Review of the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars
Disclaimer: I received the binoculars and accessories pictured in the article below gratis in exchange for this review.
I have to start with another disclaimer, of sorts. I had never used a pair of night vision binoculars before receiving these Sigweis tubes. My point is that I have no real point of comparison. I can’t really say these binos are top notch or bottom rung or that they work better (or worse) or last longer (or shorter) than others.
Hopefully you’ll appreciate my novice views.
And these are my own views, untainted by the manufacturer, despite the first disclaimer above. Reviews are always much easier to do when you can get your hands on the product in question, so that’s why I accepted these Sigweis night vision binoculars in the first place.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of the Sigweis night vision binoculars at Amazon, you can click the link just below.
- 1 Review of the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars
- 2 Sigweis Binoculars Specs and Accessories
- 3 Using the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars
- 4 Final Thoughts on the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars
Sigweis Binoculars Specs and Accessories
Let’s get the technical details and extras out of the way first. Then I’ll give you my experiences as a first-time user.
Dimensions and Weight
The overall dimensions of the binoculars measure about 7.7 inches long (front to back), 5.7 inches wide (side to side), and 2.3 inches high (top to bottom). Note that these measurements are conversions from the metric numbers given in the User Manual. Yes, I could measure them myself with a foot ruler, but that wouldn’t be any more accurate considering all the rounded corners on these binos.
Said manual says these binoculars weigh approximately 576 grams, but that’s without the required (and not provided) 6 AA batteries. With batteries installed (but without neck strap attached), the unit weighs about 1 pound 10 ounces. They feel heavy in your hands. I don’t think I’d want to carry them around very long, even on a neck strap.
Speaking of the neck strap, it’s fine but nothing special. It’s very easy to attach and detach, and it’s adjustable. However, it’s rather rough, and there’s no padding of any kind.
Buttons for Viewing, Photos, and Video
When it comes to the inner workings, you get the obvious night vision (black and white) option, 4x digital zoom, the ability to take photos and videos, and a 32GB memory card (included) for preserving those images.
To make all of those features work properly, there are 6 buttons atop the housing. There are IR (infrared) up and down buttons on the left, Power and Menu buttons in the middle and Mode and Shot buttons on the right.
The buttons themselves are made of rubber (or something similar) and require a bit of force to operate. I suppose this is designed so you don’t accidentally activate them, but it makes them a little hard to use.
To turn the binoculars on (which you have to do to use them at all) or off, you press and hold the Power button for about 3 seconds. If you have properly installed the batteries, which isn’t difficult, the screen will light up first (or last) showing a splash screen and then whatever is visible through the lenses.
Speaking of the batteries, alkaline batteries are recommended, but rechargeable ones are not. There’s a sticker on the bottom of the binos that says (in part), “Note: Do not use rechargeable batteries and non-AA batteries, otherwise it will cause boot failure.”
However, in answer to a question at Amazon, the manufacturer (apparently) says that rechargeable batteries are okay. So I’m not sure whether they are or not. I’d play it safe and elect not to use rechargeables.
I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here to mention the language used in the manual and on that sticker. First, I’m not sure how many people really know what “boot” means in this context. That sticker actually refers to boot failure three times. I think a wiser choice of words would have been “power up failure”.
And that brings me to word choice in the (English) User Manual. I understand that many products such as these binoculars are made either in China or a country in that area of the world. That’s no excuse these days for having text that doesn’t sound like proper English. This manual isn’t terrible in that regard, but it is fairly obvious that it was created by someone for whom English is not their first language.
How hard would it be to email a file of the manual’s text to a native English speaker, have them proofread it, and then publish that result? Answer: It’s not hard at all, as I know from personal experience as such a proofreader.
The IR buttons have multiple uses. They turn the infrared mode on and off, producing a soft clicking sound, similar to a camera shutter, when making the change. They are plus and minus buttons for changing various levels, and they help you navigate through the menus.
Using the Shot button, you can take (JPG) photos in the following image sizes by making changes in the menu.
- VGA – 640 x 480
- 1M – 1280 x 960
- 2M – 1600 x 1200
- 3M – 2048 x 1536
Obviously the higher the resolution, the more space it will take up on your memory card. That said, 32GB is plenty of space.
After switching to video mode, you use the same Shot button to record videos of the following qualities all in AVI format.
- VGA – 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second (FPS)
- 960p – 1280 x 960 at 30 FPS
- 1080p – 1440 x 1080 at 30 FPS
Again, higher resolution equals more space. If you’re ever concerned about running out of memory, note that you can either transfer images / videos to a computer using a suitable card reader (not provided) or the USB cable included. This cable only connects to the older style USB ports, so you’ll either need a device that can handle it or an adapter. The manual hints that the computer must be a Windows PC (not an Apple / Mac) as it refers to using Windows Explorer. Since I don’t own such a device anymore nor a suitable card reader, I couldn’t test file transfers.
