When laser rangefinders (LRFs) first appeared on the civilian domestic market a decade or so ago, they were large and somewhat expensive. And they were fairly limited in their abilities, with units often having trouble ranging distances of even 400 yards or meters. Fast forward to now, and the performance is far greater, yet the prices are much less.
Now, the problem is finding a target far enough away to challenge some units. I found myself driving some distance to find an area without a lot of trees, close in, where I could really challenge the Nikon Black RangeX 4K.
The first thing one notices with the Nikon Black RangeX 4K is how small and light it is, considering its capabilities. As the name suggests, it is capable of ranging out to 4,000 yards (3,650 meters), under optimum conditions. (The phrase “optimum conditions” is worth noting. Every manufacturer tests its rangefinder under the best possible conditions. A good rule of thumb is to expect about half the rated distance.) During my limited testing, I got a reading of 2,523 meters (2,759 yards). Not 4K, but I did have some mid-day heat mirage and haze to deal with. I fully expect it to perform better when I can get out of town and range across a valley.
The 4K is waterproof and fogproof. The manual states it “will suffer no damage to the optical system nor observation if submerged or dropped in water to a maximum depth of 1m / 3.3ft. for up to 10 minutes.” However, it’s best not to tempt fate … Elsewhere, the manual does specifically warn against submerging it in running water. For use in rain, it should be fine. Again, the manual states: “Can be used in conditions of high humidity, dust and rain without risk of damage to internal functions.” As with rifle scopes, the 4K is purged of air and filled with nitrogen. The nitrogen-filled design makes it resistant to condensation and mold.
The unit has 6x magnification, and the optics have multicoated lenses, similar to riflescope and camera optical glass. It uses an invisible and eye-safe Class 1M laser, as is standard for LRFs.
By using the PWR and Mode buttons in unison, the user is able to scroll through the various settings, these being: Display brightness (Levels 1 to 5 and Auto), Distance display (either yards or meters), Horizontal Distance/Actual Distance mode (for shooting up or down steep inclines) and Target Priority modes for overlapping subjects. Target Priority switches between the First Target Priority and Distant Target Priority system. The factory default setting is Distant Target Priority mode, which is meant to disregard light branches, etc., in the foreground, and range on the more distant target.
The retail price for the Nikon Black RangeX 4K at time of writing is a very reasonable $449.