Sony DSCHX400V Review: 50x Optical Zoom With Stabilisation

At a glance you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a DSLR. It's not quite, but for a bridge camera, it's impressive.

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On first looks the Sony DSCHX400V does look like a curvy DSLR design. But look closer and you will find the lens to be a fixed one. This is the unmistakable stance of a mirrorless design. But looks apart there are a lot more to the camera. Let’s dive right in and find out more about the camera.

Main Features

  • 20.4 megapixels 1/2.3″ EXMOR R CMOS sensor
  • BIONZ X image processor
  • Carl Zeiss lens with 50x optical zoom (35mm format equivalent of 24 – 1200mm)
  • Lens has built-in Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • Full HD video recording
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Multi-interface hot-shoe
  • 3” 921k-do LCD screen
  • 10 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS integrated

sony-dschx400v2Sensor

The Sony DSCHX400V is powered by a 20.4 megapixel 1/2.3″ EXMOR R CMOS sensor. Powering the image processing is a BIONZ X image processor. Sony’s BIONZ X image processors are extremely capable of handling low light situations, producing clean images even in low light.

The acronym R stands for back side illumination technology. This technology implemented on sensors that are specially designed for low light performance has the internal wiring at the back of the camera. That leaves more space on the light gathering surface of the sensor. Thus, it produces cleaner images than other ordinary sensors with their internal wiring at the front surface.

Lens

50x optical zoom is the stand out feature of this Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar lens. In 35mm full-frame parlance that is 24-1200mm. That’s a phenomenal optical zoom range that should cover most of your photography requirements right from wide angle all the way to super tele-photo. A lens of this focal length reach must have optical image stabilization. This is so that inadvertently when making images a shaking hand does not blur out the image. Thankfully this lens does have that.

sony-dschx400v3LCD screen

The rear of the camera is dominated by a 3” LCD screen with a resolution of 921k-dots. Sony’s WhiteMagic technology is great to work with when shooting in extremely bright conditions. This technology makes it possible to review images easily even when working under the direct sun.

Viewfinder

The lack of a flipping mirror inside compact cameras makes them dependent on what is known as ‘live-view’. Electronic viewfinders simply project the view that the sensor sees with a slight bit of lag time. The Sony DSCHX400V has a 201k-dot viewfinder that projects 100% of the view that the sensor captures. The viewfinder also has a very handy eye-sensor that automatically detects when your eyes are pressed against the viewfinder to toggle the view.

ISO sensitivity

The native ISO sensitivity of the Sony DSCHX400V is 80-12800. This is the same as the previous HX300 which the HX400 replaced.

sony-dschx400v4Built-in flash

The Sony DSCHX400V does have a built-in flash, in addition to a multi-accessory hot-shoe. The flash has a range of 1.64’ – 27.89’ in the wide mode and 7.87’ – 11.48’ in the telephoto mode.

Movie recording

Full HD video recording can be done using the Sony DSCHX400V with a variable frame rate of 60 / 24p. Soundbites are compressed using AVCHD compression.

Pricing

Available for just under £349, the Sony DSCHX400V is a good bet. It has full manual shooting option along with the options to shoot in aperture priority as well as shutter priority. Add to that a 10 fps continuous shooting speed, 50x optical zoom and a reliable image stabilization system.

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