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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 03:09   #1
Steve C
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Review: Maven B2 9x45: Has the $1,000 game just changed?

Pro se loquator. “It will speak for itself”. The equivalent, more or less, of just shut up and listen. Forget the name on the box or the price tag. Just listen to the binocular. I ask myself one basic question. Is this something I would buy for myself? This has been a difficult review to write. It has been difficult not because the binocular is anything other than superb, but because I can already hear the disbelief that will rise up when I say what I think needs to be said about it. It is longer than I’d like but there are still things that will need to be discussed further. So here goes.

It is my opinion, and I guess my opinion only, that this is an instrument that anybody interested in optics needs to have a look at. That is really the reason for the review. This may well signal a change in the game for the $1,000 binocular. Maven really is the new kid on the block. They have been in business for just over a year. They had previous optics industry employment and kept their relationship with Kamakura from that experience. Kamakura is a renowned Japanese Optical firm, with a reputation for being able to build any quality level. They started just after WW II and are still here. So Maven is in good company.

Maven is not looking for dealers. They are selling direct to customers. This lets them eliminate the middle man cost, and the savings can be substantial. One approach they have adopted is that every binocular gets the once over in their lab. Each binocular goes on a collimation stand in the Maven lab. It has to pass that test first. The barrels must show close tolerances to each other in their performance. The rest of the inspection is similar to what an experienced user will do to their new binocular. The best way to avoid return and warranty issues is to send out a good unit in the first place. Those that flunk the test go back to Kamakura.

Want to try before you buy? Hard to do with no dealer network. What you can do is order a stock model on the website. You can choose to use the demo option. Your card will be charged. You have two weeks to return an undamaged binocular. Your card will be refunded on receipt of same. They offer a lifetime full unconditional warranty.

Maven is unique in that they offer a series of exterior customizations. You have two stock choices for rubber armor, and five different camouflage patterns. You can customize the colors on the focus wheel, the strap connectors, the ocular rings, the tripod plate, the logo color, and there is an engraving option. You can stay stock conservative, go stealthy camo, or go for it all with black, white, pink, orange, green and blue. This option adds a week to the delivery. That work is done by Kamakura in San Diego. It goes back to Maven, gets its inspection, and heads for the customer. Repairs are done by Kamakura in their USA facility.

Out of the box:
This immediately strikes you as a solid, substantial instrument. Nothing in the feel indicates any corners were cut anywhere. The rubber armor is thick, soft, non-slippery, and has a nice tactile feel. It gives the impression it means business and is not here to be ignored or trifled with. As this is the first opportunity for a first impression, it makes a good one.

Mechanics and construction:
This is an Abbe-Koenig prism system. It has a somewhat larger than typical objective diameter at 45 mm. The clear aperture appears to be the full 45 mm. The AK prisms and the enhanced objective make this a long binocular. With eye cups extended and with objective and ocular covers in place it is 7.5” long (190 mm). Wearing a Rick Young harness, with guards in place, it weighs 35.5 oz. Without the harness it is 34.0, and the binocular sans covers is 33.0. So it’s long and fairly heavy, which will undoubtedly deter some people. It does not feel like it weighs 34 oz. I know the naysayers will be out in force with how heavy this is…before they try it…dare I say without ever trying it?

This leaves the question as to why 9 and 11x and a 45 mm objective. This is a strictly Kamakura design with a couple of years of R&D behind it. The premise is to use the light transmission potential of the AK prism with a small increase in objective diameter. The design parameters allow 5 and 4 mm EP size with a bit of a magnification boost from 8 and 10x. Typically companies walk into Kamakura with a team of engineers and experts with reams of their own set of demands, designs and specifications. Almost never does anyone ask for a pure Kamakura design. Everyone is concerned with having their own binocular. Maven walked in and asked what Kamakura had that would do what they wanted. This is what they got.

EDIT: Since the above bolded sentences may be partly in error, I will note them and admit a mistake. The rest of the review stands.

Focus characteristics and handling:
While the length and weight may be seen as a weakness, they are also strengths of this binocular. The length is (obviously) a function of the A-K prism design requirements. The length is also increased a bit due to a larger objective. It balances just at the end of the hinge, the center of gravity is at the center of the binocular. The flare out in the objective tubes begins ahead of the balance point, so only large hands will involve that area, and large hands won’t mind it. There is room for any size hand to comfortably grab this binocular and have it balance. I can get all four fingers on the tube in front of the hinge. Wherever you grab it, whether a deliberate, normal placement, or hurried grab to ID a lifer, average adult hands will find the focus wheel perfectly placed under the index finger when they grab the binocular. The grip surface is superb. This cannot be accidental. Kamakura must be making a statement here. It may be long and ungainly looking, but the ergonomics experience is becoming a favorite.

