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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Maven B6 and other B series (1 Viewer)

Steve C

Well-known member
I do not intend for this to be a winner take all shoot out as seems to be the object in some comparative reviews. That kind of review no longer appeals much to me, and there really is not a clear cut winner here anyway. Remember any review is the reviewer’s opinion, and this one is surely mine. I am going to center on the new B6 and in the course of the review compare it to other Maven B series binoculars.

Viewing conditions nearly all summer here have been pretty atrocious. There are well over a million acres of wildfires within maybe 200 miles of here, some within 20-30 miles. Many days visibility is only a mile or two. Other days better, other days worse, down to less than a quarter mile on a few select days. Even the best days had enough smoke haze to do crazy things to binocular images. It is kind of like being on an alien planet with a thick smoky atmosphere. Even the best binocular can’t see well in smoke smog. So I’d been slogging along trying to cherry pick times when I might find better viewing conditions. Another thing is the Western US has gotten about as much rain as the Sahara Desert lately, and I thought the forecast of rain today was some sort of bad joke. But it did rain, and boy what a difference a day makes! I’d been going along mostly going ...pffttt...at the views. They pretty well sucked. But the rain took the smoke out of the air, and the images went to being pretty remarkable. Kind of like the view through the picture window after getting a dozen layers of grime washed off. Now to hope that the rain doused some fire.

As for viewing conditions, note the picture of the tree attached below. It is a crappy picture taken on a cell phone camera on a smoky day. I used it for three reasons. First it is indicative of the dreary smoky days, second it shows the different power lines that intersect the tree's profile. In particular it shows two power lines above the tree silhouetted against the hills. Third, and for reference, the hills are about a mile and a half away. Any decent binocular has hard time seeing individual sage brush plants through the smoke. The tree itself is more or less a half mile away. The three heavy lines at the top of the tree and the two wires above the tree are about 200 yards from the tree. Smoke or clear, those upper wires can be bloody difficult to see if the light is not right. The hillside blends them right in. They go from invisible, to indistinct pencil like lines, to silver, to tan to black, to tan to silver, then to indistinct pencil like line to invisible as the light changes. Even the passing of a cloud will make them vanish...or appear again, just depends on the light. If it is not right, they can’t be seen no matter what sort of optic you point at them.

Just to the immediate right of the tree picture is Spring Lake (see second photo) , about a mile in diameter. Right now it has a pretty incredible amount of various waterbirds, Just around the vicinity there are quite a few Raptors, including Harrier, Red Tailed Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, the occasional , Feruginous Hawks, Rough Leg Hawk, Kestrels, Prairie Falcon, along with Bald Eagles (there is a nest just off to the left of the tree picture at the base of the Klamath Hills, about a mile and a half away. Raptor watching is usually pretty decent as there is typically quite an updraft off the lake flowing up the side of the mountain. There are others, but there is enough variety around to provide ample viewing diversity. OK on to the binoculars themselves.

Maven B6 10x50:

The B6 represents a new series of binoculars from Maven. They feature SP prisms and currently come in 10 and 12x, with 50mm objectives. The prism system is larger than original B series binoculars. The size and arrangement of the prisms allow for a shorter focal length, resulting in a more compact binocular than many contemporary x50’s. The fov in the 10x50 is wider than a lot of contemporary competing designs. Many Maven binoculars have understated fov specs, but this one matches the stated 6.5*.

The B6 is not much larger than many 10x42 binoculars. While it yields a more compact end product, that is also the source of its main drawbacks. The B6, can at times feel a bit on the chubby side, and the objectives touch at an IPD of 58 mm. This limits, or eliminates its usefulness for many users. If you require less IPD than that you need look elsewhere. Wider and shorter tubes can make it a chore to attach a tripod adapter. Better get an adapter with a narrower screw head attachment, as fingers don’t fit the slot very well, or plan on a strap on attachment.

In general Maven binoculars have a solid, substantial feel. They seem solid, well balanced with very pleasantly tactile standard armor. There are no shallow thumb cuts as as found in the B1. The custom optional coverings are a bit slicker but work very well. Standard colors are black, and gray with silver and orange accents. The custom option costs more, but if looks really matter you can easily make yours one of a kind. Not available on the B6 yet, but it’s coming.

One thing that some may wonder about is the 94% transmission spec of the B6. That seems high for an SP prism system, but for what it is worth, brightness is NOT a problem with the B6. Not magical brightness, just the extra bit of reach into twilight that is expected from 50 mm objectives. The view in and of itself won’t cause doubt about the specified transmission. A chart would be nice to see, I must admit.

The focus of the B6 is clockwise to infinity, a pretty definite preference of a lot of users. This is different from the B1 series, as they are counterclockwise. The B3 would be an excellent combo glass for the B6 as it also focuses clockwise. The focus of the B6 is smoother than other Mavens and requires less force to move than the other B series glass. This is much more of a birder’s focus. The central hinge hinge is amply tight to stay where the user places it and there are no worries about it being too loose. The screw off eye cups are the same style as the B1, but not interchangeable. The ocular lens on the B6 is 26 mm and on the B1 it is 23 mm. The objective lens measures 50 mm and both exit pupils measure precisely 5 mm. EP are both perfectly round with only slight vignetting. No false pupils are present. Internal blackening is excellent.

The image is best thought of as transparent. It simply places yo closer to your target and image wise one hardly notices it is there. It is bright and sharp with a mostly neutral, to ever so slightly warm tint. Colors appear as they should. CA control appears excellent. As I have said often before, I am not sensitive to CA. Veiling glare is not an issue here either and anti reflection coatings appear to work very well.

This is not a flat field binocular, but in most conditions it might as well be. The edge here is very well done. The only time distortion at the edge of the field is found is when looking in the direction of bright light, where one would expect to see veiling glare. There is some curvature if you go looking for it, but what is there is pretty far toward the edge and focuses out with the slight touch of the wheel. What distortion is there will not interfere with peripheral vision. I am NOT a fan of flat field views, so for my purposes this edge is among the best I’ve seen. But I have to purposely try to investigate edge performance. Looking at fov edges is uncomfortable, and exposes traits best left alone. As long as it does not distract at the edge of peripheral vision, I’m fine with it.

Jupiter is a nice round yellow ball, with the moons being nice bright pinpoints.

Overall this binocular follows the image path taken by other Maven binoculars. The view on all of them is nice and easy, the binocular almost does not seem to enter the picture. It simply transports you closer to what you are looking at. Nothing about it is distracting. Basically the definition of an excellent binocular.

B6 vs the B2 9x45.

I spent many years looking for the B2, when I finally found it it did not take but a couple of minutes to know I'd finally found what I’d been looking for. Not perfect by any means, but it is the best binocular to properly balance all strengths and flaws that I’ve found. Now the B6 will not replace the B2 largely because of several years of experience with the B2. If I did not have the B2 and was looking at one or the other, the choice would be a difficult one. Pros of the B2 are better low light performance, IPD range, much closer focus, smaller size, and better 3D image characteristics. Also the apparent field of the B2 is noticeably wider than the B6. As far as detail at distance there is not enough difference to matter to me. At times I can see what looks like a larger size in the object of concern, but not enough difference to get any more useful information from the two images. Mostly the images are pretty indistinguishable. I I did not have the B2, and found myself with these two as choices, I’d be seriously hard pressed to choose.

B6 vs the B2 11x45.

This is not my binocular so I don’t have the track record of experience with it as I do with the B2, but for appearances sake it is the equal of the B6. This one has a fov of 6.3*. Those fov differences are not an issue in typical field use as they are all more than adequately wide, so unless you have the side by side and are looking for nits to pick, the difference is pretty well invisible. 11X for me seems to begin the point where I can begin to see some detail difference at distance. Not enough to necessarily be a deal maker. One thing I have seen posted elsewhere is the lack of depth in the view of the 11x. I suppose people see what they see, but for me I really don’t get that. There is a little less dof here, but about what would be expected in loss of depth by stepping of the magnification ladder. Again the image with the B6 is pretty indistinguishable. Potential Maven customers will have some difficulty choosing among these three.

B6 vs the 10x42 B1.

I hope to get my eyes on some time with the new B1.2, but for now this will have to do. This one has been around for about as long as the 9x45 B2 so I have some track record with it. I have long suspected that a 10x binocular will show its differences in magnification alongside an 8x is if they both have exit pupils in the 5.0 mm range. The biggest thing here is that while the fov is pretty much the same, 341 vs 358, the B6 looks wider than that difference might suggest. It is like the B1 needs a bit wider field stop. But it is not enough to notice without having them side by side. Additionally there is an improved IPD range. The real image difference is, as should be expected apparent in low light. It is likely not to be enough difference to matter unless low light is a serious user priority. The specified light transmission is about 3% lower on the B1, but you would not necessarily call the B6 any brighter than the B1 in good light. Low light is where the B 6 comes into its realm. I* have thought for some time that a 10x50 glass shows a better image than a comparable 10x42, the same goes here. Resolution in low light is clearly in favor of the B6.

OK this I more than long enough I suppose. One can never cover all the things that need to be covered anyway. Need a 10x50, this is really worth a look.
 

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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Thanks for the thoughts Steve - hope more gentle rain and clear skies are on the way.

A couple of things you said are puzzling ....

One thing that some may wonder about is the 94% transmission spec of the B6. That seems high for an SP prism system, but for what it is worth, brightness is NOT a problem with the B6. Not magical brightness,

The image is best thought of as transparent.

Pros of the B2 are better low light performance,

With both bins having 5mm exit pupils, and the 10x50 B.6 having 94.75% tr listed vs the 9x45 B.2 at 93.70% , it shouldn't turn out that the 9x45 B.2 has "better low light performance" .......

While pretty much no human is going to be able to discern ~1% difference in tr in practice, I would have thought the result would be pretty much a wash. Maybe very slight advantage (p**fteenth of a bee's d*ck) going to the 10x50 B.6 (due to the tr and higher twighlight factor).

Also, a 10x50 with a "transparent" view and 94.75% tr had better dang well look magic ! Heck, that's near as dammit as much as a Zeiss HT ......
That's some ~5% more tr than a Swaro 10x50 SV, and even several % above a Leica 10x50 UVHD+
That will be noticeable to quite a few folk, so what gives ..... ??

Also, I don't get the "smaller size" comment in relation to the B2. Maven's specs say that the B6 is approx 1/2" smaller than the B2 in both length and width. Only the height is larger by 1/5th of an inch as you would expect due to the objective sizes.

Any idea when the customisation will be available ? I'd be fine with the grey armour and silver coloured lugs, diopter ring, trim etc, but jeez I'd want to give the orange highlight pieces a miss and just go with the silver .....


Chosun 👧
 

Steve C

Well-known member
OK CJ you caught a mistake I made, a couple actually :oops:. You are right, the B2 should not have better low light performance. That should be the B 6 has better low light performance. I have no idea how that sentence got in where I obviously put it, but get there it did. My bad.

Also the more compact size remark was more or less directed toward other 10x50 models. The B6 is really not compact, and neither is the B 2. I should have made that more clear.

One thing this B 6 reinforced for me was that a 10x50 has a better image than a similar 10x42. I found that to be the case in stationary views with the SV EL 10x42 vs 10x50. Same thing here.

A magic view is certainly a subjective sort of a definition, but there is nothing much to complain about with the B6. Hard to find anything to nit pick with even when looking for nits to pick.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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