March 18th, 2015

New Compact Spotting Scopes from Minox

Minox Spotting Scope MD

Minox has introduced two new high-quality spotting scopes, the MD 60 Z and MD 80 Z. Both employ a “folded light path” design that makes these optics much more compact than conventional spotting scopes. With 20-60X magnification and a retail (MAP) price of $1398.00*, we think the MD 80 Z could become popular with long-range shooters who prefer a straight-through optic. With 12-40X power, the ultra-compact MD 60 Z ($1298.00 MAP), would be a good choice for hunting applications. We hope to get an MD 80 Z to test soon. These should be hitting dealers’ shelves by late April.

We like the folded light path design for two main reasons. First, this puts the heavy objective lens much closer to the tripod mount, reducing the amount of overhang (or cantilever). In practice, this makes the scope much more solid on the mount. With other long, heavy spotting scopes, even with a sturdy bipod, just a slight touch causes the scope to jiggle or shake. We’ve found with some of the big 80-88mm (objective) spotting scopes, it is almost impossible to focus the scope without causing it to jiggle a bit, which takes a while to settle. With a shorter spotting scope with the balance point much closer to the mount, the “jiggle factor” is much reduced.

Minox Spotting Scope MD

The compact design also makes these Minox spotting scopes much easier to transport and tote around. The MD 60 Z and 80 Z will easily fit in a medium range bag or utility box. If you regularly use a spotting scope you’ll appreciate the compact size and portability of the MD Series units.

Built-in Eyepieces, with 20-60X on MD 80 Z
Minox’s MD Series spotters have permanently-attached wide-angle, zoom eyepieces. This keeps dust and moisture out of the scope bodies, but it does limit your options. You can’t swap eyepieces to change the zoom range or go to a fixed-power. But we think the 20-60X magnification range is ample on the MD 80 Z, while the 12-40X range on the MD 60 Z is plenty for hunting use. We think that, for most outdoor uses, a fixed eyepiece has benefits. And we bet that 9 out of 10 spotting scope owners just stick with the eyepiece that came with their scope (and never swap in a different ocular). So, ask yourself, “Do I really need to change eyepieces?”

Minox Spotting Scope MD

The Minox MD eyepieces have ample 30mm eye relief. Notably, Minox gave these spotting scopes a huge range of diopter adjustment, from -5 to +50. This means that just about any person can use the optics with no need for glasses or corrective lenses.

Straight Eyepiece Only
No angled eyepiece option is offered on either the MD 80 Z or MD 60 Z. If you’re spotting for a fellow shooter from a seated position, a straight eyepiece makes sense. On the other hand, for prone shooting, when you’re spotting your own shots, most folks prefer a spotting scope with an angled eyepiece. When shopping for a spotting scope, determine how you will most commonly use the optic. This Editor owns both a straight spotting scope and an angled spotting scope. I use the straight spotter most of the time, except when I am shooting prone. If you really need an angled spotting scope, Minox does offer an ultra-short, 16-30X MD 50W spotter. This is one of the most compact angled spotters on the market, and it weighs just 24.3 ounces!

Minox Spotting Scope MD

* The MD 80 Z’s Minimum Advertised (MAP) price is $1398.00 while MSRP is $1498.00. MAP price for the MD 60 Z is $1298.00 with a $1398.00 MSRP.

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