Zeiss has been lurking in the weeds, staying out of the optics manufacturers’ rangefinder competition. But now they are in the game in a big way. They have just brought to market a combination binocular and rangefinder obviously designed to compete directly with the Leica Geovid BRF rangefinder binocular. Chris Farris at SWFA offered me the loan of a Zeiss unit for my Wyoming antelope hunt. I recently tried this Zeiss unit and feel it will be a strong competitor to the Leica Geovid model. Street price is around $3,000.
Faster Than A Speeding Bullet!
On my recent antelope hunt I was able to show the Zeiss Victory RF 10x45 Rangefinder Binocular unit to several other hunters. Without exception, the first comment was always to marvel at the speed with which the unit returned a range. Only one touch of the main control button is needed. This eliminates incorrect measurements caused by delays and unintentional “shaking” of the binoculars – and with it, the laser beam.
The hunters also liked the ergonomics. The focus wheel turns easily, but not too easily, and it is well located. There are two control buttons are located well and the unit has a good, solid feel to it. The second button controls a number of functions.
The glass is superb. I thought it was slightly better than that of my Swarovski 10x42 SLC binoculars. Edge to edge sharpness was very good. The slightly larger 45mm objective size should theoretically be better in low light, though probably hard to measure. The outer surfaces of the glass have a new coating called LotuTec, which sheds rain and dirt, making them easy to keep clean.
The eyecups retract to the user’s choice of 4 positions, an advantage for glasses wearers. Dioptor adjustment is available for each individual ocular lens. There is no provision for attaching to a tripod, which would have been nice for getting a steady reading at the long distances we shoot at. There is a self-illuminating LED for the range readout.
BIS™ – Ballistic Information System
The unit has an integrated electronic ballistic calculator (BIS™) which will also give you the correct holdover, based on the distance measured and the load trajectory you have pre-selected. I don’t know how interested our more serious long rangers will be in this feature but it is unique as far as I know.
Ballistic program settings let you choose between one of six programs (depending on your ammunition). The calculator is sophisticated enough to allow you to select both ballistic curve and sight-in distance independently of each other – enabling the use of both conventional 100-200 yard zeroes and two European systems of sight-in distances.