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History of the Swift 820? (2 Viewers)

downunder

Well-known member
Is anyone able to list the history of the Swift 820 binoculars. For example, when were they first released, when were significant changes made to these binoculars and what were these changes? How does the 820T differ from the 820, if at all? When I look at the 820 for sale at the moment on Amazon it is designated the 820T (https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00009XW5N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) but looks different to the 820T advertised at swift-sportsoptics.com. Which is the correct photo of the 820T? I am confused.
 

downunder

Well-known member
It probably seems like I am answering my own question but I am still confused about the history of the 820. It’s history is still about as clear as mud to me and I offer the below very tentatively and look forward to further advice from those more familiar with the 820.

From what I have worked out so far from reading various threads, the latest version of the 820HD appears to have come out towards the end of 2011 and looks like that shown on the swift-sportsoptics.com website which was a change in body shape to the earlier version. This version appears to have been in production for a couple of years before being discontinued. As well as an overall change in shape, it introduced oculars with a 3-position twist up and a new bridge. I have no idea how many earlier versions of the 820HD existed before this.

However, The non-HD version presently on sale as the 820T on Amazon and opticsplanet and other sites would appear to have the same body as previous iterations and strangely different to the HD version. They all seem to have the same external body shape as the original 820. Could these be old stock or have they simply used the wrong photograph and why have they referred to these as an 820T? I have only found one 2016 description of the non-HD version that matches that of the 820ED ( https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/...mc-type-4b2-vs-new-swift-premier-audubon-820/).
 
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Patudo

Well-known member
Renze and elkcub are not only knowledgeable, but forthcoming with their info - if they haven't replied, it may well be that they're themselves not sure. Elkcub has noted that the Japanese company Hiyoshi made Swift's Audubons from 1970 onwards, but I have no idea whether that extends to the 820 series. I don't think I've seen the 820T reviewed - it's pretty unlikely to be equal to the ED model, but if the performance of things like Kowa's YF porros is anything to go by, they're probably pretty good.

I recall you posting that your model 804 was so competitive with the 820 (ED?) you tried that you were going to return the latter. Is the 820 you've got now a different unit? The cloudynights review you linked to suggests that the 820 is very good, but night-time viewing is a bit of a different ball game to daytime observation. I like the looks of the 804, but would like to try the 820ED someday.
 

downunder

Well-known member
I did own the original shaped 820, the one shown in the photo on amazon. However, reviews on amazon indicated that photo was not the 820T that amazon was now selling. I liked my old 804 more than the original 820 (as mentioned in a previous thread). I got rid of that 820.

Amazon reviews indicated that the one for sale on amazon was more likely the one shown at swift-sportsoptics. Since starting this thread I recently bit the bullet and ordered the one on amazon. It turned out to be the shape as shown at swift-sports optics. This one has only recently arrived and is a keeper. It matched my outstanding 804 in clarity but is lighter, brighter, and waterproof. I love it and this must be why it is called the 820T and not simply an 820.

As an aside, where I have written HD in my second post I meant ED.
 
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Renze de Vries

Well-known member
Renze and elkcub are not only knowledgeable, but forthcoming with their info - if they haven't replied, it may well be that they're themselves not sure. Elkcub has noted that the Japanese company Hiyoshi made Swift's Audubons from 1970 onwards, but I have no idea whether that extends to the 820 series.

Both of us owned an 820 for a while, in my case the ED version, but it didn't impress us enough to keep track of subsequent models. So…

Renze
 
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Steve C

Well-known member
At one point, in about 2008, I had an 804, and both the ED and non ED 820 binoculars. The ED 820 was supposed to be ED, but it came with the yellow Swift logo. The ED version was supposed to have a red logo button. I think that was the first year the ED version was available. When I asked I was told there was a foul up in the factory and the gold logo was used instead of the red. I had them send me a non ED version. That led me to believe either one of two things was true. First there was no observable difference in the two. Second, and what I tend to think,is that the logo switch was a tall tale.

I did not keep either of the two 820 binoculars. The 804 was every bit as good, and the diameter of the ocular assemblies of the 820 were too large to be comfortable for me. I do not have particularly deep set eyes either.

I note the current photos of the 820 ED and 820 T show a binocular with obvious physical differences to the ones I had, which were like the ones pictured in the Amazon link. Just be aware that the Swift of today is not the Swift of Humphrey Swift. Don't know if I could bring myself to buy one from this outfit at the price they list.
 
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downunder

Well-known member
I note the current photos of the 820 ED and 820 T show a binocular with obvious physical differences to the ones I had, which were like the ones pictured in the Amazon link. Just be aware that the Swift of today is not the Swift of Humphrey Swift. Don't know if I could bring myself to buy one from this outfit at the price they list.

Another reason I decided to buy the 820T was that a month ago Amazon ran a one day sale on them for just over $320 US. I have not been disappointed with them and they match or are better than my older 804.
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Both of us owned an 820 for a while, in my case the ED version, but it didn't impress us enough to keep track of subsequent models. So…

Renze
Hi Renze,

Before selling my 804ED (thanks to you for the buyer :t:) I was able to compare it with an 820ED ... and they were quite different in that the 820ED didn't convey the beautiful and subtle color gradations of the 804ED. Of course, this is purely subjective on my part. However, I later found out that there was a black 804ED, which differed from ours in that the objectives were not air-spaced. I never got to look through one but I believe that feature was inherited by the 820ED, which also lacked air-spaced objectives.*

We've really got to stay in touch.
Ed

* The 820ED was first advertised to have air-spacing, but that was later admitted to being an advertising error.
 

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