When it comes to gear, spotting scopes occupy the buy-once-cry-once category. With this in mind, most hunters need a spotter that doesn’t necessarily excel at one thing but can perform well at a variety of applications.
The Maven’s S.3A walks a tightrope between compact and large spotting scopes. For whitetail hunters who dabble in Western hunting, or western hunters who can’t afford to carry full-size spotters, the S.3A offers packability and good magnification. The size and weight of the S.3 make it a versatile spotter for the versatile hunter who might glass everything from beanfields to the backcountry in a given season.
The S series glass performs right in line with its price during low-light conditions, and it can wrangle most hunting or shooting scenarios thrown at it. Best of all, the removable eyepiece means you aren’t married to a single magnification range.
In short: The Maven S.3A should appeal to hunters who want a do-it-all spotter they can use from the truck to the backcountry.
- Objective lens 67mm
- Magnification 20-40x
- Weight 60 oz.
- Prism Schmidt-Pechan
- Fluorite glass
- FOV (141' / 100')
- Multi-position eyecups
- Frame material Aluminum/polymer/magnesium
- Removable eyepiece
- Integrated sunshade
- Arca-Swiss tripod adapter
- Versatile size
- Lifetime warranty
- Dreamy, textured controls
- Lens coatings provide crisp image
- Focus wheel turns a bit too easily
- Peripheral details drop in low light
Maven S.3A Spotting Scope Review
Testing the Maven S.3A 20-40x67mm
I spent this winter glassing at the range and in the field. To test the S.3A’s optical quality, I glassed targets and deer during low-light conditions. Some of these glassing sessions occurred in large cutovers or fields, so I had plenty of chances to parse details on various objects at long distances.
Controls on the Maven S.3A are butter smooth. The focus wheel turns with ease, and while it doesn’t stray, it turns a little easier than I prefer. Of course, this is subjective but worth noting.
The magnification wheel also turns smoothly and without any grit or mush. Both feature a textured, tactile surface that makes it easy to operate with gloves or without taking your eye off the spotter. Unlike other optics, the adjustable eyecup actually stays in place at different positions and doesn’t just collapse. Overall, this spotter’s controls are dreamy.
The removable eyepiece should be a major point for hunters and shooters alike. The S.3A already has a ton of versatility, and the removable eyepiece makes it even more so. The mechanism on the eyepiece also locks firmly and without any play.
The S series glass in the Maven S.3A falls right in line with the $1,800 price tag. It’s not Swarovski, but neither is the price. Users should be pleased with the optical quality of this spotting scope. Multicoated lenses provide crisp, detailed viewing. And while this does drop a bit in low-light conditions, it’s still good.
The edges blur, especially in low light or near-max magnification, but show me a spotter that doesn’t. However, the picture in low light near max ranges gets grainy.
I didn’t notice any chromatic aberrations or flares in the lens. The lens coatings and integrated sunshade also help with this, and glassing into the sun offers distortion-free viewing.
Where the Maven S.3A 20-40x67mm Excels
This spotter affords the user an array of hunting and shooting applications, thanks to its size, optical quality, and removable eyepiece. The max magnification suits this spotting scope well, as I observed some blurring around the edges near this max range, especially in low-light conditions. This is a spotter with economy, and the built-in sun shade exemplifies this. It’s a subtle but nice touch.
In a room of drab, business-attire spotting scopes, the RS.3A brings much-needed flair to the party. But don’t be fooled. This spotter’s aesthetics are just icing on the cake.
While it’s no 80mm or 90mm objective lens, this spotter best excels as a versatile option for versatile hunters, and the 67mm objective lens helps conserve some pack space. Thanks to the removable eyepiece, you’re not limited to a single magnification, which gives you the option to add more zoom down the road.
Controls alone make the S.3A a desirable option. Everything turns with ease, and the textured grips make the intuitive controls a pleasure to operate.
Where the Maven S.3A Can Improve
The price-to-performance ratio is spot on, and while I think the 67mm objective lens suits this spotter’s M.O. just right, I could see an argument for a larger objective lens. That being said, this poses a subjective issue at best.
Details in low-light conditions and near-max magnification aren’t disappointing but they’re not mind-blowing, either. Still, the price-to-performance ratio feels right at home.
Maven S.3A 20-40x67mm: Final Thoughts
Maven’s S.3A exemplifies a versatile spotter well worth the price category it occupies, especially considering Maven’s lifetime warranty. The direct-to-consumer company continues delivering great optics at sub-MSRP rates, and this spotter is just Maven’s latest iteration of that.