The BV-Line binoculars from Minox were designed as they put it "with an outstanding price to performance ratio". Which basically means that their aim was to produce a binocular for the price conscious customer that still offered plenty of performance and therefore should work out to be good or even excellent value for money. With this thought in mind, Minox Germany recently sent me a pair of their new 10x42 BV binoculars to review and below are my findings:
Compared to the old version of the Minox 8x42 BV, I feel that Minox have made a big improvement in terms of styling. Now sometimes called the Minox BV II 10x42 BRW, they are black in color. The "grippy" rubber armour not only feels great to hold, but will protect the optics from day to day bumps. This armour also has the added benefit in that it helps to dampen down any sounds that may be made by knocking your optics against anything. For example what often happens to me is my wedding ring can make a rather loud metallic sound if I brush it against another metal object, which could easily frighten away timid wildlife or birds.
I felt that they were well balanced and very comfortable to hold. Internally the body is constructed of aluminum which is tough enough to protect the optics inside but helps to keep their weight down:
Weight & Size
At 27.5 oz / 780g, these are about average when you compare them to other full size binoculars, their dimensions too are fairly standard.
Focusing using the central wheel on my sample was smooth and fairly fast it takes 1 and a half turns to go from infinity to it's closest focusing distance of 3.94ft (1.2m). Binoculars with a more aggressive mechanism that take only one turn of the wheel or less to go from one extreme to another are faster, but can sometimes make fine tuning your focus a little more tricky. Whilst a less aggressive mechanism (2 turns or more) would be slower to focus, but easier to fine tune. On these, I think Minox have got it about right, fast enough to go from looking at a flower right next to you, to the eagle soaring above you in no time at all and at the same time the fine focusing was no problem at all.
The diopter adjustment is located on the right barrel of the binocular, behind the eyecup. It allows you to adjust the lenses separately to allow for differences in each of your eyes and plays an important part in correctly focusing your binoculars. The ring is notched which makes it easy to adjust and takes you from a setting of -4 to +4. On my sample, I felt that the ring adjustment was tight enough so that it shouldn't move accidentally, but without being so tight as to make any adjustments difficult.
Eye-Cups & Eye Relief
The Minox BV 10x42 BRW binoculars have twist-up rubber coated eye-cups that provide you with a good 15mm of eye-relief, which should be just enough for most eyeglass wearers enabling them to glass without having to remove them and still get to see the entire view without any shadowing on the edges.
The eye-cups feel comfortable against the face and have 3 click stops - flush against the eyepiece, one intermediate stop or fully extended. Non-eyeglass wearers will just use the eyecups in the fully extended position, whilst eyeglass wearers can adjust them to the stop that works best for you allowing you to enjoy the entire field of view without vignetting.
Water & Fog Proof
This Minox 10x42 binocular is 100% waterproof and even though they have not been designed to be used underwater, they can be submerged to a depth of 3m (9.8ft), which means that you can use them even in the wettest conditions with out any problem. To achieve this Minox have used what they call an "innovative sealing technology", which to be honest I have not been able to find out any more details on.
They have also had the internal air replaced with a dry nitrogen gas that not only prevents fogging of the glass surfaces, but provides permanent protection against corrosion protection. Having a binocular that is 100% sealed has the added benefit of preventing any dust or dirt from entering the body in dry and dusty areas.
There is a small cover or cap on the front of the central pivoting point of theses binoculars that screws off (see video below). This allows you to then screw on a binocular tripod adapter (not included) that uses the standard ¼-inch threading, which you can then attach to your tripod.
As with all the Best Binocular Reviews, I compared the view through these Minox binoculars with my standard benchmark binoculars, this enables me better judge just how good or bad their optics are:
Brightness & Image Quality
10x42 binoculars like these have an Exit Pupil of 4.2mm and a Twilight Factor of 20.5 which suggests that whilst they may not be the best performing binocular in poorer light conditions, they can still hold their own. It is important to remember that whilst these figures make it possible to compare the performance of different configurations of binoculars in low light conditions, they do not take into account the quality of the prisms, lenses and their coatings. Which is why as you will see below the quality of the glass and their coatings is so important.
Comparing the brightness of these with my 10x42mm benchmarks during the day in good sunny conditions, there was not a huge noticeable difference but if I had to pick, I'd say the Minox was slightly brighter. I compared them again at sunset and as you often find at this time of the year in the UK there was plenty of fog about and so I would say in very poor light conditions. Again the difference was not great, but the Minox BV was better.
I would thus describe these as being just above average in terms of brightness for a 10x42mm binocular, which considering their low cost is impressive.
In my opinion, the image produced was very sharp and their contrast was also very good. this was one area that their was a noticeable improvement between these and the benchmark, especially in low light conditions. Whist this may seem like a minor point to some, it can really make an objects stand out that much better and feel more three dimensional. this can also help with being able to spot things like a small bird within the dark canopy of a tree for example.
One of Minox's highlights (see at the top) is their "Neutral Colour Rendition", which I take to mean that there is no tinting of the image as you sometimes find on cheaper optics, especially those with ruby coatings that often have an unnatural greenish tint. This is because they eliminate some of the red from the spectrum to make them appear to do a better job of minimizing color aberrations, which is a bit of a con really. For more see my article on Ruby Coated Binoculars.
Well there is none of that rubbish on these more serious binoculars and I can say that in my view, the colour reproduction was very good and I could not see any colour fringing (chromatic aberration) around the edges of objects that you often find with cheaper optics (even ones with ruby coatings!). The amount of softening of the image on the periphery of the view was also minimal and was about as good or better than most binoculars in their class.
Unlike some binoculars in this price bracket that use cheaper BK-7 prisms, these have better quality BAK-4 roof prisms that are made of superior optical glass to produce clearer images, which is what you want in your optics and is great to see.
