Maven may not be the most famous optics brand out there, but that does not say anything about the quality of their products. The reality is that Maven builds binoculars and other optical instruments that pretty much match the top optics brands of the world in terms of quality, but cost much less thanks to their business model which avoids middlemen and delivers product directly to consumers.
This is especially true of the B-series: their high-end offering. The B3 is the compact bino of the series and cost maybe half if not a third of what an analogous bino would cost from a top European brand. The price is high mid-range, but the result is top-range. The B3 is characterized by its 30mm objective lenses – hence the compact size – but comes in three magnification options: 6x, 8x and 10x.
The first thing that should be said about the B3 is that the optics system is fantastic: you get ED glass and fully multi-coated lenses, resulting in a bright, high-contrast image. These binos will perform great in low light, though remember that even great optics cannot make up for physics: a 30mm lens cannot compete against a 50mm lens of the same quality.
The design is compact, comfortable due to the rubber grip, somewhat sporty – whether you like it or not is a matter of taste, but it certainly does not look cheap. The colorful bits and aluminum parts add to its appeal. The eyecups can be positioned for use with or without glasses.
Probably the most popular popular option of the three powers is the 8x30. It combines the classical magnification of 8x with a small size. The exit pupil will be smaller than with typical 8x42 binoculars, but the size makes up for that. You need to decide what’s more important to you: small size or low light performance. The quality of the Maven B3 guarantees you will get the most of the latter for the former, though.
The 10x option is a special kind of configuration. I would not take a bino with a 3mm exit pupil on a hike at dusk – the low light performance would be too low. Plus, the 10x may be a bit more difficult to handle than 8x for some people and you lose significant field of view.
The 6x option is interesting and unusual. There aren’t many binoculars manufacturers who understand that magnification isn’t everything and sometimes it’s worth reducing it for better image quality. These may be perfect for outdoor events like sports or concerts or for watching animals who are fairly close. You get a very wide FOV, excellent performance in low light conditions and an image that’s easy to keep stable, e.g. when using one hand only.
The Maven B3 binoculars are preferred for hunters and bird watchers who are on a mid-range budget but want to experience what a high-end binocular can offer – in a compact package.