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Back in early April, I hung up the pair of Vortex Diamondback binoculars I’ve been abusing for the better part of four years and put a pair of Sig Sauer Zulu6 binos in my chest pack. With a magnification of 16X, the Zulu6’s have the ability to get a heck of a lot closer to game than my standard 10X glass, but they don’t come with the typical shakiness you’d expect from such powerful magnification thanks to their built-in electronic image-stabilizing technology.

With the flip of a switch, the field of view on the Zulu6 binos steadies and locks in on game, providing the user with a perfectly stable image. It’s an impressive feature, especially for someone like me who’s so accustomed to the more typical 10X42 platform. 

During free-handed operation, the Zulu6’s are just as stable if not more stable than a pair of tripoded binoculars.

I’ve since had the Zulu6’s cranked up to maximum magnification while glassing turkeys as they picked their way through river bottoms, mule deer that frequent a bench near my house in western Montana, and to spot an elk herd that was lounging around in a hay field more than 2,000 yards from the national forest trail I was hiking on. Even at the furthest distances, there’s little to no shaking when the Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) mode is switched on. 

These are some of the best binos I’ve ever glassed with, and I expect they’ll elevate my elk and deer hunting come fall—and I’m more than a little surprised that they aren’t more popular at the price point that Sig is offering. Here’s my detailed review of the Sig Sauer Zulu6 HDX binoculars after one month of testing them in the field. 

Quick Overview


  • Magnification: 16X
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42
  • Exit Pupil: 2.6mm
  • FOV: 199.5′ @ 1000 yards
  • Size: 7 x 4 in.
  • Weight: 22.2 oz


  • Lightweight
  • Great ergonomics
  • Good clarity
  • Enhanced magnification abilities for longer periods of time thanks to Optical Image Stabilization


  • Small exit pupil limits low-light capabilities
  • Small field of view (FOV)

Testing Review and Analysis 

Optical Image Stabilization

I knew the Zulu 6 was a different kind of binocular the first time I locked in on a bird in flight. Typically, I wouldn’t be able to find a high-flying bald eagle in my field of view, let alone follow it through the sky with ease while it traveled from one treetop to the next. But that’s not a problem with the Zulu6’s, and, as I mentioned before, that’s all thanks to Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). 

I found the ergonomics and the build quality of the Zulu6’s to be top notch.

The OIS mode is controlled by a toggle switch on top of the bino and powered by a single AA battery that’s tucked away discreetly on the bottom side of the unit. When you flip the switch, the binos default to ‘Scan Mode.’ The short reference guide that the Zulu6’s came with describes ‘Scan Mode’ as a feature “specifically designed for scanning and gridding terrain.” I used the Zulu6’s in scan mode and was thoroughly impressed before I got around to reading the reference guide and realized that the bino’s OIS system offers an additional level of stability called ‘Target Mode.’ 

Once you find what you’re looking for in ‘Scan Mode’, you can flip the toggle switch off and then quickly back on again to engage ‘Target Mode.’ This increases stability by another 50 percent, Sig says in its reference guide. 

I used ‘Target Mode’ for the first time while glassing up a bedded muley doe, and it was like entering the Matrix. Every hint of instability instantly vanished, and I was left laser-focused on my target and its immediate surroundings. In ‘Target Mode’ there was nothing left to distract me from the animal I was trying to get a closer look at. If the muley had been a bedded buck in the fall, I could have calmly counted his antler points and guessed his score from more than 500 yards away—no tripod needed. 

These turkeys were glassed with Zulu 6’s from roughly 90 yards away. Travis Hall.

Operating the OIS

The OIS system is easy and intuitive to operate: There’s just one toggle switch that allows users to cycle from manual, to ‘Scan Mode’, to ‘Target Mode’, and back to ‘Manual Mode’ with ease. In ‘Scan mode’, a small light next to the switch turns green, in ‘Target Mode’, the light is amber. In ‘Manual Mode’ the light shuts off. If you forget to switch the system off after using it in scan or target mode, it’ll just down on its own after a few minutes.

At the risk of complicating this elegantly simple system, it might be nice to see some sort of battery meter displayed on the FOV in future models. But you’d definitely want the ability to hide the meter from the FOV when it’s not in use. I only had to replace the AA that the binos came with one time toward the end of my month-long test.

Low Light Performance

If you’re looking for a stellar binocular for super low-light conditions, you’ll want to seek out a more traditional bino like the Vortex Razor UHD in 10X50, which won best low-light binocular in our binocular test. Because of its relatively small exit pupil, which comes in at just 2.6mm, the Zulu 6 doesn’t deliver at the same level during low light periods as binos that sport ultra-high quality glass coupled with lower magnification and large objective lenses.

How much of a con that is for you depends on the time or times of day when you tend to do most of your glassing. The small exit pupil on Zulu 6 won’t become a hindrance until light is fading and nearly gone, or just after dawn when the sun is still inching into the eastern horizon—of course those are the times of day when many game animals tend to move most.

Build Quality and Ergonomics 

The first thing you’ll notice when you hold a pair of Zulu6’s is the unique design, which is likely different from any bino you’ve ever held. The optical lenses are offset from the main body, and the objective lenses are housed inside a single unit—not in individual barrels like a normal binocular. The focus wheel is positioned further up toward the objective lenses and the toggle switch for the OIS is where you’d find the focus wheel on a standard bino. 

A side-by-side comparison of the Sig Sauer Zulu 6’s and a more standard pair of 10X42 binocular.

I figured the unique design would take some getting used to, but the transition was seamless. The bino is incredibly sleek, and it feels natural with both a two-handed and one-handed grip. What’s even more impressive about the design of the Zulu6 is how lightweight they are. At just 22 ounces, they’re almost two ounces lighter than my old standby 10X42’s. 

Sig Sauer vs. Other Binoculars

The unit I’ve been testing sports 16 power magnification, but the Zulu6’s also come in 10X and 20X models. Sig Sauer is far from the first optics company to employ image stabilizing technology in a binocular. In fact, Zeiss has offered different iterations of the feature since the mid-1990s, and still offers a pair in 20X. But those will set you back a whopping $10,000. And at more than 3.5 pounds and 10 inches long, the Zeiss’s are considerably larger than the Zulu6’s, which I found to be lighter and sleeker than the traditional 10X binos I’ve been using for years. 

With all technologies come trade-offs, though, particularly when you’re introducing electronic components into an age-old tool like the binocular. I haven’t put the Sigs in a deep freezer or submerged them in water, like we do when evaluating top binos for weather resistance in our annual bino test, but I’d venture to guess that the electronic components might suffer if I did.

The optics in this binocular are more than adequate for my needs, but the glass doesn’t produce the same resolution or image quality that certain high-end binos like the Swarovski NL Pure or the Vortex Razor UHD deliver. And their small exit pupil makes low-light spotting less than optimal.


All cons and nitpicking aside, I have to say that I’ll be using the Sig Sauer Zulu6 HDX binoculars as my primary piece of optics equipment for the foreseeable future, and a big part of that is OIS technology. (I think I’m already addicted to it.) There’s a certain wow-factor that comes with flipping that OIS switch into the ‘on’ position, and I’ve seen it expressed in every hunter that I’ve turned the Zulu 6’s over to during the time I’ve been testing them.

They’ve already been a game changer for me in the turkey woods, and I see them being a huge asset this September when I’ll be in close on rutting elk with my bow in hand. I could even see the Zulu6’s eliminating the need for a spotting scope in certain high country mule deer hunting scenarios. And at just north of $1,000, they’re a great value, especially if you’ll be saving the money you’d otherwise spend on a high-powered spotter and a quality tripod.

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