Swift takes everything you love about their Audubon 8.5x44 Porro Prism binocular and enhances its perfomance with extra low dispersion (ED) glass. With a wide field of view, close focus, long eye relief, and a light weight, Swift has included all the features you desire. On a cloudy or rainy day, you will appreciate the increased light transmission from the fully multi-coated optics and the waterproof protection. The Swift Audubon binocular is covered by the Swift Premier 25-year warranty.
Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Glass
Enhances resolution, color, and contrast.
Fully Multi-coated Lenses
Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Optimize light transmission.
Generally offer a rich depth of field, wide field of view, and three-dimensional image.
Provides a secure, non-slip grip.
Adjustable Multi-Position Eyecups
Twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
Center Focus Wheel
Adjusts both binocular barrels at the same time.
Right Eye Diopter
Adjusts for differences in a user's eyes. Located by the right eyepiece.
Optics are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the binocular.
Barrels are filled with nitrogen gas to inhibit internal fogging.
I bought my ED's in 2003 because of the waterproof feature. They were $370 then. I had the standard 8.5 Audubons since 1993 and still use them as backups, but I was going to do the Isles of Shoals CBC which puts about 20 miles of ocean in your face. That day I had great views of Razorbills, Purple Sandpipers and Harlequin Ducks; very bright and clear. Depth of field and field of view are some of the best out there. Easy to pick up small targets in foliage, often much faster that others with me. 9 years on, I have tried lots of other binoculars, but the Swift's remain #1. I have had no problem with the eye cups, mine lock in place easily. I've never had to have them repaired, carrying them to Central America, Spain, Cyprus, Switzerland, England and Ireland. I've had them out at -20 in the White Mountains of NH, (Stiff to focus, but what would't be) and 105 in Death Valley. I do recommend a shoulder harness, but I'd do that with any binocular Never have had any fogging problems. I use them an average of 15 hours a week.
Five years, five stars
Jim K from South Florida
I've owned the ED-version binoculars since 2008. In addition to recreational birding and wildlife viewing I also do volunteer work that requires reading leg bands. The image quality and color accuracy are excellent for that work. I chose these binoculars after researching every model I could find in their price class.
I've been told that in a price class you're likely to get better optical quality with porro-prism binoculars than with roof-prism models. The roof-prism binoculars are less bulky, but I'm glad I opted for image quality, as I don't find these binoculars hard to carry and use and the image quality is superb. I've since had the chance to compare them with other similarly priced popular-brand optics and never regretted my choice.
To secure the eyepiece lens caps when they're off the eyepieces I use "cap keepers" designed for cameras. I don't use the objective lens caps in the field. To lessen the weight around my neck I bought a harness from Eagle Optics. I can carry these binoculars all day without noticing the weight. I've never wished for better binoculars and if -- heaven forbid -- something happened to them, I'd buy another pair. I'll be out using them tomorrow morning!
An update on a slow romance
DAVE A. from Ontario Canada
Well, as said in my earlier review, I didn't find that these binoculars gave me the same great bang-for-the-buck feeling compared with other purchases from E.O.. Now having had these for a couple of weeks I find myself liking these classic porros more and more as time goes on. They fit my hands extremely well, and they present the one great advantage over a roof prism and that's the 3D affect. Chromatic aberration just isn't there or if it is I can't see it, meaning that the ED glass is doing a good job in controlling it. The wide field of view makes any pastime easy, wildlife or examining the heavens, also a good depth of view helps in getting a fast focus. So a hasty first impression has in fact given way to a new respect for these binos, all in all a keeper.
A Classic Porro Design
DAVE A. from Ontario Canada
These Swift Audubon 8.5x44 ED binoculars arrived today, in a standard cardboard box that Swift have used for ages, will Swift ever update the box and its design?. Inside in its case and a plastic bag was a nice looking if not plain porro binocular, the only thing to say what it was is an insert on the centre hinge and a sticker on the box, however it is the Audubon ED version.
The big question is does ED glass make that much of a difference over the standard version? and is it justified to the extent of an extra $100 or so?. Well the views are rich and crisp, its made in Japan, the soft case offers some protection however I would have preferred a hard case,also included is a good neck strap and the standard small cleaning cloth.All functions are smooth and precise.
A standard booklet covers the main functions and states that a card with the specifications is included, not with my pair. No way at all of knowing the specs: and if these are fog and water proof other than what E.O. says on their website.
A nice binocular though I was left expecting just that bit more. In comparing them with my 8x40 Nikon Action Extremes I could not find the extra $300 difference in price between the two justified. For the price of the Swifts you can buy three pairs of the Nikons. Sure, the Swifts are a bit superior view wise but not by much, being made in Japan instead of China accounts for some of the difference in price. So all in all, the Swifts are a nice binocular but unlike other purchases from E.O. they didn't deliver a great bang for the buck feeling.
Great return for the money
Rich from Massachusetts
This classic old style porro prism bino provides a very impressive view for the money. The addition of ED glass delivers a nice sharp, color contrasted image and very good control of CA (color fringing).
There is some image softness at the edge of the field which is common for most mid piiced binoculars and the eye caps can be a little fragil so I make it a point to be gentle when adjusting them.
Not long ago I purchased the top of the line EL 50 Swarovision from Eagle Optics. The Swaro is about as good as it gets optically. My most favorable viewing situation is to have the Audubons around my neck for scanning and spotting then use the 12x50 Swaro on a tripod for the remarkable close in detailed look.
So how do the two compare? Is the Swift an optical match to the Swaro? My answer is no. There is a good reason why super high end HD glass, which the Swarovski has requires such a high price. But having said that, the Swift Audubon ED performs surprisingly well next to the Swaro when considering it has such a reasonable price.
This binocular is an excellent value for the money.
Great optics, feel great
Kent from PA
We had a pair of Swift porro binoculars that both my wife and I used. My wife liked the light weight and I liked the optics at such a reasonable price. When the new ED porro prism Bino's came out, I had to have a pair instead of begging my wife to use her pair. They feel great and the optics are superb. I like the field of view too. You can pick up birds quickly. Although I agree with others that say the eye cups don't stay in place, that's more my lack of care when I throw them in the back seat of my car than anything else. The weight is a little heavy too for extended periods of viewing.
Love them, absolute favorites
Marie Schatz from Michigan living in Dayton
I bought these soon after the ED version came out. I LOVE them. I have very bad eyesight (20x950) and my sense of what I can see rapidly decreases with the amount of light. I feel these provide the best of all worlds. I own Swarovski roof 8 x 42's as my "good" binos but, honestly...I have always preferred these. I feel I find more birds and see better. Part of its the amount of light and part of its the field of view. Side to side or whatever you call it is wonderful. You find more birds and track and keep them in view easier. I also love porros and seriously mourn their demise. A short waisted 5'5" I prefer the horizontal porros hanging on my chest and my fingers don't cramp holding these with their nice wide barrels. Several years ago I drove off with them on the top of my car and have had trouble getting them fixed correctly. I'm writing this as I'm on the website to buy my second pair. I hope they make them forever.
Ken Anderson from Pullman, WA
Optically speaking, these are as good as any binoculars I've looked through. Their detail resolution and color fidelity is flawless. They are also waterproof/fogproof (so they say, I haven't actually tested them myself) which is a big selling point for porro prism binos. The rubber armoring is nice and the binos feel good in the hands. The only thing I didn't like about them was the old-style pop-up eyecups, which tend to push back in too easily if you press them firmly against your eye sockets. The focus wheel, while very smooth and precise, is painfully slow; it seems to take forever to crank in from minimum close focus (about 6 feet) to maximum distance focus. The lens covers/rain guards are totally impractical for field use. You will have to buy an after-market product for this purpose. Still, I think these binos are well worth their asking price.
Great optics for the price, dependable
Jordan Wolf from Astoria, NY
I bought my pair from Eagle Optics in 2002 when I was a poor grad student, and it is still my primary binocular.
I originally fell in love with the older model of this binocular (the non-waterproof ones) during a two summer stint as a piping plover steward on Long Island. The binoculars were always sturdy, withstanding sand, salt water, and sometimes not-so-gentle handling. What impressed me the most were the comfortable optics, allowing me to look through them all day without any problems.
When it came time for me to upgrade my own optics, I wanted to get the high quality glass I had seen in high-priced binocs, but I didn't have a lot of money as I was in grad school. The Swift Audubons had just undergone a remake to make them rubberized and waterproof, and thankfully the price hadn't gone up much at all. I chose to spend the extra $100 for the EDs and I have not been at all disappointed since.
7 years on, and they are still in great shape. The optics are clear and bright even in low-light situations. The colors are neutral and true. Even though they are the older porro style and not the more common roofs, I still love their feel in my hands. The field of view is great, and even if it's only 0.5x more than others, the extra magnification at least makes me feel like I can see that extra detail I'd otherwise miss. My only complaint with these is that the eye cups are a little difficult to get up and down (hence 4 and not 5 stars). Otherwise, I love everything about this binoc.
If you're looking for high quality glass at a price lower than most, Swift Audubons ED are the way to go.
Dean Berg from Detroit Lakes
Very bright,sharp view with these binoculars. I really like the 3D view they give. Eye cups are hard to get used too but otherwise a nice pair of binoculars.
Vern from SF Bay Area
The eyecups are very fragile and flimsy for a binocular in this price range...mine don't even "lock" in place; you just twist them up and thats it, but they barely stay "up"...its best to hold them up with a rubber band or something similar...
Also the eyecup housing is so thin, its easy to crack/break them by accidentally knocking them against a hard surface...
Swift needs to improve this aspect of the Audubon line.