I recently got my hands on a copy of Birds of Europe: Second Edition (Princeton Field Guides). This review will be done in two parts; I will post the conclusion after I have had a chance to use the book in the field when I visit the Netherlands in late August. What follows here are my initial impressions of this new field guide.
While I was a budding birder living in the Netherlands, I used a Dutch field guide called Complete gids Vogels van Nederland. I can't help but compare the new guide from Princeton Field Guides, Birds of Europe: Second Edition, with the Dutch one. The Dutch guide has lovely, large illustrations, sometimes arranged with distracting backgrounds. The Princeton guide, on the other hand, has several varied and clear illustrations to aid in identification per species.
So you know where I'm coming from, as an example, see the pages for the Ruff (Kemphaan in Dutch) from both books shown below (the blur between the pages is from my scanner). The Dutch guide has 10 images spread over two pages, with a habitat background that, to me, really distracts from noticing important field marks. The Princeton guide packs in 18 images of the same bird and they are all crisp and clear, with important field marks noted by some of the illustrations. Plus three other species are also fit onto the same two pages.