Field Test of Maven C1 10×42 Binoculars: Checking Build, Ease-of-Use & Optical Quality

Field Test of Maven C1 10x42 BinocularsBrand: Maven
Model: C1 10×42
Magnification: 10x (fixed)
Objective Lens: 42 mm
Eye Relief: 16 mm
Exit Pupil: 4.2 mm
Field of View: 314 ft/1000 yards
Close Focus Distance: 5.9 feet
Interpupillary Distance: 58-72 mm
Height/Width: 5.7″ x 5.2″
Weight: 24.5 oz

Price Range: $300-400

 

New! Maven C1 10X42 Binocular Field Test

This relatively new company has rocked the market with its unconventional business model of cutting out the middle man.  How does this interpret into anything relative to you?  It means eliminating the high retail markup that often lunges a high-quality optic out of your budget.

These days, we’re plummeted by marketing tactics that scream “high prices equal high-quality,” and yet, so few of us can afford these extravagant costs for an optic that’s essential to the hunt.  This is where Maven Built comes in, and more specifically, where their C Series makes its debut as the company’s pride and joy line.

The C1 line isn’t the upper-class series for the brand, but it was a delight to find out it features some of the best optical elements that you just don’t see in this budget class.  Very rarely will an optics company punch out a high-grade, mid-level optic for a low price, but Maven is doing this with all their optics.  They are now the standing epitome of getting more for less!

Maven C1 binos sitting on a log in the river

Before I get started, I feel you should know that I didn’t know much about the brand.  In fact, I’d only read about Maven in a 2017 Field & Stream article where this C1 10×42 bino was said to have “scored second only to the Leica” in their resolution testing.  That had me interested in a “neato” way, but I also remained largely skeptical.

So, when the opportunity came for me to field test this very binocular, I wanted to be as impartial as possible. I didn’t do any further background digging prior to the field test.  I wanted to see what these binoculars could actually do that my eyes, hands, and overall experience could testify to, not to what everyone else says they should do!

How did the affordable binoculars hold up in the field?  Did they perform as well as I had expected for such high praise from Field & Stream?  I don’t personally know anyone who owns a Maven, so it’s fair to say I stayed unconvinced until the binos could prove its worth.  Let’s trek on and see if the C1 binocular is a dud or if it’s worth the hype the media is portraying!

 

What’s in The Box?

Contents of Maven C1 binocular box purchase

We all judge books by their cover – admit it, you’ve done it more than once.  Opening the shipping box to find a simple, white binocular box was a mediocre experience.  But, that was just the outside cover.  The black box inside with orange “MAVEN” letters did a lot more to catch my attention – it stands out.  Seeing all included pieces perfectly fitted within the box piqued my interest.

Presentation goes a long way, and Maven nailed simplicity.  They didn’t get caught in the hype of overdoing box designs or cramming items in any-old-how.  Every piece of equipment had its place, and the unboxing felt classy.

 

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Maven Cap

Brown Maven cap hanging on tree branch

Okay, so maybe I’m just bragging here, but this awesome cap was thrown in with the binocular.

You’re not going to get this freebie with your purchase, but it’s an inexpensive add-on that looks good if you want to look the part.

Happily, I donned the cap when I headed out for the field test – besides, I look good in browns!

 

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Soft Carry Bag

The binoculars came with a very handsome, heavy-duty, double-layered microfiber drawstring bag.  I’d say it’s designed purely for storage at home when not in use.  Though very nice, it’s unusual for binos to come without some sort of case to carry the binoculars in with a strap over the shoulder or neck.  But, to be honest, I’m not really using a case in the hunt or even on hikes unless I’m done glassing for a while and ready to put it down and away in my tent or in the truck.

Interestingly, there is no included lens cleaning cloth.  The microfiber interior is intended to be the cleaning cloth as mentioned in the included manual.  Double-purpose storage bag – gotta love it!

 

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Neck Strap

Maven C1 bino hanging from tree root by neck strapThe neck strap is thickly padded, heavy-duty, and comfortable to wear.

The highlight of the neck strap is the quick-connect strap system with the buckle-style connections making for a very convenient feature.  It’s also adjustable in length, and I really like the durable appeal of the padded leather by the buckles.

Different to what I’ve seen on other binos, the strap has durable webbing fabric that loops through the eyelet connections.  They protect against potential damage to the bino and all elements of the strap add increased durability to the entire system.  All in all, it looks and feels like a high-quality strap.

Not included is a binocular harness system that has the same quick-connect strap system.

 

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Lens Covers

Maven bino with open lens cap and eyepeice coversBoth eyepiece and objective lens covers are included with the bino.

The one-piece ocular covers are made from some sort of soft plastic/rubber material that allows for flexible movement.  The caps fit as expected – no issues there.  I especially like the flexible connection to each ocular allowing me to attach the caps without having to change my IPD.

