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The Maven CM.1 Monocular is an 8×32 monocular made from Maven’s excellent midrange C Series glass. However, Maven doesn’t currently produce an 8×32 C Series binocular to compare it to. The barrel isn’t just a modified version of an existing binocular.
To get us a closer look, Maven sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After testing the CM.1 while hunting, this is what we learned:
Maven CM.1 Monocular Review
Maven’s C Series optics represent the company’s entry-level glass, but the performance offers excellent midrange capabilities at the low-end of the midrange pricing scale. What you get with Maven C Series optics is high quality glass and construction at a very fair price point.
Because Maven is a direct-to-consumer company, Maven can eliminate traditional brick-and-mortar store markup, which tends to result in great price-to-value offerings. Maven C Series optics may arguably represent Maven’s best price-to-value ratio products.
I’ve reviewed several of Maven’s binoculars, including the C.1 in 10×42, the C.3 in 10×50, the B.6 in 12×50 and the Maven B1.2 in 10×42 — which is my personal favorite for the kinds of hunting I do most.
Many C Series optics have Japanese and Chinese components and are usually assembled in the Philippines, but the 8×42 Maven CM.1 Monocular is built in Japan. Note: Maven’s high-end B Series optics use Japanese glass but are assembled in the U.S.
Maven uses extra-low dispersion ED glass with fully multi-coated lenses. Like other Maven optics I’ve tested, the Maven CM.1 Monocular image quality has great contrast and delivers a pleasant warm yet vibrant color fidelity.
The CM.1 is very much on par with other Maven C Series glass. When I compare it side-by-side to the the Maven C.1 10×42 binoculars, image quality is nearly indistinguishable. Obviously, though, the magnification is not the same.
One thing that surprised me was how little chromatic aberration shows up in the CM.1. I have to look very hard for it in high-contrast situations to even notice it. If you like to look at birds on branches in high-contrast sky situations, you might appreciate the weight/size/price value proposition of the CM.1 Monocular.
(If you want to learn more about chromatic aberration, I cover it in a bit more detail in my Maven B1.2 Review here.)
The CM.1 is, as you would expect, waterproof and fog proof. I tested it in snow, sleet, and rain and had no problems with fogging.
Are you looking for a toy to keep a kid occupied or do you want something of lasting value?
The frame is made from a lightweight polymer with a slightly rubbery coating. It weighs 8.7 ounces and feels plenty rugged.
It stands 5.1″ tall and is about 2″ wide.
It’s also backed by Maven’s excellent lifetime warranty. If it ever fails or breaks, Maven will repair or replace it. We very much appreciate the Maven warranty and count it as a clear benefit to keep in mind.
The one drawback to the CM.1 Monocular is that, out of the box, the focus adjustment ring is a bit stiff. If you spend a few seconds moving it back and forth each time you pick it up, it’ll smooth out after about a dozen uses. Also, if you twist the multi-position eyecup up one notch before you hand it to anyone, they’ll be able to feel the focus ring better and use it more easily. While I don’t think the texture of the ring is a true drawback, I would appreciate a more textured ring. While I can adjust the focus one-handed, it would be easier with more texture. Still, I usually adjust the focus with two hands — one hand to steady the monocular and the other to turn.
The Maven CM.1 Monocular is intended for casual hunting and general purpose wildlife viewing. It’s the kind of optic you can keep in your vehicle or toss in a pocket or pack and have it if you need it.
I plan to take it whitewater rafting this summer, as well as on some multi-day trips. It’ll be great to pass around to look at wildlife like big horn sheep, elk, and mule deer . . . but it’ll also be handy if I need to spot someone too far ahead or too far behind on the river.
Meanwhile, I think one of the most compelling use cases is for young hunters. With young hunters, I think it’s important to get them started using optics and thinking about glassing. Using optics can help hunters find and identify more animals, plus you get to have some really cool experiences — like watching a mother black bear across a canyon tear open a log as her two young cubs play nearby.
One drawback to binoculars is often the bulk and weight. A key benefit to a monocular is the reduced size and weight, which can be particularly beneficial to young hunters.
Competitive Alternatives & Options
What I like about the Maven CM.1 Monocular is the quality. I’ve used cheaper monoculars in the past and the images were darker and less crisp. When the image quality is poor in a monocular, you tend not to use it . . . which defeats the entire point. As you consider the monocular competition, you’ll want to ask yourself this question: Are you looking for a toy to keep a kid occupied or do you want something of lasting value?
Here are a few competitive options also worth considering:
Vortex Solo Monoculars — Vortex offers its Solo line of monoculars and they’re very good for the price points. The most competitive version is the Solo 8×36. At 9.7 ounces it’s a bit heavier than the Maven CM.1 Monocular but it costs less. While the price point is lower, so is the quality of glass: You get fully-multicoated lenses in the Solo 8×36 but you don’t get the higher-quality, extra-low dispersion ED glass you get in the CM.1. However, we like that the Solo focus ring with raised ridges is easier to adjust with one hand.
Cabela’s Intensity Monocular — The Cabela’s Intensity Monocular comes in a 10×25 option. We like the extra magnification but don’t like the reduced field of view and light transmission caused by the 25mm objective lens and resulting exit pupil. Still, it weighs just 4.73 ounces and is priced right for a casual monocular. The optical quality isn’t as high as the Maven CM.1, but Cabela’s does use fully-multicoated glass and includes one ED glass element to help reduce chromatic aberration.
Maven C.2 7×28 Binoculars — One alternative you could consider is Maven’s C.2 7×28 or 10×28 Binoculars. They’re very compact yet still retain a more standard “binocular” experience.
All-in-all, the Maven CM.1 8×32 Monocular is a high quality midrange optic that’s great for casual hunting, everyday carry, and traveling light. We think it’s fantastic for young hunters who you want to have a good experience they can control themselves . . . but also aren’t ready to pack heavier binoculars. They’re also great for wildlife viewers: The CM.1 Monocular is lightweight and small but when you want to focus in on an animal, it’s nice to see it in sharp focus with a bright image. Very highly recommended.