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BWAZ
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/21/05
Posts: 1146
Loc: CA
Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new
      #1715751 - 07/13/07 06:17 PM

Got one pair last month for the trip to the Zion national park. I was really enjoying the view of the rocks, birds and mountains. The ED elements really make a difference for star viewing as well.


Any comment?

--------------------
A couple of APOs and a couple of Dobs.


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KennyJ
The British Flash


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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: BWAZ]
      #1715792 - 07/13/07 06:47 PM

BWAZ ,

Thanks for posting .

I am pleased the Swift Audubon 8.5 x 44ED provided for you enjoying views of the rocks , birds and mountains , and that the ED element really made a difference for star viewing .

Before I feel inclined to make any further comment , I have two questions I hope you can answer .

1. What difference did it make ?
2. Compared with WHAT did it make this difference ?

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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BWAZ
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/21/05
Posts: 1146
Loc: CA
Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1715810 - 07/13/07 07:12 PM

I owned an Orion Vista 10x50 for a while and looked through a couple of binos in the $200-$800 range including Nikon SE 10x42. IMHO, my impression with the swift is that the CA is much reduced compared to the Orion both on daytime objects and stars. Per the daytime viewing, the view seemed "cleaner", in some cases, the color rendition seemed more vivid, not like the view from lower end binos, when you feel everything is somewhat washed out. Last night, I looked at Jupiter and Venus, except minor spikes I noticed around them, the CA was really minimum. The center 50% FOV was really sharp, and the stars were pin-point. But I did notice the half-circle-shape star images in the outter 25% of the FOV.

--------------------
A couple of APOs and a couple of Dobs.


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BobinKy
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: BWAZ]
      #1716439 - 07/14/07 07:55 AM

I use the Swift Audubon 8.5 x 44 ED. Like you, I like the color rendition and minimal CA. Originally, I purchased Orion Savannah, then returned them for Swift Audubon (not ED), until settling upon the ED version. Yes, the ED does make a difference in color rendition--especially daytime nature viewing.

Observers using other binoculars often complain of CA problems when viewing the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter. I really do not notice any problems.

I also enjoy the wide FOV for both day and night observing. I have measured my true FOV to be 7.7° The advertised FOV is 8.2°. Maybe, I get a little more than 7.7°, however, this is what easily fits within the FOV circle. Yes, I do notice some fall off in sharpness as I move toward the edge. However, EdZ's optics test have reported this is better than most wide angle binoculars.

I also enjoy the large focusing ring, which makes for precise focusing. It appears you either get fine focusing or quick focusing in binoculars. I am not in a hurry when I observe, so I prefer the fine focusing of the Swift Audubon. The focusing appears to hold where you set it. The focusing on some other binoculars have a habit of moving.

My only complaint is the eyecups. They are big--I should say huge! I think the Orion Savannah had very nice eyecups for the shape of my face. Sometimes observers do not mention the eyecups when discussing binoculars. However, I think they are very important, as they are what touches your face. Some observers refer to this as the "intimate" aspect. I think the Swift Audubon could be more "intimate" around my eyes.

Regarding magnification and aperture size, I did not notice that much difference from 10 x 50s. Yes, 10 x 50s bring objects a bit closer, but the 10 x 50s I compared did not appear to be as bright as the Swift Audubon. I think it must be the magnification/aperture ratio or the ED glass. I am sure the optic technicians on this forum can explain it. Whatever the reason, I really think the trade off of a little less magnification for increased FOV and superior color rendition is well worth it.

All in all, I am very pleased with my Swift Audubon 8.5 x 44 ED. I recommend them to anyone wanting small to medium power binoculars for day and night observing. They really do make a difference for me.


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BWAZ
Pooh-Bah


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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: BobinKy]
      #1720603 - 07/16/07 03:07 PM

What an excellent writeup, Bob, thanks for sharing your comment.

--------------------
A couple of APOs and a couple of Dobs.


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edwincjones
Close Enough


Reged: 04/10/04
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: BWAZ]
      #1721355 - 07/16/07 09:58 PM

Me too-I use my 8.5x44s more for daytime viewing-birding and solar with 1000 Oaks filters. I carry them around in my truck for everyday use as needed. Money well spent.

edj

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brocknroller
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? [Re: edwincjones]
      #1721618 - 07/17/07 12:34 AM

Thanks Bob for that mini-review. I've owned both the Audubon 820 model and the older 804, and I prefer the 804, in particular the MC 804 version. I also have the FMC version and had (briefly) the 804 ED.

