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|I needed a pair of new binoculars; my old ones were hopeless while wearing spectacles, there wasn’t enough eye relief. The Lee Valley Bird-watching Fair was a good place to look, not only would several suppliers be there, but I was in the right place to test them properly and it had the added advantage of being within walking distance of home.|
- 10x42 binoculars, possibly roof prism
- Waterproof construction
- Good eye relief to allow for a full field of view with spectacles
- Easy to use
- Budget £250-£300
I did try a pair of binoculars that were on special offer, they were from a different manufacturer – 10x42 roof prism binoculars reduced from £249 to £179. I thought I was in luck, however when I tested my purchase in the park, I discovered to my horror that in some situations, I was getting bad chromatic aberration (colour fringing) – I wasn’t happy so they were returned and I tried again. This was important, and certainly highlights the importance of testing binoculars thoroughly in real-life situations.
After my initial disappointment, I visited the Newpro stand at the Bird Fair. Newpro are distributors for Minox binoculars. Their Minox specialist Dave Morgan was on hand to help. After a brief discussion of my requirements, I tested their new lightweight 10x42 roof prism binoculars. In high contrast situations there was some colour fringing evident, but it was better controlled. It was suggested that I try Minox’s new 10x44 porro prism model. The 10x44 porro’s sat nicely in the hand and there was plenty of eye relief. I put them to my eye and the view was absolutely superb. There was no evidence of colour fringing either. I was allowed to compare the two models until I had made a decision – but after some testing the porro prism model was an obvious winner.
|Field of View:||89m at 1,000m|
|Dioptre adjustment:||± 2 dioptre (lockable)|
|Waterproof:||yes (to 5m)|
|Operating temperature:||-10°C to +45°C|
|Price:||£299 complete with neoprene strap, rainguard, caps for objective lenses and soft case.|
Ergonomics: The BD 10x44 BP porro prism binoculars from Minox are a modern design. They have internal focusing. As a result they have been sealed and argon filled to make them waterproof to 5 metres and resistant to misting. They are bigger than a roof prism binocular, but they sit nicely into the hand and are comfortable to hold.
The chunky rubberised focus wheel sits centrally and is easily reached even with small hands. The binoculars accommodated my narrow pupil-pupil distance and there was more than enough eye relief to allow a full field of view while wearing spectacles. There are several click stops on the eyecups making it possible to optimise the eye relief to suit. The dioptre adjustment is housed in the front of the focus wheel and is lockable. I prefer this arrangement to the non-lockable adjustment on many other models.
The 10x44’s have an aluminium body covered with rubber armour; as a result they weigh in at 800g. However, when used with the supplied neoprene strap, they are comfortable and the weight isn’t an issue. Also consider that to get the same optical and build quality in a roof prism binocular, they would be in a similar weight range.
Binoculars are one item that we don’t tend to buy very often, so it’s worth getting the best we can afford. For occasional use, specification is less important, but for bird watching/low-light use, it is essential to get binoculars with good light-gathering ability. The Minox 10x44 have great performance in this area. The 44mm objective allows plenty of light in resulting in a very bright image. The image is crisp and there’s good depth of field, so you don’t have to make continuous minor adjustments of the focus.
The superior optical performance of these porro prism binoculars compared to a similarly priced pair of roof prism binoculars is down to the simpler light path. To get the same quality in a roof prism model, I needed to spend more and look for aspheric lenses to minimise colour fringing. The Minox 10x44 are very nice to use and quickly become an extension of the user. Within a very short time of purchase, I felt very at home with my purchase.
After purchase, the binoculars were tested around the Lee Valley Regional Park. It was late afternoon and the light quality was deteriorating. Poor light wasn’t a problem and with adequate eye relief, there was no problem with birds disappearing before I’d put the binoculars to the eye and achieved focus. The focus wheel does require a couple of turns get from closest focus (3.5m) to infinity, but I’ve not found this to be an issue. The good design allows for rapid adjustment.
Further testing has allowed more prolonged use, I’m pleased to report that the binoculars performed well. They do not become an unwelcome burden, but are heavy enough that holding them steady is much easier than with a very lightweight pair.
The Minox BD 10x44 BP binoculars are a pleasure to own. They have superb optical performance in a durable, ergonomic package and provide a viable alternative to the more fashionable roof prism models currently dominating the market.
In summary the positive points of the Minox BD 10x44 BP Binoculars are:
Ease of use
The negative points are:
Chunky build might not appeal to some.
The Minox 10x44 BP Binoculars are available from Minox World here