MAVEN B.4 15×56 Review
by Jordan Budd, Rokslide Staff
For some time now I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a pair of 15x binoculars. With many the southwestern hunters running them, I wanted to see what all of the hype was about. The problem for me was the price of high quality glass like that found in the “big three”. Only wanting these as an additional piece to my 10 power binoculars and not having any intentions on removing my spotting scope from my pack, I couldn’t justify spending $2,000 or more on a pair of Swarovski, Zeiss or Leica just to try out.
As luck would have it, Ryan Avery had arranged for a Rokslide review of the newly released Maven B.4 series that included a 15×56 model. Thinking that this could be the best combination of glass to price, I was excited to give them a shot.
When I first received the binoculars, I noticed they were bigger than the Swarovski SLC 15×56 that I’d been around. Playing with them around my Cody, Wyoming home, I could quickly tell the glass quality was what I was looking for, but I needed to get them in game country.
That weekend I was off to Tiburon Island in Mexico filming a Desert Sheep hunt, a perfect testbed for the 15x platform. As soon as I was in sheep country, I mounted them onto my tripod. Maven offers their own tripod adapter, but all I could get on short notice was the Vortex Tripod Adapter from Cabelas, which did the job. Once mounted, I twisted the eye cups out and settled into the setup. The eye cups were a bit blocky and not quite as easy to set into as the SLC eye cups I’d looked through before, but with an extra 45 seconds of tweaking the setup, I was comfortably settled in and ready to glass.
Next thing I did was spin the wheel for focus. The focus knob is nice and big, making it easy to use with gloves on, and I would consider it a fine focus. While I do like that fine focus, it almost seemed too fine for my liking. It seemed like I had to bounce in and out of focus quite a few times to get dialed in, but once there, the glass quality spoke for itself: clean, crisp, and great colored picture with complete edge-to-edge clarity.
The third day of the hunt, we parked ourselves on a point to glass the entire day. By sunset, my eyes weren’t tired and I didn’t feel as if I’d been staring through binoculars all day. This was a welcome relief and one more checkmark for the “quality glass” category. We wrapped up the sheep hunt with a quality ram and headed back for Cody.
I continued using the big B.4s for a few more months in many different hunting environments. I’m very pleased with their performance. Depending on what your goals are with 15x binoculars, these may be the right fit for you. I feel these Mavens rival the Swarovski SLC 15×56. The Swarovski will ultimately have the higher hand in glass quality and low light, but I’m telling you the difference is not much. However, there are notable differences in weight, price, and dimension.
First off, the Mavens come in at 48 oz (3lbs), which for the backpack hunter may be a deal breaker, but for horseback hunters, base camp hunters or just a pair of vehicle binoculars, this may not be an issue. Comparatively the SLC’s come in at 42 oz (about 2.6 lbs).
Second is dimensions with the Maven at 8.2 inches in length and 6.1 inches in width, versus the SLC’s at 7.6 inches in length and 5.5 inches in width. This makes the SLCs a bit more compact in size and weight, but not by much.
Lastly, we have the pricing with the SLC’s retailing at $2,554 and the Maven’s coming in over 10 big bills cheaper at $1,400 retail. This alone could be the reason for going with the heavier Mavens for many hunters. Maven offers only direct-to-customer sales allowing them to offer a better product at a lower cost and this is evident in this 15x.
In my conclusion, I’ve decided that if you would like a pair of 15x binoculars but don’t plan on making them a staple in your pack, then you will be more than happy with the Maven B.4 15×56, and you’ll keep more than $1,000 retail in your wallet. However, and budget allowing, I believe that if your looking to use 15x as an everyday carry-in-the-field optic, you would probably be more satisfied with a higher end binocular like the SLC.
*Maven also offers their custom build options allowing buyers to choose color options for nearly every exterior part of the optic from body armor to lens rings to neck strap and more.
You can ask Jordan questions or discuss this article here