IMO, Swift made some design compromises with the 820 version that makes them inferior to the 804, namely, the flexible focuser bridge, and the oversized, hard plastic twist-up eyecups.

I have deep-set eyes and a high bridged nose, features typical of Mediterranean and Eastern Europeans, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern peoples. The 820 Audubons are made by the Japanese apparently for people with flat facial features like themselves.

I cannot see the entire FOV with the 820s and find the eyecups very uncomfortable. The 804's rubber fold down eyecups fit my eyes nicely and allow me to see the entire FOV.

The focuser bridge on the 804 is also very rigid (except on the 804 ED model I had, but that was due to wear, the central hinge and right diopter were also loose). Used (or perhaps abused) enough, the 804s will need a tune up, but with a reasonable amount of care, they should last for years, they are built very well.

The 804 ED had one of the smallest sweet spots I've seen on a binocular. Move your eyes even slightly off center and you fall into the Distortion Zone, pan with them and your eyes dart ahead into the fuzz. Not only did the 804 ED have field curvature but also an excessive amount of pincushioning. This may, in part, have been due to sample variation, but the 804 FMC EPs are designed similarly (9x, rather than 8.5x), which slightly diminishes the DOF while increasing the resolution, but the sweet spot is larger on the 804 FMC and the pincushioning less noticeable than the ED.

The sweet spot on the 804 MC is the largest (~ 70-75% sharp to the edges), with the least amount of distortion across the FOV and at the edges of the three 804 models. I've owned two samples of the MC version, and both were the same -- very easy view, large sweet spot, though the optics are not quite as sharp or contrasty as the FMC or ED 804s, both of which have slightly higher magnification (9x).

The ED version (804) had the best ergonomics for my hands of all models (including the "fat" 820s). The 804 ED had a soft feel, with fine grain black leathette armoring, compared to the hard "snake skin scale" gray armoring of the 804 FMC and MC versions. The 804 ED's barrels are also slightly longer and the lenses recessed more deeply so there was less flare. The ED glass increased the color vibrancy but the views seemed a bit less bright than the 804 FMC version.

With 14.5mm ER, most eyeglass wearers would not be able to see the entire FOV with the 804s, but I find them quite comfortable to use w/out eyeglasses compared to the useable 12mm ER of the 820 model (advertised as 17mm ER)

However, Swift felt the need to update the aging Audubon with rubber armoring and a more ergonomic body (which didn't feel more ergonomic to me, and I have large hands), and add WP to compete with similarly updated 8x porros by other manufacturers. I also find the color of the 820 Audubon hideous (the blue-green skin-like armor shows every little bump and line of the frame underneath it, and doesn't compliment the black frame and eyecups).

The black and black color scheme of the 820 ED is more aesthetically appealing, and you get slightly increased color vibrancy and less CA (not that there's much on the non-ED version to begin with).

None of the competitors' "eights" match the resolution of Audubon, with its 5-element EPs. You have to move up to a 10x42 Superior E porro to get the same resolving power, while losing FOV, DOF, and "ease of view." Or pay $1,300 more for a Swaro 8.5x42 EL roof.

For deep woods birding and casual stargazing, the 804 MC and FMC Audubons are among my favorites. The wide FOV makes birds easier to spot and the good DOF make it easy to penetrate the brush.

Stars a fine pinpoints and the wide FOV gives a "spacewalk" view of the night sky. The 804 ED version, however, had such a narrow sweet spot that I could not get the three stars in Orion's Belt in sharp focus at the same time, and the end stars are separated only by 2.75*.

Overall, I found the optics in the 820 to be very good, similar in ease of view to the 804 MC, but a bit sharper and more contrasty like the 804 FMC and ED versions.

The 820s had poor fit and finish -- different color black on focuser bridge and centerpost assembly and shoddy paint job that peeled off when I went to flick off a speck of dust that I thought was on the centerpost bridge but was actually UNDER the paint. Not what I would expect for a "flagship" model even at this price point.

