Minox Minoscope MS 8x25
A monocular is usually a relatively low magnification optic, designed for use in
the daytime. It differs from a telescope in that it is intended to be hand-held.
Macroscopes are a subset of monoculars that have close-range capability, allowing
it to double for a hand lens or magnifying glass in the field. As such, the Minox
MS 8x25 Minoscope is fairly typical of this genre, though it has a lot of properties
that render it atypical in some very appealing ways.
The Minox Macroscope is incredibly compact, just 4 inches long with the eyecup fully
extended, by 2 inches tall and 1.75 inches wide – this is truly a pocket telescope!
The device weighs 150 g, or about 5.4 oz., so it’s not going to rip out your pocket
either. The device is covered in black rubber armoring with aluminum accents (we’ve
heard of but not seen an all black version is now available from Minox) and sits
comfortably in the palm of one hand, to allow focusing with the other hand. Which
brings up a small but important point about this device: as tiny as it is, this
is still a two-handed optic, unless you have availed yourself of the tripod mounting
hole on the bottom of the ocular tube. This hole will fit the standard screw-mount
for most tripods and monopods. While we’re on the subject of focusing, focus on
the Minoscope is adjusted with the knurled aluminum ring on the end of the objective
lens. The focus goes from minimum close focus to infinity in just 0.75 turns of
this ring, which is a very steep mechanism. In a binocular, this would be almost
a problem since it would be an unforgiving mechanism, but in a monocular, where
speed of focus is at a premium in the field on anything that is mobile, it’s actually
a plus. The Minox literature lists the minimum close focus capability of the Minoscope
at 30 cm (~12 inches) and we found this to be accurate. Moreover, the image is very
sharp indeed. With this device, you can get closer to a butterfly than it’s likely
to let you get!
The unique aspect of the focus mechanism is worth some attention. The Minox Minoscope
is actually a porro prism device, yet it is fully sealed and purged with argon (supposedly
better than nitrogen-purging because it is chemically inert), so it is completely
waterproof, dust proof and internally fog proof. You can even submerge the Minoscope
to a depth of 5 meters without it losing its seal. Normal porro prism devices cannot
be sealed in this way because they would leak around their conventional focus mechanism,
but Minox found a way around this.
Mag x Obj
Field of view
342 ft/1000 yds
2.0" x 1.75"
The device has 8x magnification, and a 25-mm objective lens. We were frankly surprised
by how bright the image is for an objective lens of such modest dimension. In part,
this is because Minox has used very high-grade materials for the lenses and prism
elements, excellent multi-coatings (they used the same M*coating found on their
premiere line of HG binoculars), and in part because porro prisms have some intrinsic
advantages over roof prisms in terms of light transmission. In any case, this is
a very bright little optic.
In other properties, the Minoscope has a 342-foot field of view at 1000 yards, which
actually competes favorably with most binoculars of 32-mm or smaller objective lens
size. The device has 12 mm of eye relief, which is a bit short for most eyeglass
wearers. Accordingly, the twist-up eyecup does not come out too far, but it is adequate
to the amount of eye relief inherent in the monocular.
The Minoscope has a few features and peripherals that are worth noting. The optic
comes in a small, brushed-leather, drawstring pouch that has a metal grommet built
in for attaching to a small aluminum carabiner that Minox provides, which allows
it to be carried from a belt loop. Alternatively, on the ocular end of the device,
there’s a recessed bracket for mounting to the thin cordura neck strap that comes
with it. Additionally, the device is protected by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Due to its small size and light weight, the Minoscope is very versatile and works
well in many activities that don’t involve nature watching. We’ve used it to good
effect at symphony concerts and sporting events.
All that leaves just one question we’ve yet to address, which is how much is one
of these cute little babies going to set you back? The Minox Minoscope sells for
$179.00. At that kind of price, there may be quite a few people who
want to drop one of these in their pocket. We give the Minoscope an enthusiastic
Minox Minoscope MS 8x25 - current
price and availability