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Sony HX400V review

Sony's bridge camera gets an overhaul and it's almost perfect

Our Verdict

There are a lot of interesting functions that make the HX400V appealing, including the 50x optical zoom, built-in Wi-Fi and creative functions.

For

  • Large zoom range
  • Great processor
  • Good EVF

Against

  • No touchscreen
  • Can't shoot in raw
Ratings in depth
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Performance 4
Usability 4
Value 4

Bridge cameras continue to be one area of the compact camera market that remains buoyant in an otherwise declining arena. The HX400 is one of the larger bridge models available, closely resembling an entry-level or even enthusiast DSLR/T in overall body size at least.

The key selling point of this camera is its massive focal length. It keeps the incredible 50x zoom length of its predecessor, the HX300, which equates to 24-1200mm in 35mm terms.

Impressively, it also manages to have a maximum aperture of f/2.8 (at the widest point of the lens), rising to f/6.3 at the telephoto end. It's also a Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens, which should mean that it's capable of producing high quality images.

Outwardly, much of the HX400 remains the same as the camera it replaces, such as the three inch tilting screen on the back of the camera. Inwardly though, the HX400 has seen some key improvements that should equate to better image quality.

Side view

For starters, the latest image processor, the Bionz X can be found in the camera. This is the same processor as is already being used in the top-of-the-range full-frame A7 and A7R cameras.

Bionz X is claimed to be three times faster than the previous generation of processor, so focusing, start-up, shot-to-shot times should be improved, as well as noise reduced in low light/high sensitivity images.

Whereas the HX300V had a 20.4 million-pixel Super HAD CCD sensor, the HX400V has been upgraded with a 20.4 million-pixel back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, which should also help with low light shooting. Furthermore, the camera has a native sensitivity run of ISO 80-3200, which is expandable up to 12,800.

Side view

It also inherits some of the other interesting technologies from the A7 and A7R, including detail reproduction technology, diffusion reduction technology and improved area specific noise reduction – all of which should combine together to beat the results that the HX300 was capable of.

Another improvement is that, like many of Sony's other recent introductions, the HX400 is fitted with integrated Wi-Fi and NFC technology, which can be used for remotely controlling the camera from a smartphone or tablet, or for sharing images to social networking sites.

Rear shot

As with several other Sony cameras, you can increase the functionality of the camera by downloading additional apps from Sony's PlayMemories store. You can also send images from the camera directly to a smartphone or tablet for emailing or sharing on social networking sites.

The rear-screen is a 921,000 dot Xtra Fine TFT LCD screen, and although it isn't touch sensitive, it does tilt upwards and downwards, which should be useful for shooting from awkward angles. The screen is joined by an electronic viewfinder, which has a sensor for automatically detecting when the camera has been lifted to the eye.

The finder itself is bright and clear, and offers a great view of the scene. Bridge camera EVFs tend to be a disappointment, but happily, the one here is actually useful and we found we used it very frequently during the review.

Rear LCD

The camera offers manual control, along with semi-automatic modes, such as aperture priority, as well as a complement of fully automatic and scene modes. Creative options are also included, such as digital filters and a sweep panorama mode, and should appeal to the Instagram crowd.

It's worth noting however that unlike some other bridge cameras on the market, the HX400V is not capable of shooting in raw format.

Sony claims that the HX400V's battery is capable of lasting for around 300 shots. We're keen to test the battery life as this is aimed at travelling photographers who wouldn't necessarily be able to charge a camera very often.

There are quite a few bridge cameras in this premium segment of the market, but the natural competitors for the HX400 seem to be the Canon SX50 HS, Panasonic FZ72 and Fujifilm HS50.

Tech Specs

Product TypeBridge Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution20.4 Megapixel
GPSYes
USBYes
Product FamilyCyber-shot H
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom50x
Digital Zoom540x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesLive View, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)633 g
Minimum Focus Distance10 mm
Maximum Image Resolution5184 x 3888
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeExmor R CMOS
Total Camera Resolution21 Megapixel
HDMIYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedNP-BX1
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO High Speed, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, Memory Stick Micro, Memory Stick Micro (M2), Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, microSD Card, microSD Extended Capacity (microSDXC), microSDHC Card
Height93.2 mm
Width129.6 mm
Depth103.2 mm
Product SeriesH
Focal Length4.30 mm to 215 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Slow Sync, Advanced Flash, Rear Curtain Sync, Wireless Flash
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelDSC-HX400V
Product NameHigh Zoom Point and Shoot Camera
Product LineCyber-shot
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDSCHX400VB.CEH
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

50x the Magnificence

Closeness is nothing without clarity. Enjoy 50x optical zooming, silky-smooth Full HD video and razor-sharp, 20.4MP pics-perfect for sporting events and all your adventures. Looking to capture the mood of a shot without the harshness of a flash? Low-light environments (think candlelight and campfire) maintain their warmth thanks to the sensitive Exmor® R CMOS sensor.

Battery Life380 Shot/3.17 Hour Video
Package Contents
  • High Zoom Point and Shoot Camera
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1
  • AC AdaptorAC-UB10C/UB10D
  • Multi USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Lens Cap
  • Instruction Manual
  • Shoe Cap
  • AC Power Cord
Display Resolution921000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker