Swift Audubon 8.5x44 Binoculars Review

Swift 8.5 x 44 Audubon Binoculars
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Buy & Compare Prices for the Swift Audubon 8.5x44 Binoculars
Price Range: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars
Astronomy Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy

Swift Sport Optics say that their Audubon Binoculars were designed by birders, for birders and whilst many opt for 8x42 binoculars for bird watching, according to a survey conducted by Swift on some of the worlds leading ornithologists the ultimate size for birding binoculars is 8.5x44. Swift have taken this information along with the wish list of the ornithologists and designed the Swift Audubon Binocular.

The Swift Audubon 828 HHS Binoculars

There are three binoculars in the Audubon series, all of which are 8.5x44's, two of which are porro prisms, and this the new roof prism design that still features BaK4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics, twist-up eyecups and a lightweight rubber armored body.

Main Highlights

  • 5-Lens Ocular System
  • BaK4 Prisms
  • Fully Multi-coated Optics
  • Center Focus Diopter Adjustment
  • Waterproof, Fogproof & Shock Proof
  • SwiftPremier Twenty Five Year Warranty

Roof or Porro Prism?

The roof prism design means that the objective lenses and ocular lenses line up making the binocular smaller and lighter, but because the objective lenses are closer together than the porro prism design, the depth of view is slightly reduced, as is the field of view. So the choice is really a matter of what is most important to your needs, a smaller, lighter more compact design, or better depth and field of view. See comparison details below for the main differences:

820 & 820ED Porro Prism Swift Audubon 8.5x44 Binoculars
Weight: 24oz / 682g
Field of view at 1000 yds/m: 430ft/143m
Close focus distance: 10ft/3m

828 Roof Prism Swift Audubon 8.5x44 Binoculars
Weight: 23.4oz / 663g
Field of view at 1000 yds/m: 336ft/112m
Close focus distance: 9ft/2.7m

Audubon Optics

These 8.5x44 Swift Audubon binoculars come with multi-coated optics, meaning that all the all air to glass surfaces have multiple layers of anti-reflection coatings and BaK4 prisms that are constructed from superior optical glass producing clearer images with excellent light transmission and edge-to-edge sharpness. I tested these binoculars on a dull overcast day and the image that the produced was extremely bright and sharp and you are sure not to be disappointed.

Body Design

The feel of these binoculars is fantastic, perfectly balanced and the rubber armour not only helps with grip, but will protect the binoculars from small bumps and bashes. The 828 Swift Audubon binoculars are also fully waterproof and fogproof and so should handle even the toughest of conditions that you may encounter whilst out birdwatching.

Swith Audubon Binocular EyecupsEye-relief
The twist up eyecups provide an excellent 19mm of eye-relief easily putting them into my category of long eye relief binoculars, so more than enough even if you wear eye-glasses. The image on the right shows the eyecups once they have been fully twisted out.

Focusing is via the large center focus knob that was both fast and smooth. They have also added a combined diopter ring adjustment to the knob that you just click out to adjust the left eyepiece independently to allow for any differences that you may have in each of your eyes. This is an important part in correctly focusing your binoculars to your own eyesight and this system makes it simpler than ever. What is also good is that the diopter locks into place as I have often changed the adjustment accidentally on other systems, whilst this not a train smash, it can get annoying having to re-adjust it.

What's Included
Neoprene neck strap, rainguard and objective lens covers, microfiber lens cloth and padded field case as well as the impressive SwiftPremier 25 year warranty.


I loved the look and feel of these binoculars, light enough to easily carry with you, yet they have a solidness about them that is reassuring. The eye-relief is excellent, the optics were extremely bright and the fully multi-coated lenses and BAK4 Prisms are what you would expect on a quality pair of binoculars. Compared to the "standard" 8x42 setup of most birding binoculars, I like the larger 44 mm objective and .5 power increase, which also makes them much more useful and I would also recommend these for safari and wildlife viewing. Even though they are larger, they are as light and in some cases even lighter than many of the top 8x42 binoculars. The field of view (336ft/112m at 1000 yds/m) compares favourably with other top roof prism birding binoculars, but then when you take into account the added magnification it becomes a little more impressive.

Customer service
Last, but not least I would like to thank Swift Sport Optics and Pyser - SGI Limited, the UK distributors of Swift Binoculars for providing me with the binoculars to review. This review is completely independent and I have no preference over which brand of binoculars people buy on Best Binoculars Reviews, but I would go on to say that the UK distributors and Swift Europe got back and dealt with my request to review their products promplly, unlike many other popular binocular brands which is a big plus in my opinion.

Reviewed by

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 8/10 78%
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Components Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 8/10

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Swift Binoculars

Main Specifications & Features:

More Images of the Swift Binoculars


Your Reviews:

- Source: Amazon.com
Rating: 5/5
The Swift 8.5 x 44 HHS Audobons are fine birding binoculars at an affordable price. They offer a clear, sharp image without going to the price extremes of the three big brands. They are easy to use, although the focus wheel could be larger for easier use. The rubber armoring gives them a solid feel in the hand without being excessively heavy. The 8.5 magnification is just right for birding. It is not so big that it becomes hard to hold the image steady as is the case with 10s for me. The 44 front optic allows a great field of vision and plenty of light for dawn and dusk birding. They are also nitrogen purged. I am delighted with them. They were reviewed by Better View Desired, which is where I learned about them.

- Source: Amazon.com
Rating: 5/5
I have worked on microscopes as part of my career as a geologist. Because of this I have gotten quite particular about optical equipment quality. But I'm also thrifty enough to realize that although the $1K-level binculars as offered by Zeiss, Leitz, Swarovski are absolutely top shelf...I'm not trying to find a bighorn sheep a mile away in between glacial crags...I'm doing local birding and deer hunting within 300 yards. So I spent many hours researching the various price/quality levels..on the web and at local shops (I found very few shop hands that knew much in detail about binoc optics). After a narrowing down to a few options I purchased the Swift Audubon. I'm very happy with this item. At this price level I don't think you will find better optical quality. Diopter correction is easy to set, the focus is fast enough for birding, and the light gathering at dusk/dawn is excellent. Going light is good...but if something is very light, it'll be mostly plastic/composites and it'll be less likely to take a few knocks...so don't get swayed only on weight. I find these to be easy to carry and the construction is substantial enough to take normal field abuse. Buy them...you'll like 'em.

- Source: Amazon.com
Rating: 5/5
I've had these binoculars for over one year. I use them mainly for birding. My previous binoculars were my almost 25 year old Leitz Trinovid 10x40's. The Trinovids were excellent binoculars in their day but they are definitely getting long in the tooth. I'll keep them because, let's face it, I'll never be able to afford the current Leica binoculars.

I tried several brands before settling on the Swift Audubon roof prisms. What I found was that some binoculars excel in some areas but fall short in others. Of those I tried, the Audubons were the most comfortable to use with good depth of field, brightness and sharpness. Oddly, the Audubons do not really seem to excel in any area--they simply provide a combination of attributes that make them pleasant to use.

I give these binoculars my highest recommendation. Unfortunately, the only way to tell if a binocular fits your vision and handling characteristics is to try them. That's impossible when ordering online so be sure to order from a place like Amazon--a place that will take them back if they don't work for you.


More Information:

About Swift | View all Swift products I have written reviews on

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Full Size Binoculars | Roof Prism Binoculars | General Use Binoculars | Birdwatching Binoculars | Mid-High Value Binoculars

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Binocular Price Comparison
Where to buy the Swift 8.5x44 Audubon Binoculars

General Price Range: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars

Below is a link that will take you to a page with online retailers in both the US and UK that sell Swift 8.5x44 Audubon Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option: