Minox pride themselves on producing tough, functional binoculars that use the highest quality optics, yet are also priced in such a way as to make them great value for money. These qualities make them quite similar to Steiner Optiks, another German brand that I really like and that produce excellent safari binoculars.
With this in mind, I recently had the opportunity to review their very good looking mid-sized BL 8x33 binoculars, that look to be the ideal binoculars to take on safari, camping, birding walks on a hike or pretty much anywhere:
As well as my own opinions which you can read in the review below, I have also taken all the features that Minox highlight in their marketing material and then given my own personal explanation and opinion on each of them:
According to Minox: The comfort bridge is not only comfortable, but is extremely lightweight (just 650g). Even when wet or when using gloves this design ensures a secure and comfortable grip.
The body is made from polycabonate and had a rubber covering which makes it very robust as well as weather-resistant.
The Safari Guide opinion: I really like the design of the open bridge. Not only on these Minox BL binoculars, but also on others like the Swarovski 10x32 EL’s as it really makes holding them very comfortable and even more importantly, I find that your grip on is far more secure especially with one hand when you are not actually using them. This is important for example when going through thick bush or if you need to keep your other hand free for taking photographs.
The rubber armour feels great in the hands and has many benefits including protecting your optics, it also ensures a more secure grip even when wet and it also helps dampen any sounds made from brushing something against them which could alert any birds or other wildlife to your presence.
At 650g they are lightweight as well as far more compact when compared to a standard 42mm binocular, but compared to other mid-sized binoculars that I have used, they are about average. For example, the Swarovski EL 10x32′s weigh 610g and the Barr & Stroud Sierra 8x32 Binoculars weigh 595g.
According to Minox: The new Minox BL 8x33 also incorporates a sealing mechanism that has been specifically designed to make these optics completely water tight to 5 meters in depth. Nitrogen is pumped into the interior to ensure there is no fogging of the internal lenses. So even in extreme conditions and when there are really fast temperature changes, you can be sure of a clear view.
The Safari Guide opinion: After researching their “specially developed sealing technology,” I was not able to get any more information, but a binocular that is fully water and fogproof is always a good feature to have. This is because it will not only protect them from moisture and fog, but will also prevent any dust from getting into your optics, which in dry and dusty safari locations is very important.
According to Minox: The Minox BL 8x33 has a very wide field of view making it much easier and faster to capture moving objects.
The Safari Guide opinion: This is true and is for me one of the biggest selling points to these binoculars. They have a very wide field of view – 421 ft at 1,000 yds or 140m at 1,000m, that equates to an 8° angle of view. What this basically means is at 1,000m the width of the image that you are looking at will be 140 meters wide.
This wide field of view will be music to the ears to those who enjoy birdwatching as a wide field of view makes easier to spot initially locate any object, but especially important for keeping fast moving erratic object like birds in your field of vision and this is why it is a feature that most people look for in a good pair of birdwatching binoculars. A wide field of view can also make it much easier to spot game if you are scanning over a large area.
According to Minox: These binoculars utilise a very high spec optical components that include multicoated lens elements for excellent light-gathering ability.
The roof prisms have phase-correction coatings ensuring a very highly detailed image, with pin-sharp contrast, even in bad light.
The Safari Guide opinion: One thing that is for sure, these produce an exceptionally bright and sharp image. I could not notice any colour fringing or softening of the image at the edges that you often find in lower quality optics.
Comparing the brightness in poor light conditions (I performed this test at sunrise), the Minox BL 8x33 far outperformed the benchmark compact binoculars that I use for all my reviews, as you would expect. But they were at least as bright as my full size 10x42 benchmark binoculars, which is very impressive for a mid-sized binocular with far smaller 33mm objective lenses.
The Phase-correction coating on the prisms basically help keep the light in correct color phase and has the result of reducing the loss of image resolution to maintain high-contrast images. It is a feature that is only found on high end roof prism binoculars.
These Minox binoculars also have fully Multi-coated Lenses which is what you want on you binoculars because this means that ALL the air to glass surfaces on the lenses and prisms are multilayer-coated with anti-reflective coatings.
According to Minox: Those who wear glasses are also fully catered for, with twist up eyecups and a long eye relief. This ensures that you can see the whole field of view, without any vignetting, even when using your spectacles.
The Safari Guide opinion: With 17.5mm of eye relief these easily make it into my category of long eye relief binoculars and should be more than enough for most people who wear glasses. Should this be too much, the tough rubber twist up eyecups have two click stops in-between fully extended and fully retracted.
The 8x33 BL comes with what I felt was a good quality carry case although although the best would probably offer a little more padding for protection.
The neck strap is also well made. It is slightly curved and has enough padding and is wide enough to make carrying your binoculars very comfortable.
As well as this, you also get a micro fibre cloth for cleaning the lenses.
Best Binocular Video Review of the Minox BL 8x33
The video above is part of a full review that I did for the Best Binocular reviews website, you can read the full Minox BL 8x33 Binocular review here.
- 8x Magnification
- 33mm Diameter Objective Lenses
- 4.1mm Exit Pupil
- Twilight Factor of 16.2
- 17.5mm of Eye Relief
- Weight: 649g (22.9oz)
- Width: 13cm (5.1in), Length: 13.7cm (5.4in), Height: 4.6cm (1.8in)
- Field of View (FOV): 421ft @ 1000 yards / 140m @ 1000 meters
- Angle of view: 8.0°
- Apparent field of view: 64.0°
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 8.2ft
- Fully Multi-coated Optics
- Phase corrected Bak-4 Prisms
Taking into account their performance, all their great features, very high build quality and components, these Minox BL 8x33′s are some of the best value for money mid-sized binoculars that I have ever reviewed.
Excellent build quality with a very bright as well as sharp image especially for a mid-sized binocular.
As a pure safari binocular, I often opt for a 10x magnification, preferring the slightly more detailed view at the expense a little width of the view and steadiness, but because these have such a wide field of view, which is really noticeable when comparing them to most 10x binoculars, I highly recommend them as a safari binocular, especially for those who are also interested in birding.