I recently purchased Kowa BD XD Prominar 8x56 Binoculars and I was going to wait a while to post my feedback, but after tonight I felt the impulse. I am really enjoying these binoculars and so far I am very happy that I decided to buy them. I would have considered the 10x56, but they were out of stock and I wanted to get something that day.
I had tested quite a few other binoculars at the store before deciding on the Kowa's. Unfortunately, it was daytime viewing, as to be expected. So I had to go with my gut feeling, based on the price, how the Kowa’s felt in my hands and the smoothness of the focuser.
If I had a much bigger budget I might have gone for the Zeiss Conquest based on reviews and also getting to try them out.
I also tested and seriously considered the Fujinon FMTR-SX 10x50 (FMT-SX was out of stock). I can see why the Fujinon have such high reviews - but I didn't like how they felt compared to the Kowa's and they were priced over $300 more (with tax). I realized I could have ordered the Fujinon binoculars cheaper online, but if possible I purchase from a store where I can test something before I buy. I also checked out the Nikon Monarch 5 8x56, but they were higher in price and after limited testing, I preferred the Kowa’s.