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Binoculars review

Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44

Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44
9 November 2010
Optyczne.pl 
The Japanese Tamron company’s optics specialists were specifically commissioned by the Swift company to design the first Swift Audubon binoculars. The design was based on the ornithological market research. Currently sold models are already the third generation of this series.

The porro prismatic Swift Audubon ED 8.5x44 model includes low dispersion ED glass in the objective lens which task is to fight against the chromatic and spherical aberration and raising the contrast level by 5-10% compared to normal binoculars.

Apart from the objective lens we deal here with Porro system prisms and five-lens eyepieces, which ensure one of the widest field of view in this class.

Everything is closed in a waterproof and nitrogen-filled magnesium barrel padded with high quality rubber. All air-to-glass surfaces were covered by antireflection coatings.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44
  • Lornetka Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44
  • Lornetka Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44
  • Lornetka Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Swift Optics
web site

Distribution / Sales:

Migomex
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8.5 44 144/1000(8.2o) BaK-4/Porro 17 mm 730 g 1719 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   43.83+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  43.8+/- 0.05 mm
7 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 8.8+/- 0.15x 3/3.0
Transmission 90+/- 3% 13/15.0
Chromatic aberration Very low in the centre, low at the edge. 8.3/10.0
Astigmatism Between low and medium. 6.8/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the filed centre compared to the field of view radius: 38% +\- 4% 4/10.0
Coma Between low and medium. 6.5/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 70% +\- 5% from the field of view centre. 3/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Visible but at a medium level. 3/5.0
Whiteness of the image Slightly yellow. 3.9/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44 - Internal reflections - Left Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44 - Internal reflections - Right
Very distinct.
1.2/5.0
Housing Solid barrel, comfortable to hold. Uninterested eyecups – made of plastic and loose-fitting. 7/8.0
Focusing Central screw moves conveniently and smoothly (700 degrees). The bridge’s movements minimally uneven. Putting pressure on it doesn’t cause defocusing. Slight lateral “play” of the eyepieces. Individual focusing is comfortable but it moves the lens. 3.6/5.0
Tripod There is a comfortable exit. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 55.2 to 71.1mm 2/6.0
Closest focusing distance 2.60 m 1/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 68.9 degrees. 8.5/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 7.83 +\- 0.03 degrees and it was by as much as 0.37 degrees narrower than in the specifications. Even so, the field is still very wide for this equipment class. 5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Tubes are black and matt; the bottom - bright and gray. Two big points on the left prism. White glue. 3/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44 - Vignetting - Left Swift Optics 820 ED Audubon 8.5x44 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 0.9%, OR: 0.9%
6/8.0
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Blue-green on the objective lenses. Purple on the prisms. Green-purple on the eyepieces. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 25 5/6.0
Final result
71.6%
121.8 / 170 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros:
  • solid barrel,
  • very wide field of view,
  • good transmission,
  • slight chromatic aberration,
  • good whiteness rendition,
  • good quality prisms and coatings.

Cons:
  • visible flares,
  • not comfortable eyecups,
  • blurred edges of the field of view,
  • dirt on one of the prisms,
  • the maximum IPD too narrow.


A handy set of porro binoculars with a wide field of view and equipped with low dispersion glass should be on every producer’s offer. Such an instrument is easy to manufacture so it doesn’t have to be very expensive and if you take care of the build quality and other details it might be even a best-seller. Will the Swift 8.5x44 ED be such a product? It’s difficult to say; it seems that the producer didn’t exactly see to the details in this case. On the one hand we have ED glass, which corrects the aberration efficiently, and good coatings which assure good transmission and whiteness rendition; apart from that the binoculars do have a wide field of view and good quality prisms. On the other hand, though, you can get annoyed by trivial flaws, such as insufficient blackening and cleanliness inside, low quality of eyecups which are ergonomically badly designed, the average quality of the edge of the field of view (significantly smaller, by the way, than in the specifications).

Does this balance of profits and losses is favourable for the Swift, taking into account its price? Customers will have to determine it for themselves.