Very impressive product, if the specifications are anything to go by. They're well out of my price range, but I'm sure plenty of folk who can't or won't buy them will be just as interested in observations/reviews from the field. Which should hopefully be not long in coming...
A few thoughts:
Pricing - it's interesting that Swarovski have, instead of trying to compete in the sub-alpha market, gone for what could be called the tier above (uber-alpha?). That does make sense in its own way, as the tier below the current alphas seems very competitive, with no shortage of really good products. Competing at the quality/price point of the Conquest etc. without taking production out of Austria would likely be very difficult. Now whether there are enough buyers for products with above-alpha performance, and prices, is harder to say. But no doubt similar things were said when Zeiss FLs first entered the market, and again when list prices went over the £2000 mark.
Optically - we'll need more observations to see if the three models perform as well in the field as they do on spec. At that price they certainly ought to! It's seemed clear for some time that since edge performance has been improved to such an extent, field of view was the obvious next step. Field of view has always been a prized quality in binoculars (there's no way the SARD 6x42 would be so desired if its field of view was more average, for instance) and although I can't speak for others, is a real advantage for the birding I do, allowing wider areas to be scanned more quickly, and making it easier to capture rapid motion. I fully agree with temmie's observations in post #198
. Being able to see more is almost always an advantage. Widening FOV while offering adequate eye relief, and doing so in a hand-holdable package (ie. not the size of something like the Nikon WX) are pretty stiff design requirements and I find it pretty impressive that recent binocular designs eg. the SFs, the Kowa 6.5x32 and now the NLs, have managed this.
The "no edges" thing is, I would guess, a reference to the field stop being a very long way out from the center thanks to the very wide FOV, and becoming less discernible. I've noticed a similar effect when looking through the 10x50 WX, but interestingly not when using my Swift #766, which is one of those old extra-wide-field binoculars mentioned further up-thread - a good product in its day and one I still enjoy using, but one in which distinct compromises had to be made in order to achieve that field of view.
Other features - the focuser position/rearward balance of the SF were good ideas that other companies were always going to emulate (as happened with the EL open-bridge design). The forehead rest detracts from the binocular's lines (as straps and rainguards do, which is why they are absent in many promotional/catalogue photos), but I can see it working quite well. Getting a really stable connection to the binocular is really important in mitigating shake/wobble - I have often thought planting the rubber eyecups of my old 12x50B solidly into my sockets was more stable than placing longer eye relief binoculars on my (lightweight, rimless) glasses - and the headrest should help achieve this. I'd be very surprised if the improvement came close to the image stabilization systems of eg. Canon IS binoculars, but it should still make a difference, especially with the 12x42 (which is a somewhat unusual format, but not totally unheard of - cf Nikon's 12x40 E series). It wouldn't be a total surprise if similar accessories that fit other binoculars became available.
All in all - it seems like Swarovski have brought a really superb binocular to the market, albeit at a correspondingly high price. Well done to them. They are not remotely within my budget, but that doesn't take away from their qualities. Let's not forget that those who (like me) can't justify buying absolute top end product already have some superb binoculars to choose from. There's probably never been a better time to buy a new EL!