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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 08:37   #1
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SONY gets it.

SONY announces the DEV-50V.

I remember looking thru the previous, less capable model ~2-3yrs ago and thought they were pretty cool. Never seem to get much traction among dealers though and they fell off my radar.

These look to be much smaller and lighter with impressive magnification. At the very least they should make folks question lugging digiscoping gear around!

More here and on youtube.

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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 10:28   #2
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Are you looking at an optical image with these, or a digital one? I assume it's digital because of the zoom range, but there's no mention of the resolution of the EVFs. I would have thought this was vital information.

They'd certainly be interesting to try, but still a bit expensive I think.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 11:24   #3
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I have to admit Rick that the specs look really impressive. The $2000 price tag is incredible considering the price of some regular binoculars and assuming the image quality is good.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 11:33   #4
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My first reaction to this was one of derision. However, having watched the video and looked at the specs, it seems that it is quite an exciting idea. In fact, it must be every birdwatcher's dream to be able to look at a bird and then press a button to photograph it or make a video.

I think there must be some compromises photographically, though. For example, is there any control over depth of field and how will it cope with less than ideal lighting? It will be interesting to see what the results are like. The other thing which I didn't notice being mentioned is what is the battery life like?

All in all it looks like a very interesting idea and one worth keeping an eye on. I think the price is very good for what it can do and the idea of carrying one piece of equipment instead of two or three is always very appealing.

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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 11:50   #5
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Weight 26 oz or 740 g. Assigning, in the simplest guess (i.e. total ignorance), 1/3 of that for each of body, pure optics, and electronics+electro-mechs., the first two add up to a 17 oz. or 490 g, <1-to-12x zoom pure-optics bin. BTW, you can already get at several more links by googling for the model name.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 12:16   #6
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I've had a short look through one of it's predecessors a while ago. Certainly interesting for taking fotos or film, but a long way to go for replacing a binocular for watching birds. I am sure the electronic viewfinders are developing fast, but I guess it still will take quite some time (if they ever get there) until they will provide a similar experience for observing nature as good optics.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 13:06   #7
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Sony does appear to be the most innovative optics supplier currently and their improvement pace is in a different league from their competitors.
Conventional binocular makers are hard pressed to achieve 5% improvements on any front.
The DEV50V by contrast has about 25% better image resolution and zoom range than the prior version, plus better weather sealing and it is 30% smaller.
Sony will be in alpha territory with their next generation, which should have a full HD image and they already offer technology well beyond that in their cameras.
We are at the beginning of a new era, imho.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 15:53   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshute View Post
Are you looking at an optical image with these, or a digital one? I assume it's digital because of the zoom range, but there's no mention of the resolution of the EVFs.
Just by looking at the photos the "oculars" look like EVF's.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 17:30   #9
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Just by looking at the photos the "oculars" look like EVF's.
The specs show a 1024x768 viewfinder display, while the camera imager will do up to 6019x3384, according to the Sony description here:
http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...specifications
So yes, the images are all electronic and the user sees only a fraction of the available resolution, because of the display screens limitations. Moreover, color fidelity is unknown. Samsung phone OLED screens are known for their eye popping although not necessarily exact colors, but Sony may have been less heavy handed.
It is interesting that the viewer gets a much coarser image than the DEV actually provides.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 18:14   #10
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Just by looking at the photos the "oculars" look like EVF's.
Yes, that's how they work. Sony has been doing a lot of development of small OLED displays for mirrorless cameras, so this is the same technology, repackaged.

I'm not sure these are the game-changers, but the game is changing. Just to be able to capture a 3D video and then play it back thru the binocs is pretty cool. The video also points out the ability to crank up the gain in low-light situations. Not quite night-vision goggles, but to accept a higher noise level in exchange for more gain is an interesting tradeoff not previously available in the binocular realm.

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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 18:47   #11
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Something like this, with a high [true] zoom level and stabilization, could work very well as a scope replacement. I imagine, at some point, we could have units with 100x + zooms which would eliminate the need for big scopes and tripods.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 21:28   #12
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My Kids Would love something like this!
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 22:04   #13
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The specs show a 1024x768 viewfinder display, while the camera imager will do up to 6019x3384, according to the Sony description here:
http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...specifications
So yes, the images are all electronic and the user sees only a fraction of the available resolution, because of the display screens limitations. Moreover, color fidelity is unknown. Samsung phone OLED screens are known for their eye popping although not necessarily exact colors, but Sony may have been less heavy handed.
It is interesting that the viewer gets a much coarser image than the DEV actually provides.
So they're 2.3M dots, to use units comparable to other EVFs, which would be about as good as it gets these days, I think. That means they should be reasonably unpixellated to look through. However, you DO get to use all 6019x3384 pixels of the sensor because you can zoom in until you're viewing pixels 1:1. I think there would be situations where these would let you see things even the best optical binoculars wouldn't.

It would also be interesting to see what it's like looking at two high spec EVFs simultaneously. Your eyes should do some interpolation and give you even higher resolution.

