Which rangefinding binos are right or me?

Range finder

Range finder - Credit: Archant

Investing in new optics can be a mine field, and choosing the right rangefinding binoculars for you is no exception! Dom Holtam offers some advice on brands and pricing

Q: I am looking at getting some rangefinding binoculars and the prices differ massively. Is it worth paying a premium for a well-known brand?

Dom Holtam replies: This genre is expanding all the time, and as it does, so buyer choice increases. As with all optics, you do tend to get a difference in terms of optical performance when you pay top money with a well-known brand. There is also the level of aftercare and warranty to factor in, as well as ease of resale if you wish to upgrade in the future.

In my experience, rangefinding binos do not give quite the low-light performance of standard binos, because of the way the electronics and the laser are incorporated and the way they have to interact with the lens coatings etc. However, saying that, Swarovski claim over 90% on both tubes with their latest EL Range so you aren't giving away much.

If you are not chasing the last five minutes of useable light, and you spend more time at the range, banging steels or tackling long range varmints in daylight, then there are plenty of mid-priced options out there from the likes of Kahles, Meopta, Sig Sauer and Bushnell. Big names with good reputations and strong dealer and customer support.

From there, I would look at the kind of electronic performances the devices offer - do you want to be able to use a customisable ballistic program to suit your own rifle? Do you want a range reading that corrects for atmospheric pressures or shooting angle? Or do you just want a reliable, accurate, simple 'one press' rangefinder?