Maven C.3 12x50 Binocular Review (Tested Day & Night)


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The Maven C Series binoculars are well-known for their mid-range quality and performance. The largest of the C Series are the 50 mm binoculars.

Maven C.3 12x50 binoculars & accessories

Well-suited to long-range, nighttime, and wildlife observation, the Maven C.3 12x50 is equipped with the best binocular features for the mid-range category. Schmidt-Pechan prisms, ED glass, weatherproof, and compact, the C.3 offers a lot of value for its meager price point.

From handling the C.3 binoculars personally, I recommend it over the new B.6 12x50 binoculars as the more affordable option when budget demands strict adherence.

If you want more from your binoculars, as in magnification and lowlight seeing, without spending an arm and a leg for mid-range quality, this is the review for you.

Quick Overview...

What We Like: C series optical quality

What We Don’t Like: Hard to mount adapter

Best Uses: Hunting, Tactical Use, Birdwatching, Wildlife Glassing, Events, Backpacking, Hiking, Recreational Use, Some Target Range Use

  • Magnification: 12x
  • Objective Diameter: 50mm
  • Coatings: Yes
  • FOV: 251 ft/1000 yds
  • Eye Relief: 15mm
  • Dimensions: 5.3 x 6.6 x 2.4”/28 oz
  • Tripod Adaptable: Yes

Our Verdict: The old prices for 10x42 binoculars are now the new prices for 12x50 binoculars. For the money, the Maven C.3 binoculars offer inherent value and mid-range quality. The result is high-quality performance.

How Does the Maven C.3 12X50 Perform?

YouTube video

Overall, the Maven C.3 binoculars are high performance optics for mid-range quality. They performed well in various types of observation activities and are compact in size making them easy to have on-hand when the mood strikes. 

Since I have the unique experience of having handled both the B.6 12x50 and the C.3 12x50, I can honestly say that I prefer the B.6 binoculars. It’s not to say that the C.3s aren’t any good because they are, but once you’ve had a taste of premium, it’s hard to go back.

Even so, the C.3 binoculars are more attractive price wise, and they’re in every way mid-range performers. The optical quality is superb as it allows for bright seeing in evening and early morning hours. Its sharpness and off-axis sharpness aren’t as impressive as the B.6 alternative, but its optical performance right at sunset allowed for elk observation beyond 800 yards.

The diopter is really stiff, so don’t expect it to loosen over time. On the bright side, it stops unintentional movement, so it’s not at all that bad. The focus knob is smooth, medium speed, and only gets harder to focus when you’re losing light quickly.

Field testing in well-lit conditions was an eye-opening experience with the C3s. I could read license plates up to 100 yards and could observe from my vehicle without giving myself away. Lunar observation was great with the 12x power, but to image, you must increase digital magnification on your camera to capture lunar details.

Looking through C.3 12x50 binoculars at truck 500 yards away

Who is the Maven C.3 12X50 Best Suited to?

The C.3 12x50 binocular can be considered an all-purpose binocular with more power and improved low-light performance. As a budget-friendly, mid-range binocular, it’s excellent for amateurs and skilled outdoorsmen alike.

Looking at target on the range at 100 yards through C.3 12x50 binoculars

12x is too high powered for those who hunt in timber and may not be as user friendly for birdwatchers. However, it has proven to be a great tool for longer range observation of wildlife, hunting in open areas, and stargazing.

Features & Benefits

distance shot looking through C.3 12x50 binoculars

C Series Optical Quality

The C Series have built a reputation based on mid-range quality, and the C.3 12x50 binoculars fit that mold. The optics consist of Schmidt-Pechan (SP) prisms, phase-correction coatings, and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass.

SP prisms are a step above your standard roof prism design, but they still have the inherent need for specialized lens coatings. The C3s are coated with not just any ordinary coating but with dielectric layers. This paid off out in the field because my views at twilight were bright.

The ED elements greatly minimized chromatic aberration (CA) especially in the center of the FOV and was really only visible during high-contrast lighting conditions. Color fidelity was ever so slightly on the warm side but did not interfere with the ability to resolve fine details.

The FOV is quite narrow at 251 feet, but this is expected of all 12x50 binoculars. To make up for the loss in FOV is the extra magnification to get a better look at targets at extended ranges.

Mid-Range Build Quality

Maven C.3 12x50 binoculars next to Maven B.6 12x50 binoculars
Maven C.3 12x50 binoculars next to Maven B.6 12x50 binoculars

Maven binoculars all have a heft to them that speaks to a quality build. The C.3 binoculars have a polymer frame covered in a rubber armor. It’s completely watertight for 5 minutes in up to 1 meter of water and is nitrogen-purged for fogproof integrity.

I was not shy about drenching the C3 binoculars in a bucket of water and letting it sit for some time. True to Maven’s claims, it remained watertight and free of internal condensation.

The eyecups have two extra positions between all-the-way in and all-the-way out, and they can be completely twisted off the eyepieces. This is by design, so don’t get nervous if they happen to come loose on you.

The C3s have something over the B6 binoculars in the fact that they feature thumb indents on the underside. I like thumb indents, and my thumbs naturally fall into place. The B6 binoculars don’t have this ergonomic feature at all.

Best-Suited Activities

With 12x magnification, 12x50 binoculars are overkill for timber hunting, nighttime observation for less than 100 yards, and birdwatching.

The exception to the rule for birdwatching is if you have it mounted to a tripod and are stationary while observing. You will get maximum satisfaction with the extra reach, close-up view, and optical performance while identifying species and admiring colors, feathers, and bird features.

For nighttime observation, I was very impressed with the resolution and sharpness of the image. Its strengths were in observing well-lit areas, but it was obvious that maximum performance and sharpness was delivered when it was mounted.

Night time observation at 200+ yards using C.3 12x50 binoculars
Night Time Observation with C.3 12x50 Binoculars

The best performance from the C3 was for observing wildlife regardless of distance. The only challenge to the binocular’s optical quality was light conditions. Exceptional performance is expected, but in twilight conditions you will lose sharpness and contrast – true for all optics.

Looking through Maven C.3 12x50 binoculars at horses and cattle 220 yards away
Looking through Maven C.3 12x50 binoculars at horses and cattle 220 yards away

The difference being that you lose resolution at a slower rate than you would with an inferior pair – you can thank the optical quality for being able to make the most of first and last legal light.

Maven C.3 VS B.6 Binoculars

comparing Maven B.6 12x50 binoculars & Maven C.3 binoculars
Side by Side of Maven B.6 12x50 & C.3 12x50 Binoculars

The B.6 binoculars are new from Maven and the C.3 binoculars will immediately come to mind. The two lines are from two different series, the B and C series, and offer different price points and field performance.

I’ve been heavy-handed in comparing the C.3 to the B.6 line. It’s not an equal comparison as they are not identical even though the 12x50 specs offer that initial appearance. It’s true that the B.6 offers a lot more optical performance, and it’s also different in physical attributes given that it has a magnesium frame, is watertight for 30 minutes, and has a new mold.

The improved optical specs of the B.6 make it the high-performing, premium binocular choice, but its price point can be an immediate drawback. The C.3 offers a lot for a mid-range binocular, and while it may not have the high-end grade performance of the B.6, it certainly has a winning price point as the cheaper alternative.

Limitations

Tripod adapter on Maven C.3 12x50 binoculars

Hard to Mount Adapter

Since Maven has come out with a new style of tripod cap for the B1.2 and B.6 binoculars, I’ve come to appreciate the oversized tripod caps on the C series binoculars.

The downside is more to do with the tripod mounting process than it is with the binocular itself. The gap between the objective bells is extremely narrow. This makes it difficult to tighten and loosen the knobs on tripod adapters.

You should keep this in mind and purchase a tripod adapter with a short stem/knob to make the attaching process easier to counteract for the difficulty of the narrow gap.

Popular Questions

Are the Maven C.3 12X50 Image Stabilized?

The Maven C.3 binoculars do not have image stabilizing technology. To get the best image stability when using the C.3 12x50 binoculars, it’s best to mount to a tripod. This is especially true if you are digiscoping for still images or videos with the binoculars. 

Are the Maven 12X50 Binoculars Good for Stargazing?

As a general rule, 12x magnification can be a good power range to observe the moon and spot stars, planets, and distant galaxies. Unfortunately, you will not see planets and galaxies beyond their appearance as shiny dots. 

Do the Maven C.3 Binoculars have a Locking Diopter?

Many mid-range binoculars have a locking diopter, and the Maven C.3 lacks the locking feature. However, Maven binoculars have very stiff diopters, and conveniently, it can be seen as a self-locking feature in and of itself.

Do the Maven C.3 12X50 Fit in a Standard Size Harness?

Overall, the 12x50 binoculars would require a pouch, bag, wrap, or harness that is at least 7” x 6” in size as the C.3 comes in at 5.3 x 6.6 x 2.4”. It may fit snug within standard size pouches and going up a size may be the best option.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to desire from the B.6 12x50 binoculars, but the C.3s fit the budget. 

You can get a lot out of them for hunting, long-range observation, sightseeing, and glassing for wildlife - the higher power and larger lenses make sure of that.

As the final word, when you want ‘more’ from your binos, it’s clear you need to move up to the mid-range category. Keep the C.3 50mm binoculars in mind when you’re ready for an upgrade.

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