Maven CS.1 spotting scope review : Right Choice?

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The Maven CS.1 is the new spotting scope from the Maven optics company. Is this the right choice for you?

Here, we give you all the details you need to make an informed purchase. You decide if it is worthwhile or not.

At 40 ounces, it is pretty lightweight for this kind of optic. But does that weight savings come at the expense of the image quality? Let’s find out.

Should You Buy the Maven CS. 1?

Maven CS.1 15-45X65mm Spotting Scope Gray/Orange ED Lens (Angled)

The Maven price is reasonable and will be a welcome addition to your optics lineup. I recommend it with the angled tube if you are using it for solo shooting work. If you are shooting with a spotting partner, get the straight scope.

Features of the Maven CS.1

1. Magnification


Spotting scopes are all about the magnification. This has some effect on the image quality, too.

The CS.1 has a 15-45x zoom range.

At 1,000 yards at 15x, your field of view (FOV) is 174 feet or 58 yards. That is half a football field and most of the end zone area.

At max zoom, you have a FOV of 81 feet, which is right at 27 yards. 27 yards is almost point black range for many guns. With an average whitetail being 6 feet long, you could see 4.5 deer standing nose to tail at 1,000 yards.

The minimum focus distance is 12 feet at minimum zoom.

2. Objective and Eye

Objective and Eye

The objective lens, or front bell, is 65 mm. On a gun scope, this is in the enormous size category. On a spotting scope, it is average.

The front bell gathers light. Bigger bells deliver more light but add to the cost of the optic.

The exit pupil or eyepiece is 4.3 mm-1.4 mm. As the zoom increases, the exit port gets smaller. Optics experts say the size must be bigger than 1 mm and smaller than 7 mm.

Anything smaller and your own eye will not get enough useful light. Anything larger, and your eye simply cannot accept that much light.

At 1.4mm on max zoom, your eye is getting a good amount of light and a decent sight picture. Yes, it could be bigger, but that would also increase the cost a lot more.

The eye cup can be positioned to suit you. Eye relief is 16-19mmm, which is a narrow range. However, you are also not worried about recoil giving you scope eye.

3. Size

Size - Maven CS.1

It comes in an angled tube and a straight tube. Maven promotes it as a compact spotting scope at 11.4 inches. That’s about the same length as a good rifle scope. I put it as a mid-length spotting scope.

It fits easily into a backpack, hunting or range bag. I never take a spotting scope on my deer hunts. I also do not hunt very long-range as some do in the West. Even so, I’d rather take binoculars as I can put those on a harness on my chest.

I do use spotting scopes when I am shooting on ranges past 100 yards. The ability to stay next to my gun and see where my bullet impacts is appreciated by these old legs and aching back.

4. Brightness

The brightness factor is 18.5  to 2.0. This is also called the twilight factor. As you zoom in, this goes down, meaning less light is gathered and transmitted. 

This directly affects resolution, which is the image quality. Higher numbers mean a better image.

18.5 is very good. At the low end, 2 is OK. You need to be looking at the target in full daylight to get the best view possible. In the early morning or later evening hours, the sight picture will be poor.

Yes, both numbers could be better, but that would drive the cost up considerably.

5. Straight or Curved

Straight or Curved

The CS.1 comes in a straight and a curved tube. All the spotting scopes I have used are angled, though I have nothing against the straight tube.

A straight tube transfers light right down the tube without a need to redirect it. This can deliver marginally more light and thus a tiny bit better image to your eye. Most people cannot tell the difference.

The angled tube has more redirecting light to get through that bend.

The biggest advantage to the curved scope is the ability to minimize movement to see through it. The universal screw tripod mount swivels. You can sit behind your rifle with the scope next to you on a ‘pod. 

Twist the spotting scope so the eyepiece is aimed at your head. Now, all you have to do is move your head slightly to see through it.

With a straight scope, you have to move a lot more.

Maven CS.1 - Straight


  • Stores easily: A straight tube takes up only that space.
  • One hand: It is easy to hold with one hand. Think of holding a telescope.
  • Light interference: It may be hard to angle your head to stop sunlight from getting into the eyepiece.
  • More movement: Unless you set the scope up precisely right, you are going to move a lot to see down the tube. At the least, your torso has to bend or twist.


  • Less extra light: You can cover the eyepiece with your whole head to block extra light from entering.
  • Less movement: You can just lean to one side slightly to see through the scope.
  • More difficult storage: That bend requires you to finagle the scope into a tight space. It also takes up more room because of that angle.
  • Holding: You can hold it with one hand, but two is far more comfortable.

6. Prism

It has a Schmidt-Pechan prism. This is a type of roof prism and the same setup as found in binoculars.

The prism bounces light around the inside of the scope before sending it to your eye. It takes 5 turns and six reflections inside the scope. With each bend of the light, you lose a little image quality.

The prism is needed to provide the zoom and keep the scope compact. Without such a prism, the scope could be as long or longer than your arm.

It is also a very light prism compared to other available versions.

To work properly, the prisms also have to be coated. The CS.1 has extra-low dispersion coatings. This is excellent. Without these coatings, your view of something at 1,000 yards would be terrible.

7. Other Features

  • Waterproof at 1 meter for 30 minutes. Fully rainproof in other words
  • Safe to store at temps -40 -to 158 F. It is OK to keep in the truck as long as it is covered from direct sun
  • Expect reliable use at temps -13 to 140 F. If you hunt where temps exceed 100 degrees, I do not want to go with you.
  • Aluminum-magnesium alloy frame and tube
  • Not threaded
  • Lifetime Maven warranty
  • Universal bolt hole for a tripod (not included). Get a sturdy one.
  • Case not included. Soft case here.


Do I need a spotting scope?

You do not need a spotting scope. It is handy for viewing your target at the range, especially at long distances.

What do HD and ED mean in a spotting scope?

The abbreviations HD and ED in a spotting scope stand for High Definition glass and Extra Low Dispersion glass. These lenses provide a superior viewing experience.

What makes a good spotting scope?

A good spotting scope is made from excellent glass lenses with quality coatings. It should be in a waterproof housing as well.

How far can I see with a spotting scope?

With a good spotting scope, you can see clearly and in detail bullet holes in a target 1,000 yards away.

Final Conclusion: Is the Maven CS.1 Worth Buying?

The Maven CS.1 is a moderately priced, good-quality spotting scope. You can get cheaper. Before I learned what I was doing, I bought a really cheap one and the view at 100 yards is beyond terrible.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Maven CS.1 is reasonably priced, and will be a welcome addition to your optics lineup. If you want a better sight picture, then you will be spending at least three times what the Maven costs for marginal improvement. If you jump into the mid-4-figures, then you will get a much better view.

That is not worth the money, according to my wallet.

If you are using the scope for wildlife and bird watching, I recommend the straight scope.

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