The FMC & ED 804s are shower proof but not WP like the 820s, and you can feel the difference in terms of the harder to turn focuser on the 820 and the FMC and ED compared to the non-WP 804 MC version, which has the smoothest focuser of the four versions. WPing has its trade-offs w/ porros since they have external focusers.

For those who use eyeglasses with binoculars or have deep-set eyes and/or high bridged noses, I would not recommend the 820 Audubon. Look for an older 804 MC or FMC version on eBay, but make sure to ask if the mechanics are "tight."

Brock

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: brocknroller]
      #1721871 - 07/17/07 07:04 AM

Brock, that was a superb write-up!

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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BobinKy
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: brocknroller]
      #1721947 - 07/17/07 08:29 AM

Brock:

Thank you for the excellent report on the various Swift Audubon models. It is quite a comfort to hear from someone who knows the model history as well as you.

I had to get out the original packing box to see which model I own. I have model # 820ED. I purchased mine in May of 2007.

Like you and everybody else who has written about the 820, I find the eyecups too large. However, in my opinion, the other features make up for this disadvantage. I agree you get a superior view for the price with this binocular.

In addition to the model history, you can catch some threads about the history of the Swift Company over at the Bird Forum. The Swift Company and the Swift Audubon model appear to have quite a following. Some of the Bird Forum participants know quite a lot about the Swift Company, including recent changes of various management personnel.

Other features reported in the Bird Forum are the lifetime warranty and service offered by Swift. It seems many users do not appreciate the company's decision to move the warranty servicing to a 3rd party company in Texas.

When I upgraded from the 820 to the 820ED, I had an excellent telephone conversation with one of the technicians at the company who has the contract to service the binoculars. He spoke very freely about the way in which the prisms were attached to the inside of the tubes. In short, he felt the manufacturer should do a better job with prism attachment. If possible, I would recommend talking with service technicians prior to purchasing any binoculars.

Regarding the lifetime warranty, many users have found Swift very good at repairing or replacing binoculars over the years.

Brock, like others, I have joined the ranks of loyal users of the Swift Audubon--pleased with the performance, disappointed with some of the recent modifications, and hopeful of improvements for future models.


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richtea
sage


Reged: 02/01/05
Posts: 309
Loc: UK Yorkshire
Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: brocknroller]
      #1722162 - 07/17/07 10:35 AM

Hi Brock

Well as ever you are "on the money" with another quality post
I eagerly await collection of my "new" 804 FMC in October this year so will join the Audubon owners club then

Interesting comments re the 804MC larger sweet spot but 804FMC brighter and sharper
Looks like its a compromise or preference between the features but all said i have looked through both models myself and feel that both offer pretty much excellent views which are quite unlike most other bins
The MC and FMC's i have looked through were kind of like bigger bodied extra magnified 8 x E11 ish to my eyes

Its an intriguing comment you make about the 804FMC EP being designed to 9x because in some senses a widefield quality 9 x bin is one of my dream models


Its all about the waiting now for me maybe i'll put the Audubons down on my signature as 9 x 44 once i have them in my mitts

Regards
RichT

PS Loving the 10 x 35 E11 still just fabulous for aviation viewing

--------------------
12x Canon IS MK11 Porro
10x C/Zeiss Jenoptem/Nikon SE/E11/Swift Ultralite/Hawke B/Watch WP/ Praktica WA Porro/Olympus Wide /Brunton Porro
10 x Belomo Loupe + 10/20 x Silver Geo Loupe
10 x Celestron Regal LX Roof
9x Opticron Minerva Porro
8.5x Swift Audobon FMC Porro
8x Nikon E11/Minolta Activa WPFP/Praktica WA Porros/Smith Wesson(Pentax)Roof/Bushnell Discoverer Roofs/Olympus Wide PC Porro
7x Fujinon CDPC Roof
6.5x Pentax Papilo reverse porro
Nikon ED78A/38 x WA Scope/Eyepiece


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brocknroller
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Reged: 10/16/03
Posts: 1983
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: BobinKy]
      #1722322 - 07/17/07 12:02 PM

Quote:

Brock:

Thank you for the excellent report on the various Swift Audubon models. It is quite a comfort to hear from someone who knows the model history as well as you....

Other features reported in the Bird Forum are the lifetime warranty and service offered by Swift. It seems many users do not appreciate the company's decision to move the warranty servicing to a 3rd party company in Texas.

