I’m on a search for an 8×32 binocular, so I am reviewing the candidates in the field. My main comparisons are the Leica Ultravid BR 8×20 or Swarovski 8.5×42 FPro (yes, those are way more expensive than this pair).
I found the Minox BL 8×33 HD highly useable. The eye relief has nice solid clicks to 4 positions. I had very little problem with blackout. The hinge is stiff and they stay in place. The diopter adjustment is stiff (maybe a little more than I would like), but one can tune them without much problem. The objective overs are a nice slip-inside that looks sharp.
They feel comfortable in the hand. They have an open-center bridge, so the natural holding position keeps my hand away from the strap loops. The focus is smooth, no play, and I can usually get sharp focus on one spin and not need tweek it back-and-forth.
The barrel diameter at the top of the bottom hinge (where my middle finger rests) is 44.75mm and below the top hinge (where my ring finger rests) is 44.80mm. This is comfortable for my largish hands.
The Minox has a deep eye relief when extended, so the eye cups sit nicely on both the top and bottom ridges around my eye. I believe that I need a deep eye relief to avoid blackouts, or I need to keep the eye cups a bit further out and not making contact on the bottom.
They have a very nice view. The 3d effect on near-by objects is very good. They have an immersive view, which is missing from the Leica 8×20, though not quite as good as the 8.5×42, but it is close I think. In overcast and shady conditions, the 8.5×42 were, as one would expect, noticeably brighter. In full sun, the views on the Leica, Swaro, and Minox were similar brightness. Looking at objects towards the sun, the Minox have slightly more flare than the swaros, which I could sometimes correct by tweeking the IPD.
My main problem with the Minox is the focus is backwards from what I expect. I am used to clockwise to go out and counter-clockwise to go in, and the Minox is backwards.
I think optically, the Minox are very close to the Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×32. The Vanguard is a bit smaller form factor, which might work better for some (it does not for me). Between the two, the Minox is my preference.
- Weight: 574g (naked), 618g (with ocular and objective covers)
- Eye cup distance†: 12.61mm
- Verdict: A keeper, though I wish the focuser went the other direction.
† With the eye cup fully extended, the distance from the top of the eye cup to the ocular glass.