What are rangefinder binoculars?
Rangefinder binoculars combine a rangefinder with a normal binocular. A rangefinder is a fancy tool to measure the distance between you and what you are looking at. A binocular provides magnification of what you are looking at. The result is a device with rangefinding capabilities, as well as binocular abilities. You can see your target clearly, and see how much distance there is between you and your target in one look. As separate devices, the rangefinder could not give you a clear, magnified image, and the binocular won’t tell you how far away your target is. You would have to switch between the two. However, rangefinder binoculars are convenient and quick, so you don’t have to switch constantly.
Bestselling Rangefinder Binoculars in 2021
How do they work?
Laser rangefinder binoculars work by shooting a flash of light at the object. The binoculars can time how long it takes for the light to reflect and use that to calculate the distance of the target.
However, some factors can inhibit the range finder abilities. If the target itself is not very reflective, or too small, or at a strange angle, the laser may have trouble hitting and reflecting back to you. Other factors include the weather and light conditions and the way you hold and angle your binoculars. Overcast weather or precipitation can obscure the laser beam and light transmission. If your binoculars are shaking or held at a bad angle, the light of the laser won’t hit the target, and you won’t be able to calculate the distance.
How far can rangefinder binoculars work accurately?
The distance that a rangefinding binocular can work depends on how reflective the target is. With a reflective target, like a large, flat surface, many laser rangefinding binoculars can work up to around 1800 meters. For a smaller, non-reflective target with a rougher surface, the range is more like 1100 meters.
For a more advanced, and therefore more expensive, rangefinding binocular, you can get around 5000 yards of distance for a reflective target and about 2000 yards for smaller targets like animals or trees. The Leica GeoVid HD-B 3000 can provide up to 3000 yards of range.
Porro Prism vs. Roof Prism:
Binoculars can be divided into basically two categories: Porro prism and roof prism. The job of the prism is to amplify and invert the image coming from the objective lens (which would otherwise give you an upside-down image).
Porro prisms were developed first and have been used since the 19th century after being invented by Ignazio Porro. These binoculars are shaped in a zig-zag orientation to allow for the prism shape. This makes the binoculars a little harder to handle as they are bigger and heavier, but the image they produce is clearer and typically gives a larger field of vision. A subset of Porro prisms is the BAK-4 prism which has a high optical performance.
Roof prisms are more modern. They are straight, allowing them to be smaller and more lightweight. These are more common in today’s binoculars. However, they can be more expensive as the prism design is more complex, and although it won’t give as clear an image as the Porro prism will, they are more durable and can have stronger magnification.
RF Binocular vs. Regular Binocular or Handheld Rangefinder
We know that a laser rangefinder binocular is essentially a pair of binoculars with an internal rangefinder. It has many good qualities, but there is something to say about its separate counterparts.
Handheld rangefinders are super small and compact. They are usually more affordable at around $300 and are easier to work. Typical handheld laser rangefinders have up to a 6x power optic and work great with short ranges. Still, there are more comparisons between a handheld rangefinder and a rangefinding binocular you can learn about.
A rangefinding binocular will sometimes have a colored coating on the lens to help the laser reflect better, but that coating can become annoying and mess with the optics of the binocular. This problem is usually solved with a higher-end rangefinding binocular, whereas cheap rangefinder binoculars can be problematic. Therefore, for the most part, it is best to find the combined ranging capability of a laser rangefinder and the magnification of binoculars in one device.
Leica GeoVid HD-B 3000
The Leica GeoVid may be an expensive option, but they are worth the price. Leica designed their rangefinder binocular to be incredibly effective. The GeoVid gives a strong, clear magnification of your target with accurate and fast measurements of distance. It provides a wide view, a maximum range of 3000 yards, and has an advanced system to calculate all factors. Leica’s GeoVid is designed to make it easier for you. The system calculates temperature, air pressure, and has good angle compensation to help you find the exact distance to your target. In addition, Leica designed their device to be durable. The Leica GeoVid is waterproof, shock-resistant, and fog-resistant. It has a comfortable grip, eye relief, and a lightweight design.
If that’s not enough, the Leica also has one more feature. You can upload your specific ballistic onto an SD card and insert it into the card slot on the GeoVid HD-B. Then, your gun ballistic will be added to GeoVid’s calculations. You can switch out these cards for other ballistic you may be using, and the Leica GeoVid will automatically calculate everything for you.
Features You May Want
While there are many features to consider when purchasing rangefinder binoculars, we’ve narrowed down what we think are some of the key features to look into:
Scan mode: scan mode allows you to track the distance of a moving target. Some advanced rangefinding binoculars can give you multiple readings per second.
Equivalent horizontal range: EHR gives you the horizontal distance of your target. This is especially helpful in hilly or mountainous terrain where you or your target is on an incline. A range-finding binocular with EHR would be able to give you more data that you need in order to calculate where to shoot.
Last target mode: last target mode gives you the readings for the furthest object that the rangefinder can pick up. This is needed when your target is behind something, and you don’t want the average coordinates of everything in its path.
Best target mode: best target mode will give you an average of all the objects your laser rangefinder is picking up. It will give you the distance to whatever offers the best results.
Ballistic computer: a ballistic computer is employed in the Leica GeoVid. It allows you to upload your ballistic information to your rangefinding binoculars, and it will add that to its calculations.
Atmospheric readings: the air pressure and temperature is going to affect your bullet or arrow. A rangefinder binocular with the ability to input barometric pressure will give you more accurate information about your target. The atmospheric conditions will have a significant impact on your ballistic curve and are important to consider.
You can go here for a longer list of features you can have on your rangefinding binoculars.
How much do rangefinder binoculars cost?
Lots of rangefinder binoculars cost around $1,000. A really advanced rangefinding bino with higher than 10x magnification and other features, like eye relief or a stronger objective lens, can cost up to $3,500. Some more affordable ones tend to be around $700-$800. For example, the Leica GeoVid costs around $3,000. The Nikon LaserForce rangefinder binocular is just over $1,000 and has a range of about 1900 yards. It also has coated lenses and eye relief in its design. The Vortex Fury HD is about $1,600. Bushnell binoculars is another company that offers binoculars for between $100 and $800. Getting a rangefinding binocular is definitely an investment, but if you are an avid hunter and are done switching between a laser rangefinder and binocular to see your target and its distance, you might want to consider getting them.
Rangefinding binoculars are very efficient as they combine a handheld laser rangefinder and binocular into one device. While there can be benefits of using two separate devices, if you buy a more advanced rangefinder binocular, those issues aren’t as important. Prices range a lot for rangefinding binoculars, and so it depends on what you need from your RF binoculars and how much you are willing to pay. More serious hunters will want to consider it, while someone who wouldn’t use it as much doesn’t need a super expensive one. Make sure you understand your needs and your price range before you look for rangefinding binoculars. There are many features to look into, but a more advanced rangefinding binocular will have a higher price tag. But if you think a rangefinding binocular would make your life easier, it’s definitely worth looking into.