When I upgraded from the 820 to the 820ED, I had an excellent telephone conversation with one of the technicians at the company who has the contract to service the binoculars. He spoke very freely about the way in which the prisms were attached to the inside of the tubes. In short, he felt the manufacturer should do a better job with prism attachment. If possible, I would recommend talking with service technicians prior to purchasing any binoculars.

Regarding the lifetime warranty, many users have found Swift very good at repairing or replacing binoculars over the years.

Brock, like others, I have joined the ranks of loyal users of the Swift Audubon--pleased with the performance, disappointed with some of the recent modifications, and hopeful of improvements for future models.




Thanks Mark and Bob for your compliments.

Bob,

Was the techician you talked to at Texas Nautical Repair named Les? I talked with him for 15 minutes about the 804s. I was thinking of keeping the EDs and asking him to replace the EPs and focuser bridge with the EPs and focuser bridge from the MC version and to tighten the center hinge (which I probably could have done myself). This way I could have the sleek black body, ED glass objectives, and the best EPs of the bunch. The ER on the ED version was also a bit shorter (~ 13mm) so I'd get slightly better ER with the MC EPs (14.5mm).

Btwn 13.5mm ER (8x30 E2) and 14.5mm ER (804 MC/FMC Audubons, Canon 10x30 IS) seems to be ideal for me, provided the diameter of the eyecup is not too wide like the 820s. I keep my 8x32 LX ER set to this distance too since it has twist up eyecups. At this distance, I can see the entire FOV. Longer ER than that often gives me "blackouts".

The cost would only have been $50, quite reasonable, but I measured the FL of the ED and other two models and the EDs was longer. That would probably have increased the magnification to 9x or more, decreased the DOF and FOV (or at least apparent FOV, the views through the FMC and ED versions seemed "tighter" than the MC version). It would have also changed the close focus, and the net gain in contrast and color vibrancy with older MC EPs and FMC ED objectives might have been minimal.

So I abandoned the idea and returned the ED bin to the seller. I would like to buy another sample 804 ED in the future to see if I just had a bad sample. Certainly, mechanics-wise, it was a bad sample.

If Swift had made the 804 ED with the same EPs as the MC version but with updated coatings, it would have been my all time favorite binocular.

Sometimes while trying to make improvements, binocular designers take a step backwards. This was also true of the Nikon LX L, which I thought optically was not on par with the older LX series despite its increased price.

My advice to binocular manufactuers is not to be like car manufacturers, some of which come out with a new design every four years. As my Type A boss used to say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Update it with better coatings, yes, but if the optics are excellent, stick with a good thing even if that means sacrificing super closer focus or whatever the latest trend is.

One disappointing trend, IMO, has been replacing lead glass with lower unleaded/arsenic free glass. The results on the LX L were obvious -- brighter images, thanks to more layers of coatings and perhaps the addition of replacement metal (titanium?), but the brightess overwhelms the contast, making fine details harder to see in bright light. The color rendition was also not "true" as the older leaded optics. Reds were orangey, blues were purplish. The LX L also had increased CA.

The glass in the Nikon E2 series shows this color shift too, but not the bias of brightness over contrast, and being porros, the CA is minimal.

Bin manufactuers will probably correct these shortcomings once they figure out what to replace the lead with in the glass and what type of coatings match the new glass best. For Zeiss, the answer was FL glass, for Pentax, it was ED glass.

Those innovations come at considerable cost to the consumer and perhaps would not be needed if they had stuck to leaded glass. I don't know what grade of ED glass Pentax is using, the type used in Celestron/Swift ED bins mustbe inexpensive to manufacture, because the ED models are only about a $100 more than the non-ED versions. Or Pentax could be using the same ED glass used in the Audubon ED and be pricing their bins in the premium range to up their "snob appeal."

I've posted this link before, but since we're discussing old vs. new, here are some comments on leaded vs. unleaded glass that confirm my own observations: lead vs. unleaded glass in binoculars

Brock

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: brocknroller]
      #1722476 - 07/17/07 01:37 PM

Quote:

One disappointing trend, IMO, has been replacing lead glass with lower unleaded/arsenic free glass. The results on the LX L were obvious -- brighter images, thanks to more layers of coatings and perhaps the addition of replacement metal (titanium?), but the brightess overwhelms the contast, making fine details harder to see in bright light. The color rendition was also not "true" as the older leaded optics. Reds were orangey, blues were purplish. The LX L also had increased CA.

