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Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V Review

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V, a bridge camera with 50x optical zoom, manual controls, Wi-Fi and GPS.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Price : £450
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX400V Black (5)

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 Cyber Shot DSC HX400V Black (6)

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.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX400V Black (7)

Key Features

  • 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
  • ISO 80-12800
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX400V Black (9)

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.

Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx400v App Screenshot 1 Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx400v App Screenshot 4 Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx400v App Screenshot 5

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.

Shutter Response   0.04 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.2 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.4 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.8 secs
Continuous Shooting - Low   2.0 fps
Continuous Shooting - High   8.5 fps

Both continuous shooting modes record full resolution images for a maximum of 10 shots. The flash is a little slow to charge.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX400V Black (1)

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 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 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 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.



Value For Money

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V is available for £449.99. There are a handful of cameras now available with 50x optical zoom, these include the Fujifilm FinePix S1 at £399Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at £335 and the Olympus Stylus SP-100EE at £350. There are also some 60x optical zoom cameras - the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 at £279 and Nikon Coolpix P600 at £380.

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 Cybershot DSC-HX400V Verdict

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.


 
 
  The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V has lots of zoom and offers good image quality.  

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V Pros

50x optical zoom
Has Wi-Fi and GPS
EVF which automatically switches on
Rotating screen
Good battery life
Very good panoramas

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V Cons

Image quality is poor at ISO 6400 and 12800
Most expensive 50x zoom camera we have tested
No RAW shooting

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/6.3
35mm equivalent24mm - 1200mm
Optical Zoom50x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5184
Pixels (H)3888
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS50p, 50i, 25p, 24p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
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/UB10D;Multi USB cable;Shoulder Strap;Lens Cap;Instruction Manual;Shoe Cap;AC Power Code
Dimensions
Weight660g
Width129.6mm
Height93.2mm
Depth103.2mm

View Full Product Details

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V

hawk-moth on the geraniumLajos the dog
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Comments


24 Mar 2014 8:54PM
Daniel,

Like many others, I'd guess, I'd love to know how the hx400v compares to the Canon Powershot sx50, in broad terms. Your review of the sx50 in Oct '12 gave it 4 and a half stars. With the passing of time, I'm curious whether it still would hold on to this rating, making it, possibly, a better overall camera. Could you pass some comment on whether there is a clear preference between these two cameras or, as a whole, are they much the same in performance terms? On the single criterion of quality of image at full zoom, does one camera perform better than the other, do you think?

Thanks

Chris

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24 Mar 2014 10:38PM
Just to add to what I've already asked, I now also see that you reviewed the HX300 a year ago and gave it 4 and a half stars with a 'highly recommended' assessment. Is the hx400v not an improvement upon that earlier model in operation and image quality, yet it only has a 4 stars?
25 Mar 2014 1:39AM

Quote: Just to add to what I've already asked, I now also see that you reviewed the HX300 a year ago and gave it 4 and a half stars with a 'highly recommended' assessment. Is the hx400v not an improvement upon that earlier model in operation and image quality, yet it only has a 4 stars?

if you compare the DSC HX 300 and the DSC HX400V you will clearly see that the HX300 have lenses really better than the HX400v! even though the 400v have a little better sensor; but final image quality isn't good because of the lenses! If sony had used the same camera and just changed the sensor the rating would be better! My personal veredict for the hx400v is: just a hx300 with a little better sensor and poor lenses featuring GPS, AMF and better battery duration nothing more nothing less. Summarizing: don't worth the money! Really if you ask me to choose one of the two I'll choose the HX300.

As for the Canon SX50HS that's the only compacta camera with really decent image quality though her lost in features! exactly like the review describe:
Lens Performance - Detail is really good at both ends of the lens, There isn't too much signs of purple fringing in contrasting areas.
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80 and 100, with very little appearing at ISO 200, 400 and 800.

Unfortunately the SX50 have only 12MP but it is enough in most cases Try to look the high res sample images of the cameras you want to compare and you will see the difference in quality.
YoBellzaa e2
7 224 England
25 Mar 2014 7:40AM
Thanks meuvoy. To give a fair answer as to which of the HX400 or SX60 has the best image quality we'd have to get them both in to take pictures in the same conditions.
25 Mar 2014 10:40AM
Meuvoy

Thanks for your comments. What I've read to date, seemed to indicate the hx400v merely used the hx300 lens in updated form with some design improvements. It would really help to know what sort of hands on experience have you had with both cameras and how you have arrived at your judgement of a clear advantage in favour of the hx300 lens.

All of this will help me in deciding whether to buy or not.

Thanks again

Chris
kodachrome 2 453
25 Mar 2014 2:12PM
Yet again we see a nice spec, nice build quality Bridge camera with a decent bit of glass on the front only to be let down yet again by a tiny sensor. Why do they persist in doing this.
themak 5 Scotland
26 Mar 2014 10:24AM
I'm sure they could build a 50x zoom camera with a big sensor. You couldn't lift it, though.
26 Mar 2014 12:38PM
Hi,
A French review compares a sony hx 300 with the new hx400 and and they said the new hx400 has superior image quality revealing more detail.
Cheers
Steve.
26 Mar 2014 1:10PM
stephennic, good to hear that. What meuvoy suggests above is difficult to imagine. While companies don't introduce updates to older models which are always better than older models, it's unlikely someone like Sony would churn out what is largely the same (ie as the hx300) with some market led improvements, but then resort to use of an inferior lens. It would be too much 'shooting themselves in the foot' surely. I just hope the hx400v is up to Canon sx50 standards. It has been a toss up between the two, and I sit here waiting for an hx400 to arrive at my front door, so decision well and truly made.
26 Mar 2014 1:23PM
Hi,

The link is http://www.lesnumeriques.com/appareil-photo-numerique. The pictures with the new hx400 was like a haze removed when the compared it to the hx300. They like the video quality too.

The other superzoom camera that I think beats the canon sx50 is the new Nikon P600, amazing pictures in daylight see dpreview Nikon forums. The other camera is the Olympus sp-100ee.
Cheers
Steve.
26 Mar 2014 2:09PM
I have the HX300 and after reading this...............I will stick with the HX300. Not enough to upgrade and to honest I'm more than happy with what I can achieve using the HX300.....


Example... This took all of 6 mins to setup and then shot.................basic editing and small crop.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/icemanonline/12368132665/


Andy
kodachrome 2 453
27 Mar 2014 8:27AM
Lovely Fuji colours, can't beat them.
kodachrome 2 453
27 Mar 2014 8:31AM
Sorry, meant Sony
sasan 27
30 Mar 2014 3:42PM
"Noise in iso 80"
A Film by SONY Grin
Nice review, thanks!

Would you recommend the Panasonic FZ200 compared to the Sony HX400V, or would you recommend the Sony?

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