When looking for my new binoculars I knew that the Swarovison EL and this Nikon EDG were the ones to look at. I love the image provided by field flattener lenses and I knew I wanted a magnification of 8x. I didnt want Zeiss as I owned a pair of Victorys FL build in 2008 (with Lotutec). Of course these a very good optics but I had the opportunity to get a new pair and I knew that there were birders looking through better binoculars and as I just love a good view even of normal birds, this was the time to buy. Another good reason was that I kept telling myself that bins couldn't get any better than SW EL and that this one would serve the rest of my life (yeah right o
Why did I choose this one? First of all, the Nikon and the Swarovski to me are very much a like: perfect ergonomics and balance, the best of the best optics, field flattener lenses providing excellent views which are sharp from adge to edge and the tests on allbinos.com show that they are outstanding. So it was either one of these. In my opinion there a few differences: the SW looks just a hair sharper which seems only visible on greater distance... but... the Nikon offers the smoothest focussing I ever met and the rolling ball effect is minimal. Tests also show they have less CA but i haven't noticed that. I knew this focussing feature from a previous pair of HGL's but now it seems even better. The SW seems a rough focusser, even a bit shocky. The other objective reason was that the Nikon was about $ 600 cheaper at my dealer. Not the main reason if you buy such an expensive pair but still.
In all other aspects they are very much a like but the accessoires with the Nikon are high class: one very fine neckstrap and eyepieceholders to block sunshine (not with glasses). The biggest advantage of the SW are the warranty and service, known in The Netherlands as the best of the best. Another plus for SW is the water repellant coating, which is not on the EDG.
The more subjective reasons for me to buy the Nikon are: the Nikon is just a specialty over here (SW is the marketleader by far) and Nikon just makes a bit less explicit advertisement for hunting. That's also the reason I didn't want to wait for the new Zeiss HT's.
Now, am I happy with it: after a few weeks the answer is a fullhearty YES. They just feel so natural, the view really grips you and takes IN the picture. The big FOV takes my breath away everytime I look through it. It offers rich colours, free of CA and very fine details. My former Fl's seemed to be too bright, this is warmer and feels more natural especially when looking at birds in the sky or above the see. I just see better colours and colour""borders".
So, the main reasons to choose this one above it's main rival form Austria is the focusknob: PERFECT: quick, no hesitation or any doubt: just wheel it and the picture snaps into perfect focus. With enough "friction" but sooo smooth. And the lesser rolling ball effect.
So yes, I recommend everyone looking for th alpha bins to put this one on the shortlist. You can't go wrong, you save a lot of money (e.g. for a trip) and you know you have the best of the best for many years to come.
UPDATE after 4 weeks: it's still the best buy in terms of optics, ergonomics and of course the focusser, which is still the best. There is a "but" though: in my piece the diopter moves undeliberatley. it's not much but it does and I have figured out how this comes: if you press too hard on the focusknob when focussing then the diopter moves so it seems to be in the construction. Please try this before buying, and it's not in every piece.Before returning it I try to adjust my pressure on the focusser and will keep you posted.
UPDATE (June, 20, 2012) After 3 months using this bino intensely I am still very, very pleased with it. The ease of use in ergonomics and especially the ideal focussing combined with the rich, brilliant, clear and very true views still amazes me. I really feel I am IN the picture instead of looking AT it. I haven't experienced the diopterproblem again, just only sometimes I have to re-adjust it a millimeter.
IMHO this binoculars deserve a lot more attention, especially here in The Netherlands where birders buy Swaro "just to be sure" and without comparing. Once again the advantages versus Swaovision: -lower price, smoothest and best focussing in the world, view and edge-sharpness alike, ergonomics very fine, accessories excellent! Still the Swaro has the ultimate service I think and that's worth something although a friend of mine who owns a Swarovision 10x42 has snet it back 2 times in one year now. The second time the service was worse.
In short: put these bins on your shortlist and don't buy anything as long as you haven't experienced them yourself