Luke Cuenco 07.05.23
The Maven CS.1S Spotting Scope is a versatile optic designed to deliver exceptional performance at an affordable price. With its compact size, ED glass, and durable construction, the CS.1 offers numerous advantages that make it stand out in its category. The CS1 series (with the “S” presumably standing for the straight eyepiece), is the hallmark of the C Series. This series represents Maven’s mid-range line of optics, designed to fit your specific needs, delivered for a fraction of comparable spotting scope costs. The CS.1S is a modern sportsman-inspired design paired with the best available materials and state-of-the-art technology to create an uncompromising optic that not only performs but does it on a comparatively light budget. While it does have some limitations, mostly due to it being a more retro-inspired design, I think its benefits outweigh them, making it a worthy companion for outdoor activities.
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A Closer Look at the Maven CS.1S Spotting Scope – Jack of All Trades
Specifications and Features
The CS.1S is built using the same glass as Maven’s award-winning C Series Binoculars and is the perfect companion for those who need to see detail at extended distances. Because of its 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. For most of this review, I’ve been taking it along with me to range trips for various purposes and have also used it to record footage for shooting groups. What makes this particular model very cool to me, and also very versatile, is that it features no reticle meaning you have a 100% unobstructed view of not just what you’re looking at, but the surrounding area, making it great for capturing photos or video with the proper adapters.
- Mid-Range Model
- Size: 12.13 in.
- Weight: 40.4 oz.
- Durable, Well-Balanced, and Lightweight Magnesium / Aluminum Frame
- Extra-Low Dispersion ED Glass
- Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
- Phase Correction Coating
- Exceptionally Clear, Bright, High Contrast Image
- Excellent Color Fidelity
- Waterproof and Fog Proof
- Lifetime Warranty
- Direct to Consumer / No Retail Markup
- Price: $800
Performance and Optical Quality
Featuring a magnification range of 15-45x and a 65mm objective diameter, the CS.1 Spotting Scope delivers clear and sharp images. The glass quality is excellent for a compact spotting scope. The CS.1S, like other Maven optics, features ED glass providing enhanced color fidelity and resolution. Maven’s optics are assembled in San Diego, California using quality Japanese glass, which in this case I would say is similar in quality to Vortex’s mid-tier lines.
It won’t be as clear and crisp as some fancy European brands, but for the price you’re getting a lot of great optical quality. Users will appreciate the crisp and detailed views, especially at lower magnifications. However, at maximum power, some minor chromatic aberration can be observed, which may affect image quality for the smallest details. It is worth noting that the CS.1 performs exceptionally well at power settings below 35x, where image clarity is superb and the eye box is a bit more forgiving.
Build Quality and Design
The build quality of the CS.1 Spotting Scope is impressive, with a magnesium and aluminum frame that is both rugged and lightweight. It feels solid and durable in hand, and its compact size makes it ideal for travel, scouting, and hiking. Despite its lightweight construction, it exhibits a heavy-duty feel that adds to its overall quality. The scope is waterproof, fogproof, and designed to withstand the elements, providing reliable performance in various weather conditions. However, to reduce image instability, especially at maximum power, it is recommended to pair the CS.1 with a full-size tripod.
The position of either the tripod mount or the focus adjustment knob is something I don’t particularly like. The focus collar is generously sized and operates very smoothly, but can be hard to operate sometimes with how close it is to the tripod mount itself leading to your hand sometimes only being able to adjust the focus from the sides of the unit instead of below it if you have particularly large hands. Once again, a lot of this movement can be mitigated by a heavier-duty tripod, but with the CS.1’s already small eye box, any disturbance to the unit will just cause more frustration.
Ease of Use and Adjustments
Maven has paid attention to the user experience with the CS.1 Spotting Scope. The eyepiece features a silky smooth adjustment mechanism, allowing for easy and precise customization of eye relief. The focusing collar is well-placed and offers smooth action with zero slop, making it effortless to achieve sharp focus. The moving mechanisms, including the eyecup, power ring, and focus collar, provide a fluid and responsive feel without feeling like they are too loose. I didn’t ever run into a situation where I would blow past or below my desired focus level, and zooming in felt just as smooth and fluid. Once again, the only minor drawback is that the rotating collar knob is positioned close to the mount, which may be slightly inconvenient for users with larger thumbs.
On a recent trip out to eastern Oregon I and a couple of buddies used the Maven CS.1 to do some spotting for some longer-range targets and the wide range of magnification paired with the unobstructed view through the glass made spotting impacts and misses alike a breeze. While it might have been helpful to have a reticle for ranging in targets, I feel like the beauty of this particular spotting scope is that it’s easily adapted to other activities besides shooting sports.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None
The Maven CS.1 Spotting Scope is suitable for a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts, including beginners and veterans alike. Whether you are into hunting, scouting, wildlife observation, hiking, bird watching, stargazing, or shooting at the range, the CS.1 kind of just works for everything, at least enough to get the job done. It’s compact size and lightweight construction make it highly portable, allowing you to take it with you on your outdoor adventures. Moreover, its affordable price point, combined with its quality optics, makes it an attractive option for those seeking a reliable spotting scope without breaking the bank especially since you can use it for just about anything. I would say that its biggest disadvantage is also its biggest strength – that it has no BDC reticle in it for which to aid in ranging or estimating the range of targets.
- Excellent image quality with ED glass
- Compact, rugged, and lightweight design
- Waterproof and fogproof construction
- Smooth and precise adjustments
- Versatile for various outdoor activities
- Affordable price for its performance level
- Minor chromatic aberration at maximum power
- Lack of dual focus mechanism for fine focusing at long ranges
- Rotating collar knob positioned close to the mount
While the Maven CS.1 Spotting Scope offers numerous advantages, it does have some limitations. One such limitation is its single-focus mechanism, which is designed for ease of use and cost-effectiveness. However, this means that achieving fine focus at longer ranges, particularly above 40x magnification, can be challenging. It may limit the scope’s ability to capture intricate details in distant subjects. Nonetheless, considering its overall performance and competitive price point, I think the CS.1S remains an exceptional choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable and affordable spotting scope. In conclusion, the Maven CS.1 Spotting Scope is a top contender in the compact and travel spotting scope category. Its combination of quality optics, rugged build, and affordable price sets it apart from the competition. Whether you’re a seasoned observer or a beginner, the CS.1 Spotting Scope offers a reliable and versatile option for outdoor adventures.