The focus is counterclockwise to infinity. The close focus distance on my unit is 40” (3.5’, a bit over a meter). I’d made some different statements on my other thread, but this is it after actually measuring it. There is a 20 mm offset difference, at a 60 mm IPD, the objectives are 80 mm center to center. This close focus measurement is at the narrow point of 56 mm IPD. At my 60 mm IPD, I get a figure 8 image barrel separation at 4.0’. I can focus quite clearly on my boot toe when standing up. The published 4.9’ is likely the distance a median IPD will give a single image focus. Certainly at 5.0’, everything is a focused single image at my IPD. The IPD range is 56-75 mm.

There is 1.25 turns focus wheel travel. For my eyes, there is 0.25 turns left after infinity, leaving a useful wheel rotation of one turn. With the focus wheel in the midpoint of the remaining turn, the binocular is focused at 10’. Or one half turn from close to 10’. Cut the remaining wheel travel in half, or going toward infinity another quarter turn, and focus is at about 100 feet. The next quarter turn obviously gets to infinity. The focus is just slightly stiffer than buttery smooth. Terrific description I realize, but I’m not sure how to measure quantifiable energy requirements for focus wheel movement. Overall it’s great…for lack of a less subjective term, just stiff enough to typically require user input to move it, but not difficult to move. I suppose you just know a good one when you feel it. There is no slack in the movement, not in starting the movement or in switching movement direction. There are no rough spots, no increase in difficulty in wheel travel when changing directions. Two hours in the freezer initially increases focus wheel movement tension by what I’d estimate to be 25-30%. It gets stiffer, but not unusable. Move the focus wheel to and fro a couple of times and that increase in tension is mostly gone. I’d guess that cold weather focus won’t be much of an issue. Unless you let the binocular freeze. Inside your jacket or other protection I’d think would be used in colder weather should keep it from getting overly cold.

The binocular uses a right eye diopter ring. Center hinge is tight, but does not need to be brute forced. There is a standard tripod adapter.

Optical characteristics: Field performance
This 9x45 unit has a 377’ fov. This is 7.2*, an old fashioned AFOV of very nearly 65*. For the arc tangent inclined, it’s a 59* AFOV. As I measure this unit, the 45 mm is the full aperture. By measuring exit pupils, I calculate a magnification of 8.7x.

Interior baffling seems near perfection. The exit pupils are perfectly round, clear spheres in a stark, black, background, unmarked by reflections of any sort.

There is essentially no glare, veiling or otherwise. One of my uses for a binocular this time of year is morning inspection of the cattle. It’s calving season. I live at an elevation of 4,050 feet. Just east as a background to the rising sun, is Stukel Mountain a hogback ridge with a peak of 6,900 ‘. It rises in a nearly sheer fashion and forms a perfect background against the cattle pasture. The sunrise is just on the south flank of the mountain. On a typical frosty morning here, on a clear day, as the last few have been, conditions looking toward the pasture can be blinding. The sunrise line across the pasture is brilliant on the sunny side, and deep gloom on the shady side. That blindingly bright view with sunrise glinting off of a frosty pasture surface silhouetting a herd of black Angus cattle can destroy the image presentation of many binoculars. The B2 will cut right through that. It seems oblivious to glare.

CA can be found, only with difficulty, and in situations where I would not typically use a glass. However, as I have noted numerous times, I am not CA sensitive. I often wonder how much good comes from CA comments in reviews. I’m not sure how much assistance I can be, since I am CA insensitive. On the other hand it is quite common for a reviewer to indicate it is a real problem with the review binocular. Stated like is it an obvious, inarguable fact. You almost never hear comments from the reviewer about whether or not they are sensitive. I suspect many are, and since they see it, they assume it is normal. Their reality must be true for everybody. I really suspect most people are mostly CA insensitive and I’d be pretty surprised if there is enough CA here to bother most.

There has been no particular effort to incorporate what we hear spoken of as “field flattening technology”. It would be a waste of money I think. While there is some pincushion and a very small amount of curvature, the edge is sharper than nearly anything else. More on this in comparisons to other binoculars later on. It is a classic edge pattern with slight distortions at the edge, but seemingly less obvious than one might expect.

For terrestrial viewing the sweet spot looks to be at least 75%. In star gazing, you can see some degradation beginning at 60%. That does not seem to manifest itself in terrestrial viewing, where it seems wider. Stars focus to perfect, spike free spheres.

Optical characteristics: Image performance
This binocular has a claimed overall light transmission figure of 93.7%. The color bias here is absolutely neutral. A bright white surface viewed through the objective is a bright white surface. The colors accordingly are brilliant and natural in tint reproduction in the image. Reds are red, etc. The contrast is outstanding, certainly on par with anything else I have ever viewed. A very sharp, satisfying, transparent, natural view. The apparent brightness and overall sharpness argue strongly in favor of the listed transmission %. It is commonly stated that eyes usually need at least a 5% increase in light transmission to produce a noticeable difference. I have a binocular which has been bench tested at 90% overall light transmission. This one is brighter than that. If we need a further 5% increase here to see an improvement, we are needing to get to 99% territory.

I am not able to give the resolution specs, but this binocular is as close to the limit of human optical acuity as anything you will buy.

The image strong points of the B2 are detail at distance in poor light, close detail in in poor light, and a true to life sharp image. The objective offset imparts a better than average 3-D presentation for a roof prism. The image excels in defining the stark edges of an object while offering superb texture rendition.

Eye relief:
Stated as 17.3 mm. The effective, or user available seems to be closer to 14.0. I can see the whole field with either my reading glasses or with sunglasses. I use them fully extended. The eye cups extend upward in a three click-stop affair. The right eye cup on mine is a bit too loose. That and the too little eye cup extension are the only two things I will fault.

I have been using these with a set of winged eye cup adapters for the Nikon EDG. The Field Optics Research Winged eye shields work well too, so these are two nice options if you want it.

Comparisons:
Well, here we get to the tricky part of the review. I have a 9x to compare with 7, 8, and 10x samples. But the view here demands comparisons. The Maven B2 image is…well…superb. There is no other way to say it. I took the binocular out on the second day I had it to the White Lake unit of the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge. There are gazillions of water birds there this time of year. While looking things over, another car pulled into the access point. A guy with an 8x42 Zeiss FL and I struck up a bit of a conversation. He asked what in the world those binoculars were. So we traded off binoculars back and forth for a while. The FL is the ONLY alpha class glass I ever really ever came close to buying. I did not for the simple reason (and this is solely personal) that I did not like the high transmission in concert with the quite cold, even icy cool color balance. For this time of the year, they can be too bright. I quickly concluded that I liked the Maven better than the FL. The neutral color balance is much preferable to my eyes and removes the too bright objection. The Maven has better edge performance. Put the Maven in black armor and a Zeiss logo, and with the AK heritage, I doubt many people would not think the binocular was Zeiss. Heresy…maybe, but that is how it is. Not a Victory (pun intended) for either, just a point for the Maven.

The next day I headed for a local Sporting Goods store who had both a Swarovski EL 10x 42 and a Zeiss Conquest 10x42. While I like the Conquest a lot, it is a step behind the Maven in apparent brightness, and a bit less sharp. I’d spent some time with the Conquest before and was not really surprised. The Conquest being smaller will be preferred by some certainly.

But the Swarovision was the real reason I showed up. I know the owner as I buy a fair amount of stuff there. My version of “support the local brick and mortar family business”. So I told him what I was up to. I left him my card and he agreed to let me take it for a few hours. The image presentation of these two is superb and (for all practical intents and purposes) equal. I was pretty surprised as I figured the SV would be able to show alpha vs second tier improvements. I don’t think I could tell a photo of the image of one from the other. I’ll give the EL SV the edge in eyecup design, and it has a somewhat better edge. This is the reason I don’t think Maven needed to go flat field. If it can compete this well with the SV, there seems no need for the extra cost. There is also the 9x vs 10x and 45 mm vs 42 mm configuration differences. The Maven focuses closer, has a better depth of field, and a bit of extra 3-D. Now, there are certain folks who are going to read this and lose a gasket.

I never thought a $1,000 binocular would ever unseat my Leupold Gold Ring HD. The B2 in some important ways does that. This GR has been bench tested at 90% transmission and it is not as bright as the B2. However the color bias in the Leupold is warm as opposed to neutral, so the apparent brightness perception is somewhat skewed. The ergonomics are totally different. The more I use the big Maven, the more I come to favor the feel.
Where does the $500 or thereabouts class now stand? Well nothing has really changed. This glass is not intended to compete there. The better mid- price glass typically has light transmission figures in the 86-89% range. So that is enough of a difference that the difference can be noted. But at the 86-88 range it is still bright enough to give the quite satisfactory views they do. What transmission improvements are to come in this range, time will tell. We are only quite recently moving, even with the high end binoculars, into the 90% and above range.

We tend to think of these comparisons from a competition mentality. Gather the contestants, it is the binocular version of March madness. Place your bets, fill out your brackets. The contestants square off, one game at a time, each with their cheering section. The winner will emerge with the trophy. My binocular is better than yours! Yeah, maybe, but here it was more like Kamakura-san from Japan getting together with Herr Swarovski from Austria, each half a planet apart from the other, sitting on the tailgate of my pickup, someplace in the middle. Instead of a 15 round winner take all prize fight they had a nice discussion dealing with 15 chapters in the newest optics textbook. I was the one who got the beating. I finally had to give up and holler “uncle”. There is no winner here, there is no loser. I finally concluded these are two superb binoculars (throw in the Zeiss Victory FL in here and make it three) and decided I was done. Certainly not everyone is going to agree with this, but it is just the best way I can come up with to describe what I have seen over the last days. As I said earlier, this Maven B2 needs to be seen by anyone interested in optics. Some alpha owners will not agree with me. That is to be expected, and I’m not claiming defeat or victory for either side of the debate. Not everyone will sell their alpha and get a B2, but that is not the point.

At some point after I called it quits, it hit me. I had begun to think of the Maven B2 as the new reference standard for a $1,000 binocular. Since that is the price tag it bears, that is true. It is however a much more expensive glass than that. It took some time for what the Maven was telling me to register, but it finally did. I was assuming (despite my efforts to avoid assumptions) that I was going to be dealing with a typical $1,000 binocular. The whole paradigm of $1,000 vs $2,000 or more is invalid in this instance. The price is what it is because Maven has chosen to sell direct. They have no wish to support wholesale distributors who sell to dealers, who sell to us. They are paying Japanese Labor costs, not Austrian or German. While Japanese costs are up they are still a lot less than in Europe. Now, there may be some corners that will considered to have been cut by Kamakura. They could have chosen to do away with the less expensive right eye diopter for a more expensive center focus style. They could have chosen to launch into the field flattener frenzy. In the end they could have claimed flat field victory, but I doubt the field would have been any flatter than it is. They could have used more expensive fluoride glass components instead of plain Jane high grade ED glass. So far as the user could tell, the binocular would have been no better, just more expensive.

I think Maven has done a couple of things right here. First is their choice of Kamakura, one of the planets premier optics companies, who has a long history of OEM binoculars sold under names other than Kamakura. The second is the way they approached them. They just asked Kamakura for their best binoculars. Three guys who recreate in the Wyoming outdoors who knew what they wanted, who had worked with Kamakura went in and asked what they had, not something off the dusty shelf in the back room, but what front room stuff did Kamakura have ready to go that would do what was wanted. What they got was what they are selling as the B1, B2, and B3. This AK design was just ready for production when Maven walked in the door. So Maven got Kamakura’s best. I for one am taking advantage of the fact. Right now the $1,000 price tag means a lot more than it did not so long ago. Just remember, if you want Kamakura’s best, you can’t get it direct from Kamakura.
When you get it in hand, keep the Latin in mind. Let it speak for itself, it was, but it took me a bit of time to listen closely enough. That is what I’ve been doing, no regrets, and a great binocular…Pro se loquator.

OK folks, pictures to follow
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 09:52   #2
Gijs van Ginkel
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SteveC,
Kamakura had originally designed and made the 9 and 11x45 for another company, but that company went to pieces, so every company that was interested in the model could buy it and that is how it went to Maven.
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 12:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gijs van Ginkel View Post
SteveC,
Kamakura had originally designed and made the 9 and 11x45 for another company, but that company went to pieces, so every company that was interested in the model could buy it and that is how it went to Maven.
Gijs
I think these folks were all involved in the other company as well.

Interesting read
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 13:17   #4
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That is possible, but when I talked to mr. Kamakura, there were no customers yet and he was searching for customers, so...he found them fortunately, since the binoculars he swowed me (9 and 11x45 as discussed here) I found very attractive both optically as well as their excellent user comfort.
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 13:48   #5
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Good review Steve. Very thorough. You hit all of the major discussion points that typically come up in the forum's binocular discussions....stray light issues, focusing speed and direction, ergonomics, CA control, field of view, etc....

I think the one comment, or series of comments, that jumped out at me was the comparison with the Zeiss Conquest HD. I know it is popular glass here at its price point. To hear that the Maven betters it optically in at least one, and potentially more, areas is encouraging.

I guess all that is left now is for others to try it and comment.
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 13:49   #6
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Gijs,

It could well be my own misinterpretation of my own information. You are probably right. Thanks for the edit (which I did in the review) That could well fit with my own notes. It may have been for another company. They did say it was ready to go when they contacted them. I evidently got the notion that was because it was something Kamakura did on their own R&D. If I got it wrong, it's my mistake. I try to get this stuff right, but admit to not being perfect. The perils of who made what, when, where, and how.

So with that in mind, it is still a heck of a binocular. I'm glad somebody got it and that it is available.
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 15:42   #7
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Excellent information Steve. denco just schitt his pants.......
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 17:34   #8
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For those that can't wait for photos this site might help ....
http://mavenbuilt.com/optics/
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 17:34   #9
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Good review Steve. Very thorough. You hit all of the major discussion points that typically come up in the forum's binocular discussions....stray light issues, focusing speed and direction, ergonomics, CA control, field of view, etc....

I think the one comment, or series of comments, that jumped out at me was the comparison with the Zeiss Conquest HD. I know it is popular glass here at its price point. To hear that the Maven betters it optically in at least one, and potentially more, areas is encouraging.

I guess all that is left now is for others to try it and comment.
Yes, however, can the Maven survive extreme testing like the Conquest HD?

Binoculars Buckshot Test

I think Steve C. should perform those tests and videotape them. I'm sure he's got plenty of buckshot.

The idea of customizing your bin is intriguing, but apparently No Script isn't allowing all the cookies necessary to price those options, if there are added costs (next to the option check boxes is $0). Not sure if that means you haven't added any options or if they are free. If there's info about this someplace on the Website, I'm not seeing it.

Options

Despite Steve's glowing review, the fact that Mavens aren't available through dealers may be problematic, because how many people have even heard of the brand, let alone tried one? I came across Maven last year and mentioned how the B1 looked a lot like a top end Brunton. At least if they were at dealers, people other than Steve who gets to try them for free, would have a chance to take a look at what the brand has to offer.

As it is now, all we have is Steve's review before we lay our money down. While his review was well written and thorough, and as Frank mentioned, it covered the usual concerns of BF bin forum members, binoculars are a very personal instrument, and what works for one might not work for another. For example, CA control, which, btw, I disagree with Steve saying that most people aren't sensitive to CA. From reading these forums, it appears that many if not most members can see CA, what varies is how much of it they can tolerate.

IMO, users like Steve and Bob who are immune to CA are the exception not the rule. If he meant that remark about beginners, buyers who walk into a sporting goods store to buy a pair of binoculars, that's another story, but if they don't see CA in a non-ED bin, it's out of ignorance rather than lack of sensitivity to it. Sooner or later, they will see it even if they don't know what it is called.

Proof that a lot of people do see CA is the growing number of ED bins on the market and the fact that all top alphas contain some type of ED glass. From what the experts say, the CA problem was self-inflected by the use of negative lens internal focusers, which increase CA. To compensate, companies started adding ED glass to their objectives.

The upstart company's lowest cost bin, the mid-sized B3s, is $500. The B1 is $900 and the B2 $1,000. I can imagine if Zen Ray or Vortex started out like this, they probably wouldn't be around today. Even if the Maven's optics are better than the Conquest HD, Zeiss is well known and well-respected brand. They have been around forever, and buyers can be confident that they will be around years from now when their bins need repairs.

As Gijs mentioned, the company that was supposed to brand and sell these bins is now defunct. That makes me wonder if Maven will be around for years to honor it's "unconditional life-time warranty."?

I think it might have been a better strategy for Maven to have started out with entry-level priced products and mid-priced products, and then build their reputation before introducing their top end bins. But instead they went right to mid-priced and second-tier pricing.

If you check out their "About us" section, the marketing rhetoric is clearly aimed at rural hunters ("outdoorsman'), not namby-pamby birders who watch birds in the park.

"How’s the hunting on Madison Avenue? Yeah, we don’t know either. And so long as there’s plenty of rock and ice, mud and single-track, elk and elbowroom out here in fly-over country, we don’t care to find out. We are Maven. A new company focused on the design and creation of innovative products for, and by, the modern outdoorsman.

"You don’t find yourself twelve miles in, four pitches up, fifty feet into your backing, or seventy yards from the buck of a lifetime by accident. Likewise a company doesn’t sprout from the rocky Wyoming soil without first making some deliberate, unconventional choices. At Maven, we refuse to compromise our mountain town roots, to follow the well-worn path to a dollar. We choose instead to make game-changing gear and use it in the places and pursuits that inspire us… everyday."

