Digital recording binoculars aren't really new--there are some cheapie versions available--but Sony's new DEV-3 and DEV-5 binoculars lift that humble tech into some really impressive new places. Instead of taking a regular set of binoculars and cramming a cheap video recording device into them, Sony took its high-end HD camcorders and molded them into the shape of binoculars. That means they can both record in 720p (high-def) and in 3-D--these might be the perfect tools for birdwatchers and other nature-types (as opposed to snipers).
What's interesting here is that these binoculars are essentially not one but two of Sony's G-Lens optics systems, the same ones found in the company's HandyCam camcorders and CyberShot cameras. That makes shooting in 3-D incredibly easy, since the two separate lenses make it naturally stereoscopic--and naturally in full HD. They can, of course, shoot both 2-D and 3-D, as well as take 7MP still photos.
The binoculars both boast 10x optical zooms (in 2-D; in 3-D, they can both manage 5.4x), but the DEV-5, the more advanced of the two (bigger number equals better binoculars!), also offers a 20x digital zoom. Sony claims that thanks to image stabilization and autofocus, the DEV-5's digital zoom avoids some of the problems inherent to digital zoom (like a loss in clarity), and allows shooting in lower light than a bulky and heavy 20x optical zoom would. Still, these seem like some pretty sophisticated sensors: in 2-D, Sony claims that you can focus on an object as close to the binoculars as a mere centimeter away.
The DEV-5 also includes a built-in GPS receiver that can geo-tag your photos and video clips, so you can see exactly where you were when you try to pass off a pileated woodpecker as the probably-extinct Ivory-billed woodpecker, and both binoculars are designed for stealth (no visible shiny buttons, an elastomer coating for grip), so your quarry doesn't see you perched in a tree or whatever. Battery life is about three and a half hours for 2-D recording, though there will be an extended battery that can bump that to over six hours. It relies on external memory cards (SD or Memory Stick), and has an HDMI-out port so you can show off your videos on an HDTV.
Both the DEV-3 and DEV-5 will be available this November, the former at $1,400 and the latter at $2,000.
People in cities may be filming a few other things than pigeons
"......The DEV-5 also includes a built-in GPS receiver that can geo-tag your photos and video clips....." Off the shelf spy gadgets get easy and better every day. Now a bad guy can pear through a fence or off a boat, take a picture with a GPS location and email back to home back. It makes planning an attack so much easier. Oye.
Why doesn't it have a screen?
Ah BubbaGump...get a clue and a grip.
The GPS location is of where the user of the binocs IS when the image was taken, NOT of the location of the subject of the image.
How is that any different than taking a GPS reading with a smartphone and sending that to "back home?"
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