I’ve been asked about the Maven B.2 binoculars more than a few times. I figure I’m past due on finally testing them out for myself.
It's expected to think twice about spending this kind of money, so I provide a thorough review of the optics and handling of the Maven B.2 11x45 binoculars. I've had them out in the field with big game, in the timber, mounted it to a tripod, and even did a side-by-side comparison with the B.5 15x56 binoculars.
Having had extensive experience with Maven binoculars, I had big expectations. Long story made short: they were met.
Now here’s the long version!
What I Like: Optical quality
What I Don’t Like: Weight & size
Best Uses: Hunting, Tactical Use, Birdwatching, Wildlife Observation, Backpacking, Hiking, Recreational Use, Some Target Range Use
- Magnification: 11x
- Objective Diameter: 45mm
- Coatings: Fully Multi Coated Optics (FMC)
- FOV: 314 ft/1000 yards
- Eye Relief: 16.7 mm
- Dimensions: 5.7 x 7.1 x 2.1” / 33.25 oz
My Verdict: Everyone has heard the saying “punch above one’s weight.” It's true about Mavens. Considering the cost, the B2 11x45 binoculars are worth the money and the extra weight if you’re looking for a little more than 10x42 but with a wider FOV than 12x50. They are high-end binoculars without the high-end cost.
Who is the Maven B.2 11x45 Best Suited to?
The B.2 11x45 binoculars are exactly what they intend to be, an in-between configuration for that little bit more power and resolution especially needed at low light performance but not as big as 12x50. With AK prisms and ED glass, the clarity and sharpness offered by the Maven B2s are superior to alternatives.
Though I would categorize these as full-size binoculars in size and configuration, I do recommend them as all-purpose binoculars. They are great for hunters from small to big game, birdwatching, and even for duty/patrol use. They are good for people observation and that extra reach without needing a tripod but not as limiting in FOV as 12x50s.
How does the Maven B.2 11x45 Perform?
In general, glassing with the Maven B.2 11x45 binoculars makes for a rewarding adventure. As an unconventional configuration, since it’s between a mid-size binocular and full-size (12x and larger), it delivers a unique experience that’s at home in the hand or on a tripod.
It should come as no surprise that the 11x45 configuration piques a lot of interest. It’s bigger than a 10x42 but smaller than a 12x50 – and I’m not talking about physical size! The 11x magnification is noticeable compared to 10x, and I certainly needed it when I picked out one lone cow among a rancher’s cattle. It also proved valuable when observing elk over 1000 yards away. It was enough to discern who in this herd was a bull and who was a cow.
I usually wouldn’t recommend 11x power for the timber, it is overkill especially from a tree. But up in the mountain brush and high country where I get a lot of glassable areas, it really helps for those spreads where antelope are grazing 300 yards off and getting closer is a no go. The field of view (FOV) is limited at 314 ft, but it’s about equivalent to narrow FOV 10x42 binoculars.
Though Maven includes the drawstring bag, I tend to only use it for storage and quick cleaning if I need them (made of microfiber!). These go in the chest harness where I like to have most of my binoculars. Yes, they weigh about 2 lbs, but in the harness, it’s a non-issue. They’re fantastic on a tripod. If you wanted to stargaze with them and spot targets like double stars or use them for lunar observation, it will work.
The B2 binoculars don’t have fluorite glass like the Maven B5 series, but they do have ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass which is an across-the-board standard for Maven. So, with ED elements in the objectives and AK prisms, the color fidelity is pure, and resolution is sharp. Other than magnification, I couldn’t honestly say that I saw any perceivable differences between it and the Maven B1.2 10x42 binoculars.
I want to disclose that the pics featured in this review are not as good as what I’m seeing in person. Any aberrations observed in the pics are due to digiscoping and post-formatting for publishing. Plus, I took all these photos as a free hand!
Features & Benefits
The optical quality of the Maven B2 11x45 binoculars are exceptional. They’re bright, sharp, clear, and easy to be behind. During the day, they’re excellent for everything from birding to observing small insects. During low light, they’re extremely effective for hunting and patrol/duty use.
As far as aberrations, I viewed very little if any at all. During actual use, I didn’t see any chromatic aberration (color fringing/bloating) for normal observation on people, wildlife, and in the timber.
I did observe it once (I’m intentionally looking for it) against a high-contrast target, and it’s so well controlled that it’s nothing to be concerned about. The fact that we’re dealing with 11x power (and thus any aberrations are exaggerated) and this is all I’m getting, I’m very impressed.
