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Historical Review of Swift 804 Audubon Binoculars (1 Viewer)

Pierre D.

Member
Good Morning to all

Just a quick heads-up for for those interested in a Swift Audubon

On ebay right now there is a 1965 8.5x44 model 804 with orig leather case and straps up for auction

- current bid is $31.00, 2 bids in so far (much lower starting price than I have ever seen on ebay for one of these.

- auction ends on 20 July '14 at 7:32 AM (Pacific time or 10:32 Eastern)

- eBay item number: 151356080989

All the best
Pierre


Ed,

Well, first of all thank you both very much for compiling the report in the first place - it was of great assistance to me when I recently bought an Audubon which I hope will be delivered to me in a couple of days.

I don't have any particular questions at the moment but I'll post them here when they occur to me.

Graham
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Good Morning to all

Just a quick heads-up for for those interested in a Swift Audubon

On ebay right now there is a 1965 8.5x44 model 804 with orig leather case and straps up for auction

- current bid is $31.00, 2 bids in so far (much lower starting price than I have ever seen on ebay for one of these.

- auction ends on 20 July '14 at 7:32 AM (Pacific time or 10:32 Eastern)

- eBay item number: 151356080989

All the best
Pierre

Hi Pierre,

This is a Type 1c, just like the one I own that is shown on pg. 10 of our paper. The s/n = 6513933 is somewhat earlier than mine (s/n 6514032), but otherwise I don't see any difference.

Two things for collectors to note: (1) The eyecups screw up on very fine threads for 2.5 mm (which is almost useless), and (2) this is the first new body construction Swift Instruments introduced after taking over from Swift & Anderson in 1960. The earlier construction, which had at least two eyecup variants, was first marketed in 1958 by S&A and then carried over by Swift Instruments until 1964 (I'll check my notes on that date).

Good buy for a collector, particularly with a matched case in good condition.

Ed
 
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SMark

Member
I'm bringing this thread back to the top to show a couple recent acquisitions of mine. Both of these are what you appear to be calling the Type 0 Audubon. Both are missing the ® next to the Swift bullseye logo, and the green lettered Audubon actually says it's only coated rather than fully coated. Though it is probably fully coated anyway. It also has no JB numbers. Further, the lenses are Quintar lenses rather than Ultrar lenses, though I have no idea what that means... :stuck:

I am wondering if these might represent the first two iterations of the Audubon? I have owned many Audubon's previously. I sold my last HR/5 when I bought my new (orange letter) 820. But the older models have always fascinated me.

BTW... I just registered, though I have lurked here for a few years now. So much good info to be found here.
 

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Renze de Vries

Well-known member
I'm bringing this thread back to the top to show a couple recent acquisitions of mine. Both of these are what you appear to be calling the Type 0 Audubon. Both are missing the ® next to the Swift bullseye logo, and the green lettered Audubon actually says it's only coated rather than fully coated. Though it is probably fully coated anyway. It also has no JB numbers. Further, the lenses are Quintar lenses rather than Ultrar lenses, though I have no idea what that means... :stuck:

I am wondering if these might represent the first two iterations of the Audubon? I have owned many Audubon's previously. I sold my last HR/5 when I bought my new (orange letter) 820. But the older models have always fascinated me.

BTW... I just registered, though I have lurked here for a few years now. So much good info to be found here.

Yes, you're right, these are the two Audubons issued by Swift & Anderson in the late 1950's. The interesting thing in these first Audubons is their smaller field of view in comparison to later editions: 420 ft/1000yds. According to the serial numbers the 'green' one is the forefather. Both feature bajonet mounted eye cups (please check), which were replaced in the second by threaded cups. The company change to Swift (bulls eye logo and serial number preceded by manufacturers code) also took place in this second model.
An interesting aspect not noticed by us thus far, at least not by me, is the RLE 43 objective lens. This would logically refer to a 43 mm objective but the configuration on the prism lid is the well known 8.5 x 44. Would you check please if the aperture is 44 mm indeed?

