Minox Binocular Review
Stuart Morrison Reviews a pair of 8x56 BR Binoculars from Minox.
Minox BL 8 x56 BR Binoculars - A Deer Stalker Review
What is the most important piece of equipment we have with us when deer stalking? Is it the rifle, scope or even knife? I would argue that it is undoubtedly the binoculars slung around our neck.
It is with our binoculars that we initially scan the fields and hedgerows as the darkness of the night starts to diminish. First we begin to make out shapes and determine colours. This is the moment known as the 'civil dawn', which we as deer stalkers live for. Then as the sun is still below the horizon and some minutes before truly rising, we set off and we are hunting!
It is this moment and the period around 'civil dusk' at the opposite end of the day, that our binoculars really prove their worth. The light gathering properties of our optics can give us the vital edge and an extra few minutes of vision, as the cautious deer relish the approaching safety of the night, and venture forth to feed in the fields. The pleasure we gain from stalking comes from all we see in the natural world and this can only be accentuated by the use of good binoculars.
These periods of low light demand the very best in lenses and generally the bigger the lens the more light it lets through. Of course the lens coating also plays an important part in the process and modern manufacturing techniques allow superlative coatings which offer excellent light transmission.
Coated lenses are used in the Minox range of binoculars and the BL 8 x56 BR model offers massive 56mm objective lenses. Without going too deeply into the science stuff a quick indication of how much light binoculars process, can be found by dividing the objective len's size in mm by the magnification. This number is known as the ' exit pupil'. The higher the exit pupil, the wider the stream of light entering your eye. So for an 8 x 40 model the result is 5mm and for the 8 x56 model it's 7mm.
These Minox binoculars are very robust. They are built around an aluminium body for weight reduction and feature a rubber armored coating which is black in colour. There are 'flop down' rubber objective lens covers which remain attached to the lens barrels and rubber eye piece covers which attach to the sling. The eye-pieces feature 'click' adjustment for height and the right one has a diopter adjustment. As with most binoculars these days they are filled and purged with nitrogen to ensure they don't 'fog' internally, additionally they are waterproof to a depth of five meters so will cope well with the average UK summer! They are supplied in a soft case.
My first impressions on handling these optics is that theyarea quality item. They feel strong and substantial. Because of the large lens diameter they are slightly longer than average stalking binoculars (196mm) and this is the compromise you pay for reaching the pinnacle of low light performance. They weigh in at a fraction over 1000g . This is moderately heavy but using the popular bino harnesses as I do, this doesn't present a problem. For those that might feel they are too heavy to stalk with, they are absolutely tremendous high seat binoculars.
So how do they perform in the field? As you would expect, image clarity is excellent and colours appear crisp and vibrant. Focusing is very smooth using the centre focus wheel. Incidently they focus down to under four metres so are perfect for those really close encounters ! Low light performance is the best I have seen. Dawn and dusk testing proved them to be extremely good all round performers. I even tested them after dark where they made a massive difference to viewing with the naked eyes. I think these binoculars would prove to be a superb investment for wild boar shooters who spend moonlit nights in the highseat. Minox offer an incredible 30 year warranty and retailing at around £500 they are mid range in price but high in performance. All in all they are an impressive pair of binoculars and I doubt anyone buying them will be disappointed.
To contact Stuart please take a look at his website: www.eastsussexdeermanagement.org