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Upgrade options from Vanguard ED 8.5x45

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Old Tuesday 16th July 2019, 06:33   #26
pavan_n
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Demo Maven 9x45 - First Impressions

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Originally Posted by chill6x6 View Post
OK, I have a recommendation for you...

I'm going to recommend a Maven B.2 9X45

I just read over your post and it check a lot of your boxes:

1. Magnification is perfect for you. Not quite to a 10X but you didn't have to drop down to 8X.
2. Eye relief- It's about perfect for me, a fellow eyeglass wearer!
3. Close focus- about 5 feet.
4. FOV- Your current 8.5X has 342ft. Now this is a 9X with 377ft(at least). Now that's a full step up in FOV.
5. Optics- Even though I am a fellow Endeavor ED owner(II &IV) and endorser, the B.2 is going to be a step up in a couple of ways at least. IMO the B.2 is going have better coating on the glass. So that's going to lead to more light to your eye. To add to that, the 45mm B.2s use AK prisms instead of roof prisms which again add 3-5% more light to your eye.
6. Quality- I fully believe that Vanguard offers some of the best binoculars for the money, but the Maven is going to be a step up. Made in Japan.

The one thing about the B.2 Maven is it's going to be a larger/heavier binocular. It looks as if it's going to be about 0.8 longer and 0.68 inches wider. Also about 6 ounces heavier from what I can tell.

I used the B.2 9X45 I had for quite a while. I really liked it and I even have a little sellers remorse. The MAIN reason I ended up selling the B.2 9X45 is that I also have what I consider the best binocular in this mid-magnification range with more FOV, lighter in weight, AND smaller in stature and that's the SV 8.5X42. But it's also OVER twice the price.
I received my demo maven B.2 9x45 this evening. I took it outside to have a look immediately. It was past 8pm and not many birds around, though there was still light out.
First impressions:
- Eye relief is fine for glasses, but the view was better without glasses.
- There is a very noticeable increase in brightness compared to other binoculars I've used (I looked into shadowed areas under trees and there was still a lot of detail).
- Field of view (wider vs Vanguard) is noticeable.
- The view is very sharp and has a lot of detail in the center, but tapers off towards the edges. I had not noticed this with the Vanguard, which has a consistent image almost out to the edge (to my eyes).
- Depth of field seemed a little shallow. A slight movement of the focus wheel would knock the sharpness of the image out very noticeably. The band of sharp focus appears rather thin to me. I will have to test this more tomorrow. I will re-adjust the diopter and try this again.
- I feel the additional weight when I hold it up to my eyes, but not so much when its around my neck.

When I looked through the Maven on its own, I did not appreciate some of its advantages, but when I got the Vanguard out of the car and did a comparison looking at the same views, the difference is easily seen. The Vanguard looked acceptably sharp but the Maven had more contrast in the dim light and resolved more detail.
Looking at the topmost branches of a tree in the last rays of sunlight, one particular twig appeared to have red markings on the green-gray bark when viewed through the Maven. When I switched to the Vanguard, I had trouble finding that particular branch/twig, I swapped back to the Maven to find it again and sure enough it was still there. It was then that it dawned on me - through the Vanguard, the branch looked greenish-gray (perfectly normal and expected). It took the Maven's better resolution and contrast to show the reddish streaking. I can't wait to observe some birds with this tomorrow. My first impressions are similar to watching a movie in SD and re-watching in HD and finding things I had missed earlier. There is great contrast, brightness and detail rendering through the Maven. Consider me impressed.
Tomorrow, I'll have to look through fresh eyes to see if the instrument works for me overall. The weight is the only thing that is a concern right now. I'll go over to Cabelas and try vs some models the day after, before deciding what I will do after sending the demo back.

Last edited by pavan_n : Tuesday 16th July 2019 at 06:36.
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Old Tuesday 16th July 2019, 21:23   #27
pavan_n
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Maven 9x45 demo - Day 1

After last evening's brief testing vs the Vanguard, I did not need to do a comparison again. So I took just the Maven to Fontenelle Forest a local favorite birding spot of mine. Quick observations:
- FOV is great - I saw three species in one view at one point (brown headed cowbird, white breasted nuthatch and an eastern wood-pewee).
- I went to a heavily wooded part of FF and the views were bright and detailed even in the dim understory.
- I certainly felt the weight of the Maven walking around today.
- The focus tripped me up a few times, but I got used to it pretty soon.
- I still feel band of focus/DoF is very shallow. When there were many objects close to the bird in focus, but in slightly different focal planes (like leaves and branches), I found the out of focus objects distracting.
If these were the last binoculars I could buy, I'd be happy with them. However, except for a thought exercise, that will never be the case. So, when I saw the 25% off at LL Bean (Thanks to the Bargains thread), I ordered a Nikon Monarch HG 10x42. I'll get a chance to test these two side by side if the Nikon arrives before I have to send the Maven back. For now, I think my final choice will be one of these two binoculars. I'll post an update when the Nikon MHG is here.
Thanks again for all the help in narrowing it down to these two.

Last edited by pavan_n : Wednesday 17th July 2019 at 05:24.
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Old Wednesday 17th July 2019, 02:33   #28
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I'm glad you tried the 9X45!

Sounds like for the most part you are pleased with it..

Depth of field- as magnification goes UP, depth of field is less. Maybe that's the difference you are seeing...8.5X vs 9X. 10X will show less DOF.
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Old Wednesday 17th July 2019, 02:51   #29
marcsantacurz
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I've heard good things about the mavens, but the weight of the B2 line has always been the issue for me. Good luck with the HG... it's fun seeing how your search goes.
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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 05:50   #30
pavan_n
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Further update on my quest to find an upgrade binocular. The Nikon HG 10x42 arrived this week and I got to compare it to both the Maven 9x and my Vanguard 8.5x.
Things I like about the HG - it has a wide, flat field of view and it is bright. It is also extremely light - very comfortable to use. Additionally the narrow band of focus I noticed on the Maven isn’t present on the Nikon HG, even though this is a 10x (I didn’t find myself constantly adjusting the focus wheel as I had done with the Maven). Perfect so far, right? Ergonomics and weight are a resounding yes! But I can’t help feeling that view through the HG is not dramatically better than the Vanguard. No, my Vanguard doesn’t have some secret sauce. I could easily tell the difference vs it and the Maven within minutes of comparing them. I repeated the same comparisons vs the HG under similar conditions and spent several hours looking at birds, alternating between the HG and the Vanguard. My initial impression hasn’t changed. While the view through the HG is a definite improvement, it’s just not a dramatic one. Considering physical attributes and ergonomics alone, the Nikon is a fantastic instrument. If the view from the Nikon had ‘wowed’ me like the Maven had done, my search would be at an end.
So I went into the local store and looked through their copy of the HG (now in the display case) and compared it to the Vortex Viper and Razor UHD, Zeiss Conquest HD and even asked them to show me the Swarovski SLC. My impression of the view through the HG remains unchanged - it’s good, not great. As it stands I’ve got to ask myself if there is something else I should try before deciding to keep the HG and simply enjoy it’s pluses - particularly it’s light weight and ergonomics (overall it certainly is a step up from my Vanguard). Thoughts?

Last edited by pavan_n : Thursday 25th July 2019 at 06:31.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 16:22   #31
marcsantacurz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavan_n View Post
So I went into the local store and looked through their copy of the HG (now in the display case) and compared it to the Vortex Viper and Razor UHD, Zeiss Conquest HD and even asked them to show me the Swarovski SLC. My impression of the view through the HG remains unchanged - it’s good, not great. As it stands I’ve got to ask myself if there is something else I should try before deciding to keep the HG and simply enjoy it’s pluses - particularly it’s light weight and ergonomics (overall it certainly is a step up from my Vanguard). Thoughts?
Have you looked through the EL or SF or Ultravid HD? They are 2x as expensive, but maybe it would set what is wow and what is not.

I'm not sure if there is too much more in the $1k price range. There's the Kowa Genesis and Meopta Meostar B1.1. The Trinovid HD is in this price range, but I personally had blackout problems with it, but my eyes are hard to fit -- this was in the 8x32 size. That was one I really wanted to love, but just could not make it work for me.