While the rhetoric is a turn-off, if the optics are excellent and offer the best bang for your buck at its price point, which Steve's review suggests, I don't care, it's all about the view. Well, at least I wouldn't care, if I could afford a $1,000 bin. But what would concern me is what I mentioned, the company's longevity. Unless your name is Rockefeller, you're probably not going to lay down $1,000 on a brand that may be here today, gone tomorrow.

I'll check back with Maven in a few years, by which time I might have put aside $1,000 to buy a good quality second-tier bin. As long as the company doesn't keep increasing its prices like the alphas do, otherwise, the B2 will cost $1,500 in 3-5 years.

Brock

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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 18:21   #10
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Good point Brock. I think longevity is the biggest issue facing any new start-up sport optics company. Thankfully there have been a few, like Vortex and Zen Ray, that continue to support their products despite similar concerns when they first started up.

My take on the appeal of these products?

One group, the optics "nuts" like myself, will want to try out new models with high end features and performance.

Second group, hunters that like flashy, high end marketing. For any of you that do hunt and bird in the US then you know what I am referring to. It is one of the reasons that I got out of that industry. Hearing rock and roll music blaring in the blackground of every hunting gear commercial kind of got old.

As for it filtering into more of the mainstream group of binocular consumers....guess it will just take time.


As for the durability of these models...who can say at this point?

I know my Sightron BS II 8x32 was an unknown when I reviewed it 3.5 years ago. I dropped it a year or so ago on a hard concrete sidewalk. Guess what? The bridge didn't break.
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 19:29   #11
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Good point Brock. I think longevity is the biggest issue facing any new start-up sport optics company. Thankfully there have been a few, like Vortex and Zen Ray, that continue to support their products despite similar concerns when they first started up.

My take on the appeal of these products?

One group, the optics "nuts" like myself, will want to try out new models with high end features and performance.

Second group, hunters that like flashy, high end marketing. For any of you that do hunt and bird in the US then you know what I am referring to. It is one of the reasons that I got out of that industry. Hearing rock and roll music blaring in the blackground of every hunting gear commercial kind of got old.

As for it filtering into more of the mainstream group of binocular consumers....guess it will just take time.


As for the durability of these models...who can say at this point?

I know my Sightron BS II 8x32 was an unknown when I reviewed it 3.5 years ago. I dropped it a year or so ago on a hard concrete sidewalk. Guess what? The bridge didn't break.
Which only goes to prove that the $180 Sightron BS II is better built than $2,500 SF. Either that, or you were just lucky.

While it's true that ZR and Vortex survived, others have come and gone. I can't remember the name, the company name was the name of the owner, who was an importer of Chinese-made bins. I bought a 20x80 LW from him. Nice astro bin, I used it handheld it was so lightweight, but it was not FMC, so the contrast wasn't as good as I needed under my bright suburban skies. I ended up selling it. His name is on the tip of my tongue, let me take a picture of my tongue so I can see what it is. Hold on a minute....

Nah, I ate some jellybeans a few minutes ago and the colors are blurring the name. I think it started with a "B." Or that could be an "H," hard to tell with a red tongue. Anyway, his company is gone. I'm sure there are others, and look at the one that was supposed to sell the 9x and 11x45s, which didn't make it out of the incubator.

According to U.S. Census data, only 48.8 percent of the new businesses started between 1977 and 2000 were still alive five years after they began. This was for small businesses, the failure rate is much worse for start-ups.

Despite the company's over-the-top marketing bravado, I actually admire Maven for thinking "out of the box." After all, does the world really need another ZR, Hawke, Vortex, Bosma, Bresser, Opticron, etc., which have more clones than Orphan Black?

The hottest area to compete in is the mid-price and second-tier segments, because those segments are where the most progress is being made. Top tier bins cost an arm, a leg, and a spleen these days, and you don't get that much more performance out of them than you do bins in the second tier, and some mid-priced bins are almost as good as second tier competitors. A lot of what you're paying at the top of the food chain is the name and prestige.

The B2 looks very appealing (though not with the red stripes and red focuser, although they would match my red tongue). As much as I like my Porros, these very cold winters have confined them to the closet most of the time, so once I'm out of the red and into the black, I'd like to buy...dare I say it? A roof.

