Compact Binos


Mr. 7mm
Full Member
Dec 10, 2010
I am searching for compact binos...I think...

I want a smallish/light bino that won't take up much room in my pack, that I can take hunting, as well as use for finding targets in tactical matches. I would also like to simply have a quality bino that is just "convenient" to own, and to take with me whenever it would be nice to have a pair handy.
I have several questions about these:

1. What magnification should I consider? I understand that less mag (with small objectives) is going to provide a better FOV, and light transmission. 7 or 8X seems like it would strike a good balance with small obj's, but I see that 10X is a popular choice. When glassing for targets through a riflescope, it always seems that I find myself on 6-8X. Even 10X gives up some ability to see the "whole" picture.

2. What size objectives should I consider? Based on form factor alone, I feel I'm in the market for less than 30mm. I see many models on the market in the 25-28mm zone, and they come in at 12oz or less. Then I see some models with 20mm objs…the Leicas weight 8oz. Nikon has a peculiar little pair of 7x15s that weight 4oz. Because I intend to pack them, and hump the pack many miles (10-15/day), the weight is important to me…

3. How much performance am I going to give up, compared to a pair of excellent 8x42 or 10x42s? I understand optics fundamentals, and maintaining magnification while decreasing (a LOT) obj size that lowlight performance is going to decrease. I also understand the “eyebox” will be small for high-power/small obj glass. I guess my key point here is: Are the compact binos disappointing? Do you end up spending a lot of money for “so-so” performance or can I expect good solid performance from them? I’m not expecting sniper observer type performance from them. How “compact” can I go and still have an excellent pair of binos?

4. One of the models I have my eye on are the Minox 7x28 IF. They have permanent primary focus, and are intended to set the individual eyepieces to your eyes once, and can then focus well on anything from 40m-infinity. On some of the bino forums out there, people really bitch about that characteristic because it forgoes the ability to focus on anything closer than 40m, but I’m to understand this provides better depth of view. I can’t foresee a need for me to focus on things up close like birds and butterflies. Plus, for a bino that will be used to find steel targets or critters scattered across the countryside, having everything in the sight picture in focus at the same time seems like an advantage….?? On the flipside however, I understand that NOTHING will be as crisp/clear as it otherwise could have been if specifically focused on. Thoughts?

5. Doug at CameraLand really advocated either the Minox 7x28IF or the Leica 8x20 Ultravids or Trinovids. He said the Minox glass is as good as Leica. He said the only real advantage to the Leicas is 4oz less weight, and more magnification, but at the cost of a small eyebox and less lowlight performance (to be expected). Opinions on these two choices? Any other models I should be looking at?


Full Member
May 12, 2010
Re: Compact Binos

Alpen has some 10x25 compact binoculars. I forgot the model. But it has double hinge. very clear and bright for a 25mm glass


Full Member
Apr 4, 2011
Re: Compact Binos

if you want to use it for hunting, you want to be able to also see close to dusk/dawn, so i'd recommend a diameter of 40mm for compact binos.

on the magnification: 8, max 10. as you pointed out, 8 gives a nice field of view and 10 is an advantage if you want to see hits/small objects. 10 is, from my experience, the upper end of what you can hold with your hands stable enough to enjoy looking through it.


Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Mar 16, 2010
Re: Compact Binos

I have some Stieners that are pretty small. I think they are the 30mm with reticle.

Niles Coyote

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
  • Aug 13, 2007
    South West, MI
    Re: Compact Binos


    I had an 8x30 swaro and now a 6.5x32 vortex fury (bought the fury for the wide field squirrel hunting). Both work well when the sun is up, however things get hard to see in that last/first hour of hunting light. Personally I would not get a bino below 36mm if those are important times for you. Most of my use is hunting and in Michigan I have grown to prefer low powers 6.5x or 7x but I also hunt in open areas in Montana where 8x will work (which is what I use) but 10x would be nice.

    As for what you will give up too a 42mm.

    From experience with the 8x30’s I can see much more detail in shadows and past legal hunting hours with the 42mm (8x42mm vortex vipers, non HD), very noticeably more detail. Now I have an 8x50mm swaro slc that puts those to shame in low light and shadows but at a cost of weight, but I can practically see in the dark with them especially if it’s a clear night.