The glass in the Nikon E2 series shows this color shift too, but not the bias of brightness over contrast, and being porros, the CA is minimal.

Bin manufactuers will probably correct these shortcomings once they figure out what to replace the lead with in the glass and what type of coatings match the new glass best. For Zeiss, the answer was FL glass, for Pentax, it was ED glass.

Those innovations come at considerable cost to the consumer and perhaps would not be needed if they had stuck to leaded glass...




Brock,

seems that discussion you pointed to was started by an individual who really doesn't have any solid facts to back up his preference, just his opinion which BTW could be considerably tainted, if not flawed, and if you were to ask me, I would say he got trounced by those people who did respond in the thread with some facts. So if you are pointing to that discussion to support your opinion in this leaded glass matter, I'm just a little perplexed that you haven't found an example somewhere that better supports your position. But, IMO, that one fails to do so.

On another note, the discussion of this particular binocular need not turn into a discussion of corporate choice and environment. that could probably best be isolated to it's own discussion.

BTW, the info here on the Audubons is excellent.

edz



--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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BobinKy
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: brocknroller]
      #1722524 - 07/17/07 02:11 PM

Quote:

Brock wrote:

Was the techician you talked to at Texas Nautical Repair named Les?




Yes, Les was very helpful during my telephone conversation.


Quote:

Brock wrote:

I was thinking of keeping the EDs and asking him to replace the EPs and focuser bridge with the EPs and focuser bridge from the MC version and to tighten the center hinge (which I probably could have done myself). This way I could have the sleek black body, ED glass objectives, and the best EPs of the bunch. The ER on the ED version was also a bit shorter (~ 13mm) so I'd get slightly better ER with the MC EPs (14.5mm).




Is it possible to retrofit the eyecups of the 820ED with a more comfortable configuration without affecting FOV, DOF, color vibrance, or sharpness?


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Les
scholastic sledgehammer


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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: EdZ]
      #1722527 - 07/17/07 02:12 PM

I wonder if the objectives on my Ultralite 8x44ED are the same as the Audubon's. Anyone know? Seems like it would be a cost savings measure to have one 44mm set.

--------------------
Les

Canon 10x42L IS
Oberwerks BT80/45, Helix Hercules mount on Oberwerks Standard Tripod
Swift 8x44ED Ultralite
Questar 50th Anniversary Model, 501 head on Manfrotto 475 tripod
Stellarvue SV90T 90mm Fluorite refractor Bogen 3236/Televue Tele-Pod Head
Questar 7 Astro
Vixen GP-DX on Baader Surveyor Tripod


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BWAZ
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/21/05
Posts: 1146
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: Les]
      #1722563 - 07/17/07 02:36 PM

Quote:

Seems like it would be a cost savings measure to have one 44mm set.




That's my guess too

Actually, when I was ready for an 820ED, I read your mini review on the ultralite 8.5x44. I had thought about asking for your opinion, since IMHO I perfer the ergonomics and nice looking of the ultralite.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experience!

--------------------
A couple of APOs and a couple of Dobs.


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KennyJ
The British Flash


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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: BWAZ]
      #1722653 - 07/17/07 03:17 PM

With regard to the lead vs unleaded glass in binoculars thread on birdforum , personally I took the whole initial poster's opinions with a huge pinch of salt as soon as I started reading it .

The assertion that the original Nikon Venturer / High Grade ( heavy ) 8 x 42s showed absolutely NO chromatic aberration is simply not true .

As a matter of fact , during late 2001 and early 2002 , I spent several days every week checking and re - checking every top of the range roof prism binocular I could get my hands on , from Leica to Nikon to Swarovski to Zeiss , and the original Nikon HG 8 x 42 suffered from more CA than ANY of the top models from the other three leading manufacturers .

I made the point in a review on Excelsis back in 2002 , but it appeared under Nikon Venturer 10 x 42 for some strange reason -- and my voting and rating remained classified as UNRELIABLE by the webmaster , or the site system , even though I'd previously written reviews of Swift Kestrel 10 x 50 , Helios 15 x 70 , Sunagor 20 - 120x 70 zoom and Zeiss 7 x 42 BGAT , far more comprehensively than the two liner " reviews " posted by so called reviewers getting 10 out of 10 for " reliability " !

