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Over the past few decades, spotting scopes have grown considerably in the marketplace. The natural advantages of a spotting scope over binoculars are considerable. But it is still important to understand how the product works, its advantages and limitations, and whether it is right for you. In this Maven spotting scope review, all important aspects of their S2 product will be considered.
The Maven S2 scope review begins with a short history and purpose of the company. Followed by the features and attributes of the product itself.
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History of Maven
The company released its first high-performance optical products in 2014. The company made an immediate splash by combining exceptional optics with a low, affordable price. This is because the company eliminates the middleman and sells directly to consumers. This reduces the overhead while providing a high-quality product.
Maven was founded on the principle of providing exceptional quality at low, affordable prices. The name Maven was chosen for the company because one of the definitions is “trusted expert” or “knowledge-based on the accumulation of experience”. What makes Maven unique is that the company was founded by those with hands-on experience in using spotting scopes out in the field.
It is the experience in the environment that has shaped the design of their line of spotting scopes. The S2 is an example of the practical experience working with existing technology. The result is a scope that combines advanced technology with durability and ease of use.
Before discussing the details of the Maven optics spotting scope, it is important to define what is a spotting scope.
What is a Spotting Scope?
A spotting scope is more than just a small telescope. Although it operates on the same principle as a telescope designed for astronomy, there are important differences. A spotting scope generally has less magnification, uses mirrors differently, and is far lighter and nimbler compared to telescopes designed for astronomy.
Spotting scopes are used primarily for hunting, birding, surveillance, and scoring targets at a rifle or pistol range. They are often used with a tripod but can be used handheld if needed. Many spotting scopes have a simple, straight design such as the Maven S1S and S2. But Maven’s S1A uses a mirror that allows the eyepiece to be viewed at an angle.
Features of the Maven S2
The S1 and S2 series from Maven offers a considerable number of features. What follows is a breakdown of what makes up the S2 Maven compact spotting scope.
Magnification: This is expressed in terms of how much closer an object will appear in the telescope compared to normal vision.
For the S2, objects will appear 12 to 27 times larger depending on the zoom that is used. This is less than the S1A and S1S which are 25 – 50x magnification.
Objective Lens: The size of the objective lens determines the amount of light that is brought into the telescope. Generally speaking, the larger the lens, the more light come in.
- S2: 56mm
This is smaller than the 80mm objective lens of the S1A and S1S. However, it is typical of many compact spotting scopes.
Close Focus: This is the minimum distance an object can be from the spotting scope for it to be in focus.
- S2: 2.5m
This means that an object 2.5 meters from the S2 will be in focus. This is a shorter range compared to the 5 meters for the S1A and S1S.
Eye Relief: This is the distance your eye can be from the eyepiece and still see the full field of view.
- S2: 18.6 – 20.2mm
This is slightly greater compared to the S1A and S1S. This means that you can wear most pairs of eyeglasses and still see through the lens.
Lens Coating: This is a coating on the objective lens that helps to increase the amount of light coming into the spotting scope.
- S2: Oilphobic + Flat Multipurpose
The S2 is typical of the Maven spotting scopes in terms of lens coating. The unique formula allows for enhancements of light coming through the objective lens.
Image Quality: Put simply, it is the overall sharpness and clarity of an image as presented in the spotting scope. The better the image quality, the better the scope. However, this also means that you pay more as well.
For the S2, the image quality is definitely superior although there is no objective means of measurement. This is because image quality to a certain degree is in the eye of the beholder. But it is also due to the combination of features that makes the product. In this Maven spotting scope review, the image quality is based on the overall quality of the components themselves.
The S2 also boasts additional features that help make it a superior product. The components are from Japan but assembled in the US at the Maven site. Using a vari-speed focusing system, the S2 uses nitrogen gas internally for a sharper image. Plus, fluorite glass is used for the lenses to enhance the image.
- Dimensions: 11” x 2.8” x 2.6”
- Weight: 34.4 oz
- Frame: Magnesium/Polymer
- Brightness: 21.78 – 4.3
- Twilight Factor: 25.9 – 38.9
- Field of View: 137’ – 110’ (ft/1000 yds)
- FOV: 3.3 – 2.1 degrees
- Apparent FOV: 55 – 80 degrees (based on FOV + Power)
- Exit Pupil: 4.7mm – 2.1mm
The S2 also has multi-position eyecups, Abbe-Koenig prism type, phase correction, and can function effectively from -13 to 140F degrees.
There are a considerable number of advantages as described in this Maven S2 scope review. For those who are considering this product, it does offer good features for its price.
Low Light: For hunters and birders, the low light capabilities of the S2 are considerable. Thanks to the objective lens coating and excellent edge-to-edge clarity, you can see clearly in low light situations. This means the twilight hours are not as challenging when using this product.
Straight Design: It is true that angled eyepieces have their advantages. But the straight scope is easier to pack and use for one person. For those who are hiking, camping, birding, or traveling long distances on foot, the straight design is well-suited for such purposes.
Durable: The robust design is typical of Maven scopes. This means that it can take the bumps, scrapes, and other small impacts common when traveling. It is recommended that you carry it in a protective case, but it is quite durable and long-lasting with minimal care.
Filters: The 58mm threads at the front of the lens means you can use different filters. UV filters, in particular, are popular which helps preserve the lens along with your eyes. You can also use neutral density filters to reduce glare. Plus, 58mm is a common size, so you can use camera lens caps and products which tend to be quite inexpensive.
Price: What separates Maven products from the competition is the price. While most other optics companies sell their products through third parties. Maven instead sells directly to the consumer. This means without the middleman, there is no markup. You can get the same quality of spotting scope for up to half the price compared to the competition, especially from Europe.
Overall, there is very little negative to say about the Maven optics spotting scope that is within its design. However, if there is one issue, it is that the S2 is heavier than some of its competitors. This is common a common feature with Maven designs as they generally weigh noticeably more. However, the weight difference is not bad enough to be detrimental to carrying the scope around. Other minor issues include the following.
- Less Sharp at Full Zoom
- Rear Lens Cap Not Tethered to the Scope
- No Extendable Sunshade for Objective Lens
But these are relatively minor nits. Most spotting scopes are less sharp at full zoom due to atmospheric effects, not the lens itself. Not having a proper sunshade can be annoying in certain situations, but that can be remedied by adding additional material.
The Maven line of spotting scopes has been considerably enhanced by the introduction of the S2. This brings a needed addition to the line thanks to its compact, straight design. The sturdy construction and excellent design have only added to the Maven brand. However, because it is primarily designed as a smaller, more compact scope, it is best suited for situations when you are on the move.
This means that if you are target spotting or in other situations where moving around is not required, you may want to consider the S1A or S1S.
There is little doubt that this Maven spotting scope review has revealed the advantages of the S2. While not as powerful as the S1A or S1S, the S2 is smaller, more mobile, and is quite durable. This makes it the perfect spotting scope when on the move. Whether hunting, birding, or just taking in the scenery, the Mavens compact spotting scope offers definite advantages that makes it a great choice.