget pair
- might be better for middle-aged eyes
- Slight softening of the subject at max magnification
Features And Benefits
Let’s go through the specifics of this particular pair so you can get a better idea whether it’s right for you.
You get all excited about going out only to find out that your binoculars can’t handle the low light conditions of an overcast day or any kind of mist or fog. The best time to see wildlife is in the early morning or dusk hours, so you’re guaranteed to encounter fog regularly.
The Minox binoculars have lenses that can handle some poor weather conditions. They use a BaK-4 roof prism which is better for your field of view. Roof prisms are aligned directly with your line of vision. It’s easier to fine-tune, and they do a much better job of magnifying light than some Porro lenses.
BaK-4 roof prisms have an exceptionally high refractive index. When light passes through the binoculars, it bounces around a bit before reaching your eye. Too much bounce and you get a blurry view. The lens coatings Minox uses prevents as much bounce as possible. The maximum amount of light makes it through, so you get a clear image even on cloudy or foggy days.
They have neutral color renditions, so no weird tints that might make it hard to identify subjects from further away. Also, your surrounding scene colors appear accurate and won’t obscure your subject through color washing.
Cheaper binoculars also have color fringing (weird color aberrations around the edges of your subject) at times, but these stay true to the original image.
The body of Minox is designed by the team that designs much of Volkswagon’s aesthetic. The aluminum body is light but still feels durable. They’re wrapped in a rubber coating that increases impact resistance and protects the inner lenses from dust and other weather elements.
They’re waterproof down to about three meters, so trekking through some water features won’t be an issue. They’ve got excellent light capture so you could feasibly head out in light rain and still use them.
The anti-fogging feature is the most promising. Bird or other game watching requires you to be out in low light conditions because animals don’t like to be exposed during the heat of the day. Nitrogen fill protects the lenses and prevents fog build up even as you go from the cool morning hours to hotter parts of the day.
When you’ve got a good magnification and field of vision, fumbling around with a jerky focus knob defeats the purpose. Minox uses a smooth central focus ring that’s rubber coated. It takes about one and a half turns to go from one focus extreme to the other.
There are faster focusing models out there (one rotation for example), but that can make fine-tuning challenging. An intermediate hobbyist might still appreciate the more significant range for fine-tuning.
You can focus separately to account for differences in each eye with the diopter. It goes plus or minus four. The hold is pretty tight, so it shouldn’t get knocked loose easily, but you may still have to make adjustments if you’re particularly hard on your binoculars.
Any close focus distance less than six feet is excellent. These have a close-focus of just over half that, making them one of the top performers in this price tier.
Field Of View
Here, Minox shines. The field of view is 342 feet at 1000 yards. Again, for this price tier, these are some of the best-performing out there. Even a few much more expensive models fall short of that number.
A comparable Leica pair that is four times the cost has just 330 feet at 1000 yards. While very good and very respectable, it’s nice to know that a slightly lower budget pair can get you even better field of view.
Comfort And Materials
I keep saying they’re lightweight, but if you’re entirely new to the world of binoculars, these still might seem cumbersome. You can’t transition from the plastic toys of childhood to real adult binoculars without adding some weight. They’re 27.5 ounces total.
Comparatively speaking, they are lighter and sleeker than some comparable binoculars, but with an all aluminum body, you aren’t saving ounces. The trade is aluminum is highly durable and protects the lenses much better than some composites or blends.
The rubber grips make it easier for you to hold on to them in wet weather. Again, trekking out in the early morning fog for better viewing makes it easy to drop things while your hands are wet and numb. The lenses, focus, and weather resistance allow these binoculars to head out safely, and the rubber grip makes sure you don’t ruin it by fumbling around.
Eye Cups And Eye Pieces
They use a twist-up rubber cup that’s comfortable for people who have to wear glasses. If you do a lot of game watching, it’ll be nice that you don’t have to give up your glasses each time. They have three click stops between fully extended and flush.
You should be able to get the full field of view without any shadowing or edges. This seems accurate in my tests, so huge plus in versatility for Minox.
One of the few downsides to this pair is the accessories are still a little flimsy. They’ll work, of course, and probably provide enough durability for light wear and tear, but you may want to upgrade for heavier use.
They come with an ever-ready case and a neoprene strap.
The best application for the Minox BV binoculars is all-purpose, wide-field viewing. They’re particularly useful for bird watching because of the neutral color renditions and nearly zero color fringing. The quick focus feature could also make them an excellent option for butterfly watching as well. You could probably find other binoculars that are brighter or have no softening, but at this price, there’s little incentive to do so. They’re excellent, all-purpose binoculars that should handle a variety of scenarios, whether bird or butterfly.