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New Maven B.6 10x50: A brief comparative review (1 Viewer)

Brummie

Well-known member
But you are given up a lot of FOV and putting up with more CA.
I've never held a Nikon HG 10x42, but I have the 8x30, and I'd be surprised if the Nikon was right up there with the Maven for brightness or surpassed them in sharpness, contrast or speed of focus. I don't know about CA.

As for FOV, the Nikon are at 360, which is the same as the Maven B1.2 and not a huge difference from the B6 at 340 (and BTW, I'm not aware of any 10x50 that has a much larger FOV than that, although who knows if Swarovski or Zeiss have a new generation of ultra-wide 10x50s on the drawing board?). The best now (NL Pure 10x42 and SF 10x32) are up at 390, so that's still a step above.

It would be good to see more direct Nikon vs Maven comparisons of the HG 10x42 vs B1.2 10x42 and the HG 8x30 vs B3 8x30. On the latter pairing, the Mavens are significantly cheaper, but also an older model than their latest offerings (B1.2 / B6). From the few comparisons I've seen, opinion is split.
 
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Cest

Well-known member
United States
I have the Maven 7x45 and 7x28. The former I use for astronomy and it is extremely good. The later I use for nature and birding. I tend to prefer a 7x or 8x as they are easier to hold still. The glass is excellent. A real step up from my midrange binos. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I just received a pair of the B6 10x50 today. My first impression was a little underwhelming because the CA was noticeable. But, I was specifically looking for CA, viewing difficult targets (overhead wires and black railings against a clear December sky at midday) in direct comparison with my Victory SF 10x32 (which show effectively no CA). When I came back to them later in the day and wasn't trying to find CA, it was only barely noticeable when looking at difficult targets.

In terms of sharpness and resolution, I'd say they're equal to the SF 10x32, at least for my eyes, which probably aren't the sharpest. FOV is noticeably smaller than the SF 10x32, of course. To me, objects looked bigger in the B6 10X50, but I'm sure that's just an optical illusion due to the narrower FOV. They do seem a little brighter than the SF 10x32 even in full light, and definitely have a slight edge in performance at low light over both my SF 10x32 and NL Pure 12x42. I couldn't compare them directly to my SF 10x42 as they're with Zeiss to have debris cleaned out of the barrels (they're one of the early grey models from the era when Zeiss didn't seem to be able to make an alpha binocular without leaving a bit of grit in it for posterity), but in previous head-to-head comparisons, I haven't seen much of a difference between those and the SF 10x32 or NL Pure 12x42, so I would still expect the B6 10x50 to outperform them in low light.

I also got the Maven doubler to go with the B6, and find it to give a useful view. Not a beautiful, wide, scintillating view, but one which is sharp and definitely provides for more resolution of fine detail. The function of the doubler is just to give you that extra bit of resolution when viewing a stationary or slow-moving target from a tripod, not as the primary optic for scanning or immersive viewing.

So will the B6 10x50 displace my favorite binoculars for general viewing? No - that's still my SF 10x32 for general outdoor use, and the NL Pure 12x42 for when I want the ultimate hand-held image, even at the cost of a bit more weight and bulk (with the forehead rest included). The B6 10x50 are light and compact enough to substitute a good 10x42 for general use. But despite offering a very pleasurable viewing experience, the OK-but-not-outstanding FOV, and the occasional glimpse of CA, will always remind me they are not the very best.

I do still think the B6 have a place in my collection - for times when I want the best low-light performance in a hand-held binocular, and for times when I want a lightweight set up that can do it all (general daytime observation, low-light and basic astronomy, and tripod-mounted long-range observation with the doubler) - i.e. when I don't want the size and weight of carrying a proper scope alongside binoculars, or don't want to carry multiple $1000s worth of equipment on me.

I can also imagine them being a good choice for someone looking for a similar, very versatile set-up as a one-stop solution for diverse observation needs, particularly if they don't have money to burn or a weird optics fetish.
Good point on the SF 10x32 not being the sharpest tool in the box. I had both the SF 8x32 and the SF 10x32, and although they are great binoculars, I always thought there was something a little lacking, and you have pointed it out to me. It was sharpness. Neither the SF 8x32 nor SF 10x32 are exceptional at handling glare either. I used them in Yellowstone National Park, and I was getting quite a bit of veiling glare. It surprised me really with that expensive of a binocular, and you still have glare. Really! Your review is right on.
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
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
Arguing that exceptional low-light performance is not generally advantageous to birders and other nature enthusiasts is just plain silly. I have directly compared the Maven B1.2 and MHG 8x42s and slightly favor the MHG as an overall birding package but that‘s mostly based on personal preferences. Although sharing the same basic design I find the B6 view easier and slightly more detailed than the B1.2 - this may be due to the 50mm objective and greater focal length, but I definitively prefer it to the 42mm. I know of no 42mm glass that handles better than the MHG, but I don’t feel it has a better focus mechanism and in fact the Maven feels slightly more refined without that sometimes spongy feel that I get from the MHG. IME the B6 view is a smidge more tack-sharp on-axis and is definitely brighter with more neutral colors. The MHG has some hue bias but I really love its deep and contrasting colors. What an individual would favor between a B6 10x50 and an MHG 10x42 is more of personal preferences than suitability.

Your assertion that birders are buying more Alpha grade optics than hunters is incorrect (USA market). Do your own research and you’ll reach the same conclusion. Why do you think Swarovski executes an uninterrupted advertising blitz in every hunting periodical, pays for hunting celebrity endorsements, has vast displays at every significant hunting convention, and even produces their own weekly hunting TV show. That costs a fortune and it is only done because they are making a fortune doing it.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Arguing that exceptional low-light performance is not generally advantageous to birders and other nature enthusiasts is just plain silly. I have directly compared the Maven B1.2 and MHG 8x42s and slightly favor the MHG as an overall birding package but that‘s mostly based on personal preferences. Although sharing the same basic design I find the B6 view easier and slightly more detailed than the B1.2 - this may be due to the 50mm objective and greater focal length, but I definitively prefer it to the 42mm. I know of no 42mm glass that handles better than the MHG, but I don’t feel it has a better focus mechanism and in fact the Maven feels slightly more refined without that sometimes spongy feel that I get from the MHG. IME the B6 view is a smidge more tack-sharp on-axis and is definitely brighter with more neutral colors. The MHG has some hue bias but I really love its deep and contrasting colors. What an individual would favor between a B6 10x50 and an MHG 10x42 is more of personal preferences than suitability.

Your assertion that birders are buying more Alpha grade optics than hunters is incorrect (USA market). Do your own research and you’ll reach the same conclusion. Why do you think Swarovski executes an uninterrupted advertising blitz in every hunting periodical, pays for hunting celebrity endorsements, has vast displays at every significant hunting convention, and even produces their own weekly hunting TV show. That costs a fortune and it is only done because they are making a fortune doing it.
My point is most birders don't need a 50 mm and the majority of us don't want to carry the extra weight for a little better low light performance. The popularity of a 10x50 for birding is WAY less than an 8x32 or 10x42, so most birders are in agreement with me here. I prefer the MHG focuser over the B6 not so much for "feel" but for the fact that it is lighter, faster and easier to focus, which is really helpful when you are focusing on a lot of fast moving birds. The B6 focuser is designed more for hunters, with a slower, heavier feel, so it doesn't change as easily when focusing on distant game at a set distance. I also much prefer the 24 oz. weight of the MHG compared to the 31 oz. of the Maven, which is rather heavy for a birding binocular, especially when you are carrying it all day.
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
My point is
Your point appears to be ever-evolving, with often repeated unsubstantiated claims. Simply repeating the same conjecture doesn’t increase its validity - and generally has the opposite effect. Let’s take your current main points, one at a time:

1. 10x50 vs a smaller objective 10x binocular: Your assertion that the only advantage of 50mm binocular is dusk/dawn performance is incorrect. The optical advantages are always there, just most clearly obvious in low light. The 42mm B1.2 and 50mm B6 share the same basic optical platform, yet to me the B6 view is a smidge richer in detail and an overall easier view.

2. B6 is unsuitable for birding because birders don’t want the size-weight of a 50mm glass. The assertion that the B6 10x50 is in a bigger-heavier class of binocular than popular smaller 10x units is incorrect. One of the overwhelming success factors of the B6 is building a high performing 50mm binocular in the form-factor of a 42mm. The B6 is significantly lighter than a number of very popular high-performing smaller-objective 10x models, for ex = Meopta MeoStar 42mm, Kowa Genesis 44mm; and within an ounce of popular models like the 42mm NL Pure and GPO Passion HD. So, the B6 10x50’s size/weight is definitely within the normal wheelhouse of popular birding binoculars.

3. B6 Focuser. The B6 has an exceptionally refined focuser. It is certainly not SLC-slow, and is a breeze to find / snap into the crispest focus. I have the B6 and MHG here side by side as I write this, and although the MHG‘s focuser may be just a smidge lighter, I see no obvious field advantage to it, and the B6 focuser is clearly more refined. I was following a group of multiple Woodpecker Species not too happy to see each other using the same territory, and the B6 easily followed all of the ensuing high-action drama into quick and consistently crisp focus. However, neither the B6 or MHG have the slick, ultra-refined focuser of an SF or EDG.

4. B6 is primarily a hunting glass. From previous incorrect assertions (restated with conviction) about the types of optics purchased by hunters, one can only conclude that you are once-again just spitballing and really do not know what features would be most advantageous to hunting various types of game in different biospherical settings. The B6 is at home and its features are quite advantageous to both birders and hunters over a wide variety of settings and targeted uses. However, if someone is trying to brand Maven as a “hunting” optics company in order to besmirch the brand’s reputation with disapproving communities that is quite another story.

I’m done now.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Your point appears to be ever-evolving, with often repeated unsubstantiated claims. Simply repeating the same conjecture doesn’t increase its validity - and generally has the opposite effect. Let’s take your current main points, one at a time:

1. 10x50 vs a smaller objective 10x binocular: Your assertion that the only advantage of 50mm binocular is dusk/dawn performance is incorrect. The optical advantages are always there, just most clearly obvious in low light. The 42mm B1.2 and 50mm B6 share the same basic optical platform, yet to me the B6 view is a smidge richer in detail and an overall easier view.

2. B6 is unsuitable for birding because birders don’t want the size-weight of a 50mm glass. The assertion that the B6 10x50 is in a bigger-heavier class of binocular than popular smaller 10x units is incorrect. One of the overwhelming success factors of the B6 is building a high performing 50mm binocular in the form-factor of a 42mm. The B6 is significantly lighter than a number of very popular high-performing smaller-objective 10x models, for ex = Meopta MeoStar 42mm, Kowa Genesis 44mm; and within an ounce of popular models like the 42mm NL Pure and GPO Passion HD. So, the B6 10x50’s size/weight is definitely within the normal wheelhouse of popular birding binoculars.

3. B6 Focuser. The B6 has an exceptionally refined focuser. It is certainly not SLC-slow, and is a breeze to find / snap into the crispest focus. I have the B6 and MHG here side by side as I write this, and although the MHG‘s focuser may be just a smidge lighter, I see no obvious field advantage to it, and the B6 focuser is clearly more refined. I was following a group of multiple Woodpecker Species not too happy to see each other using the same territory, and the B6 easily followed all of the ensuing high-action drama into quick and consistently crisp focus. However, neither the B6 or MHG have the slick, ultra-refined focuser of an SF or EDG.

4. B6 is primarily a hunting glass. From previous incorrect assertions (restated with conviction) about the types of optics purchased by hunters, one can only conclude that you are once-again just spitballing and really do not know what features would be most advantageous to hunting various types of game in different biospherical settings. The B6 is at home and its features are quite advantageous to both birders and hunters over a wide variety of settings and targeted uses. However, if someone is trying to brand Maven as a “hunting” optics company in order to besmirch the brand’s reputation with disapproving communities that is quite another story.

I’m done now.
There are advantages to a 10x50 over a 10x42 as you say, but for most birders that bird in the daytime you will not notice much of a difference in brightness or ease of eye placement. The same really goes for an 8x32 versus an 8x42. I would rather carry a Nikon MHG 10x42 at 24 oz. all day than a Maven B6 10x50 at 31 oz. for the small, negligible difference in having the bigger aperture. You have to decide that for yourself, but a lot of birders are changing to an 8x32 for the fact they work as good as an 8x42 in the daytime. There are some optical purists though that will carry an 8x56 binocular because of the advantages of having a bigger exit pupil.
 
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Steve C

Well-known member
Dennis,

I have a word for you. It fits you like a tailor made suit. That word is ultracrepidarian. Definition of ultracrepidarian | Dictionary.com

I vaguely wondered where you had gone. My original suspicion was that you had gotten kicked off yet again. It seems that is not at all the case, but that is what I first thought. It is I suppose possible that you tired of people simply failing to understand the obvious superiority of whatever opinion you were holding forth in any of the myriad of threads in which you participated and decided to just go away. Alpha fan in his post #47 pretty well nails it. Your point is ever evolving.

You have a pretty tarnished history with Maven as it is. Now to be clear I don't care if you like the brand or not. That is today, tomorrow you may well resuscitate your old "Death of the Alpha" thread. You may remember it. Between Maven and Tract there was absolutely no point in buying an alpha. Your antics in that thread also saw you given an enforced vacation. Seems like not much has seen (or for that matter ever will) change. You have liked every binocular you have ever hated and you have also hated every binocular you ever liked.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis,

I have a word for you. It fits you like a tailor made suit. That word is ultracrepidarian. Definition of ultracrepidarian | Dictionary.com

I vaguely wondered where you had gone. My original suspicion was that you had gotten kicked off yet again. It seems that is not at all the case, but that is what I first thought. It is I suppose possible that you tired of people simply failing to understand the obvious superiority of whatever opinion you were holding forth in any of the myriad of threads in which you participated and decided to just go away. Alpha fan in his post #47 pretty well nails it. Your point is ever evolving.

You have a pretty tarnished history with Maven as it is. Now to be clear I don't care if you like the brand or not. That is today, tomorrow you may well resuscitate your old "Death of the Alpha" thread. You may remember it. Between Maven and Tract there was absolutely no point in buying an alpha. Your antics in that thread also saw you given an enforced vacation. Seems like not much has seen (or for that matter ever will) change. You have liked every binocular you have ever hated and you have also hated every binocular you ever liked.
Mavenman, you're still here! I don't dislike Maven, and I think they are a pretty good binocular at their price point. Kamakura makes pretty good binoculars. But they are not alpha, as you sometimes contend. I would put Maven's in with Vortex Razor's as a good value for the money but not quite the best. The B6 10x50 is a good binocular for $1K, but personally if was going to carry the extra weight of a 10x50 I would get the best. The Swarovski EL 10x50 which has a bigger FOV, much sharper edges which makes it more immersive and better CA control than the B6, especially, on the edges. Of course, it is more expensive, but then usually you get what you pay for. Kamakura, which makes Maven's never did make an alpha level binocular, and I doubt they ever will. That is what worries me about Maven and Tract is if they will be around in 5 years since they are just marketing the binoculars, and they don't actually MAKE anything. They could go the way of Styrka.
 
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Steve C

Well-known member
Fantasyman,

Speaking of making something...

You can make a nuisance
You can make a fantasy world
You can't make an opinion that sticks

Me, I'm going to make tracks to the ignore button. I finally remembered how peaceful it can be around here without you.. Merry Christmas, that last word is yours.
 

Cest

Well-known member
United States
I like binoculars. I like Mavens. However, I see no need to fight over them. I don't know anyone involved in this argument since I am new here. There is no official designation or definition for an alpha. It is all a matter of opinion and taste when you get to the more expensive brands. Get the one you like and enjoy it.
 

DrewskiMT

Observer
Your point appears to be ever-evolving, with often repeated unsubstantiated claims. Simply repeating the same conjecture doesn’t increase its validity - and generally has the opposite effect. Let’s take your current main points, one at a time:

1. 10x50 vs a smaller objective 10x binocular: Your assertion that the only advantage of 50mm binocular is dusk/dawn performance is incorrect. The optical advantages are always there, just most clearly obvious in low light. The 42mm B1.2 and 50mm B6 share the same basic optical platform, yet to me the B6 view is a smidge richer in detail and an overall easier view.

I just want to express my gratitude, which is surely shared by many other optics enthusiasts, and say Thank You to @AlphaFan @Steve C @Brummie @Canip and all the other humans on the forums who purchase optics and take the time and effort to share their impressions of them with the rest of us. The B6 sounds like both an excellent performer and an incredible value, truly a worthy addition to anyone's optics quiver. Alas, all the stretching in the world isn't widening my interpupillary distance... so I must remain content with narrower options. Happy Holidays.
 
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Brummie

Well-known member
My first impression was a little underwhelming because the CA was noticeable. . . When I came back to them later in the day and wasn't trying to find CA, it was only barely noticeable when looking at difficult targets.
I called Maven because I was interested to know if the pair I had were typical, or perhaps a little worse CA-controlled than others. They said to send them in, so I did. After comparing them to others, they told me they had to search hard to find the CA in mine, but suggested that yes, there was perhaps a bit more CA than in other examples. So, they're sending me a new pair. I'll update this post when I get them as to whether the new pair are an improvement.
 

dries1

Member
I was able to view the B6 10X50 the last week, an OPs and I was definitely impressed. A good offering, I am a bit curious about the 12X50. The B6 and Tract 10X50s are both good offerings today, as I remember in the past when it was difficult to find a modest priced 10X50.
 

Brummie

Well-known member
After comparing them to others, they told me they had to search hard to find the CA in mine, but suggested that yes, there was perhaps a bit more CA than in other examples. So, they're sending me a new pair.
The replacements arrived. CA is still there. It's hard for me to tell if it's better than the original pair without side-by-side comparison, but it seems only very marginally worse than the CA in a my Nikon EII, or even 8x32 UVHD+, so I'm guessing it's probably a shade better than the original. Anyway, I think it's acceptable (only really suffers by comparison with SF and NL, which are the only binoculars I've used where CA is basically unnoticeable), and otherwise I'm happy with the optics.

Two quick points on the ergonomics:
  • The minimum IPD is only just big enough for me with the objective lens caps on, and even if they would go shorter than that, the width of the eyecups means there'd be nowhere for my nose to fit between them. My IPD is about 60mm, so that seems to agree with what others have said about the minimum being 58mm.
  • One handling aspect I didn't like is that the ridge on the end of the cap covering the tripod adapter socket scraped against the knuckle of my right ring finger. However, it's not an issue for me in practice. As these are my go-to binoculars for tripod use, I'll carry them with an Outdoorsman tripod stud installed.
 

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