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Swift 820ED - ridicules !

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Old Thursday 8th December 2005, 10:22   #1
RedBishop
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Thumbs up Swift 820ED - ridicules ! But what a marvelous CS !!

For a while now I've been a very happy Swift ZWCF 10x42 and after a recent accident, I decided to "upgrade" to the 8.5x44 820ED. What a failure !

(just to make it clear, this is regarding the latest model of the 820ED, quoted as weighting 24.6oz)
If so far I was a very satisfied Swift costumer and I kept on telling everyone how good and quality the Ultralites were, the new 820ED are a frustrating binoculars, it said that it was "designed by birders and for birders", I'll tell you one thing, These binoculars are just barely usable in the field:

1. The eyecups does not have a lock position. You set it to the open state, you walk 10 meters, put the binoculars back to your eyes, boom, the eyecups are down again, until you re-open it, the bird is gone.

2. The eyepiece part is HUGE. Bigger than any person's eye, the obvious outcome of this is that once you look at anything with a sun behind you, the sun reflects on the part of the eyepiece that your eye does not cover and you get flares in the lens. This badly effects the viewing experience.

3. Light transmitting - You would expect that with a 8.5x44 (versus my previous 10x42) you'd get more light transmitting, I compared it with an objective camera's sensor to the 10x42, it is pretty much identical, the less magnification and bigger objective lens is useful for nothing. Just added weight.

4. The diopter issue was not fixed! Where ever you read about the Swift binoculars you read about this problem, one would expect that this will be fixed, but it's not, you walk around, you look at the diopter and it is moved from the 0 position, why not setting an option to lock it ?


That's my user review on this, probably should be titled: STAY AWAY !

Last edited by RedBishop : Tuesday 13th December 2005 at 14:27.
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Old Thursday 8th December 2005, 23:20   #2
John P
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I'm perfectly happy with mine, they are an 820ED 8.5X44, not sure if they are the latest model, I've had them about 18 months.

I agree the moving dioptre adjustment is a minor nuisance but that's all it is.


The eyecups do lock on mine.
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 02:48   #3
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I have had the Swift Audubon 820s (not ED) for about 1 year now.
All views are relative, but I find the optical quality is excellent, including brightness. And since my other bins are high quality 7x42s, that says alot. Basically, I am very happy. But they have a few problems.

First about the eye cup locks. They have an unusual way of locking, could be confusing. Pull them straight up all the way, then twist to the left. They don't lock automatically. There are no click stops anywhere on these old fashioned housings. You have to have loved the feel of old Porro bins to love these things. The new eye cups are the only concession to modern style on these bins, and they are a failure (see below). I wish they had the old rubber eye cups.

1) Swift advertises a 17mm eye relief on the new 820s. Feels like the same 14mm of the older model. I never extend the eye cups, even when I am not wearing glasses. If you wear glasses, you have to have a face shape and eye-glass frame shape which gets your eye balls very close to the lenses or else these bins will frustrate you alot. Lucky for me I also have contact lenses. The eye cups, fully retracted are about 2-3mm above the lense itself, reducing usable eye relief for eye glass wearers. I manage just barely to get inside the usable eye relief with my glasses on, much more comfortable in contacts.

2) As you said, the ocular lense is huge and can create glare when the eye cups are retracted. Since I often bird with glasses on, I learned to usually wear a broad brimmed floppy hat, to help reduce the chance of glare from sources behind me. It can happen with almost any bins when the eye cups are down.

3) the ocular housing is extremely fat, much fatter than it has to be to support the fat lense. Seems to be the result of the terribly designed "pull-up" eye cups. Maybe also caused by the "O-ring" weather seals between the oculars and the objective housing. Some people may have trouble getting the eye-cups past the bridge of their nose and still having the correct interpupilary distance set. The short eye relief may require you to really jam the bins under your eye brows, if you have deep set eyes.

4) interesting comments about the diopter. Yes, its just an old fashioned, migratory diopter adjustment. Mine is still very stiff and doesn't move much. But, I can imagine it will become looser with age and have to be reset alot. 2 dabs of white-out can make it visually easy to realign quickly. A discreet bit of tape or bead of glue...if you're determined it shouldn't move again without great effort.

5) the focus wheel, is grippy and comfortable. But the travel distances are very long, allowing fine focus, but not quick focus. Like most porro bins with moving ocular lenses for focus, the wheel is not buttery-easy to turn. It helps to have big hands & strong fingers to get the most out of these bins. For these reasons & the 8.5 power, not the quickest woodland bins.

6) They didn't come with a rain guard. They came with a terrible box case. I bought the Zeiss rain guard designed for the old 7x42s. I think they are the only ones that fit the massive ocular housings of the 820s. It works well. Haven't found a better case yet, have to protect those oculars from being banged out of alignment, so I still use the box case for now. Always close down the focus wheel for storage.

