PROS / The Leupold BX-1 McKenzie is one of the lightest pairs of binoculars we reviewed, so they're not tiring to use for an extended time.
CONS / Some of our survey participants had trouble focusing the binoculars because the central focusing knob isn't as smooth as others.
VERDICT / The Leupold BX-1 McKenzie offers a rugged design that is fit for hunters and people who enjoy the great outdoors, as well as excellent optical quality.
The Leupold BX-1 McKenzie is a great set of binoculars that produces high-quality images and is ideal for hunters and other outdoorsy types. The chassis has a durable design that is waterproof and fogproof, meaning the binoculars can handle water or condensation without permanently altering or damaging the internal components. These binoculars are lower-powered than others we reviewed, meaning they are excellent for watching fast-paced action at a sporting event or for tracking bird life but don't give you the closest view of the world around you. Ultimately, the Leupold BX-1 McKenzie is a solid pair of binoculars that earns our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
Optics & Viewing
Before anything else, a pair of binoculars needs to produce pristine, high-quality images, which the Leupold BX-1 McKenzie delivers on. During our evaluation process, we conducted a survey in which participants rated each pair of binoculars based on its optical quality. Without fail, our participants found that the Leupold BX-1 McKenzie produces bright, clear images and enjoyed the overall optical experience.
This pair of binoculars has 8x magnification, which makes it ideal for watching fast-paced action. The magnification doesn't give you the most up-close view of the world around you, so these aren't the best binoculars for stargazing or long-range hunting. However, lower magnifications allow wider fields of view. The Leupold has a relatively wide field of view at 107 meters, which means you can track birds, sports or potential quarry with it.
This pair of binoculars has 42-millimeter objective lenses, which are the lenses farthest away from your eyes when you use the binoculars. These relatively large objective lenses allow more light to enter the binoculars and reach your eyes, resulting in bright images. This is especially useful in low light settings, such as hunting at dusk or dawn.
One of the reasons the Leupold BX-1 McKenzie produces bright, sharp images is the lens and prism coatings it has. First, the lenses are fully multicoated, which diminishes light reflecting away from the optics and away from your eyes, so objects appear bright as you view them. Second, the binoculars use BAK-4 prisms. BAK-4 is a high-quality material that produces sharp, crisp images and edge-to-edge clarity. Finally, the prism is phase coated, a requirement for these binoculars' design, which helps prevent light beams from splitting as they reflect in the prism, producing clear images.
Design & Usability
The Leupold BX-1 McKenzie only weighs 22.1 ounces, which is lighter than the average binocular weight of 26 ounces. This light weight allows you to use the binoculars for an extended time without causing arm or hand fatigue, which is a common issue with heavier binoculars. However, in case you don't want to hold the binoculars constantly or want the steadiest image, the Leupold BX-1 McKenzie is tripod adaptable. All you need is a binocular tripod adapter, which is sold separately, to attach the binoculars.
The binoculars use the roof prism design, which means the barrels that hold the lenses are straight, not curved, allowing for the more compact and lighter design. The chassis has rubber armor, which most binoculars today include, but it is also waterproof and fogproof. These two design elements make the binoculars durable and capable of surviving your outdoor adventures. The Leupold also has protective lens coverings that are easy to attach and don't fall off easily – a problem present in other binoculars we reviewed.
During our survey process, some of our participants disliked the central focusing knob because it alternated between being too loose and too stiff to adjust. Not all of our participants found this to be an issue, but it may be something you encounter with this pair of binoculars. Overall, the survey participants found the binoculars were comfortable to hold and generally easier to use than other binoculars we tested.
Help & Support
Leupold, like every other binocular manufacturer we evaluated, offers a limited lifetime guarantee on the binoculars, which protects you from manufacturer defects or poor craftsmanship but not against damage you cause. If you need to communicate with the company, you can contact it through email or over the phone. At this time, the company does not offer live chat support, which is a convenient and fast way to get information or help directly from a company representative. However, the website has a FAQs page to address many of your questions before you contact the company.
The Leupold BX-1 McKenzie is an ideal set of binoculars for hunting and other outdoor activities, because of its rugged design, precise optical qualities and wide field of view. Because the chassis is both waterproof and fogproof, you don't have to baby the binoculars when you're on the trail, at the campsite or on the hunt. The focusing knob was a source of contention for some of our survey participants, but for the most part, we found the binoculars to be comfortable and easy to use. Ultimately, this is a solid pair of binoculars that offers great optical quality with a durable design.