They're quoting a "viewing angle" of 36.9 degrees, which is about 5 times that of any typical optical binocular. Would this be a real FOV at the minimum zoom of 0.8 (i.e. smaller than with the naked eye) or an AFOV? I suspect the former, as this is a typical field of view for a camera lens. In fact, I think 36.9 is the horizontal coverage of a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera.

This ability to zoom extremely wide and then very close could make these very versatile. A 25x optical binocular would be almost unusable for typical birding, but if you only used that level of zoom once you'd found a bird sitting still, it could be extremely useful. I wonder how quickly you can zoom in and out.

I think this type of device will be the future, but not necessarily at this price. It might well cost them $2000 to get it to market, but who is going to pay that much when they know it'll be obsolete and worth $100 in two years? At least optical binoculars won't give you that "I wish I'd waited" feeling.

I'm also a bit sceptical of the autofocus. Can you manually focus it? If not, are you going to be left swearing when you've got the bird in sight and the stupid thing is focusing on twigs instead?

And 13.9mm relief? They might still be useful for glasses wearers, with that wide FOV, but they could still be difficult to use at higher zoom levels. Lend me a pair, Sony, and I'll let you know.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2013, 22:49   #14
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Quote:
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So they're 2.3M dots, to use units comparable to other EVFs, which would be about as good as it gets these days, I think. That means they should be reasonably unpixellated to look through. However, you DO get to use all 6019x3384 pixels of the sensor because you can zoom in until you're viewing pixels 1:1. I think there would be situations where these would let you see things even the best optical binoculars wouldn't.

It would also be interesting to see what it's like looking at two high spec EVFs simultaneously. Your eyes should do some interpolation and give you even higher resolution.

They're quoting a "viewing angle" of 36.9 degrees, which is about 5 times that of any typical optical binocular. Would this be a real FOV at the minimum zoom of 0.8 (i.e. smaller than with the naked eye) or an AFOV? I suspect the former, as this is a typical field of view for a camera lens. In fact, I think 36.9 is the horizontal coverage of a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera.

This ability to zoom extremely wide and then very close could make these very versatile. A 25x optical binocular would be almost unusable for typical birding, but if you only used that level of zoom once you'd found a bird sitting still, it could be extremely useful. I wonder how quickly you can zoom in and out.

I think this type of device will be the future, but not necessarily at this price. It might well cost them $2000 to get it to market, but who is going to pay that much when they know it'll be obsolete and worth $100 in two years? At least optical binoculars won't give you that "I wish I'd waited" feeling.

I'm also a bit sceptical of the autofocus. Can you manually focus it? If not, are you going to be left swearing when you've got the bird in sight and the stupid thing is focusing on twigs instead?

And 13.9mm relief? They might still be useful for glasses wearers, with that wide FOV, but they could still be difficult to use at higher zoom levels. Lend me a pair, Sony, and I'll let you know.
My memory was off. I actually looked thru the older model last year. Here is my post on it, which didn't get much traction either!

Like I said the view is pretty darn good. Not knowing what to expect when I first picked them up, I was almost fooled into thinking the image was optical. I'm guessing it is a psychological nuance attached to it being called "binocular." It definitely had a manual focus ring. It's pretty much like watching a very good big HD flat panel really close. Very immersive, especially in 3D!

I can only think these will be even better in a smaller lighter package.
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Old Thursday 25th April 2013, 00:25   #15
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Rick:

It seems Sony has been an innovator over the years, and has a high quality record.

A Sony TV has been my main source for many years, a premium brand.

A little history is back in the 70's when videotape was introduced, Sony was first with the Beta format, it was soon replaced by the VHS format, which had some advantages that the Beta did not offer.

Recently, Sony, has placed a big bet on 3D television, and it has been slow to catch on.
They are not alone, but it has required a big effort of resources, and not a good thing with
a worldwide recession.

So, this must be another try at innovation. I do know Sony has some well regarded digital
cameras, so this is an interesting step. I am not interested in one of these.
My binoculars will not ever require batteries.

I am not a stocks analyst, but have followed the financial stories of Sony, and Rick, may be able to give us a larger view.
This is a crowded marketplace, with the big guns of Samsung, LG, and others in play.

Jerry
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Old Thursday 25th April 2013, 00:44   #16
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My memory was off. I actually looked thru the older model last year. Here is my post on it, which didn't get much traction either!

Like I said the view is pretty darn good. Not knowing what to expect when I first picked them up, I was almost fooled into thinking the image was optical. I'm guessing it is a psychological nuance attached to it being called "binocular." It definitely had a manual focus ring. It's pretty much like watching a very good big HD flat panel really close. Very immersive, especially in 3D!

