Have you ever spotted a California clapper rail, an Asian crested ibis, or a scaly-sided merganser only to have your friends or fellow bird watchers stare at you in disbelief? Sony has come up with a solution to your woes: the world's first digital binoculars with HD video recording.
Sony is targeting the somewhat niche binocular market with two new high-end binocular models, the DEV-3 and DEV-5. Sony's binoculars can record magnified scenes in Full HD (1080p) video with stereo sound. They can also be used to record scenes in 3D or to capture still images at up to 7.1 megapixels.
"Now consumers can watch birds, wildlife, sports action and more in steady, sharply-focused close-up views, while capturing their subjects in crisp Full HD," said Andy Bubala, director of the camcorder business at Sony Electronics. "These new models add entirely new levels of flexibility and convenience to viewing, recording and enjoying your favorite images and scenes."
Additional features include a variable zoom which helps users "scan a wide area at low magnification before zooming in seamlessly to pinpoint a subject," electronic autofocus, optical stabilization, HDMI and USB connectivity, a battery life of up to 3 hours of 2D recording, and a "stealth" design that "eliminates distracting buttons or external details that could reveal a user’s position to wildlife."
The DEV-3 has a 10x optical zoom while the DEV-5 delivers up to 20x magnification (a 10x optical zoom plus a 10x digital zoom). The DEV-5 also includes an on-board GPS receiver for automatic geo-tagging of video clips and images.
If you're in the market for high-end binoculars you may also want to look at binoculars by Swarovski Optik, Leica or Nikon. On the cheaper, more popular end of the scale, try Bushnell.
The DEV-3 will retail for an expensive $1,400 and the (only slightly) more capable DEV-5 will be priced at $2,000. Both models will be available in November from http://store.sony.com and Sony retail stores.