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Minox HG Binos? And Other Thoughts

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2008 at 23:27
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Newbie to this forum, so please bear with my basic questions.

Just ran across a pair of Minox HG binos in 10x43.  Don't know much about these guys.  Thoughts?  How do they measure up to their more well know cousins in the same price range ($800-$1K), like the Zeiss Conquest, Meopta, etc?  Are the Minox worth the money?

Also, what's the story with their warranty?  Is it transferrable?  Couldn't get much info from their site.

Now, on to the more basic questions:

1. For hunting, what's the best all-around mag power and objective lens diameter combo?  I know enough to know that the exit pupil should be in the 4x-5x range.  Anything less and it's too dim; anything more and it's basically wasted light.   I've seen knock-down arguments b/t the 8X42 vs. 10X42.  I need the glass for both tight in forest hunts as well as long broad clearings.

2. I also know that quality matters, especially to us nit-picky kind.  If budget is an issue (which it always is), would you go with a higher quality glass that has less mag power and smaller objective lens diameter (say, an 8X32) vs. something bigger (say, 10X42) that is a "lesser" quality?  If so, what's the distinction between different classes of quality where you'd make this trade-off?  I'm not talking about a Tasco vs. Swarovski.  Say,  the Zeiss Conquest 8x30 and the Nikon Monarch 10x42.  Which one would you go with? 

thnx in advance
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 10:44
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Sorry, I can't help you with your Minox questions.  I've heard great things about some of their products but, I've not handled them so; all I could do is repeat second-hand info.
 
Originally posted by cats9 cats9 wrote:

 For hunting, what's the best all-around mag power and objective lens diameter combo? 
  This depends on your personality and prejudices more than anything else.  I have hunted with 7x, 8x, 10x, and even 12x binoculars and find that each has its pros as well as its cons.  For all around use I like 8x or 10x and find that, all things being equal, there is very little real difference between the two as far as overall performance. 
The 40mm class of objective lens tends to lend itself best for all-around use as it is large enough to provide a usefull exit pupil while small enough to allow for a compact, easy to carry unit that doesn't drag your neck down by the end of the day.
 
Originally posted by cats9 cats9 wrote:

  ...would you go with a higher quality glass that has less mag power and smaller objective lens diameter (say, an 8X32) vs. something bigger (say, 10X42) that is a "lesser" quality? 
Quality first.  Always. 
 
However, "quality" can be achieved at a price point far lower than many people realize and so; your question is not as simple as you present it to be.   For example, I would not pick an 8x32 Swarovski EL over a 8x42 (or 10x42) Swarovski SLC, nor would I over an 8x42 Leupold Golden Ring HD, Bushnell Elite, or Vortex Razor for that matter.  
 
In fact, I was out antelope hunting last Saturday with a doctor friend who owns Swarovski optics almost exclusively.  (The only exception is his rangefinder which is a Leica 1200.)  I spent a little time with his 10x42 Swarovski EL and in the end, didn't like it as much as my non-HD 8x42 Leupold Golden Ring. 
 
Obviously, if he had somehow wanted to trade me, I would have.  But I would have done so only to turn around and sell the EL, buy something else (probably a GR HD), and pocket the difference.
 
Originally posted by cats9 cats9 wrote:

 ...what's the distinction between different classes of quality where you'd make this trade-off?  ...Say,  the Zeiss Conquest 8x30 and the Nikon Monarch 10x42.  Which one would you go with? 
 
Having answered your first question I will now exercise my right to seeming hypocrisy by telling you that I would indeed pick an 8x32 Swarovski EL or SLC, Nikon Premier LXL, or Leupold Golden Ring, etc (and most definitely a 7-12x32  Leupold Golden Ring), over a 10x42 Nikon Monarch, Bushnell Legend, Pentax DCF WP (version I or II), Leupold Cascades, etc. This is mostly due to my opinion that budget class (under let's say, $500), roof prism binos of whatever make should be limited to no more than 8x magnification.  Porro prisms are another matter completely.
 
Beyond that it's difficult to say exactly where I would draw a line of distinction because there are so many variations to consider.  You just have to make each decision seperately based on its own merits. 
 
However, I will say that whatever your budget, I do believe that quality optics can be had that, with reasonable care, will serve for many, many years and that will not prove a handicap in any "normal" hunting situation.
 


Edited by lucznik - September/24/2008 at 10:45
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 11:02
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Lucznik, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions - definitely appreciate your thoroughness.
Anybody else out there that has any experience with Minox?  Also, are warranties on optics generally transferable?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 12:42
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Originally posted by cats9 cats9 wrote:

 ... are warranties on optics generally transferable?
 
No, they are not.  Many warranties are for the original purchaser only. 
 
There are a few that are indeed, transferable.  For example, Bushnell Elites, Leupold Golden Rings, all Vortex models, and also at least some models from Pentax, Zeiss, Swarovski (I think), and perhaps a few more. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 13:00
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hmmm, good to know.
 
I wish the Minox rep that was on this forum a while back would pipe in right about now.  Their website isn't that great ...
 
Read some very good reviews on the HG line, but would also like the input from those that have used them in the field. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 13:40
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update to those, if any, that care: just spoke to Minox directly:  their warranties are definitely non-transferable ...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 15:25
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Cats9,

I have read about the Minox's you are asking about here on this form, so do a search. From what I remember they are rated favorably.

It sounds like you can purchase them for a great price. But you also might want to check on customer service. Some companies are great and others are well poor.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 15:38
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All very good points brought up so far. Some folks can handle 10 power bino's well, but, the majority find a 8x more user friendly. 10x seems to be the point where folks have difficulty holding them steady enough from field positions to gain full potential of their magnification. Myself, I have used many different brands of both power, and the 8x works much better for me. The thing with 10x and up is that when you have more image shake, it becomes increasingly difficult to get a steady view which will hurt your when you are looking for fine details in the field. Also, the same difficulties with the 10x create problems focusing your bino as light conditions fall off. If you have ever tried to focus a bino at near dark conditions and you have a 8x and a 10x for comparison, the increased image shake of the 10x just makes focusing on your quarry all that much difficult, over the 8X bino. I have done many, many side comparisons with both 8's and 10's and this has always been the case for me. To check this out for yourself, see if you can borrow a pair of say 7x50's from a friend and use them at night and you will most likely see what I am trying to describe. The steadier you can hold a bino, the more effective it will be in obtaining accurate focusing. I recently had a very nice pair of Bushnell Discoverer 10x42 roof prisms and while their image quality was excellent, I could only get maximum benefit from them while utilizing some sort of rest, field improvised, not a tripod. I know there are a few here such as lucznik who doesn't have a problem holding 10x's steady and perhaps a few others. Koshkin, on the other hand finds it difficult and because of the steadier view offered by the 8x's he finds the 8x's more effective as do I. I will say, at the sake of repeating myself that during the day, the difficulties are much less pronounced. It is when you add very poor lighting conditions in to the mix, which makes focusing with any binocular more difficult, the image looses even more in it's ability to locate hidden game. In short, the lower the lighting conditions, the harder it becomes to focus a binocular. As far as your choices are concerned, I would try a high quality 8x42/43 such as the Minox HG's and see how it works for you. One last thing, a 8x42/43 will be brighter that a 10x42/43, all else being equal.

PS. One of the binoculars you mentioned was the Meopta Meostar and in my opinion, they are very, very close to the "Big 3". Worth a serious look. Remember, a high quality bino is a lifetime investment and they, the Meopta's are first rate. As far as the smaller 8x32 class bino's are concerned, they also work great, buy my issue with them, any of them is that they are lighter in weight which makes them more difficult to hold steady. Remember, a bino with a 42/43mm objective lense will be heavier, especially at the end or objective end of the bino, which again makes them balance better and makes them easier to hold steady. It is just my opinion, but I believe a bino with 42/43mm objective offers a very slightly improved image quality and is also slightly brighter.

Roy

Edited by Roy Finn - September/24/2008 at 15:55
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2008 at 22:43
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Roy, I think you're on the money with everything you said about 8x vs 10x powers. 

I found a store down the street from me that has the Minox HG's in both the 10x43 and 8.5x43 - I'm checking them out tomorrow.  BTW, they also sport what looks to be a dial-in rangefinder - looks pretty basic vanilla, but definitely a nice little perk.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/27/2008 at 08:33
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Originally posted by cats9 cats9 wrote:

Roy, I think you're on the money with everything you said about 8x vs 10x powers. 

I found a store down the street from me that has the Minox HG's in both the 10x43 and 8.5x43 - I'm checking them out tomorrow.  BTW, they also sport what looks to be a dial-in rangefinder - looks pretty basic vanilla, but definitely a nice little perk.
 
 
cats9,
 
Any comments after having a chance to look at the Minox HG?
 
I have owned two of the Minox models....both BD BRs. They were a step or so down from the HG BRs. Optically they were both excellent. Very well made and definitely worth the price I paid for them. Many individuals that have access to the HGs and many other upper mid to high end binoculars say they compare very favorably with the high end models. Probably my only beef with the 8.5x42 model you mentioned (the configuration I would tend to prefer in general) was that it displays a noticeably narrower field of view in comparison to similarly priced models from other companies. I believe it is somewhat of a by-product of the aspheric eyepiece design. If you could live with that then I think you would love those bins.
 
Other bins in that price range, and slightly less, to consider would be...
 
Vortex Razor
Meopta Meostar
Bushnell Elite
Zeiss Conquest ABK
Promaster Elite ELX ED
 
...and for what it is worth I, too, would choose the 8x30 Zeiss Conquest over the 8x42 Nikon Monarch. The sharpness of the image and the level of quality control with the Conquest is definitely better than that with the Monarch.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 09:11
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FrankD, I got sidetracked and haven't had a chance to check out the HGs yet.  But will definitely post back once I do.
 
Never knew much about the Vortex Razor's til recently.  They sound good on paper, but the company is like 2 or 3 years old, no?  That "newness" doesn't give me much comfort when it comes to their lifetime warranty.  They may be the greatest company in the world, but when the company itself hasn't yet lived that lifetime, I'm not gonna get all that excited - if at all - about those sorts of warranties.
 
I think the FOV is a pandora's box of arguments, no?  Seems that it's very subjective at best.  I imagine Minox can probably make the FOV as wide as others, with some decrease of viewing quality elsewhere.  I'm not bino-smart enough to know what exactly, and I don't want this thread to go off-topic just yet.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 09:28
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The Vortex owners have actually been designing bino's since the mid 90s, they have been making their own brand since 2000.  Most people don't realize that, but they have been around a while.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 10:05
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Supertool, I'm sure you're right, and I'm certainly not here to argue with you.  But the warranty is backed by the company itself, not the company owners.  Just b/c someone can design a good glass doesn't mean they can run a company for the long haul.  If you pay that much for a pair of binoculars, you're basically making a small investment.  As with any investment, long term value is important, whether based on resale value or piece of mind based on a historically "good" company and product.  I don't think anyone can possibly argue that a big driver of resale value is the strength and history of the company behind the product.  Any time you have to piece things together to show a longer history (as opposed to just looking at the company itself), you've already handed doubters like me this argument on a silver platter.
 
Now, having said that, I'm willing to go against my own logic if the price is right, meaning that the $700 Vortex better "see" like $2000 binos.  Otherwise, for me, the numbers just don't work ... 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 10:18
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I am not arguing that as I completely agree with you.  I just did not want someone to base their choice on what you said about them only being in business for 2 or 3 years when that is not true. 

But on a side note, they have such high quality products at such a good price in my book it is worth the risk.  As I am sure others who have used their products agree.  Same which Meopta optics.  Both of those companies have hit a nitch of selling $1200 to $1500 optics quality for well under $1000.

Also Vortex customer service is outstanding from every account I have read about it. 

Wanting them to see like $2000 binos is asking a lot.  But seeing like the $1200 to $1500 binos I think they are pretty comparable in that regard. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2008 at 10:39
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I gotha ya.  Yeah, I was shooting the moon with the $2K comment.  Obviously, we're talking less than that to be realistic, and they're enough buzz about these Razors to at least try them out ...
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2008 at 22:48
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FrankD and anyone else that cares:

I finally had a chance to check out the Minox HGs (8.5x43) - made sure to go to the store right before sundown.  Bottom line: they are a great pair of glasses.  Very sharp, very clear and light gathering is great.

I put them up against the Vortex Razors, and to my eyes anyway, the HGs were better.  The one I will say for the Razors is that they seemed to fit well into my hands. Then again they are also heavier and clunkier than the HGs (which in a way is a knock against the Razors, to me anyway).  The FOV is also greater in the Razors and the eyecups seem better, but neither of these two things outweigh what is the most important thing to me:  clarity and light, and the HGs do the trick for me.

Also with a price tag of $540 (demos from a gun show, but still have the full Minox warranty), these particular HGs are a ridiculous deal to pass up.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2008 at 18:07
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Thanks for the update. Much appreciated. As you just proved, folks look for different things in binoculars. No one charactertistic is necessarily better than the other when it comes to individual preferences.
 
Good luck with the new bins...and stop saying such good things about them. I have yet to own a pair of the HGs. ;-)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2008 at 01:47
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FrankD (and other gurus on this forum):

I didn't buy the HGs just yet.  This is a good chunk of change for me to throw at a pair of bins, so I want to make sure I'm making the most informed decision possible given my two biggest needs:  clarity and light gathering at dawn/dusk.

So in your opinion, which pair of bins in the under $1K range are the clearest and bring in the best light in your opinion?  If you can go so far as to rank a few in order, that would be even better...

Also, I have a buddy who swears that FOV is the biggest determining factor in light gathering (ie, the bigger FOV, the more/better light gathering).  This just doesn't sound right to me.  Obviously, first and foremost, it's the lens diameter that's the most determinative and then a whole bunch of other physics stuff that's way beyond me.  I always thought the FOV was subjectively set by the glass maker based on criteria they are comfortable with for distortion at the edges, etc.  Can someone clarify this for me?

The reason I ask is that the HGs have the smallest FOV out of the glasses that I tested (349 ft), but they looked just as bright to me as, say, the Vortex Razors (410 ft FOV).


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2008 at 07:10
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I can tell you from my experience owning five different pairs of binoculars anywhere from the $300 range to the $1200 range.  Of course I bought a couple of pairs of binoculars of below $500 range and I never was satisfied.  I had a pair of Kahles and Leica's that I liked very much.  The Leica's has the best glass but didn't feel right in my hands and the Kahles felt good in my hands and were a little smaller but they didn't have the optical quality as the Leica's.  So I started looking at the new Leica's, Swarovski's in SLC and EL's and the Zeiss.  I also looked through the Leupold Gold Rings and the Meopta.  in the under $1000 range the Meopta's were very very nice and I loved the way they felt in my hand.  In the $1000 plus range I really like the Swarovski SLC's in 7x42. They felt good to my eyes and fit my hands like a glove not to mention they have the best customer service/warrenty in the business.   The 10x was too much for my eyes and I couldn't hold them steady.  Thus I went with the 7x42 SLC's with the new glass that is the same glass as in the EL's for about $800 dollars more.The Zeiss were really nice but their body felt cheap.  I loved the Leica's but I couldn't see spending $700 more.  Thus I went with the Swarovski SLC's and haven't looked back and will have them for years to come. 

If I had to pick a pair from the $500-$1000 range it would I would go with the Meopta $800 range or either the Vortex Razor $700 range.  I have never held a pair of Vortex Razor's in my hands as of yet but I hear a lot of good things about them.  Don't overlook the Bushnell Elite, or the Leupold Gold rings they are good optics just try them out and see which ones fit you the best.

I would offer this piece of advice that I took from a good friend of mine that owns a gun shop and has had optics for years.  Try every pair your interested and see how they feel in your hands and to your eyes.  Check out the warrenties and the customer service of each pair.  Buy the most expensive pair that you can afford that fits you personally the best and never look back.  Remember you most always get what you pay for.  Listen to Roy, Luszcik and Frank these guys have a world of knowledge about optics.  Good luck in your search.  It took me 2-3 years to get a pair of binoculars that I am settled on.  Who knows I may buy a back up pair some day.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2008 at 09:26
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Bird Hunter:  thanks for your advice.
 
While others are (hopefully) piping in with their picks, can someone please address the bigger FOV means better light gathering question?  Is it true, or is it just an uninformed comment?
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2008 at 10:56
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Generally speaking, under $1000, I think Meopta Meostar is the best binocular available (at least of the stuff I have seen).  If you are willing to pay a little more, take a good look at Kowa Genesi.  If you would rather pay a little less look at Vortex Razor.  If you want to staty closer to a $500 mark, look at Vortex Viper.

Personally, for my "big" binoculars, I went with Vortex Razor 8.5x50 (I do not like 10x glass since my hands are not very steady).  For my alround binoculars I prefer 7x42 configuration.  I have used Swarovski SLC 7x42 for quite a while, but I sold them and will probably go to a different 7x42.  For the time being Meopta 7x42 is the most likely candidate.

ILya
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ILya,
 
Very interesting comments. I have always wondered what the 8.5x50 Razor was like. Would you care to comment further? I was always impressed by the 8x42 Razor and was considering trying one of the 50 mm models. Is it really everything I would expect from a larger aperture glass?
 
...and let me know about the 7x42 Meostar. I have the 8x and briefly tried the 7x several years ago but would like to hear your opinion on it.
 
Thank you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2008 at 21:47
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I have reviewed 7x42 Meostar a while back (it should be somewhere on this website). I was incredibly impressed with it optically, but did not like the eyecups.  There were not intermediate stops at the time.  Eyecups were redesigned since then, I think, so it may be worth another look.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2008 at 21:48
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Oh, and 8.5x50 Razor is, in my opinion, a better binocular than the 8x42 from the standpoint of seeing details.  Field of view is not as wide, but sweetspot is larger.

ILya
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Originally posted by FrankD FrankD wrote:

ILya,
 
Very interesting comments. I have always wondered what the 8.5x50 Razor was like. Would you care to comment further? I was always impressed by the 8x42 Razor and was considering trying one of the 50 mm models. Is it really everything I would expect from a larger aperture glass?
 
...and let me know about the 7x42 Meostar. I have the 8x and briefly tried the 7x several years ago but would like to hear your opinion on it.
 
Thank you.


http://opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=6641



Edited by koshkin - October/16/2008 at 21:59
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