In a Nutshell:

The Sony Dev 50 Digital Recording Binoculars is a high-grade device for viewing objects, shooting videos, and capturing images. It’s expensive, but the variety it offers makes it ideal for birdwatching, camping, hiking, water activities, and sporting events.


Overall Rating



  • High-quality 2D and 3D images/videos
  • Durable, water-sealed housing
  • Lightweight and portable
  • HDMI port for TV viewing
  • Compatible with various memory cards
  • Versatile for different activities


  • Expensive
  • Switching between modes can be time-consuming

If you’re an avid birder or wildlife enthusiast, binoculars make the viewing experience all the sweeter. But what if you could snap images or record videos of those rare shots you’d love to capture forever?

That’s what we explore in our Sony Dev binoculars review as we break down the features and performance capabilities of one of the more popular digital recording optical devices on the market. 

Is it worth the hype? Let’s find out!

Sony Dev 50 Binoculars Design Overview

Sony Dev 50 with black exterior, ergonomic grips, and buttons on one side

The Dev 50 Sony digital recording binoculars don’t look like your average pair of high-performance outdoor binoculars. This is a hybrid model, fusing the high-quality imaging technology that you’d see with advanced optics with the ability to record 2D and 3D video like a camcorder.

Note that this isn’t some rinky-dink setup. The Dev 50 is designed to deliver professional results. It features Full HD 1080p alongside a 0.8-25x optical zoom range.

Besides having the tech to set those magical moments in stone, it also comes with 20.4MP Exmor R CMOS still image, simultaneous zoom-autofocus, and dual Bionz image processors.

This makes the Dev 50 ideal for birdwatching, safari trips, or capturing special moments in a family outing.

What sets the Sony Dev 50 apart from older models—such as the Sony Dev3 and Sony Dev5 binoculars—is that the company upgraded quite a few crucial components, including the sensor resolution and imaging engine.

This allows for an enhanced manual-exposure experience. They also made the housing sleeker, with SteadyShot image stabilization and roll-motion compensation to make it suitable for use out on the water—whether you’re fishing or paddling.

Therefore, overall, you can expect excellent results from this camcorder binocular cross. But it does come with one drawback, and that’s the labor-intensive menu navigation.

Sony Dev 50 Binoculars with black exterior, black rubber covering for the eyecups, and menu buttons on one side

The Sony Dev 50 v is equipped with an in-view menu for navigating the settings. There’s a multi-button layout to learn, which also means endless scrolling and clicking to find what you want.

This can also be inconvenient when you’re in action and want to switch from one mode to the other. 

For example, if you want to capture a photo and then switch to video, it will take some time to click through the modes, which risks losing that magic capture.

Another point of interest is undoubtedly the price. While Sony’s Dec 50 isn’t the only binocular camcorder on the market, it’s one of the more expensive models at around $2,000. But, we feel that the quality is worth it if this is the type of setup you prioritize over traditional binoculars.


You’d think a technical powerhouse of this magnitude means it’s probably heavier and bulkier to lug around than most binoculars, but with the Sony DEV series, this is fortunately not the case.

Person holding the Sony Dev 50 Binoculars with both hands

The second-generation DEV-50 is especially lightweight, weighing a mere 1.7 lbs., which puts it up there with some of the most compact models on the market.

That means you can carry it outdoors in a bag or purse without too much notice, boosting the convenience factor when you need to pack gear and maximize space.


If you’re worried about how all of this technology fairs out in the rugged outdoors, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Dev 50 is built to withstand the elements like a king. 

It’s encased in water-sealed housing that makes it weatherproof, dustproof, fog proof, shockproof, and freezeproof. 

This also makes it a reliable piece of gear for hiking, camping, fishing, and crowded events, giving you peace of mind considering the price you pay for the Dev 50.

Sony Dev 50 Digital Binoculars Performance Capabilities

Next up, we take an in-depth look at the performance capabilities of the Sony Dev 50 recording binoculars and the high-tech features that make it one of the top models on the market.

Magnification and Clarity

With the DEV 50 Sony 3D binoculars, users are treated to Double HD 3D Imaging, thanks to the high-tech electronic viewfinder.

Sony Dev 50 Binoculars with black exterior, ergonomic grips on the sides, and large eyecups

In 3D, the images are hyperrealistic, with plenty of depth, clarity, rendition, and color. When in use, the HD 1080p image displays brilliant detail, which, for example, allows birders to see more intricate details on bird feathers. 