The roof prisms on these Minox HG binoculars have also been phase coated which helps to prevent colour fringing (chromatic aberration), the loss of contrast and resolution. To go into a little more detail, Phase-correction coatings help to reduce the phase shift of light caused by phase differences arising from total light reflection on a roof surface! This all sounds a little complicated, but basically it helps keep the light in correct color phases and has the result of reducing the loss of image resolution to maintain high-contrast images as well as preventing any colour fringing. It is something that is only really found on high end roof prism binoculars.
Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
Lens coatings are often overlooked, but it is important to remember that top quality light transmission is an essential part of ensuring that the image produced by your binoculars is of the highest quality. In regards to the BV 10x42, all air to glass surfaces have received multiple layers of antireflection coatings (fully multi-coated) which will ensure that more light gets to your eyes by reducing the light loss and glare due to reflection for a brighter, higher-contrast image.
Field of View
The field of view at 1000 meters is 114 meters (342ft @ 1000yds) with a real field of view of 6.5° which for a 10x42 binocular is excellent and even beats some of the very and most expensive 10x42 binoculars available: For example the Swarovski 10x42 EL's view is 330ft at 1000 yards, the Leica 10x42 Ultravid HD Binoculars have a view that is 336ft at 1000 yards and the Zeiss 10x42 Victory FL Binoculars is 330ft at 1000 yards.
Close Focusing Distance
Their close focusing distance of only 3.94 ft / 1.2 m, is a real highlight. Anything under 6ft is very good. This makes these binoculars extremely versatile, and could easily be used as a pair of butterfly binoculars or for getting a closer view of other insects or even flowers for example.
Like all other Minox binoculars that I have reviewed, these come with a good quality soft carry bag that is pretty well padded on the inside. The neck strap is also well made and well padded. At their price point, both are as good as or better than any I have tested.
The eye piece lens caps (sometimes referred to as rainguards) on this pair of 10x42 binoculars were made of soft rubber and fitted well and should not accidentally fall off. What is interesting is that in the past they did not come with objective lens covers, Minox however have listened to the customer feedback and I have been told that now all new BV line binoculars are shipped including objective lens covers.
Minox 10x42 BV Comparisons
Whilst it may not be fair to compare a mid priced binocular like this Minox with the very top of the range, it does throw up a few interesting points. Below is a table comparing some of the main specifications of the Minox 10x42 BV binoculars with some of the best 10x42mm binoculars that money can buy. The Swarovski 10x42 EL's, the Leica 10x42 Ultravid HD Binoculars and the Zeiss 10x42 Victory FL Binoculars.
|Minox 10x42 BV||Leica 10x42 Ultravid HD||Swarovski 10x42 EL||Zeiss 10x42 EL|
|Price (approx):||$250 (£220)||$2100 (£1500)||$2480 (£1650)||$2000 (£1400)|
|Weight:||27.5oz (780g)||26.5ozs (751g)||27.5ozs (780g)||26.8ozs (760g)|
|Length:||5.5in (14cm)||5.78in (14.7cm)||6.2in (15.7cm)||6.81in (17.3cm)|
|Width:||5in (12.7cm)||4.72in (12cm)||4.8in (12.2cm)||5.43in (13.8cm)|
|Close Focusing Distance:||1.2m (3.94ft)||9.7ft||8.0ft||6.6ft|
|Field of View at 1000yds:||342ft||336ft||330ft||330ft|
Obviously what this table does not compare is image quality, which is where most of your money goes when you buy the very top of the range binoculars. But what it does show is that even though these Minox binoculars are almost a tenth of the cost of the very best 10x42's that money can buy, they can compete and even beat them in some areas. As you can see strong points for the Minox is it's wide field of view, long eye relief and excellent close focusing distance.
For a 10x binocular they have a very wide field of view, which makes them ideal for those looking for a more powerful birdwatching binocular. This along with their toughness and waterproofing mean that they should handle most of what you throw at them and so are ideal for general wildlife observation as well as excellent value for money hunting binoculars. The very close minimum focusing distance also makes them ideal to be used as a pair of butterfly binoculars. In short these will make great all round optics and will work well for most uses.
Considering that these binoculars are available for around $250 £220, I have to agree with Minox and say that they do indeed offer an outstanding price to performance ratio and are in my opinion incredible value for money.
Highlights include their excellent close focusing distance and their very wide field of view (for a 10x binocular). Their fully multicoated optics and the phase correction coatings on the prisms also help to produce a very bright and sharp image that has to one of the best in their class.
Weak points? With all their highlights and at their excellent price point, it is hard to find anything to be very critical of. Sure you can find 10x42 binoculars that are slightly brighter or with slightly less softening of the image on the edge of the view, but in my experience you have to pay much more for it. Because to achieve qualities like this you have to start using things like special reflective coatings on the prisms and extra low dispersion glass, which cost more to manufacture, bringing their price up. Besides if you want it all you should then look at the excellent HG-Line from Minox.
I would like to thank Minox Germany for providing me with these Minox 10x42 BV-Line Binoculars to review.
Reviewed by Jason Whitehead
Main Specifications & Features:
Below are similar pairs of Binoculars that you may also want to have a look at:
Very lightweight 10x42 binoculars, with quality optics at a great price
General Price Range: (3/6) Mid Price Binoculars
Below is a link that will take you to a page with online retailers in both the US and UK that sell Minox 10x42 BV BRW Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option:
Buy & Compare Prices for the Minox 10x42 BV BRW Binoculars
I would love to get your comments and well as your opinions on these optics. Do you want to or do you already own one of these BV BRW Binoculars? If so please let us know what you think of them giving both the good and the bad points: