From the moment I saw the DEV binoculars in the flesh and held them in my hands, I knew that they were not particularly sleek. They are huge-far larger than your average, casual pair of binoculars-and their build is very bulky and cumbersome. At 10.63 x 2 5/8 x 3.47 inches, I was especially surprised when Bouchillon said that they were “designed with the world ‘stealth’ in mind.” To Sony’s credit, a lot of the “stealth” factor can be attributed to the fact that many of the controls and ports are hidden behind various covers and doors, but rest assured that the binoculars themselves are not slipping under anybody’s radar.
That being said, what surprised me the most about the binoculars was that, despite their clunky design and substantially large size and footprint, they weren’t all that heavy. The official spec sheet says that the DEV weighs approximately 1,000 grams (or 38 ounces) without the battery; to be able to pack so much into one package-especially considering the double sensors, lenses, etc.-and keep it less than 2.5 pounds seems pretty impressive to me. Granted, this could probably be contributed to the lightweight and cheap-feeling plastic that made up the better part of the body, but it was still nice to be able to hold them up to my eyes for an extended period of time without my arms getting tired.
The zoom on the binoculars also functioned exceptionally well, with the seamless transition between the 10x optical zoom up to the 20x digital zoom on the DEV-5 going by virtually unnoticed. Even once I had entered the digital zoom spectrum, the picture was still clear with minimal grain as I looked out over New York City from the windows of the Sony Club.
I was impressed with the ergonomics and the well-placed controls on the DEV binoculars, despite their massive build. I found it to be particularly smart to have dual recording buttons, one on each side, so filming and photography could be triggered with either hand. Everything else, including the zoom and the convenient 3D/2D recording switch, was easily within reach, even for my embarrassingly small hands.
While the execution of the DEV-3 and DEV-5 digital camera binoculars is handled relatively well-with some exceptions-my real concern is the concept, which is something that will probably only appeal to a very specific niche market. But I could be wrong, and perhaps there is a greater need for something like this than I realize. Either way, we’ll find out when Sony ships the DEV-3 and DEV-5 this November, for $1,399 and $1,999, respectively.
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