Auto-White Balance ensures accurate color balancing, and you can even shoot in low-light, thanks to the Hypergain function that increases sensor sensitivity. 

And, we can’t leave out the awesomeness that is Sony’s Optical SteadyShot 3-axis image stabilization function, which allows you to capture fast-moving objects without difficulty.

The Dev 50 enables users to go from 0.8x to 25x magnification with the digital zoom, making it versatile for use in many different viewing scenarios.

Overall, you can rest assured that the images this delivers are world-class, with the plus being that you can capture the ones you like best.

Ease of Adjustment

As we mentioned earlier in the review, switching between modes can get tiresome with the DEV 50 binoculars, but other than the menu being complicated, it’s a fairly easy device to operate.

Sony Dev 50 Binoculars with a flip-up cover on one side for the Micro-HDMI output and two mini-stereo jacks

One of the standout features is the zoom adjustment lever, which makes the transition between different magnifications smoother. This is especially useful for birders or those who want binoculars for sporting events.

For focusing the binoculars, there is a manual focus wheel nestled between the eyepieces. The wheel is positioned, so it’s below the thumb of the user, nixing the possibility of accidentally pushing buttons on top of the housing, like with the traditional center focus wheel found on other binoculars.

Another cool function of the focus wheel is that it can be toggled for other functions, such as controlling the exposure, aperture, white balance shift, shutter speed, or 3D image depth.

Digital Recording Binoculars Pros vs. Cons


  • High-quality 2D and 3D images/videos
  • Durable, water-sealed housing
  • Lightweight for portability
  • HDMI port for viewing on a TV
  • Works with many different types of memory cards


  • Expensive
  • It takes time to switch between different modes
Sony Dev 50 binoculars with black exterior and brand name & "Sony Lens G" in between the two lenses

The Dev 50 Sony recording binoculars is a versatile device that allows users to enjoy crisp, sharp HD 3D images while doubling as a camcorder to capture special moments in real-time.

It’s designed with no details overlooked, providing users with the tools they need to enhance viewing for birdwatching, hiking, sporting events, and even water activities. 

Without question, the Dev 50 is a futuristic piece of gear, and the price reflects the quality two-fold. Not only do you get clear, colorful images, videos, and the viewing benefits of binoculars, but it’s also compact for easy portability no matter where you travel.

The only downside is the old-school menu navigation with buttons. It looks like a DSLR camera more than anything, leaving the user to click through multiple modes to find what they want. In an age where almost everything is a touchscreen, this is surprising—especially for the lofty price tag.

Nonetheless, these are innovative and advanced digital recording binoculars suitable for various activities and built to last through the years without compromising performance.

Dev 50 Binoculars Warranty

Sony offers a couple of different warranty options for the Dev-50 as follows:

  • Labor Warranty Terms: For 90 days from the date of purchase, Sony determines whether the product needs to be repaired or replaced with a new or refurbished product.
  • Parts Warranty Terms: For one year from the date of purchase, Sony agrees to supply new or refurbished replacement parts in exchange for parts determined to be defective.

Comparable Products to Consider

If you’ve made it this far in our Sony Dev-50 digital recording binoculars review, you’re either sold on its features or still have some lingering questions.

We’ve compiled a list of similar digital recording binoculars for comparison to help with your research.

This is a much more cost-effective digital recording binocular for those on a budget, and although you don’t get the same amount of features or compact, streamlined body, the Camonity 5M boasts 12X32 viewing capabilities, with HD digital video and a crisp 1280 x 1080 resolution. And it’s waterproof.

For the avid hunter, these digital binoculars feature an 850 NM infrared illuminator for viewing wildlife in pitch darkness, plus you get the photo/video capabilities of a camcorder. A 5x optical zoom allows you to view objects from 1640 feet away.

This moderately priced pair of binoculars looks sleek and stylish and comes equipped with live streaming, a laser range finder, video recording, and night vision mode. Another plus is that it has low energy consumption, providing up to 18+ hours of continuous use.

Sony Dev Binoculars Review Conclusion

The Sony Dev-50 is an outstanding piece of technology, with optical features and variety to give users a high-performance operating experience and beautiful images with extensive detail.

It’s designed to be strong, with weatherproof housing that is water and fog-proof. You can use this for camping, hiking, water activities, birdwatching, concerts, and sporting events with ease.

To conclude our Sony Dev Binoculars review, this is admittedly one of the more expensive models on the market, but the quality makes it worth it if its features align with your lifestyle. 

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