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Rangefinder binoculars are a great hybrid tool that combines the slightly more common monocular rangefinder with the classic binocular. Many companies manufacture rangefinder binoculars these days.
I’ll look at some of the more popular rangefinder binoculars in this overview and review article. If you already think you know which brand and model you would prefer, you can click on the appropriate link in the list just below.
- Steiner Nighthunter LRF 8×30
- Leica Geovid “Edition 2017” 10×42 HD-B
- Bushnell Fusion 1 Mile ARC
- Swarovski EL Range 8×42 W B
- Zeiss Victory RF Laser Rangefinder
Note that these are just five representative models from each of these producers. Most manufacturers make several models from which you can choose based on how you are likely to use your rangefinder binoculars.
If you want just a few more details about each of these models, continue reading below. You can click an item in the box to skip directly to that particular RF binocular section.
- 1 What Is Special about the Steiner Nighthunter LRF 8×30?
- 2 What’s New with the Leica Geovid “Edition 2017” 10×42 HD-B?
- 3 What Should I Know about the Bushnell Fusion 1 Mile ARC Rangefinder Binoculars?
- 4 What Do I Get with the Swarovski EL Range 8×42 W B Binoculars?
- 5 How Is the Zeiss Victory 8×45 T* RF Laser Rangefinder Different from the Rest?
What Is Special about the Steiner Nighthunter LRF 8×30?
There are the times when you’re out hunting, golfing, or birding that you really wish you were looking through a pair of binoculars while ranging a target.
This is where the Nighthunter delivers.
Not only do you get a great pair of Steiner binoculars with their Porro prism design which gives you a 3D view that is obviously lacking in a monocular, but you also get a rangefinder that can locate targets accurately over a mile away.
The truly special feature though is what Steiner calls Sports-Auto-Focus™. You set the focus once, and it will then give you a clear picture – without refocusing – from 20 yards to infinity!
What’s New with the Leica Geovid “Edition 2017” 10×42 HD-B?
There are several models of Leica Geovid rangefinding binoculars. One of the latest is the “Edition 2017” HD-B which comes in 8×42 and 10×42 sizes.
Depending on when you are reading this review, you may have a difficult time finding this particular model at sites like Amazon.
One of the main differences between the HD-B and the HD-R model that it seems to be replacing is the (stronger?) magnesium housing that you get with the HD-B.
The field of view (FOV) of the “Edition 2017” is 385 feet at 1000 yards. This is actually about 40 feet less than the older HD-R 8×42 model.
I think the HD-B models also have more advanced ballistics capabilities than the HD-Rs, but this has proved hard to verify.
Other features you will appreciate are the maximum 0.3 seconds measuring time on the rangefinder and accuracy that is just ± 0.5 % even beyond 1000 meters.
Update: Leica HD-B models have generally been replaced by HD-R models.
What Should I Know about the Bushnell Fusion 1 Mile ARC Rangefinder Binoculars?
Bushnell makes both 10×42 and 12×50 models of these rangefinders. You might find, as is often the case with larger binoculars, that you want to mount the 12×50 pair on a tripod. Holding such a sizable pair of binoculars in your hands usually results in images that are too shaky to study.
Here is Bushnell’s own take on the Fusion 1 Mile ARC models.
“At the push of a button, it displays exact distance to your target from 10 to 1760 yards [1 mile]. Built-in ARC Bow Mode delivers the “shoots-like” horizontal distance, while ARC Rifle Mode provides precise bullet-drop and holdover information. Our new Matrix Display Technology, RainGuard® HD anti-fog coating and a fully waterproof design ensure reliability and clarity in all conditions.”
If the bow hunter and rifle hunter options sound like features that you would really be interested in using, then this is a rangefinding binocular that you should check out more thoroughly.
What Do I Get with the Swarovski EL Range 8×42 W B Binoculars?
Obviously the Swarovski EL Range binoculars provide the quality glass for which Swarovski is well known. In addition, the new FieldPro package affords their enhanced strap connector, integrated objective lens and eyepiece covers, as well as the (quoting the manufacturer) “distinctive measurement button for even more precise operation.”
On top of that, you get precise range and angle measurement. While this should be a given, it is worth mentioning because some rangefinders are more accurate than others.
Swarovski claims these rangefinder binoculars have a “perfectly balanced weight, allowing you to hold them steady.” Assuming this to be true, this is a real plus because you really need to be able to hold them still to get a correct reading from the rangefinder.
How Is the Zeiss Victory 8×45 T* RF Laser Rangefinder Different from the Rest?
One fairly unusual feature of the Zeiss Victory model is that is uses the Abbe-König prism system instead of the more common Porro prisms. This makes them less bulky than most.
You might wonder what the T* means. According to Zeiss, the Victory laser rangefinder uses “T* multi-layer coating for extremely high transmission and low reflex susceptibility.”
Furthermore, you can measure distances in a second or less. The ballistic information system (BIS®) tells you the correct holdover for your shot based on the distance.
Obviously these are made for hunting, but just as obviously you can use them for whatever purpose you have in mind as well.
Update: This model has been discontinued by Zeiss.