Your Audubons seem to be in fine condition. Congratulations.

Renze
 

henry link

Well-known member
An interesting aspect not noticed by us thus far, at least not by me, is the RLE 43 objective lens. This would logically refer to a 43 mm objective but the configuration on the prism lid is the well known 8.5 x 44. Would you check please if the aperture is 44 mm indeed?

Renze

Renze,

My recollection is that RLE (Relative Light Efficiency) was a marketing concept from the early days of AR coatings. The number was derived by taking the old concept of Light Efficiency (the exit pupil squared) and then increasing it by about 50% to represent the increase in light throughput from coated optics. So, a 7mm exit pupil binocular's Light Efficiency of 49 became an RLE of around 75. The change from an RLE of 43 to 44 might indicate a little more efficient coating, fewer glass surfaces, or of course given that this is a marketing term and an inexact approximation, it might indicate nothing at all.

Henry
 
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Renze de Vries

Well-known member
Renze,

My recollection is that RLE (Relative Light Efficiency) was a marketing concept from the early days of AR coatings. The number was derived by taking the old concept of Light Efficiency (the exit pupil squared) and then increasing it by about 50% to represent the increase in light throughput from coated optics. So, a 7mm exit pupil binocular's Light Efficiency of 49 became an RLE of around 75. The change from an RLE of 43 to 44 might indicate a little more efficient coating, fewer glass surfaces, or of course given that this is a marketing term and an inexact approximation, it might indicate nothing at all.

Henry

Thanks Henry.

Renze
 

Bencw

Well-known member
Congrats, those are two lovely old Audubons, I have never seen the green lettered one before, thanks for posting.

Ben
 

SMark

Member
Eyecups...

Yes, you're right, these are the two Audubons issued by Swift & Anderson in the late 1950's. The interesting thing in these first Audubons is their smaller field of view in comparison to later editions: 420 ft/1000yds. According to the serial numbers the 'green' one is the forefather. Both feature bajonet mounted eye cups (please check), which were replaced in the second by threaded cups. The company change to Swift (bulls eye logo and serial number preceded by manufacturers code) also took place in this second model.
An interesting aspect not noticed by us thus far, at least not by me, is the RLE 43 objective lens. This would logically refer to a 43 mm objective but the configuration on the prism lid is the well known 8.5 x 44. Would you check please if the aperture is 44 mm indeed?

Your Audubons seem to be in fine condition. Congratulations.

Renze

Here's a pic of the unscrewed eyecup from the green Audubon. It is a screw-on eyecup. The other one is, as you stated, a bayonet style mounting.
 

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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Hi, SMark,

Welcome to Birdforum. I believe there is a little confusion here. By coincidence I own exactly the same model Audubons, although my green one has a slightly earlier s/n, 70851.

I'm not at all sure that the part you removed was intended to be an adjustable eyecup. As can be seen, eyepiece set screws are revealed to allow for further disassembly. Note that after the bayonet mounted eyecup is removed from the white model what remains looks very similar to the green model with a smaller outer diameter. The distance between the rim and the eyelens is the same, 4mm. It's pretty clear that outer diameter of the original model was reduced to provide for a bayonet mount. As Renze mentioned above, later models made in the early 1960's reengineered the eyecups to thread in and out a few mm, — but they stayed attached.

Your specimen has helped to clarify the progression of 804 eyecups, from fixed eyecups through various schemes to improve it. Eventually, rubber eyecups became the standard method.

Anyway, that's what I think.

Ed
 
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SMark

Member
Hi, SMark,

Welcome to Birdforum. I believe there is a little confusion here. By coincidence I own exactly the same model Audubons, although my green one has a slightly earlier s/n, 70851.

