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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 Review - The Sony Cyber-shot H400 ultra-zoom bridge camera with a massive 63x optical zoom lens put to the test.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Sony Cyber-shot H400
Price : £249
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H400 (1)

The Sony Cyber-shot H400 is an entry level ultra zoom bridge camera with a massive 63x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilisation, manual controls, a 3inch screen and built in electronic viewfinder. The Sony Cyber-shot H400 is available for around £249.

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Features

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H400 (3)

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H400 features a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor, and a 63x optical zoom lens equivalent to 24.5 - 1550mm in 35mm terms. Optical SteadyShot is designed to keep shots steady. 

Digital SLR styling helps you hold the camera steady, with a large rubberised hand grip. The built in electronic viewfinder (EVF) gives another point of contact to help you hold the camera steady when using the optical zoom. There is a 3inch screen on the back with a 460k dot resolution. 

The camera features an intelligent Auto shooting mode, as well as full manual controls, sweep panoramic, video recording at 720p, a number of scene modes, as well as digital filters. The camera uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which should give 300 shots. 

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H400 (5)

Key Features

  • 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 63x optical zoom lens, f/3.4-6.5, 24.5 - 1550mm equivalent
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilisation
  • 3inch LCD screen, 460k dots
  • Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
  • 720p video recording, with optical zoom
  • ISO80 - ISO3200
  • 1cm macro
  • HDR backlight mode, Sweep Panoramic
  • Intelligent Auto, Advanced Flash

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Handling

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H400 (7)

The camera feels well built with a solid plastic body. The handgrip has a slightly rubberised feel to it helping grip with an indentation for your fingers. The rear of the camera has a small textured areas for your thumb, however this is not rubberised. The buttons and controls are all neatly placed so that you can reach them with your right hand, and on the left of the camera is simply the button to release the pop-up flash. 

There is a button on top to switch between the electronic viewfinder and the rear screen. The viewfinder is quite small, but does feature dioptre correction if needed. The view is reasonable, but you can tell that it is a budget camera due to the small size of the viewfinder. Using the electronic viewfinder will help get steadier shots when using the optical zoom, however you may find it uncomfortable to use for extended periods if you wear glasses. 

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H400 (6)

The options are settings are quite easy and quick to access, either using the buttons on the 4-way controller, or using the Menu button. Pressing the menu button brings up a number of options that can be changed on the rear screen without having to go into the full menus. To go into the full menus you scroll to the bottom of this list and select 'Setup' where you will find more advanced settings. The screen is quite clear when used outdoors, with an anti-reflective coating. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is average - therefore we would recommend a spare battery if you plan on shooting more between charges.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H400 (8)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response 0.1secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.35secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 1.4secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 3.4secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 2.0secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.9secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
0.7fps
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Shutter response isn't as quick as other cameras, and focus speeds at the telephoto end of the lens can be extremely slow at times. 

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Colour is good with the camera producing pleasing images in bright sunny conditions. The portrait taken with flash shows no red-eye and detail is good. Using the camera in Program mode occasionally gave us images that were over-exposed, and the camera had better dynamic range when shooting on the iAuto mode as it would automatically use a backlight mode when needed.

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Macro performance is good with the camera focusing on subjects that are just 1cm away from the front of the lens. Purple fringing and chromatic aberrations are visible in areas of contrast, for example, around tree branches and are more noticeable towards the corners and edges of the image - this becomes quite strong when using the full optical zoom. In good conditions it is possible to take shots hand-held when using the full optical zoom, thanks to the optical image stabilisation. Detail is quite good across the frame, with a drop in detail as you use more of the optical zoom. Barrel and pincushion distortion are quite well controlled, with a small amount of vignetting visible at times. 

Sony Cyber-shot H400 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Some noise is visible when shooting at the lowest ISO settings of ISO80 and ISO100, when viewing images at 100%, although is at an acceptable level. Noise increases slightly at ISO200, and there is a slight drop in fine detail. Noise increases again at ISO400, with another slight drop in detail, although results should still be useable. At ISO800 noise has a more noticeable affect on image quality with a drop in detail and a slight colour shift. Noise becomes stronger at ISO1600. Noise is most evident at ISO3200, and due to the low image quality this setting is best avoided.

Sony Cyber-shot H400 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a slightly more accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting as well, with the fluorescent preset giving a slightly magenta cast to the image. 

Sony Cyber Shot H400 Panoramic DSC00021 | 1/1000 sec | f/4.3 | 4.4 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/1000 sec | f/4.3 | 4.4 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - Sweep panoramic mode lets you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other, with the camera automatically creating the panoramic photo as you go. Detail is quite low and results are quite disappointing, with a low resolution image. 

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a limited number of picture effects available, with examples shown above. Dynamic Range Optimisation (DRO) can be set to off, standard and plus, for enhanced dynamic range, and when shooting in intelligent Auto mode, the camera will automatically activate a backlight shooting mode if it detects this as being necessary.

Video - When using a lot of optical zoom, a tripod is recommended, unless you have very steady hands. the video below was shot handheld, and shows the full 63x optical zoom. Video quality is reasonable, however most of the competition now records fullHD video, whereas the H400 only records 720p video. 


Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot H400 is available for £249 which makes it good value for money with one of the longest optical zoom lenses available on an ultra zoom camera. Alternatives with a similar amount of zoom can be seen below: 

Nikon Coolpix P600, 60x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £329
Panasonic Lumix FZ72, 60x optical zoom, £269
Samsung WB2200F, 60x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £399
Kodak PixPro AZ521, 52x optical zoom, £199 (no EVF)

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Verdict

If you simply must have the most optical zoom possible, then the Sony Cyber-shot H400 certainly has it, with a 63x optical zoom lens. To get the best out of the camera you are best sticking to ISO400 or lower, as well as using a tripod when using the full zoom, to make sure shots are sharp.  

If you are happy with 60x optical zoom, then there are better alternatives available, including a number of cameras that record full HD video or add additional features including Wi-Fi. The Sony Cyber-shot H400 is good value for money, although can seem a little slow at times, and you may need to try a few modes before getting the best shots from the camera. 


Sony Cyber-shot H400 Pros

63x optical zoom lens
Optical Steadyshot image stabilisation
Electronic viewfinder with dioptre correction
Intelligent Auto and backlight mode
Manual controls
Good value for money
1cm macro mode

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Cons

Poor panoramic image quality
Limited number of effects
Small electronic viewfinder
Detail lost above ISO400
720p video recording
Purple fringing

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony Cyber-shot H400 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Max Aperturef/3.4 - f/6.5
35mm equivalent24.5mm - 1550mm
Optical Zoom63x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5152
Pixels (H)3864
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting0.7fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 720p
Video FPSNo Data
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMINo
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion
CIPA Rating300
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1; AC AdaptorAC-UB10C; Multi USB cable; Shoulder Strap; Lens Cap; Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight655g
Width129.6mm
Height95mm
Depth122.3mm

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