Sony DSCH400 Review: The Huge 63x Optical Zoom Makes The DSCH400 A Compelling Choice

Pretty impressive specs and an even more impressive price make this a great choice for budding photographers.

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Bridge cameras are named as such because of their inherent properties. They are a fusion between the technologies that drive compact cameras, the small sensor powered systems with a fixed lens, and the form factor of DSLR cameras. The most striking feature of these cameras is the long super zoom feature of the built-in lens. The other feature is the distinct SLR like grip and thumb-rest.

The Sony DSCH400 is in many ways a typical bridge camera. It has a pronounced grip to hold the camera securely, a 20.1 megapixel sensor and a powerful 63x optical zoom. Let’s take a closer look at these and the other features.

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Main Features

  • 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 63x optical zoom
  • DSLR-like body design
  • Native ISO range of 100 – 800. It can be further pushed if necessary.
  • 720p HD video recording with sound

Sensor

The Sony DSCH400 is powered by a 20.1 megapixel 1/2.3” Super HAD CCD sensor. This is the most common sensor that powers a bulk of the compact camera systems in the world. At this resolution the sensor is capable of shooting large fine JPEGs of the size 5152 x 3864.

Lens

The lens of the Sony DSCH400 has a 63x optical zoom. In 35mm format equivalent terms the lens has an optical zoom range of 4.4 – 277mm. On top of it, the Sony DSCH400 has a digital zoom of 126x at full resolution. The filter diameter of the lens is 55mm. It has optical image stabilization which is pretty effective. In addition to these the lens can focus from 1cm all the way to infinity. This is, thus, an all-purpose lens.

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LCD screen

The rear of the camera has a large 3” 460,800 dots ClearPhoto TFT/LCD screen. The resolution is somewhat on the smaller side. There are 5 different levels of brightness that you can select according to the ambient brightness. Plus, there is an option to switch between Finder / Monitor.

sony-dsch4003Viewfinder

The Sony DSCH400 also has a small 0.5cm electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 201,600 dots. This tiny viewfinder isn’t something that is particularly great to write home about. But it is good enough to use as an alternative to the rear LCD screen. Plus if you like composing through the viewfinder this might be a good way to get started. On the flip side, however, and because this is an electronic viewfinder, there is always going to be a slight lag between what you see and what is happening in front of the camera. The frame coverage is 100%.

ISO sensitivity

The native ISO sensitivity range of the Sony DSCH400 in the Auto mode is 100-800. It can be further pushed all the way from 80-3200.

Continuous shooting speed

Cameras like the Sony DSCH400 are not designed to be sports or wildlife shooters. It has a clumsy 0.71 fps continuous shooting speed. It can, however, shoot about 100 frames before clogging the buffer.

Built-in flash

The built-in flash is good enough for some pop-light when the ambient light quantity is insufficient. Please note there is a difference between insufficient quantity and poor quality of light. The built-in flash covers an area of 0.4 to 8.8m (in the wide mode) and 3.5 to 4.6m (in the tele mode). There is also a red-eye correction feature in the flash which you can choose to turn on, switch off or set to auto.

Movie recording

The Sony DSCH400 is capable of recording video footages at a resolution of 1280 x 720 at a frame rate of 30. It can also record sound using the built-in sound recorder.

Pricing

The Sony DSCH400 is priced at around £180, making it a slightly higher budget compact bridge camera.

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