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Old Friday 30th December 2005, 01:36   #26
elkcub
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinewood
Ed,

Late model 4b 99****

Arthur Pinewood
Thanks, Arthur.

My Kestrel is marked 98**** and has the same HR/5 Fully Multi-Coated optics as your Audubon 4b. So far things are falling into place.

-ed
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Old Friday 30th December 2005, 19:58   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
PS. I take it the 4b is a 4b(1), i.e., an HR/5 marked Multi-Coated Optics. Right?
You're right Ed, it's a 4b(1) indeed.

R
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Old Saturday 31st December 2005, 02:59   #28
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I have a late model no. 804 purchased new around 1999/2000 from`Hawk Mt. Store. It is designated HR/5. SN is 9911**.

Hope this helps,
Bob

PS Fine piece of research you guys did!
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Old Saturday 31st December 2005, 04:58   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar
I have a late model no. 804 purchased new around 1999/2000 from`Hawk Mt. Store. It is designated HR/5. SN is 9911**.

Hope this helps,
Bob

PS Fine piece of research you guys did!
Ceasar,

Many thanks. If your HR/5 were made in 1999 it should have rather green coatings and be marked "Fully Multi-Coated." That would make it a Type 4b(2). Is this correct?

Thanks, and Happy New Year.
-ed
PS. How do you like using the Audubon by comparison with other binoculars?
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Old Sunday 1st January 2006, 08:46   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
Ceasar,

Many thanks. If your HR/5 were made in 1999 it should have rather green coatings and be marked "Fully Multi-Coated." That would make it a Type 4b(2). Is this correct?

Thanks, and Happy New Year.
-ed
PS. How do you like using the Audubon by comparison with other binoculars?
Ed
It is marked "fully multi coated" and the coatings have a dominant green hue with a magenta undertone.

When I wore glasses I used a Leica 7 x 42 BA for about 15 years and was spoiled by their very wide field. After I had cataract surgery and no longer needed glasses I found out the eye relief on the Leica was a bit too long. I had to hold the oculars a quarter inch or so out from my eyes to get a perfect view. The Swift Audubon took care of this problem and gave me the wide field I wanted with more power to boot and better contrast. My main complaint was their bulk and width. (I use all 70 degrees plus for my interpupillary alignment with it's exit pupils.) I solved this problem a year or two later by getting a Nikon 8 x 30 EII which I find to be the perfect compromise for me. I still use the Audubon around my house and when I am on the deck lazing around and for casual astronomy. Their 44mm objective lens picks up colors in high flying hawks better than any other bin I have. At least that is my impression.

When ever anybody asks me what is the best binocular they can buy for a reasonable amount of money I always recommend they get Swift's model 804. Unless they wear glasses. Then the discussion gets more involved.

Happy New Year,
Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Sunday 1st January 2006 at 08:50.
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Old Sunday 1st January 2006, 21:23   #31
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Bob,

I always used Swaro SLCs, starting with the 8x30 and moving on to the 10x42 and both pocket binoculars. An impulse buy of a 1950s wide-field Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) 8x30 got me interested in a wide view, but it wasn't until my first Audubon 804R purchase that the combination of image size and wide field started coming together. Too bad they're getting harder to find than chicken lips.

Happy New Year,
Ed

Last edited by elkcub : Monday 2nd January 2006 at 18:42.
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2006, 17:14   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
Bob,

I always used Swaro SLCs, starting with the 8x30 and moving on to the 10x42 and both pocket binoculars. An impulse buy of a 1950s wide-field Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) 8x30 got me interested in a wide view, but it wasn't until my first Audubon 804R purchase that the combination of image size and wide field started coming together. Too bad they're getting harder to find than chicken lips.

Happy New Year,
Ed
I've used a Kestrel 10x50 marked HR/5 for two years of daily work. They were an absolute joy, and i loved them to death. Beautiful bright wide angle views, sharp and true colors. Really magnificient. They had the best depth of field of any binoculars that i have seen, and wonderful tridimensional views. Close focus was about 4.5 meters, good enough most of the time. They died a horrific death, submerged in an alkali lake.

The roof prism Swift 8.5x44 is a really good binocular, and i found that the 8.5x42 Brunton Epochs ($1500) were not better.
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2006, 19:23   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto McDiesel
I've used a Kestrel 10x50 marked HR/5 for two years of daily work. They were an absolute joy, and i loved them to death. Beautiful bright wide angle views, sharp and true colors. Really magnificient. They had the best depth of field of any binoculars that i have seen, and wonderful tridimensional views. Close focus was about 4.5 meters, good enough most of the time. They died a horrific death, submerged in an alkali lake.