I can only think these will be even better in a smaller lighter package.
This thing is getting to be pretty attractive, with decent optics, a huge zoom range, good integrated photography and reasonable weather resistance, all in a fairly compact package. Also, a 12x glass with 30mm objectives that can give bright twilight images is a real breakthrough.
The color fidelity of the viewer and the speed/convenience of the zoom are probably of importance to birders, but hikers and hunters may be less concerned.
Sony is on the right track. They are developing the binoculars of the future.
The others will be left behind, just as the sextant makers were when GPS became widely available.
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Old Thursday 25th April 2013, 05:00   #17
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Surprising how a 1(!)-to-12x pure-optics system can give an image as good as or better than what RJM describes. Perhaps electronic enhancement, certainly even at present a very great advantage in dim light. Next, I guess, is the comparison of the new instrument vs an optically top-level IS 12x and a comparable non-IS 12x with small obj. diams. How much longer will we be able to use our present devices with wonder and pleasure? Leica and Nikon, say, make digital cameras also. When the new technology migrates across patent barriers they'll have an interesting model range!

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Old Thursday 25th April 2013, 17:16   #18
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Normally I don't get excited about stuff like this, but these look very interesting indeed. It'll be some time before the dust settles and we get an idea of how well they work and, more importantly for me, how reliable they are. Other than TVs, which have been fine, I quit buying Sony stuff some years ago as everything failed prematurely. I'm still skeptical and would like to check out the competitions EVF bins, if/when they materialize.
Still, kudos to Sony!
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Old Friday 26th April 2013, 15:06   #19
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There were a couple of "in use" issues that I found with the previous generation models.

One was seeing a reflection of my eyes in the eye lens (I thought that was something to do with my big nose not allowing me to get my eyes close enough to the eyecup but Sony notes that the LCD backlight in the EVF did cause reflection problems)

But the killer for me is the extremely low resolution of the EVF (0.4 megapixels on the first generation models). At only 0.8 megapixels* (1024x768) on this new model, it is still some way below even the full HD resolution we're used to on TVs now. If the display was >4 megapixels (2048x1280) you'd be heading in the right direction to getting eye-limited resolution**. Add-in some sub-pixel rendering (which I think is used on the Apple Retina display) and other video processing and that would improve perceived resolution.

Look forward to trying these new ones out nonetheless.

Pete

* Sony's quoted 2.6 million dots refers to the individual red, green and blue sub-pixels
** Sun Microsystems published a paper suggesting around 5 megapixels is eye-limited resolution in a wide angle head-mounted display
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Old Friday 26th April 2013, 16:06   #20
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Well good on 'em for havin' a go anysways - close but no cigar (yet! - call back after 2020 or so)
One thing I will applaud though, is the serious efforts at weight reduction with this iteration.

Has anyone taken a serious squizz at the sensor size though? ....... it's tiny (c~ mobile phone /compact camera types)

Even the latest fandangled hifalutin DSLR's can reach limitations (noise, moire, AF loss) in low light work, and these are nowhere near that (kinda like a blind man tryin' to find a black labrador at midnight on a moonless night!)

I'm not entirely convinced there's any great first mover advantage to pioneering this stuff, but it does meld nicely with Sony's core business, and keep hundreds and hundreds of engineers off the streets ..... . One beautifully elegant part of the equation though, is that so far IC's have kept pace with Moore's Law, and are on track to do so for the near future, and that's a significant cost-down driver, so the 'picture' long term looks good. . Though, I'm sure the multifunctionality of the device will be a bigger hit with whippersnapper digital natives than with optical connoisseur's at this juncture .......

The human eye resolution question is an area of active research, but around that 5MP mark as suggested by Sun seems to be the thinking so far, although you'd need to factor in colours (the best displays are using Red, Green, Blue, White, and even Black array combo's), so it could go anything up to 25MP or more (I have read of 50? - nobody really knows yet) - the best 'commercial' EVF display I'm aware of so far, is ~ 5MP http://www.imaging-resource.com/news...s-are-numbered , so quite a ways to go yet, and that's to say nothing of refresh frequency, response times (lag), dynamic range, contrast, colour faithfulness etc.

However Pomp (I know you're watching!) the distant day they do exceed all optical, and human resolution and vision capabilities, then sign me up - the myriad potential advantages are too compelling (zoom, night vision, contrast enhancement, video, photo, spectrum tweaking, 3D rendering, IS, etc, etc, etc ..... pretty much add whatever you want - though I think you'll still have to make your own cup of tea!), but I'm sure there'll always be a place on my optical mantle for some "pure optical" alpha's - even if it is only for when the batteries go flat!


Chosun

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Old Sunday 28th April 2013, 02:55   #21
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... (I know you're watching!) the distant day ...
Wrong smiley. Try Grief. Watching, wondering, waiting, worrying... And the day is seldom as distant as we think. Anyway, Cheers!
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Old Sunday 28th April 2013, 15:43   #22
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Talking

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Wrong smiley. Try Grief. Watching, wondering, waiting, worrying... And the day is seldom as distant as we think. Anyway, Cheers!
Au contraire Pompadour ...... the day is taking far too long to break!

Don't worry - be happy



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Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 02:33   #23
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One day the binos we know today may go the way of Polaroid......
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Old Monday 6th May 2013, 02:15   #24
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Here's a fellow who has played with the new Sony binos and posted a couple sample pix on flickr. Not much to look at but does give a good representation of the zoom range:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andyi/8...7633413360601/
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