Review: ZeroTech Trace 15x56 ED binoculars

Review: ZeroTech Trace 15×56 ED binoculars

There’s a certain luxury to using ZeroTech’s Trace 15×56 ED binoculars because the view so clear and detailed thanks to the high magnification combined with great glass and quality prisms.

Fifteen times magnification is 50% more than most of us use and when you have it, it’s a real treat.

ZeroTech Trace 15x56 ED binocular review
The design appears fairly standard but the internal specification, for the price, is above average

Of course, the binoculars are big and weigh over 1400 grams, but that’s a trade-off you can’t avoid.

All that magnification has its advantages and may well make you overlook the bulk, especially if you’re not forced to go lightweight because you’re trekking into mountainous country for days. 

The obvious benefit is in wide open country with distant game. I took the ZeroTechs up the hills at my place and searched far slopes, armed with a set a 10x binos for comparison. I found more animals more quickly with the 15x set.

I could also judge trophy sizes far more easily and accurately, whether at medium or long distances. 

Review: ZeroTech Trace 15x56 ED binoculars

For competition or hunting use, these are excellent spotters.

And even in fairly close country, the level of detail you can see in shadows and through foliage is increased significantly. 

The extra-low dispersion (ED) glass that ZeroTech has used is quality stuff, judging by the clarity of the picture at ever-increasing distances. There’s no point having the higher magnification if you can’t take advantage of it but the Traces give you everything you need.

ZeroTech uses BAK-4 roof prisms of the Abbe-Koenig type, which tend to be larger and a little costlier than some of the alternatives but have better light-gathering qualities than most. It seems an appropriate choice for Trace optics, which are the top of ZeroTech’s line. 

Review: ZeroTech Trace 15x56 ED binoculars
Despite their large size, the 15×56 Traces are not too awkward to use unsupported but are best utilised on a tripod

The lenses are fully multi-coated, including very effective phase-correcting coatings that ensure excellent retention of contrast and clarity, two factors that would otherwise be noticeably reduced by the Abbe-Koenig type prisms.  

The 56mm objective lenses let in plenty of light, and while the 3.7mm exit pupil is getting towards the smallest you’d really want, it’s enough that you can still use these optics until the sun has set and the light faded to the point when it’d be dark by the time you walked to where you’d seen something. 

The view is clear almost to the edges, where there’s just a hint of blurring, but most of the field is filled with beautifully rendered colour, lots of contrast and excellent sharpness. It really is a good image. 

I could confidently pick out rabbits on a dun-coloured hillside that I measured at almost 500m away and they would have been visible even further out. 

ZeroTech Trace 15x56 ED binoculars review
Large 56mm objective lenses let in a good amount of light. Lenses are fully multi-coated

Another notable point is that you can look within a few degrees of a low sun without reflections of stray light bouncing around inside the tubes to spoil the view. Ensuring the lenses were clean so dust wouldn’t affect the lenses, I was able look close enough into the sun that it began to hurt my eyes yet still the view was unimpeded. 

You have to steady the high-magnification Traces pretty well to avoid excessive shaking but I usually found it was possible, especially as I was usually far enough from things that there was plenty of time, and didn’t feel overly handicapped because of it.

A tripod or other rest would be the ideal thing to help steady them, and you can unscrew the front cap from the hinge to reveal a thread to take a mounting adapter. 

The Traces are a straightforward design: twist-out eye cups for use with or without glasses; central focus knob with separate diopter adjustment for the right eye so you can balance the focus; a rubberised finish on the body that is both protective and grippy; and thumb pads, textured grip panels and a curvaceous shape making them comfortable to hold.

Review: ZeroTech Trace 15x56 ED binoculars
The ZeroTech binoculars come with a well-designed full-size chest harness

They come complete with front and rear lens covers, a neck strap, a lens cloth and, best of all, a chest harness.

The harness is big enough for these 15×56 binos. It has magnetic closure as well as an elastic loop, and it includes pockets on all four sides as well as a bit of webbing so you can keep other small items handy. 

The ZeroTechs are also well made, with a solid feel and nothing that gives the impression it will disappoint you over time. They have a lifetime warranty.  

Finally, unless I’ve missed something, it appears you will not find 15×56 binoculars of this specification for a better price; cheaper ones do not have the same prisms, while others seem to start about 20% higher in price. 

Therefore, for price and performance these are excellent value. 


  • Magnification: 15x
  • Objective lenses: 56mm
  • Prisms: BAK-4 Abbe-Koenig type
  • Exit pupil: 3.7mm
  • Twilight factor: 29
  • Field of view: 78.4m at 1000m (4.5 degrees)
  • Focus: 4m to infinity
  • Body: Magnesium alloy with rubberised coating
  • Dimensions: 220 x 155 x 67mm
  • Weight: 1430g
  • RRP: $999
  • Distributor: TSA Outdoors




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.