Nikon Aculon AL11 Rangefinder Review

nikon aculon al11 rangefinder review

The Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder is a small compact rangefinder that is simple to use. It’s only available in a black colour, but is water-resistant so you can take it out on any day. This rangefinder is best for short or medium range measurements.

The Aculon isn’t merely an upgrade to an older model, this is a newly designed rangefinder. It’s notable in that it has a different housing and casing than other rangefinders in the Nikon line.
For people who value the Nikon name, they’ll appreciate having confidence when purchasing a mid-range priced product. The Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder is one of Nikon’s most compact rangefinders.

​Although not marketed as a "Golf Rangefinder" the Nikon Aculon performs just as well as any other basic golf rangefinder. If you want a simple to use rangefinder this is for you, especially if you're on a budget. You can check the price on Amazon here.


  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Crisp and clear internal readout screen.
  • Use in all types of weather, including rain or snow.
  • Great rangefinder suitable for all ability levels.
  • 6x magnification.


  • Loses its accuracy in long range measurements.
  • Not a lot of wow factor, mostly standard features to keep price down.
  • No LED backlighting option.

Best Features of the Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder

  • Long Range Distance: The Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder will measure up to 550 yards or 500 metres, which is fairly standard in golf rangefinders. It has an accuracy of under 100 yards. You also don’t have to constantly reprogram it to provide the distance to the furthest away target, as it will automatically pre-program this for you.

    There is also a long eye relief feature to make using the rangefinder much easier to use.

  • Fast and Quick Measurements: In the past, entry-level rangefinders really lacked a target priority feature that more expensive rangefinders had. This is not an issue with the Aculon. This rangefinder has a distance priority setting. This means that when you push the button and the rangefinder detects two different objects, that it will display the measurement of the one furthest away. Obviously if this is not the target you wanted, you need to move your rangefinder down to the base of the pin to get your reading. But this shouldn’t be an issue as most people can hit the pinned flag the first time.

    The Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder will do a fast and quick measurement so it won’t hold up your game. To use, you only have to point your rangefinder at the next target, and use the single button function. The measurement result will pop up onto the internal view screen, which is simple and easy to read.

    You can choose metres or yards and toggle them back and forth by only pressing the button on the top of the unit.

  • Compact and Lightweight: You’ll appreciate the compact size of the Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder, which is one of the smallest in its line. It may suit people who have smaller hands, or those with arthritis. Female golfers may enjoy using this rangefinder if they have small hands. It will never weigh you down on the golf course.

    The Aculon AL11 weighs only 5.6 ounces and measures 3.6 by 2.9 by 1.5 inches, making it one of the smaller rangefinders on the market, regardless of price. You can tuck this into your shirt pocket if you wish.

    Since it’s water-resistant, you’ll also be able to pack it for any game that may involve a bit or snow or rain, as the dedicated golfer doesn’t let a bit of inclement weather slow them down. It’s not 100% waterproof though, so you’ll want to avoid dropping it in the pond.

    In order to engineer such a small rangefinder, the Aculon has been designed with a CR 2 lithium battery. Starting recently, most rangefinders are now being made with this type of battery.

  • Crisp and Clear LCD Display: The Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder has an easy-to-read LCD display. This presents as a black display screen. It does not have an LED backlighting feature though, which is usually what Nikon’s more expensive rangefinders do have.

    This rangefinder will automatically show the distance to your furthest away flag, which will further increase its accuracy. There is an adjustable +/- diopter so you can focus the rangefinder to your eyes. If you’re sharing, you can usually adjust it back to what you need.

    You’ll find that the measurements you need are prominently displayed on the viewscreen, and that the field will not be cluttered with other numbers or icons that you don’t need. Those can often be disconcerting to the beginner golfer, so this rangefinder may be the better choice until you become an expert golfer.

    There is the ability to change the measurement reading from yards to metres, and back again if you wish. You can do this at any time and not have to turn the unit on or off again.

    The lenses are coated with a multi-layer coating which gives the rangefinder a higher transmittance level of light, which in turn increases its accuracy.

    This rangefinder also has a six times power eyepiece, which is a step up from the usual five times power. You’ll have an excellent field of view for close targets.

Nikon Aculon AL11 Review Conclusion

Nikon is known for their high-quality rangefinders, so you can’t go wrong with purchasing the Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder. Not only is it simple to use, but it is also high efficient, even with its optics packed within a small case.

nikon aculon al11 review

There aren’t a lot of cons for this rangefinder beyond lacking some features that are present in the more premium models of Nikon rangefinders. You’ll discover that most reviews found online are highly favourable. If your one requirement is to have a smaller and more compact rangefinder, you can purchase the Nikon 8397 Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder with confidence.

That concludes our Nikon Aculon AL11 review. Check out some related articles below.

nikon aculon al11
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  • Last modified: August 30, 2017