I'm not at all sure that the part you removed was intended to be an adjustable eyecup. As can be seen, eyepiece set screws are revealed to allow for further disassembly. Note that after the bayonet mounted eyecup is removed from the white model what remains looks very similar to the green model with a smaller outer diameter. The distance between the rim and the eyelens is the same, 4mm. It's pretty clear that outer diameter of the original model was reduced to provide for a bayonet mount. As Renze mentioned above, later models made in the early 1960's reengineered the eyecups to thread in and out a few mm, — but they stayed attached.

Your specimen has helped to clarify the progression of 804 eyecups, from fixed eyecups through various schemes to improve it. Eventually, rubber eyecups became the standard method.

Anyway, that's what I think.

Ed

Thank you. I would agree that it is clearly not meant to be an adjustable eyecup, as it is quite difficult to both remove and then replace. I meant to say only that it unscrews. The rim underneath it then also unscrews, thereby allowing the diopter setting to be adjusted if needed, which this one did need when I got it. I can't even budge the left side, so I can't say if it is different or similar. On the newer model, the left side has a bayonet attachment for the eyecup, the right side is threaded and tightens to put downward pressure for the diopter.
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Thank you. I would agree that it is clearly not meant to be an adjustable eyecup, as it is quite difficult to both remove and then replace. I meant to say only that it unscrews. The rim underneath it then also unscrews, thereby allowing the diopter setting to be adjusted if needed, which this one did need when I got it. I can't even budge the left side, so I can't say if it is different or similar. On the newer model, the left side has a bayonet attachment for the eyecup, the right side is threaded and tightens to put downward pressure for the diopter.

Not sure what's going on with yours, but my white model has bayonet mounted eyecups on both sides. Please elaborate.

Ed
 

SMark

Member
Not sure what's going on with yours, but my white model has bayonet mounted eyecups on both sides. Please elaborate.

Ed

Perhaps I simply don't have the correct understanding of what a bayonet mounted eyecup is. In the pic below, the left eyecup attaches tightly with a quarter-turn twist. The right eyecup screws-on with about 4 complete turns. A tight fit is required or the diopter will slip.
 

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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
I suspect that on your specimen the bayonet mounted eyecup is frozen. Since it's mounted above the diopter, when you forced it to turn the diopter cover came out with it.

The left and right eyecups are identical and interchangeable.

Ed
 

SMark

Member
I suspect that on your specimen the bayonet mounted eyecup is frozen. Since it's mounted above the diopter, when you forced it to turn the diopter cover came out with it.

The left and right eyecups are identical and interchangeable.

Ed

Indeed, it looks like that is the case. Separating them should be fun... Okay, that wasn't so bad. Just a little upward pressure while unscrewing separated them. Everything seems good now.
 

SMark

Member
I removed the right eyecup on the green letter Audubon again just to take more pics. I still can't budge the left one, but I suspect there isn't much difference between them...

BTW, there are no set screws in that ring. Just for spanner wrench points, I guess.
 

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SMark

Member
Here's something else ya'll might find interesting...

While I'm not really a Swift Collector, I generally collect wide angles. So one of my favorite wide angles is the Swift Holiday. One of my Holidays is very similar to these two Audubons. And it's actually more similar to the green letter Audubon, except that it's not green. But it has the same eyecups, the same "Coated Optics," and no JB numbers. The right prism plate (cover) graphics look more like the second Audubon, and then it's missing the trademark symbol as well. So it would appear to come from this same era anyway. And it is also my favorite Holiday of the 5 that I own (2 of the 5 are duplicates.)
 

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Renze de Vries

Well-known member
Here's something else ya'll might find interesting...

While I'm not really a Swift Collector, I generally collect wide angles. So one of my favorite wide angles is the Swift Holiday. One of my Holidays is very similar to these two Audubons. And it's actually more similar to the green letter Audubon, except that it's not green. But it has the same eyecups, the same "Coated Optics," and no JB numbers. The right prism plate (cover) graphics look more like the second Audubon, and then it's missing the trademark symbol as well. So it would appear to come from this same era anyway. And it is also my favorite Holiday of the 5 that I own (2 of the 5 are duplicates.)

