Nikon Prostaff 7i Laser Rangefinder Review
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- Offers incline and decline technology for true horizontal distance to target
- Excellent image clarity
- Quick and stable measurement regardless of distance to target
- Optics are only multicoated, not fully multicoated
- LCD display is difficult to read in low-light conditions
Well howdy! Let’s check out another rangefinder, this one from Nikon. We’re looking, in particular, at the Nikon Prostaff 7i, a somewhat advanced model that offers incline/decline technology to give you true horizontal distance, including altitude adjustment, to your target as opposed to pure line-of-sight range. Nikon makes some pretty darned good products, so let’s see if the Prostaff 7i lives up to that reputation.
You will naturally want to know what comes with your purchase, and Nikon doesn’t list box contents. With that said, here’s what I found in my own box when I unpacked the rangefinder:
- The Nikon Prostaff 7i laser rangefinder itself
- A nylon case
- A neck strap
- Microfiber cleaning cloth
- A CR-2 battery
- The owner’s manual
- Warranty card
What’s the Maximum Range For This Rangefinder?
This particular model offers a fairly extensive range for getting distances to targets, allowing you to effectively range highly reflective targets up to 1,300 yards away. The accuracy is quite good, plus or minus half a yard for targets as far off as 600 yards. Beyond 600 yards, the accuracy falls off to plus or minus one yard.
The rangefinder provides magnification of 6X, making it quite useful as a simple monocular in addition to offering distance to targets.
How Easy Is It To Use?
Nikon makes very easy-to-use products, and the Prostaff 7i is no exception. It’s a bit complicated, but not terribly so, and I’d expect some complexity in such a feature-packed rangefinder. Even with all of the options, there are only two buttons to press: one to change modes, and one to turn the device on and fire the laser. I often prefer two-button operation anyways, when there are different targeting and distance modes to select from.
The Prostaff 7i features a 21mm objective lens, but the optics are only multicoated. They aren’t fully multicoated, meaning you’ll lose some transmittance during low-light conditions. This won’t be much of a problem unless you try using the rangefinder during early morning or late evening hours, such as dawn or dusk.
How’s The Rangefinder Powered?
Nikon provides you with a CR-2 battery, which is good but still something I dislike. I hate trying to find these types of batteries in rural areas, where they’re hard to come by. I recommend buying a spare to carry with you in case your battery runs out.
Power consumption is very good, and the device automatically shuts itself off after eight seconds of inactivity.
What Features Will I Find?
This particular models offers all of the features you’d expect from a good rangefinder, and then some. You get true horizontal distance to your target, with the device offering incline/decline technology to help you ensure you compensate properly for the altitude difference between you and your target as well as the horizontal distance. You can also choose target modes, selecting between the following:
- Target Priority Switch System for measuring overlapping subjects
- First Target Priority mode displays the distance of the closest subject — useful when measuring the distance to a subject in front of an overlapping background
- Distant Target Priority mode displays that of the farthest subject — useful in wooded areas
All in all, this rangefinder is pretty complete while still remaining easy to use.
What’s the Light Gathering Capability Like on the Prostaff 7i?
The Prostaff 7i, as I’ve noted previously, isn’t the best at light gathering capability. It only uses multicoated optics, so you’ll notice that objects are dark and difficult to see during low-light conditions. On top of that, the LCD readout is black-only, making the rangefinder quite challenging to use during dawn or dusk hours.
How Are the Optics and Focus on This Rangefinder?
The optics are decent, but not outstanding. Nikon seems to have been more interested in producing an adequate rangefinder than something that had truly remarkable visuals, which the Prostaff 7i does not have. Image clarity is good, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t a spotting scope or full-fledged monocular. Focus, however, is quite snappy and good, and the HYPER READ technology allows you to focus on and get an accurate measurement to an object in a matter of one or two seconds, regardless of how far away the target is.
How Durable Is It?
Nikon states that the Prostaff 7i is both fogproof and waterproof. That means you should find that the optics chamber is nitrogen-purged, and the lenses are O-ring sealed. The rangefinder’s housing is coated with rubber armor, so it should be able to handle bumps and falls with ease.
Nikon covers this product with a two-year limited warranty, which is neither the best nor the worst in the market.