[ Written by gun optics guru Timothy Yan ]
Laser range finder came a long way since the last time I used one in the military. In those days, laser range finders were so big and heavy that it requires a tripod for support. Nowadays, the previously military only laser finder technology is now available to the commercial market. Due advances in technology, the commercially available laser range finders are much smaller and simpler to use. One of the best personal laser rang finder on the market is the Zeiss Victory 8×26 PRF.
The Zeiss PRF has very well designed ergonomic. From the two sides that are rounded to fit the palm of the hands and the anti-slip rubber armor that covers the exterior, to the two small long ridges along the top for the fingers to rest on. The eyepiece is depth adjustable and it has four lockable height settings. At just over ten ounces, the Zeiss PRF is about the perfect size for a small laser range finder. It’s not too light that it moves easy when hand held and it’s not too heavy that makes carrying it a hassle. Zeiss also provided a nice nylon belt carry case and a carrying strap. The Zeiss PRF is sealed against dust and it’s waterproof.
To operate the Zeiss PRF, the user holds it up in a horizontal orientation just like using a binocular. There are only two buttons on the Zeiss. The large Range Finder button could be reach by the index fingers on either hand. The smaller SET button allows the user to access the more advance functions of the Zeiss PRF such as the yards to meter switching and a build-in programmable bullet drop compensation table for both the US mod in yards and EU mod in meters. The SET button could also activate the Zeiss PRF in the Scan mode, which is great for measuring and tracking a moving object. When in the Scan mode the PRF automatically takes a measure every 1.5 seconds.
Unlike many hand held laser range finders on the market, the Zeiss’s build-in 8x magnification monoscope is actually quite good. Usually, the optic part of many laser range finders, especially the budget models, is often an afterthought. Those typically suffer from poor light transmission, lens distortion or have severe tunnel-effect. The 8x26mm optic in the Zeiss PRF is bright and has accurate color rendition that is neither warm nor cold. Only on the extreme edge of the view that some minor reduction of resolution and light transmission show up. When I test the Zeiss PRF’s optic with the Zeiss Test Pattern (ZTP) chart at 10 meter (32.8 ft), it can resolve down to the #6 block. That shows the lens on the Zeiss PRF is very sharp. Both the objective and the ocular lens have the Zeiss’ special LotuTec water repelling coating and the Zeiss T* multi-layer optical enhancing coating. The PRF’s optic uses a porro prism design and has a very wide 6.3-degree field of view.
Also stands out from the cheaper laser range finders is Zeiss PRF’s daylight visible reticle and display. When the button is pressed, the red LED lit reticle appears. When the button is released a four-digit range value will instantly display under the reticle. There’s virtually no lag between them. After few seconds, both the reticle and the digits will disappear and leaves a clear view. The single CR2 lithium battery would last for over 2000 measurements. I found the laser works on a wide variety of object and background colors. I was able to measure a black silhouette target at 1000 yard reliably.
The Zeiss Victory PRF offers probably the best laser range finder performance in the class and its optic is great. It’s waterproof and it features a daylight visible display with long battery life. The Zeiss Victory PRF’s $600 street price is actually a good deal for a premium Euro optic brand laser range finder, considering that the Leica 1600 is $800 and the Swarovski Swarvo is $1000.
|Model||Zeiss Victory PRF 8×26 T*|
|Measuring Range||10-1300 yards, 10-1200 meters|
|Accuracy||1 yard under 650 yard and 0.5% over 650 yard|
|Measuring time||1.5-second average|
|Power Source||Lithium 3V CR2|
|Battery Life||2000 measuring shots|
|Reticle||Red, daylight visible|
|Objective Lens size||26mm|
|Field of View||6.3 degrees, 330 feet at 1000 yards|
|Eye Relief||17.5mm/0.7 inch|
Source: Carl Zeiss Optical Inc