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.
It looks well used, but mostly well loved. You will probably find that it will need a good amount of work. Here's one just like it that looks almost unused, for a price that most would consider very good...