Zeiss Victory 8×26 PRF

zeiss laser range finder

This system has become an indispensable companion, whether for hunting abroad or at home. Not only knowledge of the exact distance to game is a decisive factor, but also the resulting holdover (requiring the hunter to aim x centimeters above or below the target) is of major importance.

With the Victory 8 x 26 T* PRF, Carl Zeiss implemented the world’s first digital laser rangefinder with LED display and integrated BISTM ballistic calculator.

The high-performance optics with a two-element Achromat in the 26 mm lens and Carl Zeiss T* coating provides a very bright image: its 8x magnification also makes the Victory 8×26 T* PRF ideal for long distance observation, and the 26 mm lens diameter provides reserves for poor light conditions. The 110 m field of view, measured at a distance of 1000 m, provides users with a full overview in any situation.

The ergonomic design and ease of use of the Victrory PRF also leave nothing to be desired. A slight press of the measuring button displays the range and the required correction value for the point of impact in the field of view.

It wasn’t long ago when CS Tactical allowed me to check out the Swarovski Optik LRF 8×30 and the Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC. Both models turned out to be excellent range finding optics. Though I consider the Bushnell Fusion and the Swarovski LRF in different categories, each model has their respective advantages and disadvantages. The Swarovski could buy me two new GLOCKS; or maybe a nice 1911 if I can bargain on a semi-custom used model. The clarity of the glass, ergonomics, and its’ ability to range far out, despite it’s size, doesn’t come cheap. Compared to the Bushnell Fusion 1600 however, the Swarovski was lighter, smaller and had no observable tint. The Bushnell; however, appeared to read ranges faster and further, just as reliably as the Swarovski LRF. By its’ nature, a binocular is heavier. It didn’t hurt that the Bushnell is approximately $240.00 less than the Swarovski LRF.

zeiss laser range finder casezeiss victory laser buttonszeiss laser range eye

Though the Bushnell is an excellent optic with long-range capability, I believe most of the readers here are looking for that high quality optic that’s portable and affordable. I compared my product experience with the Zeiss 8×26 PRF and found that it comes really close for the Swarovsi LRF. In no way was my experience “hands down” for either unit.

I didn’t do my usual stint at Sacramento for this review. Instead, I took the LRF to Gun Blogger Rendezvous to the Washoe County Shooting Range.

zeiss laser range opticszeiss laser range eye piecezeiss laser range finder

I measured all ranges in meters. That’s right, I didn’t bother to the change unit of measurement. Funny story. I was perplexed when a known distance of 950 yards was displaying 870 – meters. Mike Cecil and I compared the Swarovski LRF with the Zeiss Victory PRF and found dramatic differences. I initially thought it was a formula error of the unit (haha – I’m blaming equipment!).  It wasn’t.

Photo by Mason at CS Tactical.

Zeiss releases their products utilizing the international standard. To set, hold the SET button for approximately three seconds. You’ll see settings for EU0 – EU6 and EU˚1 – EU˚6 in meters before hitting the US0 option measured in yards.  Settings besides EU0 and US0 utilize the Ballistic Information System, or BIS, according to the ballastic curve of your firearm. The BIS displays correction required in centimeters or inches followed by an H or an L. For readings that measure an H, the BIS is indicating to the shooter to shoot X units higher.  Visa versa for readings that display L.

Photo by Mason at CS Tactical.

Compared to the Swarovski LRF, the Zeiss PRF is lighter. There isn’t an “hm, this fells expensive” heft to the unit – but it’s not cheap by any means. In grams, the Zeiss weights 310g (10.93oz). The Swarovski, 13.65oz. I’m not a particular fan of the centered eyepiece on the Zeiss, but it’s not awkard.

Looking through a Zeiss, one may notice the lens is clean and clear with very subtle blue hint. The 4mm difference of the observation lens appears to be noticeable between the Swarovski and Zeiss units. Field of view for the Zeiss was perceived to be narrower, but certainly not an factor to dismiss the unit all together.

zeiss laser range finder reticle

The LED display on the Zeiss was easier to read than the Swarovski. I recall more difficulty reading Swarovski’s LED display. It appeared dim at various angles. Zeiss’ LED display was capable of being read regardless of my eye position.

To take a reading with the Zeiss, press the arrow button and release when the ranging reticle is on the target. Releasing the button, whereas presses on a Swarovski, transfers less muscle twitch when measuring perceived smaller objects. However, the ranging reticle on the Zeiss appears to be less precise. In parking lot trials ranging a telephone pole, obstructions such as brush and branches would interfere with a reading if it were in close view of the target. I recall my experience was of little concern with the Swarovski. The Bushnell allows you to place priority on foreground or background targets.

zeiss laser range finder handheld

I also noticed ranging was faster on the Zeiss compared to the Swarovski within 900 yards. However, in some instances, it took multiple attempts to get a reading with the Zeiss. For example, the two targets to the left of the photograph took about ten readings. The Swarovski only required about 3-5.  Steel plates pictured were about 24×24″.  At the 950 yard (850m) ridge, the target was a standard metal 55 gallon drum.  Size of the two targets to the left are unknown.