I've not used most of these, so I'm just listing things I've heard others talk about. I use the Zeiss HT in 10x42, Kowa in 8x33, and Swaro in 8.5x44.

Marc
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Last edited by marcsantacurz : Friday 26th July 2019 at 16:25.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 18:15   #32
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Pavan. When you get up to level of binoculars you are considering the improvements are not going to be dramatic but rather incremental. What I would do is just buy a Swarovski SV 10x42 or Zeiss 10x42 SF then you know you have one of the best and you can end your search. Try them both if you can.

Last edited by [email protected] : Saturday 27th July 2019 at 00:42.
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Old Saturday 27th July 2019, 23:47   #33
pavan_n
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Final update. I’ve made my decision. I am going to go with the Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42. I had liked the view through the Zeiss Conquest HD, having briefly looked through it on two occasions at the local store. While it’s not as good as the HG for ergonomics, weight, FoV or flatness of field, the detail resolved in the sweet spot look the best to my eyes. Very much like the Maven but a little more magnification, lighter weight and none of that focus issue that seems unique to my experience with the Maven. It’s also not perfect in my hand (I’ve become used to the open hinge design after using the Vanguard for some years, and prefer it), but am willing to work with it because of the great contrast and detail it gives me in the center of the field. In fact when I compared the conquest with the Swarovski SLC, I felt that to my eyes, the Conquests had just a little bit more contrast. That was inside the store and only a brief comparison, but it’s not an impression I’m going to be re-testing anytime soon, lest I get tempted :). As many have said already, I’ll reiterate - the best way to pick what works for your eyes and preference is to try out in person. I’m glad I could as it helped me find what works best for me.

I was out with the Conquest this morning and got some excellent views of a soaring immature bald eagle, superb views of an Eastern Wood pewee among others. The field marks stood out crisply and I was able to focus fast and follow the soaring eagle and a Cooper’s hawk that I heard and had a few seconds to find and focus on, as it flew across a clearing. The only thing I wished for was a slightly wider field of view.

Dennis, Marc, What I can say right now with a good degree of confidence is that I see a Victory SF 8x42 in my future. If I could afford to get a Victory now, I would definitely do it.
Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions and help.

Last edited by pavan_n : Saturday 27th July 2019 at 23:55. Reason: typos
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Old Sunday 28th July 2019, 06:13   #34
marcsantacurz
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Final update. Iíve made my decision. I am going to go with the Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42. I had liked the view through the Zeiss Conquest HD, having briefly looked through it on two occasions at the local store. While itís not as good as the HG for ergonomics, weight, FoV or flatness of field, the detail resolved in the sweet spot look the best to my eyes. Very much like the Maven but a little more magnification, lighter weight and none of that focus issue that seems unique to my experience with the Maven. Itís also not perfect in my hand (Iíve become used to the open hinge design after using the Vanguard for some years, and prefer it), but am willing to work with it because of the great contrast and detail it gives me in the center of the field. In fact when I compared the conquest with the Swarovski SLC, I felt that to my eyes, the Conquests had just a little bit more contrast. That was inside the store and only a brief comparison, but itís not an impression Iím going to be re-testing anytime soon, lest I get tempted :). As many have said already, Iíll reiterate - the best way to pick what works for your eyes and preference is to try out in person. Iím glad I could as it helped me find what works best for me.

I was out with the Conquest this morning and got some excellent views of a soaring immature bald eagle, superb views of an Eastern Wood pewee among others. The field marks stood out crisply and I was able to focus fast and follow the soaring eagle and a Cooperís hawk that I heard and had a few seconds to find and focus on, as it flew across a clearing. The only thing I wished for was a slightly wider field of view.

Dennis, Marc, What I can say right now with a good degree of confidence is that I see a Victory SF 8x42 in my future. If I could afford to get a Victory now, I would definitely do it.
Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions and help.
I have the 8x32 Conquest HD and really like it, though I use the Kowa Genesis 8.5x32 more (I really need to sell the Conquest!). I do think the conquest resolves more in the center than the kowa, but I like the kowa for other reasons. I'm glad you found something that works well for you. The ergonomics really do account for so much in how a bin works for an individual.

Marc
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