If you like the feel of Porros in your hands, these are great. They are lighter than top quality x42 roofs. They have a nice rugged one piece rubber armoring. They are not too bulky under your palms, like the old ones were. Making it easier to focus, considering their large size.
Marc
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 07:13   #4
RedBishop
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John,
I've carefully looked at the eyecups markings, It is now clear that in this new model (can also be identified by it's 430' field of view compares to 420' in the previous version) the eyecups are no longer lockable.

jedku,
You've got an interesting review here, listing the second most annoying thing with these binoculars - the glare caused due to the huge oculars.
While having a "broad brimmed floppy hat" probably solves this problem, I find it extremely odd that the binoculars have been designed to be used with a hat and this seems to me an outrages flow with the design.
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 07:58   #5
John P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBishop
John,
It is now clear that in this new model (can also be identified by it's 430' field of view compares to 420' in the previous version) the eyecups are no longer lockable.
Mine must be some sort of hybrid then.
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 13:12   #6
RedBishop
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I might be wrong here, but the information is gathered from the following sources:
Quoted 430' at the swift-optcs site, and I consider it the latest model (I might be wrong here)
<http://www.swift-optics.com/products/birding/eight_power/820>

The older version, still being sold in B&H, with 420' FOV and a heavier body:
<http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home;jsessionid=?&sku=218842&is=REG&Q=&A=details>
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 13:51   #7
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RedBishop,
For those of us who wear eye-glasses while briding, this glare problem happens with almost any bins, also happen on the eye-glass itself. Most long eye relief bins have large ocular lenses. I took to wearing a hat to help with this problem long before I met these 820s. Also, Leicas and other high quality bins often have large ocular lenses, too. I wear a hat with them as well. So, I don't agree that it is really a flaw in these bins. It's part of popular designs that offer good eye relief & field of view. I do remember how small the lenses are on those older Ultralites that you gave up. I can understand the frustration. Those bins, with their long rubber eye cups and small oculars really shielded the eyes from any stray light.

If you aren't giving up on the 820s yet, try to get your eyes closer to the lens. Experiment with having the eye-cups down to facilitate this. Sounds counter-intuitive for avoiding glare, but it works for me in reducing glare and giving me the full field of view and optical quality on these bins.
Experiment with closing down the interpupilary distance a little (staying within your useable range, of course). Might reduce exposure of outer edges of lenses.
Are you getting the full field of view? I very rarely get any glare when I wear my contact lenses and hold the bins close to my eyes (eye cups down), even without a hat.

Why would Swift redesign the eye-cups so they now do not have any way of locking? Strange. I would investigate further, if I were you. But, that is indeed a flaw of design or manufacture, if true.
A couple months ago, I took off the rubber covers on the cups to investigate the design. I can tell you I saw "L" shaped slots which allow the eye cups to be pulled straight upand then twisted to the left to lock them.
Just now, I looked at the 820EDs in a close up photo from a supplier. The whole ocular housing seems to have the same design as on the bins John and I have. I can detect nothing new. Would be nice to see photos of your eye pieces, if they differ from John's.
I hope all of this helps.
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 14:08   #8
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RedBishop,
Interesting discrepency in the specs offered by Swift and B&H. Has anyone actualy seen a pair of these bins stamped with 420'? Mine say 430', exactly as in John's photo. Unfortunately, can't read the numbers in the B&H photo. Maybe B&H made an error? Could be the same with the weight difference. Weren't the older, vinyl covered Audubon's 420'?
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Old Friday 9th December 2005, 20:52   #9
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Mine are marked 430 and the eyecups appear to lock as described. I can confirm that if you pull them up then twist to the left they don't push back down until you twist them back again, but how reliable that is in practice I don't know, since I never have them pulled up. For various reasons I don't get any of the problems mentioned above, which I guess confirms yet again the advice "try before you buy". I happen to like using mine a lot.
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Old Tuesday 13th December 2005, 14:32   #10
RedBishop
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I will get back to the 820ED with the images of the eyepiece later, for the time being I just want to report on some incredible Costumer Service experience.

I send a mail to swift-optics very similar to the one posted at the top of this thread.
and I received the following response:
<quote>
Dear Mr. Cohen,

I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed on our Swift binocular the 820ED, I don't know where and when you bought the 820ED, but I can tell you that the problem on the eyecups is fixed now, the new models have a twist up eyecup which locks. Also on the issue of the dioptre ring, I don't hear any complain any more.

Your complain on the size of the eyepiece is new for me, but I will address this to our "product development" department including your notes on the light transmission.

Again, I am sorry that this new binocular is not so good as your old one. We don't have any importer in Israel who could handle your complain. We are selling in Europe successful our 828HHS, please see product review on this link.

http://www.betterviewdesired.com/10-...20Audubon.html


I am willing to send you a 828HHS for your review, perhaps this will help to make you again a Swift supporter. ( of course you can keep him for free )

Please provide me with your address information and confirm if I can send this by parcel mail, ( without documents ) to your address or do you need official documents?
</quote>


.... Now, it might be a regular service in some parts of the world, but over hear something like that is enough for a front page in a newspaper.
Absolutely remarkable!
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Old Tuesday 13th December 2005, 14:57   #11
jedku
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Wow! Good work! What was that email address you complained to???? Seriously, I think it is an unusual response to a costumer complaint, even in this part of the world.
Please give us your review of the 828s when they arrive.
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