The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V is reduced super-zoom camera that has a 50x, 24-1200mm contact lens, 20.4 megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, BIONZ X processor, 1920×1080 50p Full HD video recording with stereo sound and HDMI output, multi interface shoe, and Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity and built-in GPS. Other key top features of the Sony HX400V include high-speed autofocusing, a tilting 3-inch LCD screen with 921,000-dots, 10fps burst shooting mode at full resolution, ISO selection of 100-12,800, increased Optical SteadyShot with 3-way Active Mode, Intelligent Auto Plus, Superior Auto, Program and full Manual shooting modes, a variety of Picture Effects and and support for both Memory Stick PRO Duo and Secure Digital cards. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V comes in black for about £420 / $449.99.
Ease of Use
Sony’s new Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V is nearly identical to the HX300 model that it replaces, so most of the comments that we manufactured in our overview of that camera apply equally to the brand new HX400V. The HX400V evidently took its design cues from an entry-level DSLR camera. The HX400V’s optical zoom continues to be an enormous 50x and the effective resolution remains at 20.4 million pixels from a 1/2.3-inch Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor. Key new features add a 3x faster processor, multi interface shoe, and built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS.
The HX400V includes a very chunky handgrip that’s large enough to squeeze three fingers comfortably around and usefully has indentations for your top two fingers, assisting to give a steadier hold when shooting towards the extreme telephoto end of the zoom. To help expand assist in preventing blurred shots in such circumstances and in low light, Sony in addition has provided optical ‘SteadyShot’ image stabilization, reducing the shake apparent on the LCD screen and so that it is much easier to frame the shot.
The build and finish of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V is of a top quality, with the all-black matt finish to your body and different DSLR-like dials and controls – not forgetting both angle-adjustable LCD and built-in electronic viewfinder – on initial inspection lending it the feeling to be a ‘serious’ enthusiasts’ model. The compact size also signifies that seeking the right control is never a stretch for forefinger or thumb. A lot of the features you intend to access are literally at your fingertip, which of course produces speedier overall operation. Overall dimensions are 129.6×93.2×1.03.2mm and the HX400V weighs a starter DSLR-like 633g (body-only), rendering it both bigger and heavier than almost all of the super-zoom competition.
Leading of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V is dominated by the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens, here boasting a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the widest-angle setting and a focal range the same as a ultra-wide-angle 24mm to 1200mm in 35mm film conditions – suggesting serious ‘poke’ at the telephoto end and real suitability for all those paparazzi style candid portraits at full zoom, together with of course landscapes and group portraits at the wider end.
We also get an AF assist/self time lamp porthole top left of the lens when viewing the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V front on. The barrel itself includes a lens ring, that may hold real appeal for photographers who prefer to get practical, as this not merely controls the zoom – unless you want to utilize the compact camera-style lever that alternatively encircles the shutter release button – but can be used to target if flicking the switch beside the lens to ‘MF’ or new ‘DMF’ mode.
The top bowl of the camera extends the HX400V’s complex appear and feel, with a stereo microphone sitting just behind the otherwise hidden raised flash. Behind the microphone may be the new multi-interface shoe, that allows several accessories to be fitted, with an external flash, stereo microphone, LED video light and shutter-release remote controller all available. To the proper of the, when looking down at the camera as you grip it in both of your hands, is a tiny button for swapping between make use of the EVF and LCD Monitor. Remember that there’s now an eye sensor on the HX400V to automatically switch between your two, a major improvement on the HX300 which lacked this very helpful feature.
Another control along may be the narrow lozenge shaped on/off button, with an embedded lamp that glows green when the camera is started up, or orange if the battery is low and the machine has been recharged. Incidentally we do not get another mains charger here. Instead there’s a mains lead, adapter and plug, and therefore the lithium ion pack is charged in-camera. Whenever your battery is down, then is the camera, so it is smart to spend money on at least one spare battery.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V takes just over one second to switch on, the lens extending just a little beyond its protective housing to reach at maximum 24mm wideangle setting as the image on the trunk LCD pops into life. While just a little slower than a genuine DSLR, that’s very respectable because of this class of bridge camera.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V is commendably swift to determine focus and exposure, with the green AF point/s highlighted on-screen the instant your finger presses down on the shutter release button and finds the half way point. Press down fully to take the shot and a complete resolution 20 megapixel JPEG is focused on removable media card in only over two seconds – so respectably swift. Face detection/selection and tracking focus are also offered here as standard features.
Keep a forefinger on the zoom lever that encircles the shutter release button and the HX400V powers through its 50x optical zoom range between wide angle to telephoto in around 4 seconds. The choice method is by using the manual zoom ring as mentioned previously, though that is slower to respond than using the zoom lever. Nevertheless the upshot is that it is slightly simpler to reach more precise framing.
Next to the energy button is an elevated, ridged-edged shooting mode button with an action that’s stiff enough to avoid an individual accidentally slipping in one setting to another in the thick of it. There are 11 options upon this dial. We get the imaginative quartet of program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual mode settings plus Sony’s now ubiquitous Sweep Panorama function, whereby an individual pans via an arc as directed by the on-screen arrows – the resulting elongated shot automatically stitched together in camera. It’s both very effective and incredibly simple to use. Next to the setting we get two memory recall modes, marked 1 and 2, which, as the camera describes recalls registered settings and resumes shooting.
Also on the dial is a dedicated HI-DEF video mode for 1920×1080 pixels clips at 50 fps progressive capture, which complements the dedicated video record button top right of the backplate. While a press of the latter commences a recording even though you may have a stills shooting mode selected on the dial at that time, a press of the Menu button when in video mode accesses a range of options. Here we cannot only adapt video resolution and vary the frame rate, but also switch from intelligent auto video recording to applying a particular scene mode, as we more usually can with stills photography. There’s the opportunity to filter external wind noise too, while another bonus is that full usage of the optical zoom is provided in movie mode, as is programmed focus adjustment in the event that you alter framing or swap subjects mid sequence.