Whether you are a hiker, bird watcher, hunter, or armchair explorer, a high-quality set of binoculars is essential to the success of your pursuit. Binoculars are one of the most important pieces of gear I use when hunting big game. A good set of binoculars allows you to scan for animals that are hundreds of yards away and that are difficult to see with your naked eye alone. This makes them an indispensable tool in the field.
The world of binoculars is huge, and it can be a little daunting when trying to explore and learn about different brands and their features. I am by no means an expert, but I am an experienced outdoorsman and rely on my binoculars on every trip I take. The point of binoculars is to cover ground with your eyes, not your legs.
30-Day Demo Trial
Maven Outdoor Equipment Company is a relatively new optics company based in Lander, Wyoming. In 2014, they began releasing products with a ‘straight to consumer’ business model. This gives buyers a great benefit of skipping retail store markups and dealing directly with the company for sales and personalized customer service. A unique aspect of the Maven system is the ability for the customer to demo a selection of optics for up to 30 days.
I found this extremely helpful in my review because it’s really difficult to make a fair evaluation at the optics counter of a dimly lit retail store. The ability to take them into the field and use them in various terrains and lighting conditions was extremely helpful in gaining a full appreciation of their construction and quality. Another bonus is once you have demoed the optics you can choose to keep them, or you can go to the Maven website and at a small additional cost, custom-build your binoculars with a variety of magnifications, frame sizes, body armor, labeling, and colors.
For this review, the company allowed me to demo the Maven B-2 series 11×45 binocular.
Specs & Features at a Glance:
- Magnification: 11x
- Fully Multi-Coated Optics with:
- 45 mm Objective Lenses using ED Glass Elements
- Prism type: Abbe-Koenig Roof
- Phase Correction Coating
- Body: Magnesium Alloy
- Waterproof & Nitrogen charged for fog protection
- Twist-up eyecups
- Tripod Adaptable
- Field of view: 314ft @ 1000 yards
- Close Focus Distance: 4.9 ft
- Length: 7.1 in
- Height: 2.2 in
- Width: 5.7 in
- Weight: 33.2 oz
At first glance B-2 Maven binoculars have the typical look and design of most current roof prism binoculars with a couple of subtle differences worth discussing:
Although slight, the B-2’s are somewhat longer than your comparable 42 mm binocular. This is to be anticipated for two reasons. First, they have larger 45 mm objectives, and second, (without geeking out too much) Maven Optics uses the Abbe-Koenig design of roof prism, over the more commonly used Schmidt-Pechan design. Simply put the Abbe-Koenig design bends the light one less time than the Schmidt-Pechan design resulting in a brighter image at the small cost of a slightly longer frame.
The position of the hinge sits nearer the eye-pieces instead of in the middle as is the case with many binoculars. This shift of hinge positioning leaves a larger area to hold onto, which I appreciated when using gloves, or holding in one hand.
The frames are made from lightweight magnesium which is lighter and stronger than aluminum, and the extra heft of the frame gives a sense of substance and value over a lesser polycarbonate framed binocular. The exterior is coated with a superbly textured rubber armor which offers a more tactile grip than some competitors. Another feature that I really like is that the eye-piece housings are rubber-coated metal, which is important because many others have plastic parts. This offers added protection if the binocular is dropped. Similarly, the objective lenses are well protected being set back deeply from the ends of the barrels.
The final feature of the body that I like is that this particular model is ‘tripod adaptable’ which means that it can be easily fitted onto a tripod by removing a small cover screw on the front face of the hinge and by using a standard tripod adapter. This bonus feature allows for hours of almost hands-free use from a steady position. The focus wheel has a knurled surface that allows for easy focusing even while wearing heavy gloves, with an optimal amount of resistance, and no free play or stiffness at any point allowing you to quickly focus, but not move out of adjustment while in use or hiking.
As mentioned, I spent some time in the field with these binoculars. In order for me to be as consistent as possible, I compared the view I see through the Maven 11×45 binoculars with two control binoculars (a mid-grade 10×42 binoculars, and a high-quality 8×42 European competitor).
The B-series have ED (extra-low dispersion) glass for optimal visual acuity in low light conditions at any distance. As stated, Maven opted to use the Abbe-Koenig design in the B-2 line, which allows the prisms internally to reflect 100% of light that passes through them. More light is obviously a good thing in terms of image quality, contrast, and brightness.
The color and image brightness of The Maven optics was excellent. Even in good light they appeared to me to be brighter than my mid-grade 10×42’s, however, where they really shined was when the ambient light was low, nearing sunset, and in the shadows of a heavily forested mountainside. For me, there was a large and noticeable improvement on the Maven B2 over my trusty 10×42 control glass in these conditions. Comparing them to the very best, highest quality 8×42 competitors, I could see no difference in the brightness of day or in low light forest conditions. Only as the light faded into twilight, did the 8×42 appear slightly brighter. Objectively, I would say that lower magnification and correspondingly larger exit pupil was likely responsible for the difference.
The Maven B2-Series 11×45 Binoculars came packaged in a soft drawstring carry bag and I was a little surprised that it didn’t come with any sort of carry case, although one can be purchased on their website. In hindsight, this may be wisdom on the part of Maven, as many outdoorsmen have their own preferred aftermarket way to store or carry their binoculars. That being said, I will say that the included neck strap and attachment system appeared to be high quality, with a unique loop attachment system, which enables the strap to quickly snap into place with quick disconnect buckles. In all honesty, I would likely ditch the neck strap for my own favorite KUIU carry system.
The rain cover for the ocular lenses fits over the eyecups snugly. I liked the fact that it had a flexible link between the cups so that you don’t have to adjust the hinge to put them on the eyecups. There is also a slot on the side of the rain guard that the neck strap can run through so that it’s not lost when the binoculars are in use. The lens covers for the objective side have a typical snug fit over the barrels with a flip-down design that tethers them to the lens. While completely functional, it was my least favorite feature as I worried that I might lose a lens cover while on the move or snag them in heavy brush.
|Make / Model||Lens Diameter||Weight||Price|
|Maven B-2||11x45||33.2 oz||$1,045|
|Vortex Razor UHD||10x42||32.2 oz||$2,149|
|Swarovski SLC 42||10x42||27 oz||$1,777|
|Zeiss Victory SF||10x42||27.8 oz||$2,700|
|Kowa Genesis 44||10.5x44||33.9 oz||$1,399|
|Swarovski EL 50||12x50||35 oz||$3,188|
The Maven B2-Series 11×45 Binoculars have several outstanding features, but the low light comparison alone sold me on these binoculars. As a hunter and outdoorsman, much of my time is spent searching for game in the early hours of dawn or the waning glow of a sunset. I was impressed with their clarity. The performance of these binoculars in these conditions was outstanding.
What also stands out for me with Maven binoculars are the many upgrades and customizations, along with out of the ordinary size and magnification options available. They carry your standard 8×42 which is great, but even more intriguing are the somewhat wild cat combinations that are available through Maven such as 6×30, 10×56, or my choice the, 11×45 configuration.
Finally, Maven stands behind their products with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. If anything goes wrong with your optic, for any reason, they will fix it or replace it.
Admittedly because they are a direct-to-consumer company, you won’t find Maven in your average sporting goods store. However, if you are seriously considering investing in a pair of quality optics, I would strongly recommend looking into Maven and using their 30-day demo program to get your hands on their optics. You won’t be sorry.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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