Nature Observation: Sig ZULU8 HDX 10×42 Binocular Review

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars overlooking the Geldingadalsgos Volcano flow in Iceland

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Sig Sauer has recently introduced its latest optical offerings, the ZULU8 HDX and ZULU10 HDX binoculars. Between the two, the ZULU8 HDX 10×42 binoculars stand out as a more affordable yet high-performance option. These binoculars boast SIG SAUER’s cutting-edge HDX™ glass lenses, a locking diopter ring, an enhanced focus wheel, a Schmidt-Pechan prism design, and a rugged metal housing wrapped in protective rubber molding, earning them an IPX-7 waterproof and fog-proof rating.

Despite their compact design, these binoculars deliver great performance while remaining highly portable. Additionally, they come equipped with a tripod adapter for added stability during stationary observations. Discover more about these remarkable optics in this article.

Sig ZULU8 Specifications:

Color: FDE

Magnification: 10x

Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm

Field of View: 6.5º

Eye Relief: 17 mm

Overall Length: 5.51 in

Weight: 1.57 lbs

Near Focus: 2.0 m / 6.5 ft

Interpupillary Distance: 56mm – 73mm

Prism Type: Schmidt-Pechan

Frame Material: Metal

Diopter Adjustment Range: +/- 4

Waterproofing: IPX-7

Tripod Mount: Yes

Out of the Box

From the factory, Sig Sauer includes a molded EVA carrying case, neck strap, lens covers, a cleaning cloth, and an info guide for how to properly adjust the ZULU8 binoculars. The carrying case is a fairly low-profile option for protecting the binos when traveling and tossing them in a pack. The neck strap is padded and works just fine, but can be easily removed for those who want to run a bino chest pack.

ZULU8 HDX with included contents from the factory

The ZULU8 HDX binos also come with front and rear lens covers. While the eyepiece cover works just fine, the individual objective covers were a pain. They kept falling off, and wouldn’t hold on to the housing. This makes transporting these binoculars in the included carrying case or chest pack more alluring. 

SIG Binoculars with lens covers on colorful lava rock

Initial Impressions Of The ZULU8

After getting the Sig ZULU8 HDX binoculars in hand, I was quite impressed. The housing felt rugged, the folding mechanism offered good resistance, the adjustments were smooth, and the glass looked pristine. Gearing up for a trip to Iceland, I was quite excited to try these new binoculars out in one of the most majestic places this planet has to offer. I found the 10x magnification to be a good balance of size and performance making hiking a breeze. 

ZULU8 binoculars resting on colorful rock

Housing

Sig Sauer utilizes a rubor armor wrap on a reinforced metal housing. This offers a combination of ruggedness and reliability. The rubber wrap also feels great in my hands and provides a great non-slip contact surface. I spent a decent amount of time with these binoculars in the rain and the housing continued to work great. Each side features a low-profile loop for attaching a neck strap if desired. As common with most binoculars, the ZULU8 HDX binos have 3-position adjustable eyecups.

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars in front of large waterfall

Sig also utilizes an updated locking diopter ring which helps keep your adjustments held in place. I find this quite neat as I have had these slide around with different binoculars in the past. To adjust it, adjust the ring almost like you would an elevation turret on a scope. Simply pull the ring up to adjust the focus, then push it down to lock it in place. 

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars diopter ring

These also feature SIG’s newly redesigned focus wheel. While nothing revolutionary, this larger wheel with rubber over mold allows for an easier fine-tuning of the focus. The resistance feels just right, and it along with these other features all add up to create a nice overall unit. 

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars focus ring angle on lava rock

Glass Clarity 

The clarity of the Sig ZULU8 HDX binoculars is impressive, thanks in part to the advanced HDX™ glass lenses. They also feature anti-reflective SpectraCoat™, LensArmor™, and LenShield™ technologies to provide vivid, sharp, and distortion-free views of your surroundings. While I can notice a very slight blur at the outer edge of the field of view, the vast majority and the entire center of the glass look crystal clear. I had no trouble identifying sheep grazing out in the mountains of Iceland. These binoculars also made a great tool for viewing glaciers and waterfalls from varying distances. 

Woman looking out at lava flows through Sig Sauer binoculars
SIG SAUER Binoculars being used to glass lava flows

Field Testing the ZULU8

Throughout this review, I hiked roughly 50 miles on a variety of different trails. I hardly noticed the weight the ZULU8 HDX binos added and always enjoyed stopping to glass up the scenery. My wife thoroughly enjoyed getting to see things up close and personal such as seals out in a bay with these binos as well.

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars used to look at seals on  blue icebergs
Picture through SIG SAUER Binoculars looking at two seals in Iceland

Using these out on a glacier, and in the rain, I never had an issue with the lenses fogging over. The coatings seemed to do the trick in the varying conditions I was able to put the ZULU8 HDXs through. 

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars sitting on rock in Icelandic lava rock canyon

However, I did run into an issue with the eyepiece. After a few days in the strong dusty wind, one of the adjustable eyecups started to get gritty. The right one eventually got stuck and was unable to be twisted in and out. The locking diopter ring also popped further back than it should have, and the whole adjustment was locked and unable to be tuned. I called Sig’s customer support making no mention of being a writer and working on this review, and they provided a return label and ended up sending out a new unit at just a little over two weeks.

READ MORE: Vanguard Endeavor ED 1045 Binoculars

I will say that during this review I never used the included bino case or a chest harness and had the ZULU8s just hanging loose in a backpack that got tossed around. Looking back, I could have protected them a little more and potentially avoided this issue altogether. While it was not good news to run into this situation, it was good to see that Sig cares about their customers and is willing to take care of them.

ZULU8 Summary

The Sig ZULU8 HDX binoculars come with an MSRP of $809.99, and my overall impression of these new Sig binoculars has been quite positive. One standout feature is the locking diopter, which adds a unique and practical dimension to their functionality. With an ergonomic rubber over-molded housing and the inclusion of a tripod adapter, users have a wide range of options for maximizing the utility of these binoculars. Sig has put careful thought into all of these upgrades, resulting in an impressive overall package. Lastly, while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I have got to say that I find the two-tone FDE to be quite aesthetically pleasing as well. 

SIG SAUER ZULU8 HDX Binoculars making stunning views look even closer and more immersive

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