Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Swift Audubon 804 HR/5 FMC (Type 4b(2)) vs. New Swift Premier Audubon 820

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
17 replies to this topic

#1 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 23 June 2016 - 03:18 PM

I've now spent a number of hours under the night sky with these two binoculars, and I thought I could provide a good comparison of performance. My 820 is the newest updated version with the orange lettering. It is quite different looking from the original model 820. Also, my 820 is not the ED model, so we don't have to give any allowance for a more expensive glass formula. For reference, I also used my Swarovski 7x42 in many of the same comparisons. It is roughly 25 years old, and in excellent condition. See pic below.

 

The original model 820 was introduced over 10 years ago, and there are reviews both here on CN and on BF that indicated some dislikes regarding the eyecups, the plastic bridge, and the diopter, as well as some other minor issues. Most were quite happy with the optics though. I have never had the opportunity to use the original 820, but the current model 820 does offer very comfortable rotatable eyecups with an appropriate minimum and maximum range that easily allows seeing the full FOV with and without glasses. It also has a thick metal bridge that is plenty sturdy, and a thumb adjusted diopter that I find very easy to use and that doesn't seem to want to move on it's own. The ergonomics also make it very comfortable to hold for extended periods.

 

Comparing features to my HR/5 Audubon in consideration of my needs and wants, I find the eyecups to be greatest revelation. My HR/5 is tedious to use with glasses. While the eyecups do roll down, they are very stiff and tend to wear quickly depending on how much I use that feature. Further, even with the eyecups rolled down, the eye relief still isn't long enough to allow me to see the entire FOV with glasses anyway. In fact, it's not even close. Because of all this, I tend to only use the HR/5 with my glasses off. The current 820 is about as perfect and as easy as can be in accommodating the use of eyeglasses. So if the optical performance of the new 820 is at least on par with the HR/5, I'm still a leap ahead of the game with the new model.

 

It really should be noted right from the start that my HR/5 is 20 years old, and has logged many hours of use in it's lifetime. The optics are, nevertheless, clean and aligned, and there are probably only a few cleaning swirls separating the optical conditions of the two. But this 820 is nearly brand new, so it certainly should have a bit of an optical advantage going in.

 

Unfortunately, the first optical test for the 820 was a bit disappointing. Being the self-proclaimed wide field "nut" that I am, field of view is always the first thing I check. And it was immediately obvious to me that the HR/5 has the wider FOV. The difference wasn't huge, but I estimated it at approximately between 2 and 3 tenths of a degree. However, my disappointment was then a bit tempered by the fact that the very edge of the slightly narrower 820 FOV was actually much cleaner than the very edge of the slightly wider HR/5. So what was lost in FOV wasn't anything that I was going to do much with anyway, and the better outer field corrections of the 820 gave an overall view that was actually more similar to my Swaro 7x42.

 

So after quickly getting over that one, I noticed yet another obvious difference. The 820 clearly had the brighter image compared to the HR/5, both background and foreground, and it seemed that contrast was somewhat improved. So I did a series of star field tests. I would either begin with the 820 and end with the HR/5, or begin with the HR/5 and end with the 820. In either case, the Swaro was inserted in the middle. All I did was identify each star in a particular grouping and then try to make the same identifications with each binocular. I probably did 15 or 20 of these tests. Whenever I began with the HR/5, it was always rather easy and quick to make the same identifications in the Swaro, and then in the 820. However, whenever I began with the 820, the whole process would take longer. Usually it wasn't the Swaro that took up most of the time, but it was the HR/5. Still, I can only remember a couple occasions where I wasn't eventually able to account for all of the stars in a grouping. And it is a fact that I originally identified those particular "missing" stars in the 820 using averted vision anyway. So while there was clearly a drop in performance with the HR/5, I still was eventually able to see much of what I was looking for in each star field test. The Beehive Cluster proved to be a more difficult test, however, and the 820 clearly provided a better defined image for easier counting.

 

I also took the opportunity to see how each binocular handled the full moon. With regard to ghost images, the Swarovski 7x42 was clearly the best of the three, with the 820 second and the HR/5 last. As far as putting up the highest contrast lunar image, the 820 actually barely beat the Swaro, and marginally beat the HR/5.

