The models from Bosch show the maximum measurable distance in the model name. The latest models include the maximum distance in meters in their name, e.g. GLM 15 or GLM 100 C. Older distance measures show the distance in feet like for example the DLR130k or GLR225.
In our test Bosch’s GLM 15 managed distances up to 15.99 m. The GLM 80 reaches up to 80 meters.
The maximum distance can’t be achieved in many situations because therefore you need optimal conditions. Indeed, there are cases where you have to be satisfied with much smaller measuring distances. If you have to measure outdoors and the sun is shining, the laser spot is often very difficult to detect. Then the maximum distance of the rangefinder hardly plays a role, but only the conditions on site.
How to improve the outdoor use
Laser glasses can improve the visibility of the laser dot. This increases the maximum distance concerning the user. Of course the the distance meter is not affected. In bright conditions, particularly outdoors the laser glasses help to enlarge the maximum distance a few more meters.
Laser distance meters that work well for long distances and in sunshine
If you frequently have to measure under such adverse conditions, it is worthwhile to take a look at the Leica DISTO distance meters. The Leica Disto E7500i and Disto S910 feature a viewfinder with 4x zoom. This camera is directed to the target area of the laser and has a crosshair, which also shows the intended target when the laser was not activated or the conditions
Using such a rangefinder you can measure with high accuracy even in bad light conditions. This major advantage is especially evident if you have to measure in the sunshine outdoors. Even if the laser target point cannot be seen by bare eye, the target can be seen clearly in the crosshairs of the display.
The color display is visible in almost any condition. Even from quite a small distance the laser point fits exactly in the middle of the crosshairs. That means there is nearly any parallax error. Even if you do not see the laser point because of bright sunlight, it helps a lot to know that you target exactly to the center of the crosshairs. Even then measurements are often successful. Without the help of the digital viewfinder, it would be completely impossible to measure with a laser distance meter to such a sunlit point if the distance is greater than 10m. This is a practical solution to solve the problem of non-visible laser target points.
The viewfinder has a zoom, with which the image can be enlarged twice in two steps. In addition, the brightness can be adjusted so that the viewfinder suits to almost any conditions.
During the discussion with other users of laser distance measurers I have repeatedly heard arguments like:
- I do not need a viewfinder because I measure at dusk outdoors.
- I do not need s digital viewfinder, because my distance measure has front and rear sights for aiming at a target.
I think that everyone using a laser distance meter professionally should not wait there until dusk. Customers do not pay for the waiting time at a construction site. During midsummer I am glad if I ca avoid the twilight in the morning. I prefer to spend time for a barbecue or an evening beer to measuring in the dusk.
The comparison of front and rear sights with a digital viewfinder is useless. Both aiming devices are so different in terms of accuracy. A notch and bead sighter is better than nothing; but I do not trust this method, however, if I cannot see the laser dot.
For long distances ideal: Leica DISTO E7500i
The Disto E7500i can be switched to the Long Range (LR) mode for measuring long distances and in unfavorable external conditions such as bright sunshine and little reflective target surface. If the distance meter is in the LR-mode, the letters “LR” appear on the display. You may obtain error messages during measurements in normal mode, telling you that too little signal is reflected. Then the Long Range Mode is recommended, in which the measurement time is extended to a maximum of 7 seconds. It is obvious that a tripod should be used in LR mode.
This means for my professional practice: With sunshine and outdoor measurements I always take the Leica DISTO D510 and let the other rangefinders on the shelf.
Who often wants to measure distances outdoors and in the sunshine, should definitely have a closer look at the Leica DISTO devices with digital viewfinder and 4 x zoom. In such conditions these features are very useful and valuable.