The roof prism Swift 8.5x44 is a really good binocular, and i found that the 8.5x42 Brunton Epochs ($1500) were not better.
Otto,

I greatly appreciate your comments. A few months ago I lucked out with a mint HR/5 10x50 Kestrel on eBay. (Your earlier comments led me to buy them. $67 wasn't too much to pay, I hope? ) Like the most recent Type 4b(2) Audubon, they are fully multi-coated. The weight and balance are superb, and the combination of 10x and 70 deg. AFOV addictive. I also experience magnficent spatial depth that can't be equalled by my 10x42 SLC. No doubt this is aided by the very wide stereo base.

Frankly, I've been so taken with the Kestrel that I use them to the exclusion of all else, except in very bad weather and for butterflies. I guess you summed it up as well as can be: they are a joy to use. How sad that yours met with such a horrible fate. How frustrating that they are no longer made. Since far fewer were probably sold than HR/5 Audubons, this story of bino-excellence could be lost forever.

I'm now looking to see if the Model 826's history can be pieced together as a sequel to the 804's. Any information about them in the form of catalogs or ads would be appreciated. Maybe Swift will help out again too.

Many thanks,
Ed
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Old Monday 6th February 2006, 04:38   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
Ceasar,

Many thanks. If your HR/5 were made in 1999 it should have rather green coatings and be marked "Fully Multi-Coated." That would make it a Type 4b(2). Is this correct?

Thanks, and Happy New Year.
-ed
PS. How do you like using the Audubon by comparison with other binoculars?
Ed,
My apologies for this belated question. On these binoculars, at the front end of the left prism housing, is an indentation in the plastic where it attaches to the focusing wheel mechanism. Inside this curved, trapazoidal shaped indentation is stamped the following: J-B56.

Query? Do you know what this means?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old Tuesday 7th February 2006, 06:45   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar
Ed,
My apologies for this belated question. On these binoculars, at the front end of the left prism housing, is an indentation in the plastic where it attaches to the focusing wheel mechanism. Inside this curved, trapazoidal shaped indentation is stamped the following: J-B56.

Query? Do you know what this means?

Thanks,
Bob
Bob,

You may wish to review the article Renze de Vries and I published on this thread, Post #15 (if you haven't already). J-B56 is the hallmark of the Japanese manufacturer, Hiyoski Kogaku, Ltd. All indications are that this firm made Swift 804 Audubons starting with Type 2 (see article). The original Type 1, back in the early 1960s, were made by Tamron Optical, J-E-45. The symbol "J-," incidentally, combines the two letters "J" and "L." The article provides a link to a useful list of Japanese manufacturers.

Ed
PS. I assume you are referring to a model 804? If you're talking about model 820, then finding this hallmark on it is very interesting. Please let me know.
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Old Tuesday 7th February 2006, 09:20   #36
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Thanks Ed,
They are model 804.
I think I'll review this entire thread again. More thoroughly this time.
Bob
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 01:19   #37
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I owned a pair of the old Swift Audubon 804s for awhile. I wish I could tell you more but it was several years ago. My only experience with top-notch optics has been taking a look through others' binoculars, but I would say the Audubon 804s had the best center-field resolution and overall brightness I have ever seen (I haven't looked through the Nikon E2 or Nikon SE though). The reason why I sold them is because of the 10-12 mm of eye relief, and I just couldn't deal with it as a glasses wearer. I would take off my glasses and look through the 804s and feel very sad that this wasn't the view I could see all the time when birding. This binoc also kicks butt for sky observation as well, with its huge FOV.

I wonder -- it was said that the eyepieces are a 5-element design. Is this the classic Konig design that is in so many wide-field telescope eyepieces? And what kept Swift from making the new waterproof Audubon porro with more eye relief? The laws of physics? Or just basically puttting the same optical design in a different body?

Last edited by trashbird : Tuesday 21st February 2006 at 02:23.
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 19:49   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashbird
I owned a pair of the old Swift Audubon 804s for awhile. I wish I could tell you more but it was several years ago. My only experience with top-notch optics has been taking a look through others' binoculars, but I would say the Audubon 804s had the best center-field resolution and overall brightness I have ever seen (I haven't looked through the Nikon E2 or Nikon SE though). The reason why I sold them is because of the 10-12 mm of eye relief, and I just couldn't deal with it as a glasses wearer. I would take off my glasses and look through the 804s and feel very sad that this wasn't the view I could see all the time when birding. This binoc also kicks butt for sky observation as well, with its huge FOV.

