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
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.
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
HDR backlight mode, Sweep Panoramic
Intelligent Auto, Advanced Flash
Sony Cyber-shot H400 Handling
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.
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 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.
- 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 - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
Continuous Shooting - Flash
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
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Sony Cyber-shot H400 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
- 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.
Panoramic | 1/1000 sec | f/4.3 | 4.4 mm | ISO 200
- 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.
- 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
, 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
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
VALUE FOR MONEY
Sony Cyber-shot H400 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.4 - f/6.5|
|35mm equivalent||24.5mm - 1550mm|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||460k dots|
- Face Detection
- AF Tracking
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
- Scene modes
- Centre-weighted - Average
- Multi Pattern
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 3200|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
- Memory Stick (Sony)
|Battery Life (CIPA rating)||300shots|
|Box Contents||Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1; AC AdaptorAC-UB10C; Multi USB cable; Shoulder Strap; Lens Cap; Instruction Manual|
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