Today, it's finally getting warmer (after we got dumped with three inches of snow last night), and the sun is climbing higher in the sky. It was so BRIGHT outside this afternoon with the sun above and the albedo below, I felt like I was looking through a Zeiss FL.

I didn't realize they played rock'n'roll in the background of hunting commercials, then again, I don't watch the hunting channel. I thought they would play country music or if rock'n'roll, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, or the Allman Brothers Band.

<B>
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 19:44   #12
Gijs van Ginkel
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John Cantelo, post 8,
All Maven models shown in the WEB-site you refer to are made by Kamakura and you can find some of them under other brand names and with other coats.
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 19:59   #13
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Brock,

Well I more or less expected this, not critical, just an observation.

I sent them the Conquest video with the suggestion they replicate it. Since the B2 is Kamakura and so is the Conquest HD, I figured it might be a good idea. The dealer thing is problematic, you are right. They are aware of that. I suggested a couple of things along with the video. They are planning to upgrade their site and are probably monitoring this so this may be a good place to make helpful suggestions. With no dealers they need to figure ways to get people inside the binoculars more or less virtually through the website. You are correct I have plenty of stuff to shoot it with .

This is the link to the build your own page, maybe that will get you there.
http://app.mavenbuilt.com/#/B1/0842/...900092/2900112

You are full of it about your CA sensitivity being normal. We've gone around with this before. I have checked with everybody I know in the Optics world from engineers to product managers, to dealers and every one of them thinks that most people do not see CA. Because you do see it, you think your reality is or should be everybody's reality. CA control is a design goal because it is an optical fact of life, some people don't see it, some people do see it, and they are vocal about it, so a well controlled CA design is therefore a good thing. I can see why they are vocal about it too, don't get that wrong, but because I don't see does not mean I don't think there are those that do. I do know some who have, to their ultimate grief, taught themselves CA sensitivity. You have even questioned my eye sight (thinking I'm color blind) because I don't see it. Those that do see it can not seem to come to grips with the fact there are those who don't and that there may well more that don't see it than those who do. Now I am wide open to well documented information that says otherwise. I've been wrong before, and might be here, but I'm not wasting any time chasing that weasel around the mulberry bush.

I'm glad you liked the review. This is a heck of a binocular and it deserves a good review. I tried to be as straight forward, objective and realistic as I could, but I see there is no way I'll escape the glowing thing .
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 20:31   #14
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Some pictures. For whatever reason I'm having a devil of a time getting them to an acceptable size to post, but these should help .
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Old Monday 2nd March 2015, 23:29   #15
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Excellent information Steve. denco just schitt his pants.......
Don't worry I ain't trading in my Swaro's yet because Steve got some free binoculars and he is pushing them now as the greatest thing since sliced cheese. I have tried the Zenray's and the Sightrons and sorry Frank and Steve but I still think you get what you pay for. I agree with a lot of what Brock says. I would never pay $1000.00 or even $500.00 for some untested, unknown brand of binoculars when you can buy Zeiss and Swarovski's for that even if they are their entry model and you know they will be around in 5 years. A big advantage of buying a binocular like a Swarovski is RESALE. If you buy the CL and you decide to upgrade to the SV you can sell your CL for what you paid for it and more on Ebay QUICKLY. I wonder how long it would take to sell a Maven on Ebay. HaHa. People would say what is that? It is alright to be experimental when you are getting the binoculars for FREE like Steve but I guarantee you I am not dropping a $1000 on some unknown brand. Zeiss Dialyt's are 30 years old and they are still in demand on Ebay selling for upwards of $1500. I predict Maven won't be around a year. By the way they are UGLY! Those pictures of the Maven and the Swaro look like the beauty(Swaro) and the beast(Maven). They are huge!

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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 00:02   #16
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Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
...CA control is a design goal because it is an optical fact of life, some people don't see it, some people do see it, and they are vocal about it, so a well controlled CA design is therefore a good thing. I can see why they are vocal about it too, don't get that wrong, but because I don't see does not mean I don't think there are those that do...
Just because a person is not consciously aware of CA doesn't make it go away--it is still there degrading the view. So even users who don't see CA should be interested from reviews whether a binocular deals with it well or not. Binoculars with low CA will provide a better view for all users.

--AP
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 00:18   #17
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[quote=denco@comcast.n;3178259]Don't worry I ain't trading in my Swaro's yet because Steve got some free binoculars and he is pushing them now as the greatest thing since sliced cheese./QUOTE]


Dennis, I really wish JG would not have posted that. He did, I did not. I paid the full fare for those. Don't get on me for behavior attributed more properly to you. See if you can keep it civil for once. OK, repeat...I did not post that.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 00:40   #18
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Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post
Just because a person is not consciously aware of CA doesn't make it go away--it is still there degrading the view. So even users who don't see CA should be interested from reviews whether a binocular deals with it well or not. Binoculars with low CA will provide a better view for all users.