I wonder -- it was said that the eyepieces are a 5-element design. Is this the classic Konig design that is in so many wide-field telescope eyepieces? And what kept Swift from making the new waterproof Audubon porro with more eye relief? The laws of physics? Or just basically puttting the same optical design in a different body?
Sorry to take this long in responding. I didn't notice your post.

Swift refers to the 5-element eyepiece as an Erfle ocular. I don't know the difference from a Konig design, but apparently the Erfle type is used for wide field applications. There are 6-element versions too.

I get the feeling that you may have been using one of the early large body type Audubons with 445 ft. FOV and 11-12 mm eye relief. The later small body Type 4's and the current Model 820 with 430 ft. FOV have a much nicer eye relief of about 14 mm. Could you take a look at our article on Post #15 and tell me which model you had?

The Type 4's, starting with the 804R, and Model 820 also have first class multi-coatings. They are commonly found on eBay at reasonable used prices, and will be re-collimated, if necessary, by Swift for about $60. This is one instance where I think a repair cost is very reasonable to get this kind of value.

Ed
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 20:42   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
Sorry to take this long in responding. I didn't notice your post.

Swift refers to the 5-element eyepiece as an Erfle ocular. I don't know the difference from a Konig design, but apparently the Erfle type is used for wide field applications. There are 6-element versions too.

I get the feeling that you may have been using one of the early large body type Audubons with 445 ft. FOV and 11-12 mm eye relief. The later small body Type 4's and the current Model 820 with 430 ft. FOV have a much nicer eye relief of about 14 mm. Could you take a look at our article on Post #15 and tell me which model you had?

The Type 4's, starting with the 804R, and Model 820 also have first class multi-coatings. They are commonly found on eBay at reasonable used prices, and will be re-collimated, if necessary, by Swift for about $60. This is one instance where I think a repair cost is very reasonable to get this kind of value.

Ed


I will look at the article -- which I want to do anyway when I get the time -- and try to see if I remember which model it was.

There is an astronomy shop here in my city that sells a lot of used binoculars. I remember seeing the HR4 as well as the newer 804s. I do remember that the older models did not have the multicoatings. I am curious now to visit this shop again -- its been a few years. If he still has some different models for sale, I will see if I can take some digital images of them.

As a side note, I bought from this same shop a pair of 7x35 Audubon roof prisms that are discussed on another thread. They were waterproof, but achieved this through having a glass cover over each eyepiece, and the entire eye piece would move up and down underneath the glass as you focussed. They were nice binocs, built like a tank -- there was a focus knob both in front of the central hinge and behind that worked together. Because of the moving eyepiece for focussing, the eyerelief was better close up and got worse far away. Which was why I returned them and got a different binocular. I can see now that these were something of a rarity. Oops! (Not the forst "oops" and not the last, I am sure.)
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 22:19   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
Sorry to take this long in responding. I didn't notice your post.

Swift refers to the 5-element eyepiece as an Erfle ocular. I don't know the difference from a Konig design, but apparently the Erfle type is used for wide field applications. There are 6-element versions too.

I get the feeling that you may have been using one of the early large body type Audubons with 445 ft. FOV and 11-12 mm eye relief. The later small body Type 4's and the current Model 820 with 430 ft. FOV have a much nicer eye relief of about 14 mm. Could you take a look at our article on Post #15 and tell me which model you had?

The Type 4's, starting with the 804R, and Model 820 also have first class multi-coatings. They are commonly found on eBay at reasonable used prices, and will be re-collimated, if necessary, by Swift for about $60. This is one instance where I think a repair cost is very reasonable to get this kind of value.

Ed


Hi Ed,

I scanned through your fine history, and I can tell you with some certainty that I had the 804 4b2. It was definitely fully-multicoated. Maybe it technically had 14mm of eyerelief, but it still cut off a good 20% of the FOV for me. As Steve Ingrahm pointed out, this still leaves an eyeglasses wearer with a large FOV. I just really like to see the field stop when I look through binocs.

Interesting about the Erfle 5-lens design. I think that Edmund Optics still offers an Erfle-design telescope eyepiece. From what I have read, Erfles have a wide FOV but definitely lose resolution on the outer part of the field. Konigs, I think, are much more prevalent these days in lower-priced wide-field eyepieces. It too apart an inexpensive binoc once -- a Swift Plover, I think -- and saw that the eyepiece was a Konig design. Shockingly, one of the lens elements was plastic! (I really try not to take binoculars apart because I have never put one back together again).

