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Optics Review: Yukon Rambler and Minox Snowhunter

Optics Review: Yukon Rambler and Minox Snowhunter

This past season we field tested two types of binoculars with two very different price points but each with a set of features that will appeal to a variety of hunters and outdoor activities.

Rambler Binoculars by Yukon Optics

yukon-binocs

The 8 X 32 Ramblers are one of Yukon’s more compact models of binoculars.  They’re small enough to stash in your pack or pocket without taking up much room.  One of the things we’ve noticed with compact binoculars of this size is that the light transmission can be limited resulting in poor representation and a dimmer image.  The Ramblers however, have what Yukon calls “Broadband Technology” which remedies that problem.  We found them to perform exceptionally well for such a compact pair of binoculars. 

Specs on the Rambler
 
Lens diameter, mm 25
Magnification, x 8
Eye relief, mm 15.5
Exit pupil diameter, mm 3.1
Real angle of view, degrees 6.8°
Field of view at 1000 yard distance, yard 130
Focus range, yard 1.5 to inf.
Twilight factor 14
Diopter adjustment, dptr ± 4
 Operating temperature,˚F -22˚ to +105˚
Dimensions, in 3.9” x 4.1” x 1.4”
Weight (w/out packaging), oz 10.2
 

Features:
The Ramblers feature a rubber coating that protects them from drops and the wear and tear of life in your pack.  They have a large ribbed focus wheel that is super easy to zero in quickly.  Quick story: Dan and I were making our usual rounds this summer, trimming lanes, checking stands etc. when we saw a deer out in the brush lot approximately 300 + yards away.  I had the Ramblers around my neck and I quick threw them up to check this deer out.  The deer was actually headed into the tree line just as the dual-twist eyecups were getting to my eyes.  I quickly feathered the focus wheel to see a nice rack on this deer that went at least 3 or 4 inches out past the ears.  Needless to say, that pumped us up! 
The Rambler also has an exceptionally wide field of view and long eye relief for such a slim design.  The main attribute that we look for in a pair of quality binoculars is the ability to throw them up to your face and zero in quickly on a crystal clear image.  The Ramblers give this to you in a slim, compact package. 

Our Marks on the Rambler Binoculars by Yukon Optics:

Performance: 5 out of 5: Not only do they provide a clear image quickly, they do it in a compact design allowing you to slip these into a pocket or pack without added bulk.

Features: 5 out of 5: We like the rubber coating and the strap was long enough to wear in a variety of different positions around your neck/shoulders. 

Overall Value: 5 out of 5: At a price tag of around $80, the Ramblers get a big thumbs up for the quality and compact design. 

Snowhunter Binoculars by Minox

mnx_bv10x42_sh_pr01_mr3-minox-binos

Minox is a german company known for their miniature cameras (like you see in Spy movies) but their pursuit for quality, reliability and durability has transcended into other offerings like Binoculars.  The Snowhunter Binoculars are part of Minox’s BV or “Value Line” and are made specifically for extreme conditions and temperature ranges.  They have a hardened aluminum body that is compliant with the DIN ISO 10109-4 standard and contain internal lubricants designed for temperatures ranging from -22 to 140 degrees Farenheit.  A shockproof rubber coating covers key points on the Binoculars to protect the precision optics and provide a non-slip grip.  On top of all this, a sealing technology is used to protect against the penetration of dust and water, while the internal Nitrogen gas prevents fogging and corrosion in extreme temperature fluctuations.  Simply put, these binoculars can be used in the heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter without missing a beat.   The Snowhunters come in two power choices; 8 x 42 (the ones we tested) and 10 x 42.

Here are the Specs on the Snowhunter Binocs:
· Magnification:8x / 10x
· Front lens diameter:42 mm / 1.65 inch
· Exit pupil:5.25mm, 0.21 in / 4.2 mm, 0.165 in
· Field of view:BV 8×42 BR:389 ft, 7,4 ° at 1.000 yds / 129 m, 7,4° at 1.000m
BV 10×42 BR:342 ft, 6,5 ° at 1.000 yds /113 m, 6,5 ° at 1.000 m
· Eye relief:0.71 inch, 18 mm / 0.60 inch, 15 mm
· Close distance:1.2 m / 3.94 ft
· Diopter adjustment:-4 up to +8 dpt
· Geom.  twilight number:27.6 / 17.6
· Operating temperature:-30° up to +60° C
-22° up to 140° F
· Waterproof:down to 3m / 9.85 ft
· Height, Width, Depth:140 x 127 x 51 mm
5.5 x 5.0 x 2.0 in
· Weight, approx: ca. 780 g / 27.5 oz

Practical Applications: If you’re like us, we look at those technical specifications and say “Great, but let me take a look through them!”  These binoculars, like most “quality” optics, have that instant clarity you’re looking for.  You know what kind of optics you’re using right away with such a clear image.  The Snowhunters by Minox have that clarity and you immediately realize that these are high quality optics.  The Realtree Hardwoods Snow camouflage pattern on these binoculars look sweet and we could not find one flaw on the finish of these. 
We could talk about “Multicoated lenses” and “Roof Prisms” but we’ll spare you the technical jargon.  We can tell you that these binoculars have very little glare and work phenomenal in low light.  We brought these to one of our observatory stands during bow season and spent the evening “glassing” the landscape.  We saw a few deer but as soon as camera light faded, as is often the case, the field was invaded with dark brown shapes.  We used the Snowhunter binoculars to check out each deer and they performed exceptionally well in this low light situation. 
Price Point: At a cost of around $319, these binoculars seem like a great buy if you’re looking for high quality and long life span in optics.  The optical quality is above this price point and the construction appears to be able to withstand years of heavy use in the field.  We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these for your next hunt! 

Our Marks on the Snow Hunter Binoculars by Minox:

Performance: 5 out of 5: If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying out a quality pair of optics, you know the difference between “cheap” and “quality”.  The Snow Hunter Binoculars are definitely a quality piece of optics.

Features: 4.5 out of 5: The Snow Hunters not only provide an excellent clarity and color experience, but they do it in a variety of weather and temperature conditions.  Our only deduction comes with the length of the strap.  We like to wear our Binocs over our head and one shoulder.  The strap on the Snow Hunters was a little short for this position.  We should get a little longer strap for $300 and change.

Overall Value: 5 out of 5: A price tag of around $319 seems like a great buy to us for such a quality pair of optics.  It’s really all about your individual price range when considering optics.

Well, there you have it.  Two quality binoculars depending on how much you want to spend.  The Ramblers offer a more affordable approach and are extremely compact while the Snowhunters are more pricey but offer a host of features in the next range.  After our testing, we don’t see how you can go wrong with either choice!

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