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Sony HX400V Digital Camera Review

Sony introduced its latest entry in the ultra-zoom category of compact cameras, the Sony HX400V (another variant is the HX400 without the GPS).  It is also the successor to the HX300V.


Key Features:

–          20.4MP, 1/2.3 in. Type (7.82mm) Exmor R CMOS Sensor   

–          BIONZ X Image Processor

–          50x Optical Zoom (24-1200mm equivalent)

–          Aperture F2.8 – 6.3

–          Shutter Speed 30 sec – 1/4000 sec

–          ISO 80 – 12,800

–          Full HD Video, 1080p

–          Motion Shot Video

–          Built-in Pop-up Flash

–          Built-in GPS

–          Wi-Fi/NFC Capabilities

–          PlayMemories Camera Apps

Heart of the Sony HX400V

The Sony HX400V comes with a 20.4-megapixel, 1/2.3 in.  Type (7.82mm) Exmor R CMOS Sensor.  The CMOS-based Exmor R is Sony’s pioneering back-illuminated chip. The layout of the chip allows the wiring to be placed behind the sensor, to allow most of the surface area at the front to focus on gathering light.  This results in better performance in low-light situations.

The Exmor R CMOS Sensor is paired with Sony’s latest generation of image processor, the BIONZ X.  This image processor is designed to even handle full-frame cameras such as the Sony A7 and A7R mirror-less cameras.  The BIONZ X is known to reduce noise which greatly complements the Exmor R CMOS Sensor since a back-illuminated-designed chip is more prone to noise.  This setup allows the HX400V to have a sensitivity range as high as ISO 12,800.

The new generation BIONZ X is also said to be thee times faster than the previous generation of image processors.  This allows the HX400V to have a faster start-up, quicker focusing and a high-speed capture rate of 10 frames per second.

Overall, this gives the HX400V a much better image quality output than its predecessor, the HX300.

Optical Zoom Lens

The Sony HX400V comes equipped with a built-in Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens that has a 50x optical zoom.  The Carl Zeiss lens is known for their sharpness and quality of optics and was popularly used in Hasselblads.

The 50x optical zoom is equivalent to 24-1200mm lens.  That’s like taking a landscape picture of a capitol building then zooming in to one of its windows! If that’s not enough, you can utilize Sony’s Clear Image Zoom or the HX400V digital zoom that magnifies further to 100x or equivalent to 2400mm.  It’s like zooming in on the head that’s peeking out the window in the capitol building!

To complement this feature, the HX400V has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm.  This allows you to move close to your subject which is perfect for macro photography.

The HX400V 50x optical zoom also has an impressive maximum aperture of F2.8 at its widest focal length and F6.3 at its longest.

Another great feature offered by Sony HX400V is its ability to shoot in full HD video at 1080p giving you a “cinema-like” effect as well as the new Motion Shot video showing a sequence of action images in a single frame.  And you can operate the zoom while recoding a movie.  It also has an Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and a new Intelligent Active Mode that allows you to record a video even while walking.

Wi-Fi/NFC Capabilities and Sony’s PlayMemories Camera Apps

The Sony HX400V is also equipped with a WiFi and is NFC-capable. This allows you to transfer still images and videos directly to a compatible smartphone or tablet. Or using the same platform, you can control the HX400V camera remotely using the Smart Remote Control App.

Additional features are also available for the HX400V by downloading applications available at Sony’s PlayMemories store such as time-lapse, portrait lighting, etc.  Some are free and others can be had for a nominal fee.

Overall, the Sony HX400V is a promising camera for enthusiasts who may want to upgrade to a DSLR but still prefer the light weight and compactness of a point-and-shoot.

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