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Testing two nice Nikon laser range finders, Others to consider
on August 12, 2009
I have compared the Nikon ProStaff Laser Rangefinder 550 to a Nikon Prostaff 440 and a Bushnell Yardage Pro Sport 450, using all three on the same targets.
Note: I have NOT tried these units on a golf course. All three units are made in China.
The Nikon 550 is a very capable laser range finder, and is very similar in ability to the Nikon 440.
The main differences between the two are the slightly greater range of the 550 model.
Despite the understatement of the advertising, I have ranged out to 706 yards with the Nikon 550, and 545 yards with the Nikon 440.
Dark trees can be ranged up to about 400 yards with the Nikon 550, and 330 yards with the Nikon 440. Deer can be ranged to 300 yards reliably with both. The 550 model has a magnification of 6X and the 440 unit is 8X and I greatly prefer the 8X view of the Nikon 440.
Both have a diopter adjustment which is adequate for my eyeglass correction of +5 diopters with and without my glasses.
I also find the long rubber eyepiece of the 550 unit difficult to use if I change to and from eyeglasses, as I do not like to keep folding the rubber down, and I know from experience that you can fold these type of eyepieces only so many times before the rubber (or vinyl) cracks.
Ranging Performance is:
Dark trees: Nikon 550 400 yards, Nikon 440 330 yards
Telephone poles: Nikon 550 430 yards, Nikon 440 360 yards
Deer: unobstructed medium deer, both 300 yards
Dark shrubs: Nikon 550: 400 yards, Nikon 440 350 yards
Light colored buildings: Nikon 550 535 yards, Nikon 440 453 yards
Very reflective targets, eg trucks, Nikon 550 706 yards, Nikon 440 535 yards
They both acquire targets well and range accurately when compared to other units.
I am biased to wards the Nikon 440 unit, because:
1. it is smaller and handier
2. It has 8X magnification which I really like and use (and need)
2. It is adequate for anything out to 300 yards and often 400 yards
3 It costs about 60 dollars less than the Nikon 550
5. The battery compartment screws down 3 turns and seems better sealed than the 1/4 turn compartment of the Nikon 550
6. The optics are virtually the same on both except for magnification. Both are clear and bright.
7. Generally, the range is perhaps 15 or 20 percent more for the Nikon 550 unit due to the higher laser power (15 watts pulse vs the 8.5 watts pulse of the 440 unit).
The Bushnell Yardage Pro Sport 450 is not anywhere in the same league as the other two, despite the price (I paid 179). The Bushnell is simple to use but will not read beyond 230 yards on any but the most reflective target, despite what the advertising says. The longest range I could measure with it was 330 yards and that on a reflective sign. This unit is supposed to range up to 800 yards (732 meters)! It will range a tree up to 200 yards as claimed, but the best it will do on medium deer is 140 yards. It is a 4 power monocular, and will range down to 6 yards, the others will range as close as 11 yards (10M). This Bushnell is by far the lowest quality of any unit I have seen. Bushnell claims water resistance, but there are various entry points for water, and if the unsealed battery compartment is opened, green circuit board is visible. If the rubber eyepiece protector is removed (all too easily) the optics are exposed and vulnerable. There is absolutely nothing to protect the electronics and optics from water and moisture. That along with very poor ranging capabilities make this Bushnell Yardage Pro Sport 450 nothing more than a child's toy, albeit an expensive one.