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Sony sheds bulk, adds power to latest electronic binoculars


April 23, 2013

Sony's new DEV-50V electronic binoculars are aimed at travelers wildlife watchers and sports fans

Sony's new DEV-50V electronic binoculars are aimed at travelers wildlife watchers and sports fans

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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

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

It reminds me of a device used on the planet Hoth (IIRC) in the Star Wars movies. I think it is also similar to what what was in one of the Star Trek movies.

I think it is really cool. It is a shame the price is so high. With so many new items that come out, the initial price is high then others start making it which brings down the price considerably. It is what happened to the Sony Walkman. It was high in price at first but there were others that made something similar but at a greatly reduced price.


As a retired Army officer this is EXACTLY what I wanted to have in the field. Coupled with a software defined radio it would be a game changer for a forward observer or a recon patrol to see something and simultaneously share that with higher echelons or other elements, along with all needed position data at little more than a button click or spoken command. Add low light vision and a pocket sized tablet for imagery to go both ways and operational units would be a long way to having persistent high quality area 'awareness' that would be a literal game changer.


So this is not an optical binocular with prisms and such, but instead essentially twin digital video cameras with good zoom lenses and monitors that are viewed in the eyepieces?


Add Night Vision & cut the price in half, and they've got themselves an interest-market winner! .... Otherwise, fugeddaboudit!

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