Needless to say , I decided long ago that I wouldn't be wasting any more time writing to to THAT web site .

To my eyes , the newer , lighter , Nikon HGL 8 x 42 does NOT show any MORE CA than it's predecessor did .

In fact , I think lead is overated anyway for optical use .

I used to work with sheet lead almost every day back in the late 1960s and early 1970s , and I couldn't see a bloody THING through it ! :-)

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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EdZ
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1723794 - 07/18/07 05:51 AM

Brock has this to say:

Quote:

I have compared two ED glass bins with the LXs (Swift 8x44 ED and Celestron/EO 10x50 ED), and though I'm not comparing apples to apples (i.e., porros vs. roofs), I found that the LX series comes closest to producing the high contrast and exceptional color saturation of ED glass than any other non-ED bin I've tried (about 50 at this point) even though the LX does NOT also have reduced CA (more than "average" if anything).

However, I agree with Edz in that I could use a more substantive support our observations about the differences in image quality between the LX and LX L.

In bringing up this issue here, I am hoping that others who have tried both leaded and unleaded versions of the same bins or even of leaded and unleaded versions of different bins would add their observations since discussion of this topic is rather sparse and needs further study.






Worthy of it's own thread, the post related to Characteristics of Unleaded glass has been moved to start it own topic discussion.


edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21

Edited by EdZ (07/18/07 06:05 AM)


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elkcub
member


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Posts: 19
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Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: EdZ]
      #1871333 - 09/28/07 02:50 AM

I just stumbled onto this older thread, but a few comments may still be of interest relative to 804 Audubons.

In 2005, Renze de Vries (Netherlands) and I published a historical review of this series on Bird Forum that contains most of the facts we could piece together at the time, but we stopped short of the current model 820 (and continue to).

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=42944&highlight=elkcub

As can be seen, there were several variants for each of the four basic body styles. Types 2 and 3 were marketed in the US and Europe, respectively. Nowadays, however, most people are really talking about what we called the small body types, i.e., Type 4, which started in the US about 1985 with the introduction of the 804R (Type 4a). We now know that a European variant was introduced earlier in the decade by Pyser, and another US variant appeared later in the decade. In a future update these will be called Type 4a(1), a(2), and a(3), respectively. They were all marked MC, and probably were only partially multi-coated.

We have also learned that the Type 4b (aka HR/5), which was introduced in the US about 1990, had more variants than the two shown on pg. 17. Some were stenciled MC and others FMC. But life is, unfortunately, more complicated than simply that: some of the later models marked MC were, in fact, FMC. In other words, the company wasn't very careful about the accuracy of the cover plate markings. I've seen both types, and own a mint version of the latter, so I know this to be true. Type 4c, the 804ED, however, was always FMC from the start. Renze and I each own mint specimens that were restored to perfect condition by Nicolas Crista, who was the head opticalman for Swift USA while they were located in Boston. Even though they seem like two peas from the same pod, the cover plates are not exactly the same.

The foregoing has led to a perplexing assortment of confusions, needless to say. The masterful BVD review by Steve Ingraham in the early 1990s, compared a Type 4b (MC) with a Type 4c (FMC), but we don't know if his 4b specimen really was MC or an unlabeled FMC. I tend to think it was the latter (but can't prove it) simply because his overall comments were consistent with what I can observe with mine, and I also own a mint MC 804R for comparison.

