Seen in prototype form at CES earlier this year, Sony has now officially unveiled its latest set of digital recording binoculars designed to give travelers, wildlife watchers and sports fans a closer view of the action. Succeeding the DEV-3 and DEV-5 units released in 2011, the new DEV-50V binoculars boast a new waterproof design that is 30 percent smaller than its predecessors, along with higher resolution OLED eyepieces replacing the previous LCD versions.

The DEV-50V’s two 0.5-inch XGA (1024 x 768) OLED “Tru-Finder” electronic viewfinders are a step up from the 852 x 480 resolution found in the DEV-3 and DEV-5. Sony says they also offer an improvement in contrast of around 33 percent and feature a new Hyper gain function that electronically increases viewfinder brightness in low light situations.

There’s also Optical Steadyshot with Active mode image stabilization that Sony says is twice as effective as Optical SteadyShot in keeping targets stable even at full zoom, along with autofocus to keep subjects sharp, even while zooming. Like the DEV-5, GPS is on board for geotagging while stills and video can be captured with the touch of a button.

Magnification also gets a boost with the dual Sony G lenses offering from 0.8 to 12x optical magnification for 2D images (up to 25x for digital zoom) and 0.5 to 6x for 3D. The unit’s dual 1/3.91-inch Exmor R CMOS sensors allow the capture of stills at up to 20.4 megapixels, while video can be recorded in 2D at up to 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60p, 50p, 60i and 50i, and in 3D at 2 x 1920 x1080 at 60i or 50i.

There’s no internal memory, with stills and video recorded to Memory Stick or SD card and outputted via HDMI or Micro USB. The included battery should be good for from 2.5 hours (2D HD PS and 3D) to just under 13 hours (2D HD LP).

The DEV-50V measures 148.5 x 72.5 x 157.5 mm (5.8 x 2.8 x 6.2 in), weighs 765 g (27 oz) and offers the equivalent of IPX5 moisture resistance and IPX4 dust resistance according to Sony in-house tests.

The DEV-50V electronic binoculars are due to be released in the US in the next week for US$2000. The European release is set for June.

Product page: Sony