Swarovski 1500 Laser Rangefinder and the Leica 1200

Discussion in 'Equipment Discussions' started by Ian M, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    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.
    .. Ergonomics
    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.
    .. Accessories
    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.
    .. Readout
    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
    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.
     
  2. Glock119

    Glock119 Well-Known Member

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    Ian, Great post and very informative for those of us that do not have the ability to compare such devices. Also you forgot the most important part, cost comparison/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif. whats the Swarovski cost? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Thanks,
    Ben
     

  3. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    The only Swarovski rangefinders that I can find are the 8x30 rangefinder/binos. They sell for $800.

    Unable to locate any Swarovski 1500's.

    The Leica 1200 Scan rangefinders sell for about $500.
     
  4. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    The unit is properly called the 8x30 laser, looks like a pair of Swarovski binocs but only has one eyepiece. Prices can be found on the net - or Cabela's.
    Nikon and Bushnell also just announced new lasers, hope to get them shortly and will let you know how they work.
     
  5. ccsykes

    ccsykes Banned

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    Ian,
    I am in the market for a new rangefinder. I have been using a bushnell, and I notice that it will not usually read anything under 20 yards. This low range is especailly helpful during early bow season. Did you make notice if either of these units read close range or not? I would primarily use the rangefinder for long range, but I am just curious to how close of a range they will read.
     
  6. dbhostler

    dbhostler Well-Known Member

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    IanM,
    Remember me when you're ready to sell your rangefinders. Thanks for the info, good copy.
    db
     
  7. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Christopher,
    Good point, matter of fact I did not check the close range performance. There are some short range lasers that are optimized for closer performance for archers and muzzleloader hunters, we use them for the close stuff. Usually the lower spec'd units have the closest distance capability - I really like the Nikon/Busnell 600's for that. Thanks for reminding me about the close range performance, I will dig the Swarovski/Leica units out and get some numbers SAP.
     
  8. winmagman

    winmagman Well-Known Member

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    Christopher
    I played with my Leica 1200 this evening and it wouldn't range anything under 20 yds.
     
  9. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

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    Christopher any thing less than twenty yards is beneficial, however if you are like most you will still shoot it for twenty. I have three range finders. The one that I bowhunt with does go to 11 yards, however I do not have a pin less than 20 yards. The accuracy under 60 yards is what i look for in a bowhunting range finder. Oh by the way I think I am going to get the swarovski range finder and sell some other ones.
     
  10. RBrowning

    RBrowning Well-Known Member

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    Ian,
    You mentioned that they look like binocs but only have one eye piece. Which, right or left? I am left eye dominate/ right eye blind and it wouldn't work for me if it is the right eye piece.

    Thanks.
    Rick
     
  11. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    I just tried the three lasers by sliding them over to the left eye, no sweat working with them from my left eye, liked the handling over there with the Swarovski best. Here are the close range readings I get with my units:
    Swarovski 8x30 - 11 yards
    Leica -1200- 12 yards
    Bushnell-1000 - 16 yards
    Not sure why even an archer would need those numbers /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  12. Glock119

    Glock119 Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Christopher,
    Good point, matter of fact I did not check the close range performance. There are some short range lasers that are optimized for closer performance for archers and muzzleloader hunters, we use them for the close stuff. Usually the lower spec'd units have the closest distance capability - I really like the Nikon/Busnell 600's for that. Thanks for reminding me about the close range performance, I will dig the Swarovski/Leica units out and get some numbers SAP.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Just a quick note the Nikon 440 and 600 have 6x or 8x optics which I found to be not very enjoyable during bow season.

    I bought the 600 and took it back the next day and went with the Nikon Monarch 800 which only has 4x optics which I found a whole lot more user friendly for bow hunting plus with the 800 you also get a little more distance than with the 440 or 600. Just my opinion but thought I might mention it.

    [ QUOTE ]
    Not sure why even an archer would need those numbers

    [/ QUOTE ]

    for me its not really the distance, its was being able to locate and range targets quickly and with some of the other units that have a higher magnification (like above Nikons) makes it more difficult to locate items. If you have a 3-10 power scope going through the woods most don't like to leave the power up on 10. I like my bow rangefinder low power for just that reason. like one of the other poster wrote most people who bow hunt start with a 20 yard pin anyway.



    Thanks,
    Ben
     
  13. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

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    Rick,

    I am left handed/ left eye dom as well and have a Swaro, it works just fine either eye. The performance of mine I have posted about late last year. I can not say enought good about the Swaro unit. I have gotten good readings at 1560 yards into dirt and grass. If you use a tripod to steady it I have gotten several solid readings at 1600-1718 yards on a good target (light colored rock). The more I use it, the more I am of the opinion that the rest are junk.
     
  14. LOBO

    LOBO Well-Known Member

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    Where is the best place to find a Swarovski 1500 rangefinder? For basically half the price, how does the Bushnell 1500 compare? How would either of these rangefinders do on steel targets painted white?