The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V was announced in February 2014. It is a bridge camera packed with a number of features, making it very versatile. For macro photography the lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, but for shooting objects in the distance it has 50x optical zoom. Other features include Wi-Fi and GPS, making it ideal for travel photography. It is available for £449.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V Features
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V has a 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and a 50x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-1200mm. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm and optical image stabilisation to keep images as sharp as possible. The HX400V can record at 10 fps.
There are two auto modes - Superior Auto aims to reduce blur and noise and Intelligent Auto selects the correct scene characteristics. The HX400V also has full manual controls, a range of scene modes and Sweep Panorama. There are also a number of picture effects you can apply to your shots - these include toy camera, miniature and partial colour.
The camera includes Wi-Fi for easy image sharing and also has GPS so you can geotag your images. Other features include the electronic viewfinder (EVF), tiltable screen and hotshoe mount.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with optical zoom available and sound recorded in stereo. You can record videos using PSAM modes to control the aperture and / or shutter speeds.
20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
50x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1200mm)
Optical image stabilisation
3.0 inch 921,600 dot LCD screen
Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
Wi-Fi & GPS
Full manual controls
Full 1080p HD video recording
1cm minimum focusing distance
Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode
10 fps continuous shooting
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V Handling
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V has a DSLR style body with a rubberised handgrip and rubber patch on the rear for your thumb. The lens barrel has a part that rotates, this for adjusting the manual focus or zoom when using autofocus, and has grooves to help your grip it. On the side of the lens barrel is a sliding switch that lets you choose between auto and manual focus. You can also attach 55mm filters. The lens has 35mm equivalent markings on it. Just above this is a switch to pop-up the flash.
On the top of the camera is a mode dial which sits alongside the function, custom and on / off buttons, as well as the zoom rocker and shutter release. The function button gives you access to picture settings such as ISO and white balance. There is also a button to switch between the EVF and monitor, although the EVF is activated automatically when you put it against your eye.
On the rear of the camera are movie record, playback, menu and ? buttons. There is a d-pad for cycling through the menus which also gives access to display, self-timer, continuous shooting, flash and exposure compensation. There is also a dial which lets you change the shutter speed and aperture - it's also useful for cycling through menu options.
Also on the rear is the 3.0 inch LCD screen, which rotates making it easier to view from up above or down below and has an excellent 921k dot resolution. It's worth noting that when looking down at the screen from directly above, the EVF does slightly cover the screen. The EVF is bright, colourful and comfortable to use - for those with slightly poor eyesight there is a dioptre wheel.
Using the Wi-Fi is easy - to transfer images to a smartphone / tablet, you go to playback, access the Wi-Fi settings via the menu and opt to either choose images in the camera, or choose pictures using your mobile device. The Wi-Fi is then switched on, so you join the Wi-Fi with your mobile device, then open the PlayMemories app which needs to be installed prior to using the HX400V's Wi-Fi. Be aware that you may need to change the copy image size as it may be set by default to just 2 megapixels.
Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to CIPA test results, which is good for a bridge camera - you can get more shots if you use the EVF rather than the screen. 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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting - Low
Continuous Shooting - High
Both continuous shooting modes record full resolution images for a maximum of 10 shots. The flash is a little slow to charge.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V 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 HX400V Sample Photos
Sample Photos - The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V produces well exposed images with good colour reproduction. Performance is good in low light - the camera will merge shots together to improve detail and keep noise low. Portrait shots have good skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash.
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V Lens test images
Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail when shooting at both ends of the lens, although they are a little softer in the corners. Purple fringing can be seen and is more of an issue when zooming in. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm which allows for a decent macro shot.
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low, with sharp images produced at ISO 80, 100, 200 and 400. At ISO 800 there is a loss of detail, which causes a slight softening of the images. At ISO 1600 the camera works hard to reduce the loss of detail, but this produces a soft image and softer still at ISO 3200. Image quality is poor at the highest settings of ISO 6400 and ISO 12800.
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well, but the incandescent preset performs a little better. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB takes a good picture, with the fluorescent preset producing an image with a magenta cast.
Panorama Standard | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Panorama Wide | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Panorama 360° | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Panorama mode - There are three different types of panorama - standard, wide and 360°. They all produce images with good detail which are really well stitched together.
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V Digital filters
Digital Filters - The HX400V has a number of picture effects, we've included examples above. Some of the effects have different options available, such as HDR Painting, where you can choose low, mid or high.
Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good and the stabilisation does an excellent job at keeping your videos steady when shooting handheld. When using the zoom during recording the focus adjusts quickly but you can hear the noise of the zoom, although it's not too loud.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V is one of the more expensive 50x optical cameras available, but the extra money means better image quality. The camera body also has a higher level of quality, with the EVF automatically switching on when you put your eye to it being a nice touch. It's perhaps a surprise given the cost of the camera that it doesn't have the ability to shoot in RAW. The HX400V does have a good battery life, comes with Wi-Fi, GPS, a rotating screen and takes excellent panoramas, so if you have the budget, it doesn't disappoint and is a camera we are happy to recommend.