Looking through quality glass is a life-changing experience. Where you once thought that your Walmart binoculars or $150 Amazon scopes were “just as good”, you now felt as if you had supernatural powers. Not long ago, mind-bending optical clarity first required receiving an inheritance or a bank loan. But in 2020, a mid-priced optic can provide the user with a professional view of world without the tuition payment costs. At the risk of alienating you with my bad puns, the CS.1 Maven spotting scope is a real eye opener for an obtainable price of $650.
For me, a spotting scope was always something I wanted but didn’t have the same allure of a new pistol, upper receiver or a case of ammo. That is, until I started getting older and I couldn’t make out group sizes from the 50-yard line. With our upcoming precision rimfire series, I volunteered to borrow the Maven CS.1 review to aid in target identification and zeroing.
Read more @ TFB: MAVEN RS.1 Rifle Scope Review
TFB REVIEW: MAVEN Spotting Scope – The CS.1 Variable Power
I’d classify the CS.1 as an all-purpose spotting scope that can handle general outdoor activities, hunting, target shooting and astronomy. The Maven CS.1 is designed to be mounted on a tripod or other photography-style setup with 1/4 x 20” female threads in the base.
This scope fits into the Goldilocks size category of not too big, not too small, but just right. It fits easily into a backpack or camera case and weighs only about 2.5 pounds.
Technically, this is the CS.1A model (A standing for angled) but there is no straight CS.1 option at the time of the publication of this review. The tripod mounting ring allows the back half of the spotting scope to rotate to give the user a choice of viewing angles to fit their needs. Hunters or birders in a blind may need to position the CS.1 in a way to stay hidden but retain the ability to see around obstacles. A small hand-tightening friction screw on the base allows you to lock the mount into place once you have it positioned.
Let’s take a look at the specifications.
- Manufacturer Website: https://mavenbuilt.com/collections/spotting-scopes/products/cs-1-15-45×65
- User Manual: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0494/7185/files/CS_Series_Manual_V2_Web.pdf?v=1596489719
- MSRP: $650
- Mid-Range Model
- Size: 11.4 in.
- Weight: 40.4 oz.
- Durable, Well-Balanced, and Lightweight Magnesium / Aluminum Frame
- Extra-Low Dispersion ED Glass
- Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
- Exceptionally Clear, Bright, High Contrast Image
- Excellent Color Fidelity
- Waterproof and Fog Proof
- Lifetime Warranty
- Direct to Consumer / No Retail Markup
- Country of origin: C Series Parts from Japan and China with assembly in the Philippines .
The CS.1 is built using the same glass as our award-winning C Series Binoculars and is the perfect companion for those who need to see detail at extended distances. Because of it’s lightweight magnesium / aluminum frame, this compact scope gets the job done without taking up much space in your pack. It’s our recommended mid-range spotting scope for hunters, birders, and wildlife viewers who require extra magnification in a minimal unit.
Dependable, solid, and powerful – this is the hallmark of the C Series. This series represents our mid-range line of optics, designed to fit your specific needs, delivered for a fraction of comparable spotting scope costs. Our modern sportsman inspired designs paired with the best available materials and state of the art technology create an uncompromising optic.
If you wear glasses, the eyepiece can be adjusted to the proper depth.
The magnification ring is closest to the eyepiece whereas the focus ring is just past the mount on the forward part of the body.
Higher end Maven models have the option of being dressed in a black/grey color scheme, but the CS.1 is stuck with the signature orange ring.
Fielding The Maven CS.1 spotting scope:
Let’s take a look at some images taken through the Maven spotting scope. Keep in mind that these pictures were taken off-hand using an iPhone camera – blurring, vignetting, and aberrations are caused by the lens of the camera not being perfectly centered in the eyepiece and are not related to the CS.1’s optical quality.
This image was taken at 15X from a distance of approximately 35 yards.
This image was taken at 45X and the distance to the lighthouse is approximately 1.5 miles.
This image was taken at 45X and the distance to the buoy is approximately 150 yards.
This image was taken at 15X and the distance to the buoy is approximately 150 yards.
This image was taken at 45X and the distance to the dock ferry is approximately 250 yards. The spotting scope was slightly out of focus trying to capture an image of a moving target
Maven Spotting Scope – Conclusions
In my opinion, the Maven CS.1 spotting scope is an excellent performer, punching above its midrange weight class. The glass itself is impressive, providing the user with defined, crisp images with no major distortions at any magnification. Honestly, I was really surprised at how well the CS.1 performed. Not because of Maven, but because of my preconceived thoughts on how a $650 spotting scope should perform.
There is some slight image distortion at higher magnifications (see the bend in the coastline in the lighthouse image above) and low light performance is above average and not extraordinary. However, for most of us outside of the professional shooter, birder, or hunter, the Maven CS.1 will be a real eye opener. This is one of those times where $650 will get you 90-95% of the quality and features you need and squeezing the last 5-10% of performance will require you to spend about $2000 (Maven has you covered in that category as well).
Thanks for reading TFB.