Perhaps you should re-read it. I said my "first impression was a little underwhleming" because CA was noticeable, and then went on to explain how with further use I didn't find it such a problem, and the B6 10x50 would have a place in my collection alongside first-rate Zeiss and Swarovski binoculars because it has some unique qualities - particularly better low-light performance in a compact package.If I read post #32 correctly - the Maven B6 10x50 was delivered sometime on Tuesday, and by that evening a firm conclusion emerged that its overall performance is “underwhelming.”
While I agree with the general characterization, it's not true that the Maven are thicker amored or heavier than alpha models (in fact it's the opposite), nor are they slower focussing. The key difference between the Maven B6 and my SF / NL Pure is that the Maven has better low light performance (maybe marginally brighter in full light as well), but the field of view is narrower (still good, but not up with the best these days) and there is a hint of CA on challenging targets (which would not be at all detectable in typical hunting use, or in low-light).Maven's and Tract's IMO are more directed towards the hunting market than the birding market.
That is the one shortcoming with Maven's for me personally. The FOV is not up there with the best, as you say. The same with Tract Toric's. That is a reason why I have moved away from them for birding. Even at the $1K price point you can get a Nikon HG 10x42 which is just as bright given the same size aperture as the Maven, probably has better contrast, is lighter, has a smoother, lighter focuser and a much bigger FOV than a Maven or Tract. For the birder it represents a better value IMO. Of course, the 50 mm Maven is going to be brighter in low light than your 42 mm HG, SF or NL. That is a given. But you are given up a lot of FOV and putting up with more CA.While I agree with the general characterization, it's not true that the Maven are thicker amored or heavier than alpha models (in fact it's the opposite), nor are they slower focussing. The key difference between the Maven B6 and my SF / NL Pure is that the Maven has better low light performance (maybe marginally brighter in full light as well), but the field of view is narrower (still good, but not up with the best these days) and there is a hint of CA on challenging targets (which would not be at all detectable in typical hunting use, or in low-light).
Seems to me that with the B6, Maven were trying to get really bright and sharp optics with the added low-light benefits of 50mm objs into a compact and light enough package to serve for general and extended field use. That should certainly be attractive for hunters, but for others as well. Whether the slight compromises on FOV and CA control are primarily due to the constraints of cost or the compact form, I don't know, but those tend to be the qualities where the differences between alphas and near-alphas are most evident across a number of brands.
Personally, I want optics to cover pretty much everything. I'm not a hunter or a hardcore birder, but love nature-viewing, and also like to look up at the night sky from time to time. I used to be a field biologist focussing on large mammals, but am now mostly a desk jockey. That transition means I've gone from a heavy user of decent but affordable optics to someone who can indulge a fetish for fine optical instruments but has limited time to really get the most out of them. My general preference used to be for a 10x42 binocular, but now being able to get my sticky mitts on really good 10x32, 12x42 and 10x50 models, I could be very happy with any of them if I could only have one pair.
IMO, unless you are doing a LOT of owling and 95% of your birding is in the daytime like most people, a binocular like the Nikon HG 10x42 is a better all around birding tool then the Maven B6 10x50. The focuser is lighter, the binocular is lighter, and it has better contrast. I would like to see some data to support your statement that more Alpha level binoculars are purchased by hunters. A lot of hunter's carry Vortex Viper's and Razor's, except for the few well heeled who usually have Swarovski. I bet more birders are buying the NL's and SF's than hunters.Dennis,
Your last post was pure conjecture and much of it wildly inaccurate. I cannot speak to Tract but own the Maven B6. A few points to illustrate:
- B6 focuser is very smooth/fast, not as buttery light as an SF, but not as slow as an SLC
- B6 armor is sufficient but certainly not heavy like an NL Pure, SLC, or Conquest HD
- Low light performance is essential for all types of birding / nature viewing - guess you’ve never seen an owl
- 7/8x is great for warblers and general forest birding, but I find 10x much better for waterfowl and raptors
- edge sharpness, personal thing - some like a deeper 3D image, some prefer flat field
- here in the USA far more Alpha level optics are purchased by hunters than birders
I believe Maven and many other newer optics companies recognized the closing gap between mid-grade and alpha level optics and the vastly expanded market that can be tapped at the ~$1k price point. They are bringing high quality optics to this market and having great success. But to imply the Maven B6 is in any way unsuitable as a birding glass is wildly inaccurate.