First type Holiday here, issued by Swift & Anderson. Field of view, already generous with 578 ft/1000 yds, went up to 600 and even 630 in the 1970's and 80's.
Ed, an interesting thing of which I don't know if we ever discussed it, are the serial numbers of 1960's Holidays. While we never were able to find Audubons with sn's from 1963 and 1964 (our infamous gap) we did encounter Holidays from these years. Tamron-Zuiho, company number 4 preceding the sn.

Renze
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Hi Renze,

Yeah, I remember doing a marginally productive analysis of our Swift database. My current thinking is that after the transition from Swift & Anderson to Swift Instruments in 1960, the early Type 1a, and possibly Type 1b, continued to be provided by Tamron-Zuiho until changed to Hiyoshi Kogaku (with Type 1c). And it seems like Tamron-Zuiho also encoded the date into the s/n after 1960.

In 1969 the S&A catalog lists Model 766 7x35 Holiday Mark II at the same level of quality as the 804 Audubon, — costing $56.25 vs $58.50. I shall scan and attach the first few pages, which cover several topics discussed here including quality, bayonet mounted eyecups, RLE, 804 Audubon and 766 Holiday.

Ed

PS. Swift Instruments consistently included the RLE factor in it's catalogs throughout it's corporate history — right into the 21st Century. More about that later since it is kind of interesting (well, to me anyway ;))
 

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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
The best technical explanation that I've come across for "RLE" appeared in Dr. Henry Paul's 1965 book: "BINOCULARS and All-Purpose Telescopes."* There was a reasonable rationale for the metric, but it doesn't appear to have been applied correctly or uniformly, even though Swift used it into this century.

In 2000 the RLEs for the new Models 820 and 820ED were given values of 44.2 compared to 44.0 39 yrs. earlier for the 804. Virtually no credit (only 0.45%) was given to multi-coating advances made in the interim.

Recalculating, given a measured transmission of 89%, the 820 should have an RLE = 2x(44/8.5)^2x.89 = 47.7. This is 9% greater than the single coated version made in 1961. And since the human eye perceives a 'just noticeable difference' (jnd) of about 3% for brightness, the modern version is distinctly brighter.

(Note: *Rotate the view clockwise in Acrobat Reader and print in landscape mode if you'd wish).

Ed
 

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birdaviator

New member
Hello, I’ve just registered on Birdforum and this is my first post. I hope that it will be within the forum rules.

I’ve read with great interest the discussions about the history of the Swift Audubon binoculars and the article by Edward M. Huff and Renze de Vries that tried to build a timeline of the different versions. Why this interest? Because 36 years ago I bought a Swift Audubon 804 Mark II in an optician shop in The Netherlands. During all these years it has been heavily used by me on an almost daily basis (and often mistreated in less ideal circumstances, as can be seen on the photos) for aircraft spotting and bird watching. It even fell on concrete once when the neck strap broke, resulting in some damage to the right hand ocular lense.

I’ve always been very satisfied with the wide field angle, the sharp image and the good performance in dark circumstances. But in the last years this satisfaction slowly faded away because the bridge became more and more unstable and the diopter moves when holding the binos with one hand. This is caused by a crack in the diopter ring. Also the vision became less clear, apparently because of some haze on the inside of the left objective. Furthermore collimation may be needed. For these reasons I was looking for new binoculars, but now that I’ve read on this forum that maintenance and repair by a qualified company in The Netherlands may be possible, I will now first look into that option.

My 804 has manufacturer code J-B56 and serial number 811979 and is of type 3b (gold ribbon), but with a metal (not rubber-coated) focus knob. Another remarkable point is the red text “wide field 8.5°” on the right cover plate instead of “extra wide field” as is present on all the photos that I’ve seen except the one on the right of page 14 of the document by Edward M. Huff and Renze de Vries. It has no “H.R.” on it, just “Audubon”.

The upper parts of the rubber eyecups went missing on my 804 since I kept them always in rolled down position, what caused that these parts broke off after the rubber had dried out.

Ad
 

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