Some time ago now the manager of the local family run camera shop near me Ffordes of Beauly and I were chatting about optical equipment such as binoculars and scopes and the conversation inevitably headed for the subject of German optical quality and how superb it is, but generally the “problem” with it having a stratospheric price tag attached to boot. Alister, the manager of Ffordes happened to mention that the company more famous to most people for its tiny “spy” cameras, Minox, were looking to make inroads into the UK market with a great range of binoculars and telescopes.
It was suggested that the company might be looking to supply loan equipment to a few lucky recipients for evaluation so when the sales manager and area sales adviser were visiting Ffordes, I popped in and introduced myself. I’m glad to say that we got on very well and a few weeks later I was unpacking boxes of loan equipment – my Christmas and Birthday had come all at once – the Minox gear had arrived. The company had very kindly asked me what they could supply to make my Field Officer working life a bit easier so I had asked for two sets of binoculars to use – one set for long range observing and another set of waterproof marine type of units for use on the research boat. I also said if they had any spare small telescopes then one would be very handy. As I was gently unpacking everything I realised that the equipment that they had sent me wasn’t just good quality – it was absolutely superb…the finish and firmness of construction and the way that they felt in your hand – reassuringly solid but not too heavy and ergonomically brilliant.
When I am trying to find the dolphins that I photograph and study on behalf of the marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation, there are two different sets of search”rules” that I follow…for high season and for low season. High season means that dolphins are going to be in their usual haunts like Chanonry Point, the Kessock Channel or the entrance to the Cromarty Firth and on a rising tide, will be relatively easy to find even with the naked eye. In the low season however the dolphins tend to be much more difficult to find and this is where the magical Minox BL 15 x 56 binoculars really help me out – the sheer clarity and range that you get with these big, but not huge or heavy units is simply astonishing.
I can regularly spot not only a dolphins dorsal fin at maybe a mile or so but because of the sheer sharpness and clarity of the image – I can identify which dolphin I’m actually looking at. I don’t have any images of myself using these brilliant units – I must get round to that ! I have to confess that the best way of using these fantastic binoculars for me is to settle them on my big telephoto lens beanbag that fits over the lowered car window and then everything is rock steady and you can really get accurate focussing. Wonderfully clear and sharp, the sheer detail that I can see never fails to bring a smile to my face.
When out at sea during the high season and using the wonderful white rubber coated 7 x 50 Marine DCM units (with their advanced active LED display for the like of compass bearing, altitude, atmospheric pressure and time) I can rest assured that if there is anything out on the wide blue yonder with a dorsal fin then these brilliant units with their very bright, clear and very sharp image, will find it. I’ve had them with me on full day research surveys and everyone (scientists, boat skippers and crew) that I have let have a shot of them have raved about them and it’s been difficult sometimes getting them back again !
Me out on the Aberdeen University research boat looking for dolphins with the 7X50 DCM binoculars – absolute wonders of clarity and sharpness.
One of my marine charity colleagues “borrowing” the wonderful BN 7X50 DCM units
Last but not least is the lovely, compact but sturdy spotting scope that Minox have sent – the MD 50 with its 15-30 zoom and good clear image with a useful zoom range makes an ideal companion wherever you might go. Small and light enough to put in a jacket pocket but still has a tripod mount and really packs a punch.
Its been a while now since I opened that big box full of Minox goodies and gazed lovingly at them and wondered just how often that I would get to use them… it turns out that these are pieces of precision equipment that I use EVERY day and to be quite honest I wonder just how I managed without them. The sales manager at the time asked me what Minox could supply to make my job “easier” and the simple answer is – all that you sent me and thank you SO much Minox.com for your generosity. Please visit their website, look at the range and decide whether you would like a bit of Minox loveliness in your life and either buy from their online shop or visit the Ffordes website – you will thank me if you do !