Swarovski Optik LRF 8x30

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We gave Derek from thepackingrat.net a Swaro LRF 8x30 for an article review with photos. Here it is:

Monocular laser range finder with perfect image quality due to our patented binocular expertise. Unique technology for accurate measurement even in poor weather conditions and over large distances.

The SWAROVSKI OPTIK Laser Guide 8×30 combines the high quality standard of SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars with the latest laser range-finding technology.

Swarovski 8×30 Laser Guide rangefinder is a revolutionary new waterproof laser range finder that combines the best features of a Swarovski binoculars and one of the most accurate (± 1 yd.) laser range finder up to the maximum distance of 1500 yards.


With another opportunity provided by Mike Cecil at CS Tactical, I walked around the streets of Downtown Sacramento to play a ranging game. However, let’s take a look at the unit first.



Built like a tank and weighing at 13.65 oz., the Swarovski Optik LRF 8×30 is waterproof down to 13 ft. and is capable of ranging targets out to 1500 yards or 1400 meters. The change the unit of measurement, the switch is located below the battery cap.


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I doubt the Swarovski will break if dropped. The objectives are recessed into the housing and the eye piece appears to be robust. It’s a solid piece of hardware.


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The perceived image through the optic is absolutely bright and sharp. Though I typically wear eye gear, prescribed or otherwise, the eye relief was sufficient. My ability to read the display inside varies on brightness of the background. The LRF performs best on targets that reflect light better, e.g., white buildings as opposed to dark cows. Lighter backgrounds have at tendency to wash out the display.


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According to the Swarovski manual, the following are environmental factors that will affect maximum ranging performance:


Maximum RangeReduced Range
ColorBrightDark
SurfaceGlossyMatte
Angle to targetVerticalAcute (top or bottom)
SunlightLargeSmall
Target sizeDimBright
Atmospheric conditionsClearHazy
Structure of targetSolidBroken

Looking at the display inside the unit, one will notice the red target circle. Pressing the button on top of the unit will turn it on. Pressing it the second time will measure the distance of a target, which can take as long as 3 seconds. Scan mode is pretty cool. Press the button for more than 2 seconds, it will continually measure distance as one tracks a target. Units expressed in yards or meters is display below the target circle. If “—” appears, the LRF failed to measure the distance. It’s so easy, a caveman can do it.


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Most folks take their range finders to the shooting range. I think that’s a little boring considering that ranges are static. For this review, I did a little Google Earth reconnaissance to find the best public rooftop. I found one spot in Old Sacramento and another just down the street. For the record, the circles are not to scale as one would see it inside the unit and Google Earth distance measurements are merely guesses. It appears to come pretty damn close though. All measurements were gathered unsupported, unless stated otherwise.


US Bank Plaza

I had no difficulty measuring the distance here. The building is well lit and the color reflects well.



Ziggurat and CalSTRS Buildings, Tower Bridge and I-80 from Old Sacramento

The Ziggurat is the pyramid. The CalSTRS is the reflective building where California teachers divvy up tax revenue for retirement. From Old Sacramento, we had no difficulty ranging the buildings across the river. The exception to this was the I-80 bridge over the Sacramento River. I attempted to measure the distance using the pillar or the base of the bridge, but I was unable to get a reading. Using Google Earth, the estimated distance was 1409 yards. The target was dark, so that may have had a significant impact on it’s readability.



Important Building, Holiday Inn and the US Bank Tower from Old Sacramento

Standing on the east side of the parking structure, we measured the distance of the three structures. At this distance, the range finder appeared to take longer on the glass surface of the Important Building. When using the light colored wall of that structure, measurement was perceived as quick. From this location, we were unable to measure the distance for the US Bank Tower. We attempted different parts of the structure and even used support for better stability. The Holiday Inn was a piece of cake.



Renaissance Building from the east balcony of the Plaza shopping center

From this distance, we didn’t experience delays on the dark or lighter colored surfaces. From a further distance, the characteristics of the surface is dependent for a reliable reading. From the parking structure further west, the range finder was unable to read distance on the dark surface, but was capable on lighter surface from 671 yards.



Ziggurat and CalSTRS Buildings from the Plaza parking structure

No delay for a reading on the Ziggurat, but not the CalSTRS building.



US Bank Tower from the Plaza parking structure

This is another illustration on how different surfaces affect the range finder’s ability to measure distance.



Tracking objects

This was straight forward. Couldn’t find any readable moving objects beyond 600 yards.



South Sacramento Co. cows

Unsuccessful reading for cows.



General Conclusions

The Swarovski LRF appears rugged, has excellent glass and generally accurate. On a few random nights, the detail through the glass were still incredible. I can’t say anything negative about this particular unit. I haven’t played with many range finders; this was my first intimate experience with one. At this time, I wish I could say I have $999.00 to spend, but I don’t. Would it be worthwhile if you were looking for a device to practice your milliradian finding skills or competition? Very likely. I’ll have to bug Mike again so I may work on a comparison review against other models. You should let Mike know that you want this review. =)


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