Getting hold of a great piece of binoculars needs a lot of consideration and some patience. If you are not sure which brand to go for, it is always advisable to depend on research and knowledge – it’s possible to get the quality of a high end model for a mid-range price.
This is definitely the case with Maven. They produce optics that get regularly compared to the world renowned European optics brands, which often cost in the multiple thousands of dollars, but Maven’s pricing is much more modest. They’re a small brand, and relatively unknown, but that doesn’t mean they’re any worse. In their own words, “you know quality when you see it”.
Maven-built binoculars are available in different series and the manufacturer gives its customers an opportunity to personalize their product through different customizations such as body color and having your name engraved on the bino etc. The range of binoculars that answer to different user tastes are found in B and C series.
Maven manages to keep their prices down thanks to their direct-to-buyer model
One great thing about Maven that should be mentioned straight away is their direct-to-consumer model. This means they avoid middlemen and ship straight to the buyer. Even if you buy from Amazon, you’re going to get the product directly from Maven. This may limit the growth of the brand but allows much lower prices for the end-buyer. Hence the great quality at such a low price.
Why Do You Need Binoculars
The general use of a binocular is not tied to one outdoor activity but several. However, the parameters that make up a bino need to match your usage: the magnification, field of view, size and weight, lens size etc.
Bird watchers or hunters may consider a mid-power binocular of about 8x or 10x for looking at distant animals or features without too much shake. Some will argue that having a spotting scope alongside a binocular will complement your field activities.
Golfers will need to use binoculars with range finding capabilities so that they can tell the distances on course.
Stargazers need to have binoculars that can be used in low light while watching distant objects. Stargazing require binoculars with higher magnifications and large objective lenses to make the most of the limited light of distant stars.
What to Look For
With improving technology, optics are becoming more and more advanced, with prices (for the same quality) going down over the years. Nevertheless, there are some standard features and numbers you should look for in a pair of good binos. Hopefully, through this guide you will get a good overview and identify the perfect pair to suit your needs.
Objective Lens and Magnification
This is indeed the most visible feature in any pair of binoculars: the two big lenses at the front. The magnification and objective lens size is usually given in the model information. For example, the Maven B1 specification of 10×42 is interpreted as the magnification x objective lens diameter in millimeters. The magnification figure is the number of times the image will appear larger when using the binoculars. The size of the lens greatly influences the amount of incoming and image brightness, and also the field of view.
Field of View
This is the area coverage within the view of the binoculars. This is determined by the objective lens diameter and magnification. The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view, whereas large lenses somewhat increase the field of view.
This is an important consideration for those people who wear eyeglasses. This defines the distance one can hold the binocular away from the eyes. A good eye relief should give the same view to everyone, whether they use eyeglasses or not.
This refers to the brightness level of your binoculars and is basically the size of the light beam hitting your eyes. The figure is obtained by dividing the lens size by the magnification. A larger number indicates brighter images. In general, unless you’re looking for compact binoculars, I wouldn’t go for an exit pupil of less than 5mm.
Perennial travelers prefer portable and lightweight binoculars for ease of use and movement. Good quality optics can compensate for a lot of the loss in size, but only up to a point. With the same quality, a big bino will produce better and brighter images than a small one.
If you’re planning to use your optics anywhere outside in nature – a typical environment where the a binocular is needed – make sure you buy one that’s waterproof and fog proof. When the temperature and humidity vary, the lenses may easily fog up. If water gets in, the whole bino may become unusable. Some binoculars can even be used underwater for an extended period. Maven binos are all highly resistant to water ingress: the B-series has been tested to be waterproof to a depth of 1 meter.
Lens Coating and Glass Type
Lens coatings is one of those hi-tech advances that separate low-end and average binoculars from the high-end ones. The coating is meant to improve the viewing clarity as well as protecting lenses from scratches. The level and number of coatings determine light throughput and clarity of images.
It’s worth looking for binoculars that use what’s called ED glass. This kind of glass significantly reduces chromatic aberration: the rainbow fringe that can occur at the edges of objects and is generally highly undesirable. Both C and B series of Maven built binoculars have ED glass, which is great.
The Price Versus Quality
For an average person all binoculars look the same, trying to understand why one would cost more than the other is a little confusing. Features and to some extent the name of the manufacturer is what defines the pricing. As a buyer, go for the best value for money. This means looking for a binocular with the best components and coatings that can guarantee quality viewing without having to dig deeper into the pockets.
