EDIT: Callaway has updated the LR550 with the excellent Callaway Diablo Octane Rangefinder by Nikon which has some nice new features and fixes some of the bugs of the LR550 (click here to read the review of the Diablo Rangefinder).
The Callaway LR550 is a decent attempt by Nikon to compete with the lower end ($200-$250) laser rangefinders from Bushnell and Leupold; the Bushnell Tour V2, Bushnell Medalist and the cheaper Leupold GX series.
The main benefits of of the LR550 is its simplicity and easy of use along with its exceptional accuracy.
You will be able to find the flag stick or a bunker with .5 +/- accuracy between 22-99,5 yards and 1 +/- yard up to 500 which makes it among the most accurate rangefinders on the market within the price range.
You can with high accuracy find the flag from up to 550 yards and if you feel that you can not get a clear vision of the target from that distance you can zoom in up to 6x.
The LR550 on the field
When you use the LR550 you can choose from two main range finding modes:
– Target: will give you an instant reading of the target that is nearest to you. The popular PinSeeker mode from Bushnell has been met with “First Target Priority Mode” from Nikon. This will ensure that you will find the flag instead of a tree in the background.
– Continuous: Will read the environment for 8 seconds and report continuously to the user the reading of the objects you point to. This gives you the option to measure multiple targets before your next shot. You can find the bunker, the front, back and middle of the green as well as finding the flag. All within the same reading, that is a great feature.
The Callaway LR550 Flaws
Despite some of the benefits of the Callaway Lr550 there are some things that they could of made better that you should know about. One of the biggest flaws of the Callaway LR550 is the badly constructed eyepiece which can often becomes loose. This often results in it falling of. This tends to be problematic for a tool that is intended for outside use and loosing the eyepiece can be a pain.
The Yellow Color
The Callaway LR550 Rangefinder by Nikon seems to divide people into two groups, those that hate the yellow color and those that love it but in the end it comes down to personal preference.
Some say that the yellow color makes it hard to loose because you will always notice it lying around. It will also remind you not to leave it behind because you will always notice it so it will not be stolen because you have a constant reminder in front of you.
Others say that the yellow color makes it more likely to be stolen as it brings unwanted attention that makes it hard to leave behind, you cant even leave it in the golf bag because it has already brought the attention if someone was going to take it.
Then there are those that say that it is just plain ugly and they would never be seen with it on the course.
Note that the Callaway LR550 is also available in white (with Amazon) but for a price that is close to $300 which is almost $70 more that you would pay for the standard yellow type.
The Callaway LR550 is a great attempt from Nikon to create a golf range finder that is comparable with the middle range range finders from Bushnell and Leupold. While the Callaway LR550 is in many ways a excellent product but falls somewhat short in some basic areas which make the Callaway LR550 a lesser version to its competitors in this price range.
Bushnell and Leupold might give you more in terms of options and user experience but when it comes down to it the Callaway LR550 delivers accuracy and is very simple to use. For those that want a point and shot laser rangefinder that is simple to operate with the popular PinSeeker technology but no not mind a few minor bugs (eyepiece) or the yellow color then the Callaway LR550 Rangefinder by Nikon might be a good option.
- Very simple to use
- Very easy to use
- Durable and waterproof
- Good price
- Yellow color
- Eyepiece might fall of
- Could be built better
- Yellow color
- White version expensive
Callaway LR550 Rangefinder Specifics
The Callaway LR550 Laser Rangefinder is in the lower to middle range of laser rangefinders which has some useful features that can be of great benefit to any golfer.
Magnification: The Callaway LR550 has an impressive 6x magnification that works really well when you want to zoom in on targets. It comes with a long eye relief with a folding rubber eyecup which can be very useful for those that wear eyeglass. This has however been a major problem with the Callaway LR550 as there have been multiple complaints that the eye relief has a weak built and tends to fall of. The GolfReviewGuide did not have this problem when testing but the front rubber seems very weak and it seems that Nikon could have put more effort into making it stronger. A rangefinder is something that you take with you for a outdoor sport and needs to be stronger than that.
Range: Can find a yardstick from up to 550 yards.
Battery: Uses 3v lithium batteries which are included.
Accuracy: Great accuracy and ranks among the better in this price range.
Measures: The Callaway LR550 is very small and light, it is easy to handle.
Warranty: Comes with a 1-year warranty. Note that most competitive products, such as the Bushnell Tour V2 and the Bushnell Medalist, come with a standard 2-year warranty.
Screen: Has a LCD screen that will show you when measuring is in progress, very useful in scan mode
Contionous/scan mode: Yes
Rain mode: No, it does not have special rain mode.
Finding the Flag: The three big golf range finder producers used different marketing terms to describe the feature and technology they use to capture the flag. Bushnell uses PinSeeker, Callaway uses First Target Mode, and Leupold uses PinHunter. The three modes makes it easy to find the pin or the flag and are all very effective. In addition, the feature allows for making a distinction between the flag and other similar objects, such as trees in the background or foreground.