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Swift Audubon 804 (1 Viewer)

downunder

Well-known member
I have just bought the below set of binoculars. The Serial Number is 892431 indicating a 1989 model. I think it is a type 4a Swift Audubon but it has some unusual markings. I thought 804's from 1989 were marked 804R on the cover plate. As can be seen in the first photograph, these are marked as 804. I was also wondering if the blue rings as seen in the second photo are common. The left side of the cover plate is marked MULTI-COATED OPTICS (as seen in the third photo).

Am I correct in my conclusion that these are type a 4A model?
 

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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Yes, I would agree that yours are yet another variant of Type 4a. There appears to be no writing within the white triangle on the right cover plate, whereas we identified two variants saying "Mark II" on one and "Wide Field" on the other. The "R" is missing from Model No. 804R, but the blue objective rings are the primary identifier for a Model 4a sold in North America. Swift-Pyser may have distributed a similar model in Europe earlier in the 1980s but without blue markings.

Ed
 

downunder

Well-known member
The 804 binoculars mentioned above just arrived. This time lady luck was on my side. I think it was back in 2006 I bought a couple of the older version 804 binoculars. They were out of collimation when they arrived from the US and I couldn't find anyone in Australia who was able to fix the collimation perfectly. I was very disappointed. I eventually gave them to my grandchildren.

This time it is an absolutely, completely different story. I bought this present set for $150 US on the big auction site. They have turned out to be what appears to be a new old version right down to all the original paperwork, box and case. There is not a mark on them to indicate they have ever been used. How they have survived since 1989 in this state of perfection is amazing. The view through them is exceptional. I own a set of Nikon 8x30 EII binoculars and a set of Swarovski Habicht 8x30 binoculars. Both of these are exceptionally good binoculars. I'll have to do more testing, but at the moment I think these 804's provide a better or at least equivalent view for birding in the bush around my home than my EII and Habicht binoculars. That is impressive because neither of those two binoculars are 'slouches' when it comes to viewing birds.

Ed, the photos didn't show it but now I have them in hand they do have "Wide Field" in the white triangle so they are not a new variant.
 

WJC

Well-known member
The 804 binoculars mentioned above just arrived. This time lady luck was on my side. I think it was back in 2006 I bought a couple of the older version 804 binoculars. They were out of collimation when they arrived from the US and I couldn't find anyone in Australia who was able to fix the collimation perfectly. I was very disappointed. I eventually gave them to my grandchildren.

This time it is an absolutely, completely different story. I bought this present set for $150 US on the big auction site. They have turned out to be what appears to be a new old version right down to all the original paperwork, box and case. There is not a mark on them to indicate they have ever been used. How they have survived since 1989 in this state of perfection is amazing. The view through them is exceptional. I own a set of Nikon 8x30 EII binoculars and a set of Swarovski Habicht 8x30 binoculars. Both of these are exceptionally good binoculars. I'll have to do more testing, but at the moment I think these 804's provide a better or at least equivalent view for birding in the bush around my home than my EII and Habicht binoculars. That is impressive because neither of those two binoculars are 'slouches' when it comes to viewing birds.

Ed, the photos didn't show it but now I have them in hand they do have "Wide Field" in the white triangle so they are not a new variant.

While most binoculars can be collimated to within a fraction needed to fit within the range of the user’s spatial accommodation, no binocular is “perfectly collimated” and need not be. A person who has “perfectly collimated” a binocular is either a liar or a very inexperienced tech. A collimation job may work fantastically at all IPD settings. But “perfectly collimated” is fleeting and unnecessary.

Roger Davis is in Australia and, if he is still in business, could have done the work. :cat:

Bill
 

dries1

Member
Downunder,

You have now been bit by the larger aperture and exit pupil of a very fine glass, you may never go back. It is also nice to procure an older glass in mint condition.

Congrats,

Andy W.
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
The 804 binoculars mentioned above just arrived. This time lady luck was on my side. I think it was back in 2006 I bought a couple of the older version 804 binoculars. They were out of collimation when they arrived from the US and I couldn't find anyone in Australia who was able to fix the collimation perfectly. I was very disappointed. I eventually gave them to my grandchildren.

This time it is an absolutely, completely different story. I bought this present set for $150 US on the big auction site. They have turned out to be what appears to be a new old version right down to all the original paperwork, box and case. There is not a mark on them to indicate they have ever been used. How they have survived since 1989 in this state of perfection is amazing. The view through them is exceptional. I own a set of Nikon 8x30 EII binoculars and a set of Swarovski Habicht 8x30 binoculars. Both of these are exceptionally good binoculars. I'll have to do more testing, but at the moment I think these 804's provide a better or at least equivalent view for birding in the bush around my home than my EII and Habicht binoculars. That is impressive because neither of those two binoculars are 'slouches' when it comes to viewing birds.

Ed, the photos didn't show it but now I have them in hand they do have "Wide Field" in the white triangle so they are not a new variant.

Congratulations! I also prefer the Swift to the Nikon and Swaro. I suspect that your specimen was produced at the very end of the 804R production cycle, and included upgraded multi-coatings used in Type 4b(1). (Bill will verify that's very, very important!) That might explain why it's marked as a Model 804 rather than an 804R.

About a year ago I also acquired a mint Type 4b(1) on eBay for $150 USD — perfectly well collimated too. Couldn't pass it up, but that's an example of my eyes being bigger than my needs.

Enjoy,
Ed
 

downunder

Well-known member
Ed, I fully understand ‘my eyes being bigger than my needs’. I keep thinking if this 804 is this good, what must the latest version of the 820 be like. I don’t really need another set of binoculars but am tempted to buy a 820.
 

WJC

Well-known member
"perfectly well collimated too."

Okay, turkey, consider my goat ... got! 8-P

Bill
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Ed, I fully understand ‘my eyes being bigger than my needs’. I keep thinking if this 804 is this good, what must the latest version of the 820 be like. I don’t really need another set of binoculars but am tempted to buy a 820.

Let me save you the trouble if you currently own one of the HR/5 multicoated models, particularly the fully-multicoated ones. I have an 820 and it really isn't much of an improvement, if any. However, if you should run across either an 804ED or Model 826 10x50 Kestrel-Audubon in great condition, and at a good price, by all means, go for it.

There's nothing wrong with the 820 or 820ED, incidentally, but they use hard plastic eyecups that I don't enjoy, and the ED model doesn't have the sweet air-spaced objective of an 804ED.

Try to control yourself. o:D

Ed
 

downunder

Well-known member
Well, I just 'bit the bullet'. For my uses, I have now found the 804's outclassed my Swarovski Habicht 8x30 set. My Habicht's, which I still consider a quality binocular, will be placed for sale and I have bought a Swift Audubon 820 set of binoculars to replace them. The Habicht's were my waterproof binoculars and I hope the waterproof 820's will be as good as or better than the 840's which I have found to be fantastic, superb, amazing, ...... I think you get the picture. I really like them.

Edited part - Murphy's Law - Ed, you must have sent your above post as I was writing mine. I didn't see yours until I posted mine. Oh well, I hope I get a good set of 820's.
 
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Patudo

Well-known member
I think it was back in 2006 I bought a couple of the older version 804 binoculars. They were out of collimation when they arrived from the US and I couldn't find anyone in Australia who was able to fix the collimation perfectly. I was very disappointed. I eventually gave them to my grandchildren.

Hi Downunder - I read your original thread with interest. It was a shame you weren't able to find someone able to collimate them. Australian Birdforum member "Rathaus" mentions employing the services of an ex Zeiss technician for his Bushnell Rangemasters in this thread (https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=316823). It may be worth trying to contact him.

Enjoyed reading about your latest purchases and hope you will have many years' enjoyment from both.

Regards,
Patudo
 

downunder

Well-known member
The Swift 820 has arrived. I am pleased with it and as Ed pointed out it generally is not a significant improvement on the 804. Of course the 804 was such a fine binocular that that is really a compliment. The three important differences between the 804 and the 820 are noticeable lower weight, rubber armouring, and waterproofness of the 820. I could give a detailed descriptive comparison but that has already been done at https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/...mc-type-4b2-vs-new-swift-premier-audubon-820/ . That comparison was particularly noteworthy for me as I own all three binoculars described in that thread and agree with the conclusions reached. I have fitted a Bino Bandit to the 820. The Bino Bandit works well on the 820. I am also lucky in that I find the eyecups on my 820 very comfortable.
 

downunder

Well-known member
I have now had time to fairly extensively compare my 804 version with the 820 model. My priorities for comparing included ease of focus, quickness of focus, and clarity of the view in both resolution, contrast, and clarity. In every one of these categories my 804 won. To put it simply, my 804 was just so much more fun to use. It is a pity the 804 does not have some of the other attributes of the 820 like the waterproofing etc. but the 804 I have is magnificent. There is basically nothing wrong with the 820 I have but it is being returned to the seller. My version can't compete with the 804 I already own.

To give an idea of how good my 804 is, as well as returning the 820 I am now reducing my binocular collection and selling near new versions of the Swarovski Habicht 8x30 W, an Anniversary Nikon 8x30 EII (but I will be keeping a normal model EII), and a Canon 10x30 IS II. I am keeping the 840. It is not that there is anything wrong with the newer binocular models but in my opinion the old 804 is better.

As an aside, I will also be keeping my 40 year old version of the Swarovski Habicht 7x42 binoculars (and even buying a new version to gain waterproofing). Amazing that these two old models (the 804 and habicht) can not only keep pace with newer binoculars that generally cost much more, but in some ways beat the newer models especially in what I would call the 'fun factor'.
 
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