The Shot button is also used to select items within the menus. I couldn’t see a reference to this function in the manual. I had to discover it myself.
There are two “special effects” you can apply to your images, though I’m not sure why you’d want to. One of them gives the picture a luminous green tinge, and the other adds “IR” coloring. Personally, I’d rather just leave the colors (or black and white, if the IR is turned on) as they are. I can’t think of any real purpose for adding these effects.
Whether taking pictures or not, you adjust the focus by twisting the left lens one way or the other. This focus wheel has a nice feel to it. It’s not too loose or too tight. For the purposes for which these binoculars are intended, it does all that you need it to.
Cleaning and Cases
You get a cleaning cloth and specialized brush for keeping the optics free of dust and grime. Personally, I’ve never needed to use such items with any optics I’ve owned. I’m guessing you won’t often (if ever) need them with these Sigweis night vision binoculars either.
Two other items that are included in the package that I don’t think are necessary either are the Quick Guide and a small, rectangular picture of the night sky. The Quick Guide is four pages (in English and again in Chinese) that tell you how to insert the batteries and the memory card, turn the device on, and focus. If you can’t figure that out yourself or refer to the same information in the User Manual, you probably shouldn’t be using these binoculars. Sigweis could have saved time and effort on this guide and used it for English proofreading instead.
The picture of the night sky I guess is included just so you can see what you can see on a clear night with night vision turned on. Or, at least, that’s what’s implied. I don’t live where I could try to replicate this photo.
The hard shell case is advertised as “military grade”. That may be true, but I can’t prove it for you. I don’t know what would make such a case “military grade”. It is a very nice and usable case though. It has a flap inside with a velcro tab to keep everything in place.
It has an inside zippered pouch and outer zippers that seem to be good quality. There is a rubberized handle for carrying it around but no shoulder strap.
That said, I don’t think you’re supposed to use this hard case to go, say, on a hike. This case is more for storage and travel. There is a soft case, that you can tuck in the inner pouch when not in use, for taking this gear with you on longer jaunts.
Inside the hard shell case there are insets for the binoculars, the cleaning brush, and the memory card (in its case). There are two other empty insets. One looks like it would be for an additional memory card (in a protective holder of its own). The other larger, square inset can hold your 6 AA batteries. If you don’t intend to use the binos for a while, it’s a good idea to remove the batteries. It’s nice that the case gives you a place to keep them handy.
Using the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars
I couldn’t help but hint at the usage of these binoculars a little bit already. Overall, they’re rather easy to use and produce a view of your target that is clear. I did try them in near total darkness to see if the night vision (IR) optics worked as advertised. They did. I could easily see objects in the dark that I could not see with my unaided eyes.
I do wear no-line bifocal glasses though. The manual suggests that, if you normally wear glasses, you should keep them on when using these binoculars. I agree but with a caveat. At least with my bifocal prescription, I cannot hold the binoculars up to my glasses as is probably intended. I have to hold them a few inches away from my face to be able to focus properly on the view screen inside. I suppose I would get used to doing this if I were to use these binos consistently, but it does feel a little awkward for now. If you wear glasses, it will likely depend on your prescription as to how close to your face and eyes you’ll be able to hold them.
There is a standard tripod screw hole in the bottom of the housing. I do have a tripod, so I did test this feature to make sure it worked as expected. It did. There are also rubber “feet” on the bottom side. So, if you want to lay them down on a flat surface without that jarring sound that hard plastic can make, you can set them on these “feet”. The rest of the housing does appear to be plastic, except for the guard around the view screen and the ports cover.
For some reason, the manufacturer opted not to designate a model name or number to these optics. As far as I can tell, you are going to have to refer to them (as I have been) as the Sigweis night vision binoculars whenever you want to distinguish them from other optics. If Sigweis ever makes another set of binoculars, I wonder if they’ll give them a name or number.
Sigweis sounds German, but from all I’ve seen to date, I don’t think Germany is involved here. That said, the manuals are printed in English and Chinese, and you can change the language of the display using the menus to any of the following.
- English (apparently the default)
- Chinese (several variations)
Final Thoughts on the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars
Remembering the disclaimers and caveat above, I think you would enjoy using the Sigweis night vision binoculars, as long as you don’t plan to do so for an extended period of time. Again, they do weigh over a pound.
They perform as advertised and are set at a price point that won’t break the bank. There are cheaper and there are more expensive night vision optics out there, and though I can’t help you by comparing these to any of those, I do think the Sigweis are worth the money.
I just wish Sigweis night vision binoculars wasn’t such a mouthful.
If the Sigweis (for short) isn’t what you were looking for, check out some other night vision products here.