Maven B.6 review

I became familiar with the original Maven 10X42 B.1 binoculars when it was introduced years ago and found the B.1 to be a durable binocular with better-than-expected optics at a $1,000 icy point. To see how the new B.6 and B 1.2 compare, I tested them over the duration of the Montana elk seasons reviewing this Maven B series, and found that they again beat their price points.

Recently, Maven added B.6 and B1.2 to their microscope line. They offer the B.6 in 10×50 and 12X50 at $1,050 at $1,100, respectively, directly from their website. The redesigned B1.2 replaces the original B.1 in the lineup in conventional 8X42 and 10×42 configurations and $950 and $1,000 price points. For an additional cost, Maven Optics will customize the B.6 and B1.2 with armor in their popular camouflage patterns, custom colors for accents on the barrels, eyes, and focus knobs.

Maven B.6 and B1.2 Specifications and Features

Maven B.6 with removable eye
The Maven B Series binoculars offer an ophthalmoscope that is twisted upwards and can be removed for easy cleaning. Matt Cashel

B.6 and B1.2 share design elements. Both feature full rubber armor over a sturdy and light magnesium frame and use a three-position, twist-up eyepiece that can be removed for easy cleaning. Also, the eye lenses collapse and allow those with glasses to have a full field of view on both models. The focus wheels are sharply knurled aluminum and provide a solid feel of engagement and almost bare-toed bite-in for a confident glove purchase. Both focus knobs are buttery smooth and provide easy one-finger operation. The diopter adjustment is not locked, but it remains firmly in place depending on the setting desired by the user. Both have a threaded center hinge for 1/4-20 attachments such as tripod adapters. A neat feature with many Maven optics is the threaded objective barrels, so you can add a convenient lens filter for extra protection or a polarizer to the glass in the water. Both models have smooth cylindrical barrels without thumb spaces, providing a comfortable, confident grip, even with one hand. Despite the differences in size and length between the 12X50 B.6 and the 10X42 B1.2, common design elements provide similar feel and functionality for both models.

The B.6 and B1.2 come with standard rubber subject covers, a rubber eyelet flap, a soft microfiber pouch/bag, and a padded neoprene strap that has a quick-detach side buckle. If you’re like me and already have a favorite chest strap, you should probably leave it in the box.

Maven B Series Field Test

I received Maven B.6 12x50s just in time for an elk hunt for shooting in the Montana countryside. While Binos are probably not the first piece of gear one would require for an archery elk hunt, the 12×50 proved very useful for this hunt, as I spent a lot of time near the tree glass from the high points of the elk which was unusual (and unfortunately Quiet for this week of the season.

A sharp 12x binocular was helped in these situations. I used a B.6 mounted on a tripod to make the most of this extra magnification. About two miles away, I was able to choose to filter the elk through the woods below the treeline and even some mountain goats above. Center accuracy was excellent, but the edges were a bit soft. Occasionally I could see straight lines bending near the edge of the field from distorting the pad, but this wasn’t a huge problem while hunting, and it nullified any effect of the rolling ball while panning. The chromatic bias on the warm side decreased, indicating a preference for yellow and orange. Color fringing due to chromatic aberration was slightly present in the center of the image and increased significantly at the edge.

Near dusk, B.6 impressively extended the amount of time I could peer into the shadows of opposing hillsides for tan masses of elk moving in to feed at night. Low-light performance was excellent, if not nearly comparable to Euro rivals priced at $3000 and up.

I still hadn’t hit my Montana Elk Tag when the general season started, so I swapped my bow and Maven B.6 for my rifle and Maven B1.2. I spent most of the season looking for bulls on horseback, and the new, compact Maven B1.2 fit my medium sized hand well. The small size also kept it out of the saddle horn while I was dodging branches on the trail, but this size reduction didn’t negatively affect visual performance. In fact, B1.2 is an improvement over B.1 in almost all aspects. B1.2 provides a very neutral, bright and sharp image with a wide sweet spot. I’ve spent hours picking up distant bottoms and meadows. Chromatic aberration control was better than average at this price point and in competition with models that cost significantly more, making these some of the best binoculars for the money. When I looked at the burning snowy woods, some slight chromatic frill was visible at the edge of the field, but the center was sharp and devoid of aberration. Overall, the B1.2’s wide, bright, and sharp image provided an enjoyable viewing experience in the Montana elk forests.

What’s the worst thing a B.6 veteran does?

I’ve found quite a few places where B.6 and B1.2 could improve. Color aberration occurred from chromatic aberration in B.6, reducing apparent sharpness and contrast under some conditions. The ergonomics of the basic round barrel design is good, but some competitors have carved barrels that feel better in the hand.

There is not much to complain about in the optical performance of B1.2. There is a small amount of color visible at the edge of the field, but this is offset by the wide field of view. There are pros and cons to ergonomics as well. The ultra-short barrel design is convenient, but users with big hands may run out of real estate, especially if they leave a tripod screw/adapter in place for general use. Unlike the deep objective of the B.6, the B1.2 is quite shallow and offers less shadow and a greater risk of damage to the objective lens.

What does Maven B.6 and B1.2 do best

The list of strong points for B.6 and B1.2 is long and varied. Maven’s quality is enough to inspire confident use under the challenging conditions of rural hunting. The ability to easily mount both models on a tripod is a real advantage for long and stable glass sessions. This is especially true when you need display stabilization at the higher magnification 12 x 50 b .6. Good oil-repellent exterior coatings and removable eyeglasses made cleaning a breeze after hunting. Great ergonomics and smooth, positive focus knobs make these units a pleasure to hold as well.

Optically, the 12X50 B.6 is at its best in low light with crisp, clear brightness. It features a sharp central field, a wide field of view, and an excellent depth of field for 12x binoculars. The deep bore of the threaded objective acts like a sun visor and protects the objective lenses from damage.

The B1.2 has a ridiculously wide field of view. This proved useful when I glassed a group of small bulls 1,500 yards across the valley and noticed a larger bull down the hills near the edge of the telescope’s field of view. This bull was not in the field of view with most 10x42s. The image is also impressively sharp and free of aberrations in most of the field of view. Great low-light performance and glare control complement the B1.2’s best performance.

Final thoughts on the Maven B series.

Maven continues to give anglers high-performance, affordable options for the serious fishing. These Maven binoculars are built durable, have the features hunters want, and optics that run above their price tags.

The B.6 offers hunters a high-performance 12X50 binoculars at an affordable price. While the optics aren’t perfect, the 12-power image is still good, showing plenty of detail over long distances.

The Maven B1.2 is the star of these two new models. Maven has managed to bring out the bulk and add performance without overpricing the original B.1. Hunters will have to consider the $3,000 range for scopes that perform better than the new Maven B series.

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