Sony Unveils 1st Hybrid 'Binocu-corders'

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Sony introduced Friday a new product concept that combines the functions of a pair of binoculars with an HD 3D camcorder.

Sony is christening the category, starting this November, with two models at launch — the DEV-3 and DEV-5.

Both feature the form factor of a pair of binoculars but include the guts of a fully functional digital HD camcorder.

The models include Sony’s G-series lenses, Exmor R CMOS imagers, Bionz video processors, and optical and digital Steadyshot image stabilization functions.

The unusual combo product will capture both high-definition full-motion video and high-resolution still images in 2D or 3D formats, Sony said.

Both models come equipped with two 0.45-inch electronic viewfinders (one for each eye), with 852 by 480 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratios.

Interpupillary distance (the distance between the center of the pupils of the two eyes) on the EVFs can be adjusted with a supplied dial, Sony said.

The DEV-3 (shipping in November at a $1,399 suggested retail) offers up to 10x optical zoom magnification using G-series optics with an f1.9-f3.4 aperture range, two (one for each eye) 0.25-inch 4.2-megpixel backside illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensors, and two Bionz image processors.

It will record still images in up to 7.1-megapixel JPEGs at a 4:3 aspect ratio or 5.3-megapixel JPEGs at a 16:9 aspect ratio.

The DEV-5 (shipping in November at a $1,999 suggested retail) steps up to a 10x optical/10x digital zoom lens (for a total of 20x magnification), large eyecup, neck strap, carrying case and built-in GPS geo-tagging function for both photos and videos.

Both “binocu-corders” record still images and video clips to either MemoryStick or SD cards and weigh approximately 38 ounces, excluding battery. Video is captured in 60p and 3D, fully utilizing the new AVCHD 3D progressive specification announced July 1, Sony said.

Sony said the products will target both occupational and recreational markets.

Occupational applications could include marine or security uses, while recreational applications could include viewing sporting events, hunting, bird watching, etc.

Because binoculars are stereoscopic by nature, they were easily adapted to 3D image capture, Sony explained, and offer compelling 3D shooting options for each of the targeted uses.

A dial controls manual settings for exposure, focus, shutter speed and white balance.

Both models include HDMI outputs to enable playback of recorded files on an HDTV or 3D HDTV.

The products include an external mic jack, mini HDMI jack, AVR jack, USB port and DC input. A tripod mount is accommodated on the bottom of the units. The battery compartment is large enough to accommodate an optional after-market extended life lithium-ion battery back (FV-100), although the units ship with a FV-70 (3.5 hours per charge) power source.


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