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Review: Maven C1 8x42

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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 17:18   #1
Steve C
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Review: Maven C1 8x42

Recently Maven has expanded their binocular line to include a more budget friendly C1 binocular series. There is a 42 mm series with 8x and 10x models as well as a 28 mm series in 7x and 10x. This one tells us that it is made in the Philippines using a combination of both Chinese and Japanese components. It does not appear to have the customization available to those purchasing B series binocular.

I have here the 8x 42 mm model for the review. It is gray with a nice tactile armor very much like the stock armor of the B series binoculars. The C 1 has an orange right eye diopter ring, light gray focus knob with an orange front face stamped with the C1 and 8x42 information. It is a Schmidt-Pechan design very similar in outline to the B1 binocular. It is a lot smaller than the B1, weighing 23.8 oz to the B1 29.3. Both weights without lens covers or accessories. This is a nearly 20% reduction in weight, and a similar size reduction from 5.125” to 6.25 inches in length. The C1 effectively splits the size difference in the b1 and B3 binoculars. It is a polymer housing. Like the other Maven binoculars, the eye cups are screw off.

Other pertinent details are a listed 19.5 mm eye relief, these eye cups extend to 16 mm above the surface of the ocular. I find this OK for my purposes, but I have no extraordinary “set in stone” eye relief requirements either, while some do. The screw off eye cups can be easily fitted with an O-ring to get another 2-4 mm extension if needed. Light transmission is listed as 90%, same as the B1 8x counterpart. There is ED glass and scratch resistant and oil resistant lens coatings as well. The ocular lens system is a simpler one than in the B1.

Out of the box the C1 presents an appearance of about what would be expected of a $400 class binocular. It is reasonably solid in appearance and quite substantial in heft, but obviously below premium levels. Having said that, there is no apparent concern that it will fall apart quickly either, in short, nothing to place it out of the ordinary in looks and feel. Build quality should not be of much concern.

The focus is counterclockwise to infinity. The focus travels travels just over one and a half turns in its full rotational travel. The close focus is right at the stated specification of 1.8 m (6 feet). The focus is stiff, but pretty precise. This unit. Like all of the Maven binoculars I have had in hand, shows no focus slack. From the close focus of 6 feet it takes one and a quarter turns to get to 75 feet. One quarter turn to infinity with a quarter turn left past infinity.

I did not take great pains to measure the exact effective aperture or magnification, suffice it to say that it is an 8x42 binocular. The stated 341’ fov measures 365’. While that is not great it is better than what you get with a smaller fov such as other binoculars of my experience show, notably the Nikon Monarch ATB at 330’ is markedly less wide than the C1. The C1 is also markedly less wide than its B3 cousin.

The view is the outstanding feature here. While construction is on the level expected of its price class, the view is a lot better than one would be led to expect, a lot better. It is not going to be out of place in the review I did of the B1 and the other $1k price level glass. You will have a very hard time convincing your self the view of something like the Toric is indeed better. If budget constraints are a concern, it will be hard to recommend the B1 over the C1.

The image is both bright and sharp and the contrast is very good. Color rendition is natural and image bias is ever so slightly on the warm side. There is a bit of edge distortion but unless you are determined to let yourself be bothered by less than 60* afov, this is an enjoyable binocular. To my eyes the sweet spot is at least 80%of the view.

So who is going to be interested in this glass? For a primary birding glass it will have less appeal than the same with a wider field. It will be a good second binocular for use in the vehicle or at the bird feeder. I found it to be quite good at use on water for the fall migration of waterfowl. In all likelihood it will be more attractive as a general purpose use glass and to hunters. It is however a very good glass for the money and it has a good enough view that its fov shortcomings may well be easy to look past.
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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 17:42   #2
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Good to hear Steve and thanks for the review on this one!

Would also like to add Maven has 15% off C series thru the holidays...

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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 19:20   #3
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I thought that looked familiar! I'd bet it's the latest incarnation of a design Minox sold years ago as the 8x42 BD BL. Most recently as the "Made in Germany" version (see below). Same (stated) FOV, eye relief, proportions, light weight (I mean LIGHT, but the Maven is a tad chunkier in terms of armor), etc. I bought my sister the Minox years ago for Christmas and still snag it from her when we go out birding. It's a really nice view, and the Maven evidently adds ED glass. The more things change...

Thanks. Steve. Great review.
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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 19:42   #4
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Originally Posted by Kammerdiner View Post
I thought that looked familiar! I'd bet it's the latest incarnation of a design Minox sold years ago as the 8x42 BD BL. Most recently as the "Made in Germany" version (see below). Same (stated) FOV, eye relief, proportions, light weight (I mean LIGHT, but the Maven is a tad chunkier in terms of armor), etc. I bought my sister the Minox years ago for Christmas and still snag it from her when we go out birding. It's a really nice view, and the Maven evidently adds ED glass. The more things change...

Thanks. Steve. Great review.
Mark'

You are right about the similarity. Loss of similarity in lots of binoculars. I have to think that many are looking for already available body moulds to use. It sort of blew me away when I found out how much a new "design of body" mould setup costs.
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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 20:39   #5
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Mark'

You are right about the similarity. Loss of similarity in lots of binoculars. I have to think that many are looking for already available body moulds to use. It sort of blew me away when I found out how much a new "design of body" mould setup costs.
Well, that might be a factor.
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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 21:03   #6
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Nice review Steve! Enjoyed it!

Maven is a class act IMO.
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Old Saturday 18th November 2017, 22:02   #7
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Steve. Have you ever compared the C1 8x42 to the Bushnell Legend M 8x42? I just bought the Bushnell for $160.00 from the Binocular Bargain Thread and it is pretty impressive for the price with a 426 foot FOV.. Maven and Tract are both class acts and give you a lot of binocular for the money I agree with that. I just have to ask one question. Why are Maven's and Tract's FOV so PUNY? In every other optical aspects they are quite comparable to alpha level binoculars EXCEPT FOV. I have rediscovered a big FOV and I like it for birding. I mean a 365 foot FOV on an 8x42 foot binocular is not going to excite a lot of birder's that like a big FOV. Even the $160.00 Bushnell Legend M 8x42 I just purchased has a 426 foot FOV and the new Nikon 8x42 MHG has a 439 foot FOV. The new Swarovski 8x30 CL has a 396 foot FOV and the king of them all the Zeiss 8x42 SF has a 442 foot FOV. The trend is towards bigger FOV's because birders like them. It helps you spot birds and it is more enjoyable to use the binoculars. Why don't Maven or Tract make a wide FOV binocular in an 8x42 like the SF and sell it for $1500.00? It can't be cost if Bushnell can do it for $160.00. I would be first in line for one.

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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 00:36   #8
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Steve. Have you ever compared the C1 8x42 to the Bushnell Legend M 8x42? I just bought the Bushnell for $160.00 from the Binocular Bargain Thread and it is pretty impressive for the price with a 426 foot FOV.. Maven and Tract are both class acts and give you a lot of binocular for the money I agree with that. I just have to ask one question. Why are Maven's and Tract's FOV so PUNY? In every other optical aspects they are quite comparable to alpha level binoculars EXCEPT FOV. I have rediscovered a big FOV and I like it for birding. I mean a 365 foot FOV on an 8x42 foot binocular is not going to excite a lot of birder's that like a big FOV. Even the $160.00 Bushnell Legend M 8x42 I just purchased has a 426 foot FOV and the new Nikon 8x42 MHG has a 439 foot FOV. The new Swarovski 8x30 CL has a 396 foot FOV and the king of them all the Zeiss 8x42 SF has a 442 foot FOV. The trend is towards bigger FOV's because birders like them. It helps you spot birds and it is more enjoyable to use the binoculars. Why don't Maven or Tract make a wide FOV binocular in an 8x42 like the SF and sell it for $1500.00? It can't be cost if Bushnell can do it for $160.00. I would be first in line for one.
Dennis,

The explanations have gotten go like this. First is that any company has a contract with whatever OEM they use. In the case of some of these contracts the OEM chooses to state smaller than actual fov. The theory is that a customer won't complain if they get a larger than spec fov. I can't say I even begin to agree with that thinking seeing as how a big draw for a birding binocular is the specified fov, something you illustrate in your post Another one said the engineers claim fov testing fo 1,000 yards is only valid if done at 1,000 yards. I call baloney on that one.

Now the actual fov of the rest of the Maven line is far from puny in actual measurement. You have the 9x45 B2. Your eyes surely do not tell you you are looking at a puny fov. The afov on my Maven 9x45 B2 is only a couple of tenths of a degree from 70*, The B3's (all three of them) I have measure 445' fov which is 68*. I have gone over all of this in other threads. I have brought out the point you have illustrated more than once to the companies involved. So I can't give your question a proper answer, because I don't really know why the to the companies involved tend to understate. It is my opinion that the C1 is a smaller fov by design as it requires a less expensive design,

With the Bushnell Legend M2 all you have is the Bushnell version of the Zen Ray ED series. You have already thrown that whole thing under the bus, Chinese source and the whole deal. As to why they are now $160, it is likely because they have a bunch they have not been able to sell and the fire sale is on. I have no doubt it is a heck of a deal at the price and it is no wonder it made a posting in the binoculars thread.

I will say that the ZEN ED binoculars I have are as good a product as they ever were (company decline aside). Side by side they are not a Maven B series glass. Nor are they a GPO Passion HD, a Stryka S7 or S9, or even Tract Toric.

A new company will have a hard enough time at $1,000. If somebody wants to go to the $1,500 range people will buy Swarovski SLC's or Leica Trinovids.

Maven already has a wide field 8x42. It is the B1, It only costs about half of the $1,500 you suggest and will stand with pretty nearly anything.
Hope that helps some
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 05:23   #9
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Steve

Have you ever seen this Outdoor Life Review on binoculars. I would expect the two alpha level binoculars the Leica Ultravid HD and the Zeiss SF to score better than the Maven B1 because they cost almost 3 times as much but I would not have expected the Bushnell Legend M to score better than the Maven B1 when it costs less than 1/2 of the B1's price. Especially in image quality. I noticed that myself also. The Bushnell Legend M has really excellent image quality. The Bushnell Legend M was rated the best value when it was $379.00 so I guess at $160.00 it was a real deal.

https://www.outdoorlife.com/features...est/binoculars

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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 12:19   #10
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Dennis and Steve

May I add a little to this discussion? The vast majority of units sold in America are priced at $500-$600 and this is as far as a regular guy wants to spend in the States.

Wider fields of view cost more in weight and materials and it gets more difficult to provide good quality at the edge of the field.

As to why manufacturers might publish a smaller fov than their binos actually possess I reckon there is one good reason and that is that there is sufficient variation in the fov they attain with their eyepieces that they only dare claim the lowest fov that a buyer may encounter, figuring anybody who gets a wider fov than expected will not complain.

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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 15:17   #11
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Dennis,

I put zero faith level in an Outdoor Life review. The reasons should be self evident. There is no way to assign an objective test ranking based on subjective evaluations.

