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Sony dives into sport optics with AVCHD binoculars

Sony's DEV-3 and DEV-5 debut in the binocular market with a broad set of camcorder features.

Sony Electronics

Sony may be late to the game in sport optics--competitors such as Canon, Nikon, and Pentax have been supplying stalkers for years--but it's entering with a splash. Its DEV-5 and DEV-3 models are basically full-featured camcorders crammed into a typical binocular design.

I couldn't believe that while digital camera binoculars have been around for years, no one had ever taken the next step and integrated video, but it looks like Sony really is the first. The two models incorporate a pair of 1/4-inch Exmor R BSI sensors (comparable to the one in the HDR-CX360V) and a pair of 10X zoom f2.8-f3.4 G-series lenses that use Active Steady Shot optical image stabilization and can focus as close as 0.4 inch.

And these really are camcorders: they can record up to 1080/60p 28 megabits-per-second AVCHD video onto SDXC cards, have stereo mics as well as headphone and mic jacks and a mini HDMI connector. And, of course, they wouldn't bear the Sony moniker if they didn't do 3D, so these models also shoot 3D video. Naturally the 408,960-pixel viewfinders on these are electronic, since none of this would really work with an optical viewfinder.

There are some subtle differences between the DEV-5 and DEV-3, but the most important is the DEV-5 incorporates GPS for geotagging (keep in mind that due to the lack of standards Sony's video geotagging is proprietary and requires the use of its software). As far as I can tell, the DEVs are missing two features that might be more important than 3D: a flip out LCD--or even projector--for playback and Night Shot infrared mode. In fact, I'm really surprised Night Shot isn't here, as it seems like a natural fit. They sound pretty neat, otherwise.

Slated to ship in November, the DEV-3 will run $1,399 and the DEV-5 $1,999.