As said above, it doesn’t necessarily going for the most expensive brand. Maven’s products can well compete with top end products twice or thrice the price.
Maven Binoculars Reviewed
With all the above knowledge let’s go through the most popular bino models from Maven and pick them apart in detail. The order of the reviews does not indicate any bias.
The Maven C1 10×42 mm is a powerful and a dependable tool among all the C-series. Like all C-series, the C1 has a crystal clear low dispersion ED glass and the lenses are fully multi-coated. They’re also scratch and oil resistant. It is a durable binocular made from a lightweight polymer. In its category, it is one of the lightest. The binocular uses a dielectric coated Schmidt-Pechan prism technology to produce a bright and clear image. This all-weather tool is also scratch resistant, which prolongs its use. It is sold with a neck strap and a double-layered storage bag.
The 10x magnification is a great choice for birders and hunters – typically you don’t want to go above that to maintain a decent FOV, image brightness and stability.
- ED glass enhances color transmission and image brightness
- Great for general use and use in the wild
- Works with a standard tripod stand
- All weatherproof
- The diopter adjustment has been reported not to not hold properly in some cases
This is essentially the very same bino as above, but with a 8x magnification instead of 10x. There’s a minuscule difference in weight and price as well.
The reality is that 8×42 binoculars in general (not just by Maven) is possibly the most common general purpose configuration out there. I’d say unless you have a specific reason to want something other than 8×42, go for 8×42.
The 8x magnification means is easy to hold steady for almost anyone and gives you nice detail, but also excellent wide field of view. 42mm lenses mean a generous exit pupil and image brightness. The overall size of such binoculars means they’re easily portable and you’ll have no problem taking them with you anywhere you go.
With Maven, you get all that with superb optical performance and at a very reasonable price. If you asked me which Maven bino you should buy without any other specifics, I’d say this one.
This B-series bino is a higher end counterpart to the C1’s above. The B1 really competes with the high-priced optics brands that charge several times the price of the B1. Optically, everything about the Maven B1 is superb, there’s no question about it – edge-to-edge image clarity, amazing low-light performance, wide field of view. There’s even support for screw-in image filters, should you need those.
Let’s just say if you’re serious about whatever it is you need binoculars for – hunting, birding, wildlife surveying – the B-series is the way to go. It’s obviously more expensice than the C-series, but this is an investment for the long term.
- Superb optical quality
- Affordable binocular in relation to performance
- ED glass for true color imaging and brightness
- Compatible with 49mm filters
- Appropriate for use during hunting/bird watching
- All weather binocular
- Slight aberration may be noticeable at the edges of the field of view, if you’re really good at spotting those kinds of things.
If you need something more compact, then the C2 is the way to go.
The Maven C2 10X28 has a solid and sturdy frame with a clear ED glass and fully multi-coated lenses for better imaging. It’s compact and can fit in the coat pocket. This is an all-weather device with a scratch resistant lens. This binocular comes with a neck strap, double layered storage bag, ocular lens caps.
- Has a sturdy and strong frame
- The ED glass lens enhances color transmission and image brightness
- It is light in weight and compact
- You shouldn’t expect the same image quality as with bigger models (nothing to do with product quality, just physics)
- Edges on far-flung objects may be blurry
Binoculars are a sizeable market and it is upon a newcomer to explore and learn. It is through such articles that we do hope that you get to understand the small differences between binoculars as you acquire a taste of your own.
Maven is not a huge player in the world of optics; but with their products, one gets premium quality at very competitive prices. I hope that this guide will provide you with sufficient information as you start an exciting journey into the world of optics.
- Review of Maven B1 Binoculars SeriesB1 is one of the most general-purpose binocular models from Maven. Let's have a look at the features and different aspects of this series.
- Reviewed: Maven C2 Binoculars - A Great Compact Bino?Read our review of the Maven C2 - a compact binocular for every application. We look at the the features and the variations currently available on the market.
- Maven B3 Binoculars ReviewThe Maven B3 is an excellent high-end compact binocular for the price of a mid-range one. Read our detailed review to find out if it's the right choice for you.
- Maven C1 Binoculars ReviewedA good look at the Maven C1 binoculars, including the 8x42 and the 10x42 variant. Read our review before buying.
- Review of Maven B2 BinocularsIn this review, we look in depth at the amazing and somewhat unusual B2 binocular from Maven.