 

I should also note that despite the smaller scale and FOV, the Swaro 7x42 consistently stayed ahead of the HR/5 and kept up with the 820 throughout the testing. Tight, intense star images seemed to make up for the difference. Overall though, I preferred the larger scale images and wider FOV of the 820.

 

A couple other reasons to like the new 820... It stands about a half an inch taller because they added a half inch of "dew cap" after the objectives. And even though it's a bit taller, it actually weighs about one ounce less.

 

So I am quite happy with the new model 820 Audubon. It seems to clearly show that Swift has listened to users and studied all the reviews for input into designing this updated model.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_1262.JPG

Edited by SMark, 23 June 2016 - 11:52 PM.


#2 Grimnir

Grimnir

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,234
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2010

Posted 23 June 2016 - 04:08 PM

An excellent and valuable comparison SMark!

 

Admin, please add this to the mini reviews section.

 

Graham



#3 Mark9473

Mark9473

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,923
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2005

Posted 23 June 2016 - 05:30 PM

How do the two compare on edge of field brightening?

This was what eventually drove me to sell my HR5, the EOFB was just too distracting.



#4 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 23 June 2016 - 07:47 PM

I've never had an issue with EOFB. And I don't have the HR/5 anymore so I can't even go look for it.



#5 HfxObserver

HfxObserver

    Apollo

  • ****-
  • Posts: 1,474
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2004

Posted 23 June 2016 - 07:48 PM

Great review Mark, I'd always been curious about a comparison between these two.

 

One small item, I don't believe the power was mentioned or a comparison of the powers, these are both 8.5X44 correct?

 

Do they both appear to magnify the same amount?

 

-Chris



#6 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 23 June 2016 - 08:04 PM

Yes, 8.5x and both were the same as far as image scale.



#7 Binosaurus_Rex

Binosaurus_Rex

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 28
  • Joined: 17 Apr 2016

Posted 25 June 2016 - 09:33 PM

yes.

 

thanks.



#8 trener

trener

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 217
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2014

Posted 27 June 2016 - 09:57 AM

Is the review about the newest Swift Audubon 820 http://www.swift-spo...culars.html#820 or maybe the older ones http://www.allbinos....bon_8.5x44.html ?


Edited by trener, 27 June 2016 - 10:00 AM.


#9 Philip Levine

Philip Levine

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 785
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2007

Posted 27 June 2016 - 11:22 AM

Hi SMark,

Thanks for your extensive review.  I appreciate the time you took to compare the newer and older Swift 820.  There are many examples where "new and improved" are NOT better than the older tried and true, quality built binos.  Sometimes we get locked into a frame of mind that the older bino builds are better quality than the new.

Phil



#10 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9,222
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006

Posted 27 June 2016 - 11:28 AM

SMark compared an 820 to an 804, not an older 820 to a newer 820.



#11 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9,222
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006

Posted 27 June 2016 - 11:33 AM

Would love to see more pictures of the 820 model tested  ;)



#12 trener

trener

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 217
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2014

Posted 27 June 2016 - 01:23 PM

SMark compared an 820 to an 804, not an older 820 to a newer 820.

I asked which one of the two 820 audubons linked by me took part in the review.


Edited by trener, 27 June 2016 - 01:25 PM.


#13 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9,222
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006

Posted 27 June 2016 - 04:12 PM

I am with you on this one Trener  :)

 

My remark was for Philip.



#14 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 27 June 2016 - 10:46 PM

Thanx. Yes, I have the newest model, which is indicated by a few features, such as the orange lettering...

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_2844.JPG


#15 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 27 June 2016 - 10:51 PM

The overall shape of the binocular is also a bit different from the original 820...

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_2851.JPG
  • IMG_2832.JPG
  • IMG_2830.JPG
  • IMG_2835.JPG


#16 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 27 June 2016 - 10:55 PM

The coatings all appear as green when looking at them (eyepieces and objectives) but the objectives photograph as magenta...

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_2867.JPG
  • IMG_2824.JPG


#17 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9,222
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006

Posted 28 June 2016 - 12:48 AM

Thanks for clarifying! Nice pictures too.



#18 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,569
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011

Posted 28 June 2016 - 08:50 PM

One more thing I should clarify because I know some will wonder...

 

It does say "Japan" and does have a serial number.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics