We love optics here at Backwoods Pursuit, so naturally getting to do this Maven Spotting Scope review was as absolute privilege. When you are trying to decide what the best spotting scope is for your needs, there’s simply nothing better than getting to put it to the test in the field side by side with a number of other spotting scopes. When side by side, you can really start to see the differences. But when does anyone have tons of different spotting scopes at once to literally compare them all to each other?
Amazingly, that’s exactly what we got the chance to do for this series of spotting scope reviews. Our goal for this project was to find the best compact spotting scope, 65 mm class spotting scope, 85 mm class spotting scope, as well as the best values in each of the categories. Make sure you check out all of the other spotting scope reviews here on our website as well as over on the Backwoods Pursuit YouTube Channel!
Want to see how the Maven S1A Spotting Scope performed next to 18 of the best spotting scopes on the market? Check out our MASSIVE SPOTTING SCOPE REVIEW where we lined up 19 of the best spotting scopes we could find and put them to the test. All side by side with volunteer testers, no brand loyalties (at least as much as humanly possible), many lighting conditions, and 14 guys ranking these things. What an awesome project to put together! This review is a product of over 2 years of work, research, and testing. You don’t want to miss this!
Dive into the details on every one of the spotting scopes in the review above by becoming a Backwoods Pursuit Member (TOTALLY FREE) and you can download the data we used to put together this review.
Don’t miss our MONSTER 26 BINOCULAR REVIEW. We lined up 26 pairs of the best binoculars we could find and tested them side by side!
Maven S1.A Spotting Scope Review: Making a Splash
Maven Optics may not be a brand you are all that familiar with, but you probably should be. We wanted to put together this Maven Spotting Scope review to test out the Maven S1A Spotting Scope. We had heard some great things about the Maven S1A spotting scope, so putting together this Maven Spotting Scope review was a must.
Maven S1.A Spotting Scope Review: The Testing
As mentioned, this S1 Maven Spotting Scope review was a part of the huge review we did with 19 other scopes, but we also wanted to go into more detail on what the S1 Maven Spotting Scope had to offer than we could provide in that article. We were able to field test for this Maven S1 Spotting Scope review throughout the 2020 scouting and hunting seasons, as well as include it in our group testing to get the opinions of 14 avid hunters.
Maven Spotting Scope Review: S1.A Specs
The S1 Maven Spotting Scope features a large 80 mm objective lens that gathers a ton of light for top notch, low light performance. Make sure to see how the Maven S1A stacked up against the competition in our “Best Spotting Scope For Hunting” review!
Here are some of the specs of the Maven S1A Spotting Scope:
- 25-50x wide angle eyepiece
- 80 mm objective lens
- Pure fluorite lens
- Maven Veri-Speed focus system
- Magnesium polymer body
- Sun shade
- Twist up, 3 position eyepiece
- Weight: 64.5 oz
- 17-18 mm eye relief
- Rubber armor
- Price: $2,100
S1.A Maven Spotting Scope Review: Fluorite Glass
The S1 Maven Spotting Scope features their premium fluorite glass. If you’ve never looked through a spotting scope with fluorite glass, you’re missing out. It’s kind of like going from 1080p to 4k Ultra. It just gives you that extra pop and clarity in the image, colors, and brightness. Do you “need” pure fluorite glass? Absolutely not. Does it give you that extra little bit of clarity, color, and performance optics enthusiasts love? Without a doubt. In practical hunting situations, you likely don’t “need” the extra boost the fluorite glass of the Maven S1A Spotting Scope gives you, but man is it nice when you have it!
S1.A Maven Spotting Scope Review: The Eyepiece
The S1.A Maven Spotting Scope features a 3 position click stop eyepiece that is very comfortable and offers nice, crisp clicks without play. While the Maven S1.A eyepiece wasn’t my absolute favorite of ALL the spotting scopes we tested in our massive spotting scope review, it was right up there with the best of them. The multiple positions of the eyepiece has enough resistance to keep the eyepiece in place inside your pack, and has a nice comfortable rubber coating.
S1.A Maven Spotting Scope Review: Barrel Focus System
The Maven Optics barrel focus system has a very unique look and, like the rest of the S1 Maven Spotting Scope, is well-built and looks incredibly classy. The “grip,” if you want to call it that, on the barrel focus is pretty aggressive and while it gives you a great grip, some of the folks in our group of testers commented that it was a bit sharp and not quite as comfortable as others. This isn’t a functional concern, but more of a comfort preference. The grip is fantastic though.
The Maven S1.A barrel focus system is super smooth and without play. It is a little on the stiffer side though, and it takes an intentional movement to turn the barrel focus wheel. Some of the testers commented that it was too stiff and created a problem by causing the optic to move when trying to focus the spotting scope.
On that note, the group consensus was that the barrel focus system, even the silky-smooth barrel focus of the Swarovski ATX, made fine tuning the focus at high magnification more difficult than the dual focus system of the Kowa Spotting Scopes or the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope. The group commented that the dual focus system was the preferred design almost across the board.
S1.A Maven Spotting Scope Review: Weight/Body Construction
The S1 Maven spotting scope is constructed of magnesium polymer to help keep the weight down while maintaining a super durable shell. This is evident when you see that this 80 mm spotting scope weighs in at just 64.5 ounces. The Maven S1.A gives you a nice rubber armor coating as well, and really feels well-built all the way around.
Maven S1.A Spotting Scope Review: Image Clarity/Low Light Performance
With the fluorite glass in the Maven S1.A Spotting Scope, you are getting top-notch image quality and low light performance. The image the Maven S1A gives you is so crisp and clear that it was one of the standouts in its price category. Many of the our testers were super impressed with the crisp, clear image the Maven S1A gave them, and the color hue resembled that of the Swarovski ATX glass. That’s good company to be in. While the Kowa spotting scopes feature a warmer tint to the glass than the Maven S1.A or Swarovski ATX, the Maven S1.A really has that “pop” to the image. It is super clear, super contrasted, and super bright.
For the group portion of this S1.A Maven Spotting Scope review, the group of testers put the Maven S1.A just behind the Kowa TSN 773 in their respective price category. My personal opinion is extremely high on the S1 Maven Spotting Scope as I thought the image was absolutely stunning with excellent edge-to-edge clarity, super wide field of view, no noticeable chromatic aberration, and its low light performance. It was up there among the best. The Kowa TSN 773 stole the show in this price category, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of at all. The Kowa TSN 773 is an incredible spotting scope, but is a few hundred dollars more.
Maven S1.A Spotting Scope Review: Edge-to-Edge Clarity
As you can image, the S1.A Maven spotting scope is excellent in its edge-to-edge clarity. While it decisively came in behind the Kowa TSN 773 in the edge-to-edge clarity category from the group’s rankings, it is an excellent top performer. There was almost no notable loss of image clarity from the center of the field of view all the way to the outermost edges. You know you are looking through top-notch glass when this happens.
The Maven S1.A offers a good amount of forgiveness if you will, in the eyepiece. By that I mean that you don’t have to have your eye positioned perfectly to get the full field of view. Some spotting scopes, particularly less expensive models, tend to have less forgiveness and require perfect eye placement to use it, especially at full magnification. Not so with the Maven S1.A.
S1.A Maven Spotting Scope review: Chromatic Aberration
The Maven S1.A Spotting Scope didn’t have any chromatic aberration that I could pick out. Edges of snowy banks transitioning to brown dirt, the outline of a tree leaf from 1000+ yards away, were clear and crisp.
Maven S1.A Spotting Scope Review: Field of View
Throughout this Maven S1.A review, we noted that it gives you a slightly below average field of view in its price category. However, if you had asked me what I thought of the field of view when fielding testing it by itself, I would have said it was one of the better spotting scopes we tested. For whatever reason it just looks like it has a massive field of view when using it, but the specs tell a different story. Personally, I’d rather have a spotting scope that is more pleasant to use in the field than has the more impressive specs, but that’s just me. I really enjoyed looking through the Maven S1.A.
- Athlon Cronus: 60 ft-117 ft
- Kowa TSN 883/773: 76 ft-138 ft
- Swarovski ATX 85: 68 ft-124 ft
- Meopta Meostar WA: 68.8 ft-146 ft
- Maven S1A: 83.3 ft-115.2 ft
- Sig Oscar8: 73 ft-105 ft
- Leupold Santium SX-5: 73 ft-105 ft
Maven S1.A Review: What We liked
There was SO much I came to love about this spotting scope doing this Maven S1.A review. It’s an impressive scope. The overall clarity, edge-to-edge clarity, comfortable eyepiece, super smooth zoom mechanism, and price point relative to the competition in its price bracket all stand out with the Maven S1 Spotting Scope.
- Image clarity
- Smooth zoom mechanism
- Edge-to-edge clarity
- Price point
- High contrast image
Maven S1.A Review: What We Didn’t Like
This list is short, but there were a few things that could have been better with the Maven S1.A Spotting Scope.
- Smaller field of view
- No Arca-swiss base
Maven S1.A Review: The Warranty
Maven offers a lifetime warranty that is fully transferable. I’ve not had the need to test out the warranty, but it’s good to know that your purchase is backed by (what I hear to be) a great, no-fault warranty. Maven states that they don’t care where you bought it or if the damage is your fault, if their name is on it, they’ll take care of you. (Of course, intentional damage isn’t covered.) This is the kind of warranty I want standing behind my expensive optics purchase!
Maven S1.A Review: Direct Only Sales
One thing that sets Maven Optics apart from some of the others on the market, and quite frankly why they are able to provide such a high value spotting scope, is their direct sales model. No retail markup, no middle man, just a great value.
How The S1.A Maven Spotting Spotting Scope Ranked
Relative to Its Price Category
Low Light Performance
Edge to Edge Clarity
S1.A Maven Spotting Scope Review: Conclusion
At the end of the day your budget will likely determine if you can make the plunge for something like the S1.A Maven spotting scope, but if you can, it is worth the money. If you spend long hours behind glass and look to your optics to save you hiking or like to size up critters before you take off after them, then this spotting scope is absolutely for you. If you don’t particularly need to see if an animal is a certain class, size, or age group, then you can likely get by just fine spending less on your spotter and putting the money elsewhere. That’s a call you have to make for yourself.
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