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Mid-level 10x50 (Maven B6) vs Alpha 10x42 (Noctivid) (1 Viewer)

Lewis

Well-known member
United States
Good morning,

I own a Maven B6 10x50. I’ve had it for about 2 years and I like them very much. I also have Nikon HG 8x42s which I like too but the Mavens are my go-to birding binoculars 95% of the time.

I’ve had zero experience with true alpha-level binoculars. I tried alpha-adjacent 10x50 Ultravids in a store once but, maybe because of the eye-relief and my glasses, they didn’t do it for me.

I tried the Nikon HG 10x42s before I purchased the 8s; I found the view distinctly and undesirably darker than the 8s.

Basically, I want the best 10- power birdwatching binoculars I can get. I wish Leica made 10x50 Noctivids. I wish for this (without ever having touched any Noctivid) sooo much that I actually wrote to Leica and asked them if they might ever produce them! (They said “Nope!)

I won’t buy Zeiss or Swarovski products, so that greatly reduces my range of options and decisions immensely.

So here I’m asking: In your experience, can Noctivid 10x42s compete with mid-range 10x50s in terms of light-gathering capability, or is a reasonably good 10x50 always going to outshine (ha) even the best of the best 10x42z just due to, you know, physics?

Yes, I will only get my answer when I try a pair of Nocs with my own eyeballs, of course of course. But until I can make that happen, I’m askin’.

Thank you!
 
Hi Lewis,

Maven makes a good binocular! I really liked the B2 9X45. Kind wish I still had it. That B6 10X50 would probably be a good one. BUT...

The BEST 10X50 is the Swarovski EL 10X50. You could find one here and there at a discounted price since it has been d/c. That's the one I'd get and I have no reservations. Works with eyeglasses too! So if you don't want that one, it won't be the best BUT...

I have a Vortex Razor UHD 10X50....nicer binocular than I expected.

But I'd still rather have the NL 10X42 with the FOV of most 8X42s...

Sorry...probably nothing you wanted to hear!
 
Oh I welcome and appreciate all input.

And thank you for reminding me: I tried out the Maven 9x45s and the Vortex Razor UHD 10X50s. The 9x45s made me woozy when I panned even a short distance; I had less of this problem with the Vortexes but still a little bit, but they were freakin’ heavy to hike around with.

I think my eyes (and my stomach) don’t agree with AK prisms, sadly.

I know there are likely great Zeiss and Swaro 10x50s, but I am expressly not asking about those.

Have you used Noctivid 10x42s? You don’t mention them in your comparisons.

Thanks!
 
In your experience, can Noctivid 10x42s compete with mid-range 10x50s in terms of light-gathering capability, or is a reasonably good 10x50 always going to outshine (ha) even the best of the best 10x42z just due to, you know, physics?
I've used a friend's 10x42 Noctivid in Singapore, it's an outstanding binocular. I haven't tried the 10x50 Maven (although based on Canip's comparisons with other quality 10x50s, which are very worth reading, it seems like a very good product). I'd be surprised if the Maven or any 10x50 was noticeably brighter than a top class 10x42 unless/until the light started to get marginal. But any 10x50 will have a larger exit pupil than a 10x42, which you may find more comfortable, especially if your birding involves a lot of scanning for distant targets (much less of an issue for birding in parks or woodland where you are more often spotting the birds by eye and not spending as much time "in the glasses").

I use a 10x42 (Nikon SE) a lot; the combo of 10x mag and a x42mm package really works well for me and most of the time (especially when craning my neck looking up at a bird high up in the sky) I don't wish I had a 10x50. That said, there are times when I'll pick the 10x50, and whenever I do the 5mm exit pupil feels generous and effortless to view with. 10x50 is a great format in its own right - it's just rare these days as the market has come to prefer 10x42 (as I myself do, most of the time).

If your distaste for Swaro/Zeiss stems from the field flatteners rather than something more irrational, it might be worth your trying something like a late model Swaro 10x42 SLC (HD etc). No field flatteners, and no Abbe-Koenig prisms for that matter. Note that the Noctivid is thought to have a type of partial field flattener, the intention presumably being to increase sweet spot while not going all the way to the edge (which some folks - for reasons I find hard to understand - consider undesirable).
 
