Rangefinders are useful tools that are used in a wide variety of applications from construction to hunting and more. Laser rangefinders, also called laser telemeters, are the most popular, effective rangefinders out there. These devices use laser beams to determine the distance to an object.
The most popular laser rangefinders operate on the principle of time of flight by sending a laser pulse in a thin beam to the object and measuring the time it takes for the pulse to be reflected by the target and returned to the sender.
Laser rangefinders are extremely useful measurement tools that are indispensable in fields where precise and quick distance, slope, or angle measurements are required.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how much range can be added by laser rangefinders, in particular, as well as how they work. Read on to learn more about how much range does rangefinder add to your accuracy and shot.
How Laser Rangefinders Work
Laser rangefinders produce electromagnetic pulses in the form of laser beams from their optoelectronic systems. This beam is reflected off of the surface of the target and is returned to the rangefinder, which then processes the beam to calculate the distance.
The device measures the distance by analyzing the travel time in two planes, based on the phase delay of the produced and reflected EM wave. This is the method of measurement that is used in phase laser rangefinders.
Another laser-based method of measuring distance is to measure the pulse’s travel time directly from the rangefinder to the object and vice versa. Pulse laser rangefinders use this method, while some rangefinders use interferometric distance measurements.
This is most certainly the quickest and most precise method of measuring distance, but interferometric rangefinders are both costly and highly vulnerable to damage, making them unreliable in the field.
Laser rangefinders allow the user to take measurements both indoors and out, with 1mm/km accuracy. Professional construction-grade rangefinders are capable of measuring distance up to about 150 meters, while long-range devices can measure up to 1,500 meters
Why Use a Laser Rangefinder?
Compared to their ultrasonic and optical counterparts, laser rangefinders are the most technologically advanced and functional tools for measurements. Other than their extremely precise measurements, their main advantage is the fact that they only require one person to operate.
Optical rangefinders, which are used to take accurate distance measurements in large, open areas and at construction sites, require a minimum of two people to operate at once. This is why laser rangefinders are perfect for hunters and shooters.
They are also less prone to measurement errors caused by improper positioning and other human errors. Additionally, laser rangefinders come with auto-calibration features and electronic alignment aids, and they allow users to take measurements based on the ‘painter’ function, otherwise known as the Pythagorean equation.
You can use them to take delay measurements and continuous measurements, measure the difference or sum of a surface, and calculate volume. Clear screens and advanced processes that are installed in laser rangefinders significantly improve their usefulness and functionality, as well as their accessibility.
Laser rangefinders have seen some drastic improvements since they were first introduced to the hunting scene around 25 years ago. These days, most models can provide accurate readings within one or two yards up to a mile away, sometimes even farther.
Even at the most budget-friendly end of the spectrum, there are few rangefinders on the market that aren’t able to range accurately out to about 400 yards, which is farther than most hunters will ever shoot at big game animals. If you primarily enjoy bow hunting, you likely won’t need a rangefinder that can give you the distance of an object more than a mile away.
The aiming point of a rangefinder, also known as the reticle, is the object at the middle of the viewfinder that is placed on the object that you are trying to determine the range of. With most rangefinders, when you focus the aiming point on your target object, you simply press a button to turn the laser on.
The laser beam will then travel to the object, bounce off of it, and return to the rangefinder, which will then halve the distance and display the object’s range on the screen. Some aiming points are easier to hold steady on the target object than others.
Because the ideal aiming point is largely a matter of preference, you should try several different rangefinders before spending any money.
Magnification is another important component in any rangefinder. It is an essential factor, as many hunters often range animals that are very far away, making seeing them nearly impossible. Plus, ranging them is even harder without magnification.
On a rangefinder with 6x magnification, the target object that you wish to range will appear six times bigger than it does in reality, allowing you to place the aiming point on it with ease. Note that several companies produce binoculars that come with integrated rangefinders. This can be useful since their magnification is generally 10x or more.
When rangefinders were first created, they were rather bulky, cumbersome, and a general burden to carry around. These days, most laser rangefinders are small, and many models could even be called tiny.
Regardless of the rangefinder you choose, ensure that it fits your hand comfortably and that your finger can rest directly next to the button that turns the laser on. If you have larger hands, then the smallest rangefinders on the market may not be suitable for you.
If you do opt for a tiny rangefinder, you should be sure to pick a safe place in whatever bag or backpack that you use to carry your equipment and always keep it in that exact place. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing it and searching for it when you should be focusing on other things out in the field.
And there you have it – everything you need to consider when it comes to rangefinders!