Sony's Digital Recording Binoculars score a huge boost with $2,000 DEV50V

Who, you say, might be the target customer for Sony's Digital Recording Binoculars? Your guess is as good as ours, but regardless of the device's audience, Sony's improvements are sure to boost that base by a bit. Like its predecessor, the DEV-5V, the DEV-50V captures stills and video, and will retail for $2,000, though the similarities end there. These binoculars are suited for far more than birdwatching -- the dual-sensor design is ideal for shooting 3D, and with dual 2.4M-dot XGA OLED viewfinders, previewing and playing back three-dimensional content apparently feels quite natural. There's a 0.8-25x zoom ratio (36.3-2,007mm 35mm equivalent), giving you quite a bit of range for viewing and recording just about any scene. The active optical SteadyShot offers twice the stability of its predecessor, and at 1 pound, 14 ounces, representing a 30-percent reduction, you'll be holding the binocs with a bit less discomfort, too.

Curiously, the previous-generation product wasn't rain-proof, but that's been resolved now -- a new water- and dust-resistant housing is designed to let water flow through the eyepieces without accumulation. Dual Exmor R CMOS sensors enable 20.4-megapixel still image and 1080/60p video capture, while a two-channel internal mic and audio input (and headphone) jack make it possible to add in your own audio -- quite useful, considering that the source of your footage may be hundreds of feet away. Sony's DEV-50V Digital Recording Binoculars are expected in stores for $2,000 come June. Will they be going home with you?

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Sony DEV-50V Digital Recording Binoculars

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SONY INTRODUCES SMALLER, LIGHTER, WEATHERPROOF DIGITAL RECORDING BINOCULARS FOR PREMIUM HD VIDEO CAPTURE

Great for Outdoor and Indoor Adventures, New Models Offer High-Performance Features Including Wide Zoom/Magnification Range from 0.8x to 25x, Auto-Focus, Image Stabilization, and 2D or 3D Capture/Playback Even in Low Light

SAN DIEGO, April 23, 2013 – From rare wildlife activity to monumental sports plays and scenic travel views, observing and capturing these "wow" moments can easily be achieved with Sony's new digital binoculars.

The DEV-50V model is the second generation of binoculars from Sony, delivering an improved and unparalleled experience. In addition to sensational observing capabilities with autofocus, image stabilization and flexible zoom capability, the DEV-50V can record full AVCHD™ 2.0 video with stereo sound or snap 20.4 megapixel still photos at the touch of a button, even after sundown with enhanced low-light capability.
"With the DEV-50V, you can observe wildlife in a way no other binoculars can achieve," said Hidenori Toyoda, director of the camcorder business at Sony Electronics. "Couple that with its ability to capture impressive photos and video, and you have an innovative device that outperforms the competition on all levels."

Now 30% lighter than their predecessors, the splash- and dust-resistant binoculars are a faithful travel partner for consumers to watch wildlife, sports action and more in steady, sharply-focused close-up views. Users can select the variable zoom to sweep their surroundings at low magnification before zooming in seamlessly to pinpoint a subject, such as deer in a field. Digital zoom on the DEV-50V model allows a total magnification range from 0.8x up to 25x, rivalling traditional high-powered binoculars.

Stunning new independent XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinders deliver improved resolution and contrast for left and right eyes, resulting in a highly immersive viewing experience. In low light situations, paired with an "Exmor R®" CMOS sensor, the electronic viewfinder brightness on the DEV-50V model is boosted by the newly developed Hyper Gain function. Hyper Gain electronically increases brightness in the viewfinders so subjects can be quickly located and framed in dim conditions.

Unlike conventional binoculars, electronic autofocus keeps moving subjects sharply in focus at all times, eliminating the need to focus manually as your scene changes. Electronic autofocus allows the new binoculars to focus quickly and cleanly on subjects far away in high magnification and on subjects less than half an inch away when recording in 2D (minimum of 32 inches when recording in 3D). And with Optical SteadyShot™ stabilization (Active Mode) on board, images remain balanced and blur-free, even for viewing at high magnifications when image stabilization matters the most.

Separate images for left and right eyes are captured by a matched pair of precision G Lens optics by Sony with "Exmor R®" CMOS sensors and powerful BIONZ® processors, offering a true stereoscopic view of the world as well as a 3D mode that records scenes in thrilling 3D video for playback on virtually any 3D-compatible TV. The binoculars can be connected via HDMI® to a Sony BRAVIA® HDTV or any HD television with HDMI input for viewing images (cable sold separately). There's also a USB connection for transferring video clips to a PC for storing, editing and sharing.

Additionally, the DEV-50V model includes a built-in GPS receiver that automatically geo-tags video clips and photos. Tagged images can be viewed after shooting in online maps (requires compatible software).

The new binoculars come with a high-capacity rechargeable battery pack (NP-FV70) that allows up to approximately three hours of 2D recording on a single charge. It also includes a battery charger/adaptor, A/V connecting cable and USB cable for PC connection, as well as a lens cover, finder cap, carrying case, neck strap and large eye cups.

The new DEV-50V digital recordable binoculars from Sony will be available in June for about $2000 at http://store.sony.com, Sony retail stores and other authorized retailers nationwide. For images and information, please visit www.sony.com/news. And for a video first look, visit https://blog.sony.com/2013/04/dev50v/.