No, a Noctivid 10x42 won't compete with a Maven B6 10x50. Even an alpha level binocular can not make up for the that extra 70% light that a 50mm pulls in over a 42mm. The transmission is similar on the Noctivid and Maven, with the only difference being the aperture size.

My Nikon HG 8x42's are brighter than my NL 8x32's almost all the time, even in the daytime.

I don't agree that a 32mm binocular is as bright in the daytime as a 42mm. In my side by side testing, they are not. Besides that, it sounds like you like the ease of eye placement and comfort of a 5mm EP.

You don't like Zeiss, Swarovski or the Leica UVHD 10x50 you tried, so as you say it doesn't leave you with much left to pick from. It also sounds like you like 10x because the Mavens 10x50 B6 are your go-to binoculars most of the time.

Since the UVHD 10x50 didn't work for you, I doubt even if Leica did make a Noctivid 10x50 it would work for you either because they are all similar in many ways and a Noctivid 10x50 would weigh about 40 oz. because the Noctivid 10x42 is 33 oz. so that basically rules out Leica's also.

You have ruled out the big three, so we have to search outside the box. How about Vortex?

You don't like AK prisms so that rules out the Vortex UHD 10x50, and they are heavy at 36.5 oz. but the Vortex Razor 10x50 and Vortex Viper 10x50 use SP prisms, and they only weigh 28 oz. which is lighter than your Maven B6 10x50 which weighs 31 oz.

I had the Maven B6 10x50 and IMO the Razor 10x50 is better than the B6 and the Viper 10x50 is just as good as the B6, so that is the two I would try. You have run out of options, because you have ruled out so many binoculars.

If I personally could pick one 10x50, it would be the Swarovski EL 10x50. It has the biggest FOV of any 10x50's, and it is sharp to the edge. I think k if you tried it you would like it better than your B6.

May I ask why you don't care for Zeiss and Swarovski's and AK prisms? You are the first person I have heard say that! It would help select a binocular because not all Swarovski's and Zeiss have the same characteristics and specifications, or do you just hate Swarovski's and Zeiss for some reason?

 
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I currently own the 10X42 Noctivid, and I have previously owned Swarovski 10X50 and 12X50 ELs, 10X42 NLs, and the Zeiss 10X42 Victory SF. If your primary interest is daytime use as opposed to astronomy use, I do not see any advantage in a 10X50 over an alpha 10X42. I will say that I let my 12X50 EL go after comparing to the 10X42 Noctivid in day use; I simply found the Noctivid to have a brighter and more pleasing view. I suspect that was in large part due to the Leica’s stronger color saturation compared to the Swarovski, and preferences on color rendition differ among users. If I used binoculars more at night I might well have hung on to the 12X50 ELs or traded them for 10X50 ELs (the latter having somewhat better eye relief for eyeglass wearers like myself).

I am not sure why you want to rule out Zeiss and Swarovski, as the Victory SF and NL Pure in 10X42 as well as the 10X50 EL are all superb choices; they just have different attributes in terms of color rendition, ergonomics broadly speaking, flat versus slightly curved FOV etc.

As others suggest, it would be best to get the Noctivids and any other candidates in you own hands to see how you react to them.
 
can Noctivid 10x42s compete with mid-range 10x50s in terms of light-gathering capability
What does compete mean? In what conditions do you go birding? Physics dictates that 50mm will do better, and your Maven also claims 94.75% transmission which is surely a bit better than NV... but still the difference won't be dramatic.
Basically, I want the best 10- power birdwatching binoculars I can get...
...except it needs to be a Leica? That leaves you with precisely three options: NV 10x42, UV 10x42, UV 10x50. You've already ruled out the 10x50 due to eye relief, and there's no argument for UV being better than NV. So just buy NV and be done with it.

FWIW, there have been complaints here about the 10x NV vs the 8x... I think it was higher chromatic aberration? But not everyone finds that such a problem.
 
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Basically, I want the best 10- power birdwatching binoculars I can get. I wish Leica made 10x50 Noctivids. I wish for this (without ever having touched any Noctivid) sooo much that I actually wrote to Leica and asked them if they might ever produce them! (They said “Nope!)

I won’t buy Zeiss or Swarovski products, so that greatly reduces my range of options and decisions immensely.
I didn't get a couple of things: Why would you want a 10x50 Noctivid if you have never tried one? What is the problem with Zeiss and Swaro, and Abbe-Koenig prisms? Like the other people said, these sound like odd requisites and leave almost no options left. Perhaps if you could clarify the nature of these problems it would be easier. I mean for instance, it could be that you don't like the rolling ball effect of the EL when panning, but it doesn't mean that all Swaros have this problem.
 
...except it needs to be a Leica? That leaves you with precisely three options: NV 10x42, UV 10x42, UV 10x50. You've already ruled out the 10x50 due to eye relief, and there's no argument for UV being better than NV. So just buy NV and be done with it.

FWIW, there have been complaints here about the 10x NV vs the 8x... I think it was higher chromatic aberration? But not everyone finds that such a problem.
He didn't really say it had to be a Leica or did I miss that somewhere. Noctivid's are pretty darn heavy also, with the 10x42 being about 33 oz. and if there was a 10x50 Noctivid it would probably be 40 oz.
 
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I am too interested in why....
No Zeiss
No Swaro
No AK's

As someone has pointed out..... your options are somewhat closing in !!
 
Oh I welcome and appreciate all input.

And thank you for reminding me: I tried out the Maven 9x45s and the Vortex Razor UHD 10X50s. The 9x45s made me woozy when I panned even a short distance; I had less of this problem with the Vortexes but still a little bit, but they were freakin’ heavy to hike around with..
So they are a little heavy. Quite honestly, there isn't much way around a really good 10X50 not being a little on the heavy side. The EL 10X50(no AK prism) about 36oz and the Razor UHD about 37oz per my scale. Both of these worked fine with me and my eyeglasses.

One option I haven't tried would be a Vortex Razor HD 10X50(no AK prism). Stated weight is 28.1oz. I've never owned or tried this binocular.
Have you used Noctivid 10x42s? You don’t mention them in your comparisons.

Thanks!
So yeah the Noctivid 10X42 is a great binocular. It's a very forgiving binocular. Lots of ER, smooth focus, great build quality, and beautiful image. It isn't really state of the art anymore with both Zeiss and Swarovski pretty much leading the way with things like flat FOV, larger FOV, and generally more comfortable ergonomics. But I'll be the first to admit the binoculars I like best aren't always state of the art.

And yes...I'm one of those that 100% believes(knows) that a good 10X42 will do 99.97% of what a 10X50 will do the vast majority of the time. I've been there and done that WAY too many times over and over!
 
I would say if you were looking for the best bang for your buck in a 10x50, it would be the Vortex Razor HD 10x50. It is one of the lighter 10x50's also at 28.1 and very small and ergonomic for a 10x50. It is a very nice binocular. The Vortex Viper 10x50 is also very nice for 1/2 the money.
 
Chuck somehow failed to mention that he's just offered a NV 10x42 at a great price in the classifieds.

Edit: it seems to have sold. That was quick.
 
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Chuck somehow failed to mention that he's just offered a NV 10x42 at a great price in the classifieds.
I noticed that also… only a class act would first choose not mention that he was selling one, and then give an honest opinion that is critical of the very instrument he aims to sell. #integrity 👍
 
The Maven 10x50 are very light - going with most other 10x50's is going to increase the weight from 30.7 ounces to 35-36 ounces. Something to keep in mind there.

My favorite 10x42 for birding is the Nikon EDG. Fantastic value ordered from Kyoie Japan right now with record-high dollar yen exchange rate. The optics are nicely improved over the HG's with better sharpness, contrast and no CA. Half the price of the top binos from Swaro, Zeiss, Leica in the USA. IMO they have the most tolerant eye placement of the top binos, which is important for me at 10x42 with the smaller exit pupil than 7x42 or 8x42.

The Noctivid sound nice and I've never had a chance to try them. For birding I wouldn't worry about going from 10x50 to 10x42. I would favor the lighter weight of 10x42 over the 10x50 for carrying around on long bird tours. Althought I think the Noctivid is equally heavy to the 10x50 Maven. The EDG, Zeiss and Swaro 10x42 options are several ounces lighter.
 
The Maven 10x50 are very light - going with most other 10x50's is going to increase the weight from 30.7 ounces to 35-36 ounces. Something to keep in mind there.

My favorite 10x42 for birding is the Nikon EDG. Fantastic value ordered from Kyoie Japan right now with record-high dollar yen exchange rate. The optics are nicely improved over the HG's with better sharpness, contrast and no CA. Half the price of the top binos from Swaro, Zeiss, Leica in the USA. IMO they have the most tolerant eye placement of the top binos, which is important for me at 10x42 with the smaller exit pupil than 7x42 or 8x42.

The Noctivid sound nice and I've never had a chance to try them. For birding I wouldn't worry about going from 10x50 to 10x42. I would favor the lighter weight of 10x42 over the 10x50 for carrying around on long bird tours. Althought I think the Noctivid is equally heavy to the 10x50 Maven. The EDG, Zeiss and Swaro 10x42 options are several ounces lighter.
The biggest problem with the EDG is Nikon no longer makes them or has any parts for them. If something happens to them, you throw them away and buy a new pair or send them into Nikon, and they will send you a MHG as a replacement.

If you buy a Swarovski EL 8.5x42 which is sharper to the edge, sharper on-axis, brighter and has a bigger FOV than the EDG and something happens to them, you can send them into Swarovski for a free repair. Big difference IMO.

With discounts and the reduced price of the EL 8.5 x42, you can just about buy the EL for the same price as a EDG 8x42 in the US.
 
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Fantastic value ordered from Kyoie Japan right now with record-high dollar yen exchange rate.
Oddly, even so the 8x30 E II now costs 15% more than when I got mine a couple of years ago. (I haven't been following EDG prices. The 10x42 has a nice FOV, easy to understand your liking it.)
 
The biggest problem with the EDG is Nikon no longer makes them or has any parts for them. If something happens to them, you throw them away and buy a new pair or send them into Nikon, and they will send you a MHG as a replacement.

If you buy a Swarovski EL 8.5x42 which is sharper to the edge, sharper on-axis, brighter and has a bigger FOV than the EDG and something happens to them, you can send them into Swarovski for a free repair. Big difference IMO.

With discounts and the reduced price of the EL 8.5 x42, you can just about buy the EL for the same price as a EDG 8x42 in the US.
42mm EL's are $2000 EDG is $1400 from Kyoie Osaka, brand new and in current production. I can't use the EL because of stiffness and position of the focus knob, detest the thumb grooves, and can't fit my hands between the bridges, so they're not an option for me. All 3 of these concerns are absolute deal-breakers at any price for me, that's how I ended up w/ the SF's and EDG...FWIW

I actually purchased a pair of 8x32 Swaro EL demos' from EuroOptic - in the brown color - and returned them due to the stiffness of the focus knob and awkward position of it. They were in new condition! But heavily discounted due to being USED demos....isn't that interesting......they must have ended up with someone else. I did like the optics very much.
 
42mm EL's are $2000 EDG is $1400 from Kyoie Osaka, brand new and in current production. I can't use the EL because of stiffness and position of the focus knob, detest the thumb grooves, and can't fit my hands between the bridges, so they're not an option for me. All 3 of these concerns are absolute deal-breakers at any price for me, that's how I ended up w/ the SF's and EDG...FWIW

I actually purchased a pair of 8x32 Swaro EL demos' from EuroOptic - in the brown color - and returned them due to the stiffness of the focus knob and awkward position of it. They were in new condition! But heavily discounted due to being USED demos....isn't that interesting......they must have ended up with someone else. I did like the optics very much.
The Nikon EDG's are not in current production. Nikon hasn't had an EDG come off the assembly line in years. Kyoie Osaka must have old stock EDG's like all the other Japanese sellers. Check the S/N on your EDG and ask Nikon when it was manufactured.
 

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