Swarovski 1500 Laser Rangefinder and the Leica 1200
I posted this on another forum, thought you guys might also find it interesting.
"I have been using both the Leica 1200 and Swarovski for several months now. Here are some notes:
.. Optics (resolution, brightness)
Although the Leica is very good, in the opinion of several testers the Swarovski is clearly superior. The larger eyepiece results in a bigger picture. This eyepiece is also faster to use and acquire. Resolution and brightness are exceptional for a laser unit.
The Swarovski’s “send” button is much easier to acquire and use. The Leica button is small and not ideally located. Swarovski’s button is directly under the user’s initial two fingers when the unit is held with the right hand. In addition the body shape of the Swarovski is easier to hold steady. Swarovski’s larger eyepiece is easier to focus. I also prefer the moveable eyepiece cover for glasses/non-glasses users. Leica uses a folding rubber ring, slower to deploy, looks more fragile.
Swarovski holster works perfectly and also provides excellent protection for the front lenses when not fitted on the users belt. Shoulder strap is excellent quality and comfortable but unnecessary if you are using the holster on your belt. Swarovski can easily be mounted on tripods or window mounts. Leica requires an optional carry case with a screw mount receptacle. Leica’s cloth case fits reasonably well but many cases that I have examined have an identical stitching flaw resulting in a separation at the seams at the rounded bottom corners. Leica does not have accommodation for shoulder straps, only a wrist strap which is supplied.
.. Aiming Reticle
Leica employs a very small square vs Swarovski’s larger red circle. The circle is easier to hold on far-off objects and results are at least as fast and accurate as the finer-appearing Leica aiming reticle. Both aiming reticles appear to be about equally bright, although the Leica is red and the Swarovski appears somewhat reddish-orange.
The Swarovski’s numerical readouts are larger, therefore easier to read, plus the unit of measurement is given. The user does not know if his Leica is reading yards or meters.
... Ranging Performance on Game and Non Game Targets
Comparing the two units with the scan feature I could not determine a significant difference in performance between them. I rarely use scan since we are focused on one animal in most situations. I have taken the Swarovski unit on five big game hunts and several coyote hunts to date. During each hunt we compared the ranging ability of the Swarovski to two Leica 1200 units. In every test opportunity the Swarovski acquired a reading faster and more successfully than the Leicas.
Ranging ability was compared on a variety of targets ranging from deer, elk, coyotes and cattle to far-off rocks and vegetation. Light conditions varied from the intensity of mid-day sunshine to late dusk where the object could barely be seen with naked vision.
The Swarovski frequently obtained readings that were not possible with the Leica. At no time did the Leicas obtain readings that the Swarovski could not duplicate – note: there was a definite difference in the numbers produced by the two Leicas vs the Swarovski on many occasions. The difference would usually be two or three yards, never exceeding three yards. The Leica’s frequently varied as much from each other as they did from the Swarovski.
I evaluated the laser units by obtaining “successful readings”. A successful reading was when I got a minimum of two identical readings from an object in one continuous attempt. The longest successful reading on deer was 987 yards. The Leicas could not duplicate this reading, opportunity. The longest successful reading on deer with either Leica was 897 yards (the Swarovski matched that particular reading). Longest successful reading on game farm elk was 1090 yards with both units – this was the farthest that elk could be lasered in that particular pasture. Longest successful reading for cattle was 1155 yards with the Swarovski, the reading was on a reddish colored cow on a dull, overcast day. The Leica could not obtain a reading but was capable to 1010 yards. The longest reading for coyotes was 1010 yards with the Leica that the Swarovski matched (1012), also on a dull day.
Distances on animals varied more significantly than inanimate objects. Some days the maximum range of the units was reduced by at least one third because of light conditions. Successful reading from rocks and vegetation could usually be obtained out to 800-1300 yards, depending on the light and size of the object.
..Field Use Info
The Swarovski is easier to use in the field than the Leica 1200. The larger eyepiece, coupled with the larger sending button combine to make for faster, easier readings. The carrying holster provides excellent protection for the front lenses. I usually hunted with the neck-strap attached and the holster on the unit since much of our recent hunting was vehicle based.
Battery life is very difficult to judge. Over three years of use I have replaced the Leica battery each hunting season – I do not know what condition the used batteries where in. The Swarovski battery has supplied energy for several hundred readings and the unit is still working quickly and uniformly. In severely cold weather use I detected a slight pulsing of the brightness of the aiming circle in the Swarovski but the reading ability did not change. As the battery died the pulsing of the brightness of the readouts became more obvious. This is a good indicator that the battery should be replaced. The battery used in the Swarovski is more expensive to replace than the battery used in the Leica. Both battery types are readily available.