When the company began in 1873, Minolta binoculars were not among the company’s future aspirations. This was and is a lens and camera giant, manufacturing goods that are being used in every corner of the world where photography is a craft to take seriously. Binoculars became a by-product of that ideal.
Unfortunately, Minolta no longer makes binoculars. The exact reasons why this came to be are unclear, but the products themselves were sometimes critically panned.
Fortunately, you can still find Minolta binoculars. And they’re even more inexpensive now than they were before. These may not be the best binocs in the business, but they are certainly decent optics. For birders, hunters, sports enthusiasts, and nature lovers, Minolta binoculars are great budget devices for getting you closer to the action.
Minolta Binoculars: The Lineup
Back in their hey-day, Minolta binoculars were some of the best in the mid-range business. And, guess what? They still are. Whether you find them new from an online seller or used from a public marketplace, Minolta binoculars are worth the time and energy to investigate further. To that end, here’s a look at the different series of Minolta binoculars available.
Minolta Activa Binoculars
The Activa series not only contains the most top-of-the-line goods, but they also offer a vast variety of different types of model. You can find compact, ultra compact, full size, and zoom binocs in this great line.
Minolta Zoom Binoculars
This company offers a great many zoom binoculars, from compact to full size. Found in the Activa and Classic series, there are no less than 12 different models of zoom specs available for your stationary observation needs.
Minolta Compact Binoculars
Minolta did wonders with compact equipment. They made a pair of binoculars with an 18mm objective lens diameter (the smaller the lens, the lighter the weight; the heavier the lens, the better you can see in the dark), and then went even further and made one with a 16mm diameter. These are pocket binocs at their best.
Minolta Classic Binoculars
The classic line is composed of mostly full size binoculars that are perfect for sightseeing, hunting, and sporting events. The objective lens gets as big as 50mm here, making these great for astronomy or dawn-and-dusk viewing. There’s also a great zoom model available in this Classic series.
Minolta Binocular Reviews: Activa Series
Let’s take a closer look at Minolta’s most advanced series of binoculars: the Activa.
Under the Activa banner there are a number of models to choose from, including:
- Activa WP – 7×35, 7×50, 8×25, 8×40, 10×25, 10×50, 12×25, 12×50
- Activa D WP – 8×25, 8×42, 10×25, 10×42
- Activa Zoom – 7-15×35, 8-20×50, 8-22×27, 10-30×27
As you can see, the great variety offered in the Activa series means that there’s something for everyone. There are great compact, full size, and zoom models to choose from.
The Activa line was created to be the company’s best-functioning banner. The products under it would be built with streamlined casings, top notch prisms and lenses, and a comfort level that would beat out the competition.
Unfortunately, not much of that came to fruition. The prisms—BaK-4 porro and roof—are decent enough, but the overall design of the specs are pretty lackluster.
Among the problems with the Activa line, the edge definition is not very sharp, they have a pretty limited eye width, the metal cases are heavy, the design is too complicated, and the models are just too cumbersome.
That being said, these are not the worst binoculars out there. Not by half! The lenses and prisms are above par, the variety of models available is worthy of praise, and the range of magnification and objective lens diameters speaks volumes of how much this company values the many needs of its customers.
If you can find a pair of Activa binoculars that are in decent shape and inexpensive, don’t turn your nose up at them. Give them a moment of your time, instead. You may find yourself lucky.
Minolta Binoculars: The Details
By taking a closer look at the magnification, Field of View, and Objective lens ranges, you’ll get a better understanding of what Minolta has to offer in their binocular catalogue. Or, rather, what they used to offer.
It may be a small range, but the sheer number of models available within that range is fantastic. At the low end of the magnification spectrum you’ll find 6x models, and on the high end there’s 15x. There are also zoom models that can get you up to 30x magnification, like with the Minolta Activa Compact FM 10-30×27 binocs.
Field of View
A Field of View is simply how much your pair of binocs can see from 1,000 yards away, measured in feet. The range of FOVs within the Minolta catalogue is fairly narrow compared with some other manufacturers. At the low end you have an FOV of 115 feet, while at the other end you have 489 feet with the Minolta Activa WP FP 7×35 pair.
As opposed to the other categories, this range is quite dramatic. At the low end you have some ultra compact models with 16mm and 18mm objective lenses. At the high end, you can pick up some Active WP FP binocs with 50mm objective lenses. Whether you’re looking for lightweight portability or nighttime light transmission, there are models made just for you.
Minolta Binoculars Review: Consumer Information
Whether or not the warranty information will be useful to you, the prices are certainly worth your time to explore. Here’s a bit more info about the business side of buying Minolta binoculars.
Naturally, this is hard to pinpoint. Because Minolta no longer makes binoculars, most of what you’ll find will be secondhand goods. Keeping that in mind, you can expect to have to pay anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on the quality and capability of the device.
Minolta generally offers a 25-year warranty on part and labor, though it’s hard to say whether or not they will honor this warranty now that they’ve stopped manufacturing binocs. The best thing to do is have the specs checked out by a professional before you pay too much money for them. And then, by all means, take care of them!
Minolta Binoculars: Customer Reviews
How do these Minolta binoculars rate amongst the in-crowd? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons as outlined by actual consumers who have used them in the field.
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