Lee,

You are correct about pricing levels that sell. You may well be correct about the fov part of your post, but the wider than average fov of the Maven binoculars has always been on the high side, with multiple specimens.
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 16:01   #12
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You may well be correct about the fov part of your post, but the wider than average fov of the Maven binoculars has always been on the high side, with multiple specimens.
Specifications for publishing are normally determined before full scale production has begun and sometimes when all the variables of tolerances begin to mix and emerge it can be that unforeseen things occur for example light transmission may vary to the expected amount eg by plus or minus 2% but around a mean that is higher or lower than expected. Zeiss rather amusingly tried to cover this eventuality when they launched HT along with the tagline of 'up to more than 92%'. It is possible that similar shifts in the fov that is achieved in practice may occur and perhaps Maven would rather be 'caught out' supplying better than expected fov's rather than disappoint folks. Its great that they over-deliver on fov, its puzzling that they don't revise their published specs but if they did I suppose some clever dudes would try to make some scandal out of it.

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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 16:18   #13
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Specifications for publishing are normally determined before full scale production has begun and sometimes when all the variables of tolerances begin to mix and emerge it can be that unforeseen things occur for example light transmission may vary to the expected amount eg by plus or minus 2% but around a mean that is higher or lower than expected. Zeiss rather amusingly tried to cover this eventuality when they launched HT along with the tagline of 'up to more than 92%'. It is possible that similar shifts in the fov that is achieved in practice may occur and perhaps Maven would rather be 'caught out' supplying better than expected fov's rather than disappoint folks. Its great that they over-deliver on fov, its puzzling that they don't revise their published specs but if they did I suppose some clever dudes would try to make some scandal out of it.

Lee
Well a plan rarely survives first contact with reality and comes off unscathed. It seems to me an optical engineer ought to know if his 7.5* design is 7* or 8*. It also seems plausible that there are expected tolerances in all areas of specification. I am not enough Sherlock Holmes to try and pry out contract or QC issues or allowable variations in specifications.

Your last two sentences very likely hit pretty close to the mark. More than that I can't say, that is because I really don't know.

I think people pay way too much attention to what the specification sheet says anyway. For reasons like you mention and the likely possibility of errors in posting the specifications they are not a lot of use in a lot of cases. Kind of like a review, they can serve as a guide but the final arbiter is the person with the binocular to the eye.
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 16:54   #14
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It looks like the 8x Maven has about a 7° FoV or [email protected] The ISO calculation would be 52.15° AoV intead of 56° by our more usual FoV x magnifcation. I'm guessing they just back calculated the 52.15° on a spec sheet by the wrong method and came up with 6.52° FoV instead or [email protected]

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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 17:43   #15
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Because so many people buy binoculars by the specification sheet and FOV is so important I would imagine Maven loses quite a few sales because of their conservative FOV measurement methodology. To be honest I would not even try a 341 foot FOV 8x42 binocular but if it was 420 feet I would try one.

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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 18:44   #16
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Because so many people buy binoculars by the specification sheet and FOV is so important I would imagine Maven loses quite a few sales because of their conservative FOV measurement methodology.
I tend to agree with that and I've made that point to them. However we have to step back and consider just what percentage of actual, real life, in the field binocular users ever post on an optical oriented forum? Or how many choose binoculars based on price or maybe a brand name they have heard of and have the impression..."that is OK by me" and leave the store with a binocular. Do they even know there is such a thing as a field of view?
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Old Sunday 19th November 2017, 18:48   #17
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It looks like the 8x Maven has about a 7° FoV or [email protected] The ISO calculation would be 52.15° AoV intead of 56° by our more usual FoV x magnifcation. I'm guessing they just back calculated the 52.15° on a spec sheet by the wrong method and came up with 6.52° FoV instead or [email protected]

David
I had that thought and intend to ask about it.
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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 08:18   #18
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Because so many people buy binoculars by the specification sheet and FOV is so important I would imagine Maven loses quite a few sales because of their conservative FOV measurement methodology.
And this is so important when so many folks can't get to a dealer and have to order over the internet based on specs and reviews.

Its a shame because sometimes you pick up a pair of binos and it turns out to be so much more than its spec suggests.

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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 16:10   #19
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And this is so important when so many folks can't get to a dealer and have to order over the internet based on specs and reviews.

Its a shame because sometimes you pick up a pair of binos and it turns out to be so much more than its spec suggests.

Lee
Exactly. Maven and Tracts are even worse because they are sold direct to the consumer so you can't even try them out at a dealer or store.
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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 16:14   #20
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To me, if you cannot get to a retail location to check them out first hand, find a vendor that will allow you to check them out and return them if you don't like them. There are many (Cabelas, CLand NY, Tract, etc) that will do that. Yes, you'll be out shipping cost, but it's a small price to pay to make sure they work for you.
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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 17:08   #21
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To me, if you cannot get to a retail location to check them out first hand, find a vendor that will allow you to check them out and return them if you don't like them. There are many (Cabelas, CLand NY, Tract, etc) that will do that. Yes, you'll be out shipping cost, but it's a small price to pay to make sure they work for you.
That is a good idea. You know how binoculars are. You really have to try them yourself to know if they suit you. Tract has their trial program also which is a good idea and I think they even pay for the return shipping with an included shipping label.

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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 18:34   #22
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To me, if you cannot get to a retail location to check them out first hand, find a vendor that will allow you to check them out and return them if you don't like them. There are many (Cabelas, CLand NY, Tract, etc) that will do that. Yes, you'll be out shipping cost, but it's a small price to pay to make sure they work for you.
Dead right JG.

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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 20:33   #23
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To me, if you cannot get to a retail location to check them out first hand, find a vendor that will allow you to check them out and return them if you don't like them. There are many (Cabelas, CLand NY, Tract, etc) that will do that. Yes, you'll be out shipping cost, but it's a small price to pay to make sure they work for you.

Maven or Tract will be no further away from most customers in terms of shipping days than a large enough dealer with a dedicated return policy, like CameralandNY, Cabela's, SWFA, B&H, Optics Planet etc. The same small return shipping fee is small enough price to pay for a 15- 30 day hands on trial. Not much difference in buying direct from the Maven or Tract or one of the big dealers.
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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 21:26   #24
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Steve .... Do you have any preference between the Maven C1 8X42 and the GPO 8X42 ED?

Normally I will find something about a binocular that makes it special or unique compared to others in the same class. For example, the GPO is exceptional in the wide field of view, a more natural color balance and what looks to be high end construction in this class. Are there any attributes about the C1 that seem special compared to others in this class? Value is one item that comes to mind after factoring in the current 15% off promotion along with the smaller and lighter weight and also the screw in eye cups.

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......
The same small return shipping fee is small enough price to pay for a 15- 30 day hands on trial. Not much difference in buying direct from the Maven or Tract or one of the big dealers.
Right on Steve! The 30 day or so trial periods are really a great benefit. One can generally find the show stopper issues in the store examination but it really takes some time in the field to discover those small items that turn out to be big items. Even if a binocular can be checked out in a store, it is best to go with a vendor that has a trial period where the buyer has a reasonable time frame to get to learn about the binocular.

Thanks for putting together another informative review!
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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 22:04   #25
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Steve .... Do you have any preference between the Maven C1 8X42 and the GPO 8X42 ED?

Normally I will find something about a binocular that makes it special or unique compared to others in the same class. For example, the GPO is exceptional in the wide field of view, a more natural color balance and what looks to be high end construction in this class. Are there any attributes about the C1 that seem special compared to others in this class? Value is one item that comes to mind after factoring in the current 15% off promotion along with the smaller and lighter weight and also the screw in eye cups.



Right on Steve! The 30 day or so trial periods are really a great benefit. One can generally find the show stopper issues in the store examination but it really takes some time in the field to discover those small items that turn out to be big items. Even if a binocular can be checked out in a store, it is best to go with a vendor that has a trial period where the buyer has a reasonable time frame to get to learn about the binocular.

Thanks for putting together another informative review!
Yes I do. I am writing the GPO ED review now will comment on that later.

However the C1 has a view in image quality to equal the likes of the Tract Toric.
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