The super-duper wide-field telescope eyepieces, the Naglers, Pan-Optics, etc., have over 8 elements, I think, and may be a variation on the Erfle design. These kind of eyepieces are huge, and would really weigh a binocular down -- not to mention, all those elements really dim the image. However, with new thinner lens designs, and an oversize objective, I am thinking you could build a dream binocular -- say an 8x56 with 8-element Nagler type eyepieces, and 80-degree FOV sharp to the edges, with the brightness of a good 8x42. Porro-design probably, to get the big prisms necessary. And with a reinforced polycarbonate body and modern thin-lens design, it wouldn't weigh much more than the Audubon 804.

At any rate, I'm no engineer. Just a dreamer.

By the way, it was indeed the Swift 825 7x35 roof-prism Audubon that I owned for a short while.
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 00:23   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashbird
Hi Ed,

I scanned through your fine history, and I can tell you with some certainty that I had the 804 4b2. It was definitely fully-multicoated. Maybe it technically had 14mm of eyerelief, but it still cut off a good 20% of the FOV for me. As Steve Ingrahm pointed out, this still leaves an eyeglasses wearer with a large FOV. I just really like to see the field stop when I look through binocs.

Interesting about the Erfle 5-lens design. I think that Edmund Optics still offers an Erfle-design telescope eyepiece. From what I have read, Erfles have a wide FOV but definitely lose resolution on the outer part of the field. Konigs, I think, are much more prevalent these days in lower-priced wide-field eyepieces. It too apart an inexpensive binoc once -- a Swift Plover, I think -- and saw that the eyepiece was a Konig design. Shockingly, one of the lens elements was plastic! (I really try not to take binoculars apart because I have never put one back together again).

The super-duper wide-field telescope eyepieces, the Naglers, Pan-Optics, etc., have over 8 elements, I think, and may be a variation on the Erfle design. These kind of eyepieces are huge, and would really weigh a binocular down -- not to mention, all those elements really dim the image. However, with new thinner lens designs, and an oversize objective, I am thinking you could build a dream binocular -- say an 8x56 with 8-element Nagler type eyepieces, and 80-degree FOV sharp to the edges, with the brightness of a good 8x42. Porro-design probably, to get the big prisms necessary. And with a reinforced polycarbonate body and modern thin-lens design, it wouldn't weigh much more than the Audubon 804.

At any rate, I'm no engineer. Just a dreamer.

By the way, it was indeed the Swift 825 7x35 roof-prism Audubon that I owned for a short while.
Hello trashbird,

I feel blessed that I don't really have to wear glasses, although the 828 Audubon roof has proven the value of correcting my unbalanced astigmatism by keeping them on. I was out today with the 804R (Type 4b(1)), and again enjoyed the wide FOV and larger 8.5 image with unadorned eyes. The eyecups are wisely engineered to narrow down and hence fit my eye sockets so well there's very little opening for sidelight. In the end, that what turned me off about the 8x30 E2. I couldn't adapt to the very wide eyecups that let in so much sidelight.

My requirements for binoculars are very modest. Of course, they should provide an excellent view and be comfortable to use, but they must also be quality made and good looking. For some reason, brands beginning with "Sw" have these qualities. One of the things I like about 804 Audubons is their rich history and collector potential. I just got an 804 HR/5 ED on eBay, incidentally, which may turn out to be the centerpiece. It's even named after me.

ED
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 01:21   #42
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Ed,

Have you tried Swiss Navy brand? My brother bought one for $20.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 04:38   #43
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[quote=elkcub]Hello trashbird,
In the end, that what turned me off about the 8x30 E2. I couldn't adapt to the very wide eyecups that let in so much sidelight.


Ed,
Did you try blinders?
Bob
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 19:10   #44
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[quote=ceasar]
Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
Hello trashbird,
In the end, that what turned me off about the 8x30 E2. I couldn't adapt to the very wide eyecups that let in so much sidelight.


Ed,
Did you try blinders?
Bob
I may look like one, but I'm not a horse.
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 19:23   #45
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Ed,

Have you tried Swiss Navy brand? My brother bought one for $20.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
Arthur,

He was gypped. $9.99 would have done it.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=31711

Almost forgot. Does he like it?