Considering the above, I think the narrower field of view and subtle tint of the glass are negligible characteristics of the Zeiss. However, the need for multiple reads on farther, smaller objects can be cumbersome if the shooter’s goal is to hit small targets (tactical long-range competitions shooting at 5” plates at 500 yards, varmint hunting, etc.) The Zeiss appears to be faster reading objects within 900 yards or so and the LED display appears brighter. The Zeiss unit is also sold for ($699.95); the least expensive of the Bushnell ($758.00) and the Swarovski ($900.00) range finders. I imagine if one is looking for a high quality range finder that is reliable and inexpensive with few concerns of ranging rodents or small steel plates for hunting/competition, the Zeiss PRF appears to be a great buy and will likely address most shooter’s basic needs. If one needs the precision and prefers the ergonomics and optical clarity of the Swarovski, then the additional $300.00 might be justifiable.  I wouldn’t be able to justify it myself considering the capability of the Zeiss unit is comparable to the the Swarovski unit, according to my needs as a casual shooter.

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$:  Prices are as of 10/14/2010.

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8 Comments on “Zeiss Victory 8×26 PRF”

  1. SAKO TRG
    November 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Please advice
    I am a fan of Zeiss and was considering going with the Zeiss PRF BIS
    I decided to spend the money on a rangefinder I would be proud of and am hoping I won’t to have any regrets
    I need a range finder to range moving boar up to 1000 yards
    But I can buy a Swarovski for $750 and Zeiss $600 with coupon for $100
    Is the clarity of the optic dramatically different between Swarovski and Zeiss?
    What would you recommend I really appreciate your advice?

    • November 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

      If the Swaro were priced as noted and was in good condition, that’s what I would buy – hands down. $750 is only $50 more if you were to buy a Zeiss new.

      The clarity alone would sway me to buy a Swaro at that price.

      That is the Swaro. The Zeiss unit will have a bluish tint; I suppose it’s the difference between vinyl and leather seats for you car.

  2. SAKO TRG
    November 27, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    You mentioned that you had trouble ranging 24×24 targets with the Zeiss in your experience does the Swarovski not have that problem?
    My goal is boar hunting at dawn and dusk the cool Mercedes tint in the Zeiss glass is a mines for Zeiss ( in my needs and goals for a rangefinder ) but from what I was told everything else is just the opposite.
    I was told the Swarovski reticle is too big and it’s harder read and get an accurate reading at long range. Processor speed is slower and will not show accurate reading without tripod or solid base.
    Are there any considerable plusses of having the BIS on Zeiss?
    I have never used a ballistic drop calculator rangefinder how will it help me shoot better or more accurately I use Zeiss z1000 reticle and that already estimates bullet drop for me why would BIS be useful to an average shooter?

  3. SAKO TRG
    November 27, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Just found this review on the Swarovski
    Ranges out to 1000 m without difficulty. Past 1200 are hit or miss. Glass is great. But the readout is irritating; it flickers and glitters– electronic chatter I am told by Swarovski. For this price I didn’t think it was acceptable. This item was returned.

    Have you seen any chatter/red dots with the swaro range finder when u tested it?

    • November 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      Ranging:

      Yes. The Zeiss ranges faster; however, it took multiple read attempts for distances further out. The Swaro albeit longer, it took a reading every time – given the right conditions.

      When I had the Swaro, I did have difficulty ranging a cow. I estimated it to be out to 850-900 yards. The time was approximately 18:30, close when the sun was setting with lots of reflection around the tall grass. In my experience, the Zeiss may have been able to read the cow – though it would have taken multiple reads. It may not be consistent either.

      Precision:
      I had a difficult time ranging smaller objects with the Zeiss’ reticle. Depending on the interference from surrounding objects, it would read the closer item instead. Occasionally, the reticle’s marks outside the center circle will take a reading. Though Swaro’s reticle is slightly larger, all reads are concentrated in the center.

      Display: The Swaro did not flicker in my experience; however, it was dramatically dimmer. Especially during mid-day, against a bright background. It was necessary to move the display over darker backgrounds to get a better view. I do not recall electronic chatter. I agree, however, that such display is not acceptable. Zeiss’ display is absolutely better, overall.

      BIS: The BIS is handy since it does some hold-over estimations/DOPE estimations for you. If you already have the DOPE of your firearm, you may not need it. The average shooter may like this feature if he/she has not confirmed their bullet drop. If it had an angle compensator, it would be more useful to me.

      For your purpose, it sounds like the Zeiss would be your unit. Boars are a good size; I think the Zeiss will respond well during the times you mentioned, though you may have to press for multiple reads. I’m concerned that the Swaro may have a difficult time reading during dusk/dawn at longer distances.

  4. SAKO TRG
    November 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Thank you sir for your time, informative reports, reviews and advice … Thank you sir for your time, informative reports, reviews and advice …
    I will take all that you have mentioned in consideration when purchasing the rangefinder.

    thanks 🙂

  5. Norm Hart
    November 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    November 2011 these units (Zeiss Victory PRF) are available at many places for $599 with free shipping. See Cabelas.

    Norm

    • November 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Good price!

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