Several statements were made earlier in the thread that I would question, if not take issue with:
# There is no evidence that Types 4a (804R) or 4b (HR/5) were designed to have either different magnifications, or a 9x magnification. There may be manufacturing bias, or sample variations, but they are all designated 8.5x and the physical dimensions including objective diameters and exit pupils look to be much the same. I see no difference in FOV between the 4a and 4b models that I own, or basic optical properties such as field curvature, astigmatism, distortion, or "sweet spot." The only physical difference appears to be the lens coatings, although that might produce psycho-physical or perceived differences.
# Type 4c (804ED) is also marked 8.5x. It does have a slightly longer body and is said to have "redesigned" oculars. This might be for waterproofing only and/or a change in focal length to compensate for the air-spaced ED objective, which might or might not have a longer FL. The eye relief is 1-2mm shorter, but I see no difference in pupil diameter or FOV. I will try to check the specs with Mr. Crista, but I doubt that the 4c eyepieces would be interchangeable with the 4a or 4b.
# The 804ED's objective lenses are absolutely not recessed more deeply to provide flare protection. On the contrary, they bulge out quite a bit — to the point of being a potential scratch hazard. Nix on flare protection.
# Contrary to what has been stated, only the 804ED is showerproof. All the other 804 models, regardless of coatings, share the same pension for leaking or fogging.
# All the 804EDs we've seen advertise the same grey armoring as the other Type 4 models. It is conceivable that Swift snuck in some other variant with " ... fine grain black leatherette armoring," but it's more likely that someone's cherished old specimen had been recovered with a different material.
# Along that line, there have also been poor repairs done on 804ED objectives in which the lenses were cemented together rather than air-spaced with a very thin shim. This has led some to question whether there might not have been two versions, one with air-spacing and one without. Repairs by unqualified technicians not only produce bad results but also muddle the historical record.

My last comment has to do with the 804ED's so-called "sweet spot." I love that phrase, sweet spot, since it implies to much and says so little. We had quite a discussion about what it "really means" on BF, to the end that it's something like a person's "intelligence," — highly debatable.

What might be called the sweet spot of the 804ED is right smack in the middle, because that's where the effects of significant axial CA reduction become evident in the form of greatly enhanced color contrast. This simply can not be appreciated viewing man-made objects like test charts, or at night looking at the sky, since rod vision is achromatic. To appreciate this sweet spot requires the variegated color targets of birds or other natural wildlife. This is the 804ED's sweet spot, and it has few, if any, peers.

I believe this is my first post on CN, so I hope that I have not offended anyone in defense of the Inimitable Swift 804. Of course, any further insights would be gratefully appreciated.

Blue skies,
Ed Huff


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richtea
sage


Reged: 02/01/05
Posts: 309
Loc: UK Yorkshire
Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: elkcub]
      #1871421 - 09/28/07 04:54 AM

Hi Ed

Nice to hear from you on CN
I followed the BF thread pretty much throughout done by yourself and Renze and found it most informative if not a little complex
In around 8-9 days i will collect a "new" old stock FMC 804 Audubon Porro and am counting the days off to be frank
I was intrigued by Brock's post on here which mentioned the 9 x possibilty and field curvature/fov thoughts for differing Swift Audubon models
Here then is a dilemma for the "less experienced" among the forum brethrens
The reason i say this is practically every post i have ever read from either yourself or Brock regarding any bins i have personally used/owned has been right on the money and without embarrassing either of you i thoroughly respect the opinions and sometimes facts you offer
I think i'm just going to have to look through my new Audubons and when i come back from hols i can compare direct to a good friends 804 MC (well thats how its marked anyway) and see the outcome as the song says "all by myself" !!

Regards
RichT

--------------------
12x Canon IS MK11 Porro
10x C/Zeiss Jenoptem/Nikon SE/E11/Swift Ultralite/Hawke B/Watch WP/ Praktica WA Porro/Olympus Wide /Brunton Porro
10 x Belomo Loupe + 10/20 x Silver Geo Loupe
10 x Celestron Regal LX Roof
9x Opticron Minerva Porro
8.5x Swift Audobon FMC Porro
8x Nikon E11/Minolta Activa WPFP/Praktica WA Porros/Smith Wesson(Pentax)Roof/Bushnell Discoverer Roofs/Olympus Wide PC Porro
7x Fujinon CDPC Roof
6.5x Pentax Papilo reverse porro
Nikon ED78A/38 x WA Scope/Eyepiece


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
Posts: 18806
Loc: Cumberland, R I , USA42N71.4W
Re: Any swift audubon 8.5x44ED user out there? new [Re: elkcub]
      #1871693 - 09/28/07 09:49 AM

Quote:

I believe this is my first post on CN, so I hope that I have not offended anyone in defense of the Inimitable Swift 804. Of course, any further insights would be gratefully appreciated.





on the contrary. It's posts like these that lead me to add a link to this type of thread into our MiniReviews section so the recorded information is not lost to our future readers.

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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