I've owned and enjoyed numerous field guides through my 50+ years of life: Peterson, Golden, National Geographic Society, Audubon, Sibley and Kaufman. My homes have been Illinois, Alaska and Montana. The guide I carry in the field today is Kaufman's BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA.
His digitally altered photographs are not as lovely as the paintings in the latest NGS, Sibley or Peterson guides (which I own and admire). His written comments are enjoyable, brief and apt. Kaufman's guide works best, I believe, for quick identification in the field. That is why this is the first bird book I give to my friends.
Negatives? Sure. I do not care for the colored pages (indexing okay, but not entire pages), and I think some of the owls look weird.