--AP
Your exactly correct. Better CA control will give a better sharper view regardless if you see CA or not.

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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 00:43   #19
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Nice review Steve.

I reviewed the 10X42 B1 (SP prism) model, and found much the same as you did with the B2. The B1 really is an impressive binocular at that price point, and offers other great real world features including standard 49mm filter threads and very good hydrophobic coating performance.

I must agree with Alexis on CA control: It is important to all viewers, sensitive or not.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 00:52   #20
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Quote:
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Just because a person is not consciously aware of CA doesn't make it go away--it is still there degrading the view. So even users who don't see CA should be interested from reviews whether a binocular deals with it well or not. Binoculars with low CA will provide a better view for all users.

--AP
Well, I happen to agree with that. It was also not quite the point. I just think readers of a review on a binocular are better served if they know how the reviewer sees (or not see) CA. You are going to have to work a little to convince me the views I'm seeing through the Zeiss, Swarovski, or the Maven, all of which are fabulous, are degraded. I see my CA insensitivity as one step my brain does not have to take to remove CA from the picture. Might that not sharpen the image? Or one step the design does not need to deal with for me, my system does that. I'm not an optometrist so I don't know. If you can shed some light here, I'd be grateful.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 01:04   #21
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Nice review Steve.

I reviewed the 10X42 B1 (SP prism) model, and found much the same as you did with the B2. The B1 really is an impressive binocular at that price point, and offers other great real world features including standard 49mm filter threads and very good hydrophobic coating performance.

I must agree with Alexis on CA control: It is important to all viewers, sensitive or not.
Hey Matt, nice review on the B1 . It took a minute for your name to sink in past the OT handle. To repeat, I do agree it is important for everyone. To repeat again, I think readers of a review would be better served to know whether the reviewer sees CA or not. That is why I always indicate I do not. I find I tend to skim past reviewer concerns over CA. Since I'm not sensitive to it, I don't want to maybe mislead somebody.

Like many things, some features have more or less importance for some than others. I really don't like to spend a lot of time on CA. I do not want to sensitize myself to it. I think you understand that.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 01:08   #22
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What is Maven then? Are they just the media arm for Kamakura in America? They certainly don't look like an optics company, more of a restyler, customizer.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 01:15   #23
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What is Maven then? Are they just the media arm for Kamakura in America? They certainly don't look like an optics company, more of a restyler, customizer.
They appear to be a marketing and sales company. They dont appear to be tied to anyone. If you type in their street address in google there are several companies that pop up.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 01:44   #24
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From what I've gathered so far, it's quite OK for the Swarovision fan clan to bash a reviewer who sees the dreaded rolling ball, by saying not everyone sees it so it really isn't worth mentioning in a review, but it's very much OK and expected that a reviewer mention CA in a binocular that's not a household name, even though not everyone will ever see it. Very predictable in many ways.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 01:45   #25
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Hey Matt, nice review on the B1 . It took a minute for your name to sink in past the OT handle. To repeat, I do agree it is important for everyone. To repeat again, I think readers of a review would be better served to know whether the reviewer sees CA or not. That is why I always indicate I do not. I find I tend to skim past reviewer concerns over CA. Since I'm not sensitive to it, I don't want to maybe mislead somebody.

Like many things, some features have more or less importance for some than others. I really don't like to spend a lot of time on CA. I do not want to sensitize myself to it. I think you understand that.
Steve:

You have provided a nice review, but I do find some highly subjective
things in it, and that is common with many reviews.

The CA thing, that is in the Rokslide review, shows a resolution chart
with photos, and the CA difference is apparent. You don't want or care
to spend any time with this issue, but it is there, and important to
many observers. Most reviewers know and understand CA, and how it affects binocular performance.

Your review says "I am not able to give the resolution specs. but this binocular is as close to the limit of human optical acuity as anything you will buy." That is hard to judge without careful study and comparison.

The comparisons you made in your review would have been better if you
had the Maven B1 with the SP design, to compare with the
similar Zeiss and Swarovski models.

Maven made the B2 with Abbe Koenig prisms to compete with the Zeiss
Victory HT.

Reviews are subject to evaluation, so don't feel bad, you told us what
you thought. Nothing wrong with that.

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