Leica Geovid HD-B 3000
• 10x42 • $3,000 • Class 1 laser rangefinder with ballistics calculator
The price of this premium binocular puts it out of range for most folks, but the combination of world-leading optics and a fast, precise laser rangefinder softens the sticker shock for us. This is a worthy addition to Leica’s venerable Geovid line. The biggest update is a faster, more powerful laser that reaches out to 3,000 yards (though in practical terms, 2,000 yards is a more realistic expectation) and works in concert with a ballistics calculator that contains profiles for 12 standard loads. Users also have the option of uploading custom ballistics through a microsd port. No matter the data source, the nearly instantaneous readout gives users a shooting solution based on holdover, click adjustment, or incline-adjusted range informed by the onboard environmental sensors, including temperature, barometric pressure, and angle. All that computing horsepower doesn’t amount to much if you can’t see your target, but the Geovid’s image is at the head of its class. The Leica won our low-light test and turned in excellent resolution scores. Its field of view led the 10X field, and the Perger porro prism that gives the binocular its distinctive banana shape also gives it a very comfortable balance. The two operational buttons, which control range and mode, are so close together that it takes some practice to get proficient with their use. And because the laser transmitter is located on the front of the hinge, in the spot where most binoculars have a tripod-mounting receiver, you need a separate accessory to mount the Geovid. That’s not a small consideration, since you’ll want to stabilize this optic for ranging out past about 1,000 yards.