The objective lens covers are rubber, and of course, the tethered rubber loop connecting to the objective bell is always a great feature.  The covers hang from the bino during use and popping them back on is a breeze.

 

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Manual/Warranty Info

I should admit I don’t pay much attention to the manual.  Having had tons of experience using binoculars, it’s rarely an important item in the box for me.  However, for beginners, I feel it’s critical that an instruction manual always be included and to provide clear and concise instructions.  I’m glad to report that Maven includes a very easy-to-read, uncomplicated pamphlet that’s specifically for the C Series binocular.

The manual goes over the anatomy of the bino, IPD ranges, eye relief, and how to correctly focus the bino; strap connection instructions, care and cleaning tips, and warranty info.

Speaking of warranty info, this optic is covered by Maven’s Unconditional Lifetime Warranty.  Maven takes care of their own and disregards where or when your product was purchased.  Optical quality lies at the core of this warranty, so whether it’s your fault or not, Maven will repair or replace your binocular.  Any deliberate damage or cosmetic issues that don’t affect optical performance isn’t covered by the warranty.

 

The Build

Opening this box triggered a chain of excitement that grew, and it has stayed peaked long after the field test.  However, unboxing is just the tip of the iceberg.  Let’s get to the good stuff!

 

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Exterior

Grey Maven binocular with orange accentsFirst off impressions of the binocular are classy.

The dull grey of the armor provides a very tactical aesthetic, but the metallic orange accents set it apart from a generic binocular.  The rubber coating sits over a polymer chassis, and it’s very finely textured, but it still provides good grip especially with the thumb indents.

Located on the assembly by the metal hinge is a tab that indicates this bino was made in the Philippines.  Maven is a transparent company and is open about using Chinese and Japanese components for assembly in the Philippines.

 

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Eyecups

The eyecups are something else altogether.  They’re multi-position eyecups with audible clicks for each position.  I found they provided more than enough eye relief for multiple users.  I had multiple people use them with various IPD ranges where some wore glasses and others didn’t.  Each user found it adequate to use.

I think the best thing about the Maven binoculars is the fact that you can twist the eyecups all the way off the housing.  With the cups all the way in, you twist them all the way to the right until they completely come off.  This allows you to clean the lenses correctly, dust off all the dirt and grit that gets caught in the threading, and to completely clean and rinse the cups under running water.  Absolutely brilliant is what I have to say about that!

 

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Waterproof

Waterproof Maven binocular sitting on rock in running waterThis bino is a waterproof and fog-proof optic.  I also like the fact that Maven backs it up with an IPX6 rating.

While I didn’t deliberately place it in the bed of a running river, I did let it sit on the surface of a shallow river bed.

Nothing crazy.  But, with nitrogen-purged housing and a tight assembly build, you can be worry-free wondering if it’s going to survive a splash here and there.

 

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Weight

Lens caps on the Maven C1 10x42The bino weighs in at 24.5 ounces.

It’s certainly a lightweight optic for its specs, and it matches weight for other similar, compact binos in its class that are weighing in lighter than ever these days.  Despite this, I did find that it felt a little top-heavy towards the objective bell, but that’s just me.

Weight won’t be an issue if you’re after a compact bino with full-size features.

 

 

 

Focusing/Optical Test

My inspection of the C1 10×42 binocular is going great, and everything about it exudes high-quality while it promises to offer a flawless experience.  But, how does it fare when it’s time to put bino to eyes?

First off, I already know I like the eyecups all the way out – done.  Next, I found my IPD range on the closer end of the scale – done.  Barrel movement has great tension.  Your IPD range will stay in position during all the use and abuse you’ll inevitably put it through.

Close up of Maven bino showing focus knob and eyecaps out

 

The focus wheel has very nice, deep knurls.  It’s smooth and fluid through all revolutions, and I think it’s made from metal as it has a high-grade feel to it.  Once correctly focused, I had no problem going from near focus to extreme distances.  I was really impressed with the 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) of close focus distance.  In fact, I think it can focus much closer than that as I was only 4 feet away from a chipmunk at one point and I could see it clearly in all its rodent-like glory.

Focusing the diopter almost made me blow my top!  I had to laugh at myself a little bit for having a “moment.”  It’s stiff – like, really stiff.  It’s one of the hardest diopters to adjust that I’ve come across in my field tests.  No accidental movement is going to bump your diopter out of place – trust me.  It took more effort than I thought I would need to adjust, but I haven’t had to touch it once since then.

Getting over my momentary embarrassment that I’m so weak, I went back to the field test.

 

The Proof is in The Pudding/Photo Field Test

Heading out for the day, I packed up my gear and strapped on the Maven C.1. binocular.  It was beautiful out, a light breeze, and clear skies made for a gorgeous day outdoors.  Heading out to a very popular mountain trail, I could get a feel of its optical quality in thick timber and what it would be like for a hiker and camper.

Glassing way up into the mountains, I could spot a lodge in the very far distance.  I couldn’t make out the lodge with the naked eye, and I only found it because I had the binos.  Getting a closer look, I could clearly see there were two cabins with one tucked-in between the pines.

Mountain top as seen with the naked eye - lodge not visible

Mountain top as seen with the naked eye – lodge not visible

Chipmunks, squirrels, and crows were the find of the morning.  I was blown away by the clarity and sharpness.  I knew in an instant that this isn’t just some cheap glass.  Color rendition wasn’t overly warm or too cool on the blues and color fidelity was true – at least to my eyes.  Edge-softening was apparent, but overall image flatness was more than acceptable.

Photo of tree showing edge softening through Maven bino

Edge-softening was apparent, but overall image flatness was more than acceptable.

I couldn’t spot any chromatic aberration (CA), and I was looking for it.  I suspected extra-low dispersion (ED) glass was in play.  Could it have ED glass?  Special prism coatings seem to be evident due to the resolution and brightness that I’m seeing.  But, these features drive up the price of a binocular – it’s certainly rarely offered in the C1’s price range.  ED glass isn’t advertised in the binocular’s model name, but I know from experience there’s some advanced optical features in the works here – mental note to check on this later.  So far, optical quality is fantastic!

Constructional build is durable and tight so that I knew when I brought the binos to my eyes, they were in the exact same position as when I lowered them to my chest (on the strap).  It didn’t matter if I was vigorously hiking up a steep hill with binos swinging and bumping around or if I had crawled and rolled around under wire fencing and rocky terrain which I did, by the way.

I had to crouch, kneel, and tuck-and-roll when I came upon pronghorn in a wide-open area.  This part of my field test was focused on how well it could hold up for a hunter.  Being able to spot prey before they spot you is the name of the game.  Do these binoculars have enough grit and quality to get it done?

From my pictures for proof, you tell me.  I had very little cover, but thankfully I was coming up on a ridge in which they were grazing below.  Unfortunately, I’m out of shape, huffing and puffing, and every step I took was like Godzilla making a mad dash through a terrorized city.  As you can see, they saw me coming from a mile away.  First, the binos enabled me to see ears and a head staring wearily back at me before I saw its white rear-end gracefully bound off to warn the others.  The binoculars provided more than enough clarity and detail for a hunter to successfully determine legal game and take an ethical shot.

From the resolution I saw with my own eyes, the C1 has more than enough grit to head up a hunt.  Seeing the unique stripes and fur patterns on pronghorns and chipmunks up-close made my day.

 

My Verdict on The Maven C1 10×42 Binoculars

After wrapping up my field day, the first thing I wanted do was find out what glass tech I was dealing with.  The field test had manifested such fantastic optical results that I needed to be sure it had the features I suspected of a bino that costs twice its price.

To confirm my suspicions, I found out the C1s have ED glass and dielectric coatings on a Schmidt-pechan prism assembly.  There it is!  The ED glass really made a huge difference as I didn’t have any color fringing issues at all.  Brightness and resolution were on par whether I was glassing in the broad light of day or in low light conditions.  The addition of dielectric coatings absolutely allowed max light transmission, and it was even more evident come low light hours.  Usable detail is guaranteed for the last light of day.  No wonder Field & Stream highly-praised these binos for resolution – remember, ranking in at second after a Leica!

To see these features on a $300 (approx.) binocular is outstanding.  The affordable C series has the same optical quality as Maven’s more expensive B1 and B3 series binoculars.  Impressive!  Hiking around in thick timber with the C1s was an amazing experience.  They’re ideal for the backpacker or camper who wants to glass in an instant to expect optimal image quality no matter the conditions.

They’re also an excellent option for birders on a budget.  Color rendition is incomparable in this price range.  Hunters will migrate towards the C1 for its lightweight specs and glass quality that will help them make the vital decisions essential to taking a well-placed one-shot kill.

Coming home and doing some digging into what others are saying about the Maven bino didn’t surprise me at all.  After a thorough field test with as little info as I could allow myself, I found the C1s to be worthy of hype.  What is said in the media about it is justified.

It’s not fair to compare these binoculars to a Swarovski pair, but this is what’s happening all over the place.  Why?  Because the Maven C1 binos knock it out of the ballpark when it comes to sight picture quality, constructional integrity, and usability.  They’re the better buy in the market if you want to “get more for less.”  That’s the way Maven puts its, and we emphatically agree!

C1 10x42 bino sitting in pool of water

 

Many thanks to Maven for sending us these binoculars to field test. Please note, even though this product was provided by the manufacturer all of the opinions expressed here are our own and are not in any way influenced by any manufacturers.

 

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Chris is a hunting enthusiast who is obsessed with optics & lives in a game-rich area. When most are in bed sleeping, you will find Chris hunched over a laptop researching the latest and greatest optic types, uses and specifications. Despite a love for writing and researching about optics, Chris prefers to keep out of the spotlight.