Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder: Expert Review

Nikon Aculon Best Selling Rangefinder

The Nikon Aculon is one of the best selling rangefinders out there, and we highly recommend it. Click the image to learn more.

Nikon is a trusted brand that is well-known for offering quality products. High prices are also associated with this brand. That is why the affordability of the Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder may come as a surprise to some. Priced at less than $200, this compact device is equipped with all of the necessary features and is designed with the consumer’s ease of use in mind. It boasts multilayer coatings that enhance light transmittance, while offering maximum portability and precision. Yes, this unit is competitively priced and well-designed, but how does it stack up against other rangefinders on the market? Below, you will find a more in depth break down of this product. Use this information when determining which rangefinder best suits your needs.


The Nikon 8397 Aculon is one of the most compact laser rangefinders on the market, and rivals many smartphones in its portability. It is less bulky than its popular competitors. In fact, it is so compact that a very steady hand may be needed to adequately stabilize the unit when ranging small objects. This lightweight device weighs only 4.4 ounces without batteries, and fits easily into a pocket or worn comfortably around the neck. Its design makes it easy to hold in the palm of your hand. The housing is solid and has a tactile feel. It can be easily gripped even in wet or humid conditions when your palms may be moist. Although this rangefinder is water resistant, it is not completely waterproof and should not be submerged in water.

The Nikon 8397 features an easy-to-read LCD display that shows distance in 1-yard/meter intervals with the push of a single button. The buttons are large and very accessible. There is enough space between the buttons to allow for easy use even when wearing thick gloves, which is ideal for winter time use.

The Nikon 8397 is powered by a single CR2 battery. It automatically powers down after eight consecutive seconds of the laser being inactive. The battery life is clearly displayed and the battery compartment is easy to open when a battery change is necessary.
This unit’s eyepiece was designed with comfort in mind. Also, people wearing glasses can still enjoy a full field of view.

Although this device is very compact and priced significantly less than many of its competitors, it is a sturdy device that does not feel cheaply made.

Features and Use

The Nikon 8397 allows for instantaneous measurement, or a continuous stream of measurements while scanning an area for up to 20 seconds. Advanced features like slope and distance compensation are not included in this rangefinder. However, it does have a measurement range of 6 to 550 yards, 6x magnification of the target, crosshairs, and high quality optics. It provides a clear, natural view and ranges with rapid accuracy. Low levels of light could make the readings harder to see. Also, brighter or lighter targets tend to get a more accurate read.

This rangefinder features Distant Target Priority Mode that displays the range of the farthest target when aimed at a group of targets. This feature is good for returning an accurate reading for targets that may be blocked by grass or other vegetation. Users have reported varying distance capabilities. Some said this device’s upper limit ranging maxes out at about 300 yards, while others claim it can go far beyond that.


  • Affordability; offers great value for the price
  • Easy to operate and very user-friendly
  • Designed to be compact and lightweight, which makes it easily portable
  • It offers a high degree of accuracy and prioritizes distant targets
  • It has high quality optics with multi-layer coatings
  • A clear display that shows distance in meters and yards
  • Clearly displays remaining battery life and has an easily accessible battery compartment
  • Device powers down automatically when unused for a certain amount of time in order to preserve battery life
  • Easy to grip and securely hold in one hand
  • It is water resistant with durable casing


  • It lacks advanced features like slope or distance compensation
  • Not fully waterproof
  • Uses expensive CR2 batteries
  • Can be difficult to range small targets (like golf flags); a steady hand is needed to do so
  • Readings can be hard to see in low light levels


Nikon is known for offering quality products and the Nikon 8397 Aculon Rangefinder is no exception. It performs as advertised. This compact device is easy to tote around and provides users a high degree of accurate ranging. It lacks some advanced features, but is well-made, easy to use, and offers great value for your money. That is why it is one of our most highly recommended rangefinders. It is a solid performer when used on static or moving targets. The user enjoys instantaneous readings that are quickly rendered. Whether this device is used for hunting, golf, target shooting, or any other general purpose, both novice and experienced users could benefit from this high quality rangefinder.