New binoculars, rangefinders and thermals from the SHOT Show 2022
In a previous article, I noted the wave of low-power riflescopes coming out of optical brands this year. I alluded to the lack of introductions in other optical categories such as binoculars and spotting scopes. But some categories are stronger than others. Laser rangefinders, in particular, are having a good year. And while thermal sights and handheld viewers are somehow slipping back into normality, there are a few notable points worth mentioning in what we might as well start calling the electro-optical category.
It’s worth mentioning that this is the first year in memory that a flagship twin hasn’t been showcased at the SHOT Show. There’s a remarkable Leica Geovid to discuss, but it’s less a binocular and more a laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator and digital map, all tucked away under its sleek hood. But no new flashbang binoculars from the brands you might expect: Swarovski, Leupold, Vortex or Zeiss. I also don’t remember seeing any new spotting scopes at this year’s SHOT Show.
But that’s not all. You’ll see introductions of meaty optics from Hawke, Vanguard, Bushnell and Meopta, among other brands.
Leica has reduced its size while somehow expanding the capabilities of its flagship rangefinder binocular, the Geovid. Now available in an 8x32mm version, the new binoculars combine best-in-class optics and a more powerful processor with a whole suite of ballistic and mapping capabilities.
The Geovid retains its distinctive banana-shaped frame that accommodates its Perger-Porro prism, a design that gives the bino a wider field of view and better edge clarity than most competitors. The open-barrel design also allows for easy one-handed operation, and the smaller 32mm frame is wonderfully nimble. Combined with a close range (up to 10 meters), it’s a great choice for bow hunters, a market missed by the bulkier and heavier 42mm Geovid.
Additionally, Leica has integrated Bluetooth connectivity to an enhanced version of its ballistics app and GPS-powered geolocation capability into this model that mates with any number of digital mapping services. In practice, this means you can distance a target, save the waypoint, and then connect to a mapping app that will display that specific location on a digital map, allowing shooters to better retrieve game, triangulate between landmarks, and share waypoints with hunting partners. . The Geovid also has a digital compass that can help users find their way. The new Geovid also connects to Leica’s ballistics app so you can use standard and custom ballistics data.
Specifications of the Leica Geovid Pro 32
- Layout: 8×32
- Maximum distance 2,300 meters, close distance 10 meters
- GPS-based location technology
- Bluetooth connectivity to ballistics applications
Leica isn’t the only brand to offer downsized rangefinder binoculars. German Precision Optics has released 8×32 and 10×32 versions of its RANGEGUIDE, previously only available in 10×42.
They are not electro-optics. There is no Bluetooth connection or on-board ballistics application. Instead, you get a straight laser range finder that’s capable of outrunning reflective targets up to 3,000 yards.
GPO RANGEGUIDE Specifications
- Configuration: 8×32 and 10×32
- Magnesium frame
- Weight: 24 ounces
- Embedded environmental sensors
- Ranging: deer at 766 meters, trees at 1,093 meters and reflective targets at 3,000 meters.
- MSRP: $1,099 (8×32) $1,149 (10×32)
Bushnell has a new laser rangefinder that, if the name hasn’t revealed, is set up for bowhunters. The Broadhead follows the path of Primos’ The Truth ARC (Angle Range Compensation) with Bow Mode which allows bow hunters to outrun obstacles in their arrow’s flight path, detecting a limb, for example, that might deflect an arrow.
The Broadhead has the same ARC technology that takes into account the angle of the terrain. It is also one of the most accurate short-range rangefinders on the market, with a claimed accuracy of 0.3 at 150 yards. It features the ACTIVSYNC display that changes from black to red when the light fades. Other features include a brighter image thanks to optical glass, a threaded tripod mount and grip contour.
Bushnell Broadhead Rangefinder Specifications
- Configuration: 8 x 24mm
- Range capability: 1,500 yards to reflective targets, 800 yards to trees, and 500 yards to deer
- MSRP: $299
In a duel of rangefinders suitable for bowhunting, Leupold showed off its RX-FullDraw 5, a fully-featured unit configured for short and mid-range rangefinding. Features that will appeal to bow hunters include Leupold’s Flightpath technology which uses ballistic calculations to determine if your arrow will clear obstacles between you and your target.
The FullDraw uses calculations determined by Archer’s Advantage software to allow users to determine shots based on their own arrow dynamics and the angle and distance of the shot. New unit updates to its predecessor, the RX-FullDraw 4, include an optional 20-meter pin solution for Flightpath technology, rain/fog mode, and a lower minimum boom speed so it can be used with traditional and youth bows. .
Leupold RX-FullDraw 5 Specifications
- Configuration: 6 x 22mm
- Range capability: 1,200 meters to reflective targets, 1,000 meters to trees
The next generation versions of Meopta’s excellent MeoPro HD binoculars come in a 10×42 configuration and a massive and extremely bright 8×56 configuration. Both feature improved optics and coatings over their predecessors in the MeoPro line. Other updates include a smoother and more precise focus wheel, grippier armor, and durable yet comfortable rubber-on-metal eyecups.
The 8×56 configuration borrows heavily from Meopta’s European roots. The binoculars, with a massive 6.7mm exit pupil, are perhaps the best expression of low-light hunting and observation optics in recent years.
Specifications of the Meopta MeoPro HD Plus
- Configuration: 10×42 and 8×56
- Improved optics and coatings
- Improved edge clarity
- MSRP: $499 (10×42) and $749 (8×56)
Hawke is targeting entry-level optical buyers with its new Vantage line, full-featured binoculars that cost well under $200.
Vantage binoculars are available in 10×42 and 8×42 configurations. Both feature Hawke’s System HS optics, which provide good clarity and brightness, and the products are backed by Hawke’s no-fault lifetime warranty. These are great options for beginner hunters and birders, or good backup options for a pickup truck, boat, or deck window.
Hawke Vantage Binocular Specifications
- Configuration: 8×42 and 10×42
- Standard roof prism binoculars
- MSRP: $159 (8×42) and $169 (10×42)
Pulsar has introduced what might be called a boot thermal bezel. In its Talion XQ38, shooters will find a moderately sensitive 384×288 sensor, 2.5 to 10x magnification, and a detection range of 1,400 yards. It’s a thermal scope for those who don’t need range finding capabilities or a whole suite of other imaging options.
Instead, you get 9 hours of battery life on a single charge, a touch-sensitive focus wheel that users can use in the dark, and built-in video and stills recording. But at around $3,000, it’s about half the price of Pulsar’s flagship thermal goggles.
Pulsar Talion XQ38 Specifications
- Configuration: 2.5-10×38
- 384×288 sensor
- Detection range of 1,350 meters
- Pulsar APS5 rechargeable battery
- MSRP: $2,999