Yesterday I bought a Leica D3. This model of the Disto includes an electronic inclinometer. At the same time as the distance is measured, the inclination is also measured, displayed and stored. Also, the inclination is continuously displayed as you alter the instrument’s position while aiming.
I’ll provide a report on this feature, and the whole instrument, after a little experience with it.
I suppose it is only a matter of time until Leica finally release a model that takes the compass bearing too. That would make it equivalent to the Disto-X add-in and the Shetland Attack Pony.
The new little gadget has now been used seriously in a cave (though by Jim, not by me) and nicely does what it’s supposed to. There are no reports of useability issues, and it copes well with 100% humidity and a slightly splashy environment. I suspect it would baulk at any immersion or severe splashiness.
My only (and very minor) criticism, noticed when I first was trying out the electronic inclinometer function, is that the sign (+ or -) of the inclination angle is displaced well to the left of the number, and so in haste could be missed. Of course, you usually are well aware of whether the thing is pointing up or down, but for small angles it could lead to minor error if not always careful.
Apart from the clino, it has two features that I really like. The first is a countdown timer to its measurement instant. This avoids you moving the beam off its target when pressing the measure button. The second great feature is ‘maximum distance scan’. To measure an inaccessible location (especially the far end of a passage that you can’t get along and that is very narrow to aim through), you can just wave the disto around to get the max penetration distance. Your aim doesn’t have to be accurate or constant.
In summary – it’s great. Cost was just under A$400.