Sony entered the binocular market on Friday, introducing its DEV-3 and DEV-5 digital binoculars, both capable of capturing 7.1-megapixel still images and 1080 HD videos in either 2D or 3D.
The binoculars are the “world’s first digital binoculars with HD video recording, zoom, autofocus and SteadyShot image stabilization,” according to the company’s announcement.
SteadyShot image stabilization is the optical stabilization system that’s found in Sony Handycam camcorders and Cyber-shot cameras — it helps keep images clear and stable, even when viewing at high magnifications.
The binoculars come with a rechargeable battery pack that allows up to approximately three hours of 2D recording on a single charge. Also included with both models is a battery charger/adaptor, A/V connecting cable and USB cable for PC connection.
There are only slight differences between the two binocular models. While both the DEV-3 and DEV-5 feature 10x optical zooms, the DEV-5 can digitally zoom up to 20x. The biggest difference is the DEV-5′s built-in GPS receiver, which enables it to automatically geo-tag videos and photos. Lastly, the DEV-5 comes with a number of fancy accessories not included with the DEV-3, including a carrying case, neck strap, finder cap, a lens cover and large eye cups.
You really have to be an enthusiastic birdwatcher or sports fanatic to shell out for these puppies, though. The DEV-3 comes in at $1,400, and the DEV-5 will be priced at a whopping $2,000. We’re not convinced that a $600 price jump is justified for the addition of DEV-5′s GPS feature, advanced zooming and a few accessories.
Both binoculars will be available in November 2011 at Sony retail stores, the online Sony store and at authorized retailers