Ed

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 00:26   #46
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Arthur,

He was gypped. $9.99 would have done it.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=31711

Almost forgot. Does he like it?

Ed
Ed,

He might have boufght two for his children. He uses a 1918 Talbot Reel 6x30 Signal Corps. Model E, which I gave him, twenty years, ago. Talbot Reel made fishing reels, but got a contract to assemble binoculars for the U.S. Army.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 06:39   #47
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Ed,

He might have boufght two for his children. He uses a 1918 Talbot Reel 6x30 Signal Corps. Model E, which I gave him, twenty years, ago. Talbot Reel made fishing reels, but got a contract to assemble binoculars for the U.S. Army.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
Ah ha, ... two at $9.99 each. The kids must love the blister packs as much as the binoculars. Okay, more than the binoculars.

I'm still contemplating a fishing reel company being contracted to assemble Army binoculars. Was that the US Army? There must be a basic principle here somewhere. Sounds fishy, but still deja vu.

Ed
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Old Thursday 2nd March 2006, 07:05   #48
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ED's New Eyes

Quote:
Originally Posted by elkcub
...
I just got an 804 HR/5 ED on eBay, incidentally, which may turn out to be the centerpiece. It's even named after me.
ED
Today was my first opportunity to put them to the test at Shoreline Nature Preserve in Palo Alto. The mid-1990s BVD comparison by Steve Ingraham with the standard 804 really didn't prepare me for this extraordinary experience. The difference was not subtle at all, more like being given a new pair of eyes. No doubt that sounds like a dramatic overstatement, but, trust me, you're not likely to hear me say that again about another optical product. The previously owned specimen that arrived two days ago from England is tack sharp and literally bursts with vivid color that simply can't be described. Having a standard 804 Audubon with multi-coating to compare it with, as well as a fully-multi-coated 826 Kestrel, I have no hesitation saying that ED glass coupled with air-spaced objectives and improved eyepieces made this the veritable masterpiece of all 804 Audubons. In addition to being my reference standard for optical quality, it will be my personal birding binocular from now on, replacing the penultimate Kestrel for all but long distinace viewing. Even for that application, though, the virtual absence of color fringing may still make the 804 ED a better choice.

Perhaps to usher in my new eyes, all three teal species showed up today in full plumage: cinnamon, green-winged, and blue-winged. What better instrument to admire them simultaneously, within the same extra-wide field of view? Twenty three other species also showed up for close inspection, and all passed with flying colors.

Ed
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Old Thursday 2nd March 2006, 14:26   #49
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T I have no hesitation saying that ED glass coupled with air-spaced objectives and improved eyepieces made this the veritable masterpiece of all 804 Audubons. In addition to being my reference standard for optical quality, it will be my personal birding binocular from now on, replacing the penultimate Kestrel for all but long distinace viewing. Even for that application, though, the virtual absence of color fringing may still make the 804 ED a better choice.



Ed
Hi Ed

Glad you have had an enhancing experience with the 804 ED's
I wonder if the 820 ED later model shows this colour purity
I know some BF members prefer the build style/quality of the 804 but if the 820 ED is on par optically then for some its smaller lighter body might be the best thing at the price
Can anyone comment on the ED benefit in the later models ?

Just as an aside a near mint Swift Supreme 10 x 50 (420 ft fov) went for less than £90 recently on the famous bid site
I was sorely tempted as this appeared to be a wide field version of the Audubon but at 10 x

Regards
Rich
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Old Thursday 2nd March 2006, 16:34   #50
Renze de Vries
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richt
Just as an aside a near mint Swift Supreme 10 x 50 (420 ft fov) went for less than £90 recently on the famous bid site
I was sorely tempted as this appeared to be a wide field version of the Audubon but at 10 x
Rich,

As far as I'm informed, Ed had to let this one go because he splashed out on the ED...
But you're right, this Supreme IS the Audubon at 10 power. And as such the precursor to the Kestrel. As far as our information goes the Audubon 10x50 was issued in the USA under that name, while in Europe it was called (and designated) Supreme. Later the Audubon as well as the Supreme designation disappeared and it became the Kestrel. Important to note here is that in the meantime the revision of the Audubon took place (more compact, lighter body, etc.), with the result that the 10x50 Supreme belongs to the large body, heavyweight category, while the 10x50 Kestrel is much lighter and smaller. However, a 'true' Audubon 10x50 can be found in the large as well as the small body type.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, Ed.

Renze

Last edited by Renze de Vries : Thursday 2nd March 2006 at 17:47.
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