There is some very minor off-axis edge softening, but for me, it’s so hard to see. I’m not staring at the peripherals of the very edges of the FOV in any circumstance except to examine and be critical of the optics. From the hunting field to supermarket parking lots, it never posed an issue.
The color fidelity is excellent. There is no apparent tint to the warm or cool extremes. (You should also remember that digiscoping with extra magnification also distorts color fidelity along with resolution.)
Flatness and depth of field are exactly what you’d expect. As Abbe-Koenig binoculars, the Field Flattening Optical System provides a very flat FOV that is very comfortable to the eyes.
Other than mirage doing its thing that it does, I could focus for long-range distances and still observe in-focus details at about 60 yards. However, feel free to get liberal with the focus wheel / knob because the clarity and sharpness acquired for the distance you’re observing is worth it.
Abbe-Koenig (AK) Prisms
The Mavens have Abbe-Koenig prisms which are seen in high-end binoculars from Swarovski to Zeiss. Abbe-Koenigs are more complex versions of a Porro prism design, and as such, they are heavier and larger than roof and Schmidt-Pechan prism binos.
However, unlike the latter prisms, all surfaces in an AK prism are internally reflective, so when you see that it lacks any sort of special prism mirror coatings, it’s because they don’t need them!
Honestly, if you don’t know a whole lot about binoculars, I don’t think that you’d be able to tell much of a difference between the two prism types just by looking at the B2s. Other than the curve it’s got going on in the ‘hips’ area, they have the pleasing ‘look’ of a roof prism bino. They’re very contemporary for having the off-set eyepiece-to-objective lens design.
Optically, you’re getting better internal light transmission because no light is lost, and it’s only hitting glass three times versus five times in a Schmidt-Pechan and six in a roof prism binocular. What this amounts to is a brighter, clearer sight picture.
But keep in mind that roof prism alternatives have come a long way, and with quality prism coatings, they can be competitive with a Porro prism binocular. Other factors like the configuration also play a role as well.
The binoculars are just as I expected for a Maven optics. Japanese glass, metal parts, and it has the Maven orange and silver accents with the grey armor. The Maven B.2 has a magnesium chassis that is seen as a superior material to aluminum and the underrated (when made right) polycarbonate frames.
The armor isn’t heavily textured, but it does dry fast. I’ve never had issues with the armor peeling or being ill-fitted for any Maven binocular.
The moving parts have grippy knurling that I really like even when I’m wearing gloves. Made of metal, the focus knob is easy to use with a good level of resistance. I have not felt any slop or stiff spots along the focus range. I like that the focus knob/bridge hinge is higher up. It’s at a good position where my finger naturally lays, and I don’t have to “hunt” for the knob.
The diopter is stiff, so even though it’s not a locking one (as seen on high-end alternatives), it’s not going to move unintentionally on you. There’s plenty of dioptric adjustment with +/- 4 correction.
I absolutely love the sound that the brand-new eyecups make when I retract them all the way back down. It’s crisp, tactile, and positive. They’re 4-step eyecups including all the way out and all the way in. The cups have rubber over them, and I’ve found that the eye relief is pretty forgiving. I don’t have to have the cups dug into my sockets/brow to be able to get a fully collimated image.
As far as wearing my glasses with the Maven binoculars, it’s doable. Eye relief at its longest is 16.7mm. The middle of my frames where the lenses meet are against the eyepieces but I’m not pressed right up against the glass to still get a collimated image, so I’d say it’s a little forgiving.
Just like all Maven binoculars, the B.2 11x45 are waterproof and fogproof having been nitrogen purged. The airtight binoculars also prevent dust and moisture molecules (think high humidity days) from penetrating the binoculars.
Maven B2 VS Maven B5
Overall, if it’s about cost alone, the B.2 11x45 binoculars are cheaper than the B.5 15x56 binoculars. Since they have different configurations, the specs will also be different. So, disregarding the obvious in specs and physical attributes, let’s talk glass.
The B5 series actually came after the B2s. Maven took the B2 AK prisms and magnesium chassis and took the fluorite glass from the S series spotting scopes and made the B5. Yes, the B5s are heavier, and you can feel it in the hand, but mounted to a tripod, weight and size are not a concern.
They both have excellent clarity and sharpness. They’re both bright for low ambient light use, and even though the B2 has lower magnification, the B5 has the larger objectives and is a true lowlight champ. It wasn’t ‘low light,’ it was dark when I took this photo of these elk with the B5s.
Though I doubt that you could discern the differences in optical quality between the two, from my own experience, I will say that the fluorite glass in the B5 binoculars provides a life-like sight picture that is extremely easy on the eyes. I feel like the B5s offer slightly better resolution that is easier to compare at longer ranges, but the B2s have better depth of field. The configuration of both binoculars could have a large role in this.
I’d say that if you require the absolute best, consider the B5 15x56 binoculars (read my field test here!). The fluorite glass does make a difference especially if you’re needing the sharpness and preciseness to count points, track groupings, or make out very fine details at extended ranges even in tough conditions.
The B2s are a fantastic second best to the B5s, and I’d say most people may not be able to visually notice a difference. They’re better for all-purpose glassing than the larger 15x and 18x binoculars in the B5 series. Without doubt, they’re also friendlier on the budget. I do not hesitate to say that you won’t be disappointed with either.
Limitations of the Maven B.2 11x45
Weight & Size
I’d call the 11x45 configuration unconventional. It’s in between the conventional 10x and 12x binoculars with objectives between the conventional 42mm and 50mm sizes. Though intriguing, the configuration works.
If you think about Zeiss’ Victory HT 54mm binoculars, it’s not all that weird, so the trend of providing an in-between option is catching on.
As such, you’d think it lighter than 12x50s but not much heavier than 10x42s. In the Maven line-up, the B.2 11x45 binos weigh in heavier (33.25 oz) and are bigger (5.7 x 7.1 x 2.1”) than the Maven 12x50 binoculars in both the B and C binocular series. Granted, the B.6 and C.3 12x50s have Schmidt-Pechan prisms which gives them the benefit of a more compact design.
In my experience, Maven binoculars are generally heavier than same configuration binoculars from other manufacturers. But I’ve always put it down to quality parts. In the glass alone, there are 3 groups and 4 elements in the objectives, and 4 groups and 6 elements in the ocular bells. That’s a lot of glass!
As far as handling goes, I did use it free hand most of the time, and there is a little more vibrational instability with these versus 10x binoculars. This may be more noticeable if you’ve only ever used 10x binoculars.
With a steady position, they’re fairly easy to use and focus on distant details. It works exceptionally well on a tripod, but I found that I liked them untethered while I was in the field. That’s my personal opinion, but I’d say they’d work well for 50/50 – handheld half the time and tripod-mounted half the time.
Popular Questions About the Maven B.2 11x45
The Maven B series of binoculars are made with components and parts from Japan but are assembled in the USA. This is a blanket statement for the B series that includes the B.2 11x45 binoculars. “Japan” is stamped on the underside of the hinge of the binoculars.
Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
The Maven 9x45 and 11x45 are in the B.2 line of the B series binoculars. Essentially, they’re the same binocular from the magnesium chassis to the Abbe-Koenig prisms and physical dimensions. However, the configuration provides the 9x with a wider FOV, longer eye relief, and a larger exit pupil.
The depth of field could be slightly better with the 9x binoculars over the 11x, and some may find this easier on the eyes.
On average, I would recommend a smaller configuration for archery. With a bow in one hand and the B.2 11x45 binoculars in the other, the weight and size demands two hands for the best and steady results. If the bow is on a sling and glassing calls for that much power, then the 11s could work.
In general, 11x isn’t a whole lot more than 10x magnification. The difference is made with the size of the objective lens covers. If we’re talking about standard 10x42 binoculars versus 11x45, like the Maven B.2, the difference is noticeable.
If you’re accustomed to 10x power, the slightly larger image at 11x is discernable and so is the image instability. The B.2 binoculars do well being hand-held with two hands, but it’s worth it to get more depth and detail by tripod mounting them. The 10s are great for hand-held use and general observation, but the 11s can provide just that much more performance especially on a tripod.
B1.2 10x (center) VS B.2 11x (right) - Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
Maven has a demo program that allows a buyer to handle binoculars before deciding to buy them. Since they sell direct to the consumer, cutting out the middleman, it’s an excellent way to get hands-on experience before buying.
After two weeks, you’ll have the option of returning it for a full refund (with shipping back to Maven paid for by them), purchase the demo model, or return and purchase a custom or stock model.
Maven B.2: A Staple for Serious Outdoorsmen
Overall, the Maven B.2 binoculars offer superb value from its unconventional configuration to its Abbe-Koenig prisms. What Maven has done is slashed the costs in half so that consumers can afford high-end binoculars without the price tag that is considered the norm for binoculars of this type.
It might be surprising to know that the Maven binos aren’t the only 11x45 binoculars around. However, Maven is definitely the authority on the odd binocular configuration. With the above-par performance and low cost for the results, the B.2 binoculars are a staple for any serious glasser.
A massive thank you to Maven for sending me these binoculars to field test. Please note, even though this product was provided by the manufacturer, all my opinions expressed are my own and are not in any way influenced by the manufacturer.