Sony cyber shot hx400


Sony Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

Изображения Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумомИзображения Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумомИзображения Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

Цвета и доступные функции зависят от страны и модели

Изображения Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

Цвета и доступные функции зависят от страны и модели

Изображения Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

Цвета и доступные функции зависят от страны и модели

Изображения Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

Цвета и доступные функции зависят от страны и модели

Объектив ZEISS CMOS-матрица Exmor RПроцессор обработки изображения BIONZ X 50-кратный оптический зумСтабилизатор Optical SteadyShot Дисковый переключатель режимовЖК-экран 7,5 смМультиинтерфейсный разъем PlayMemories Camera Apps Wi-Fi и NFCRemote App для смартфонов Встроенный GPS iMovie 3D модель продукта Технические характеристики и функции
  • Матрица Exmor R™ CMOS 20,4 МП

  • Процессор BIONZ X для отличной детализации и снижения шума

  • ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

  • Приложения PlayMemories Camera Apps для расширения творческих возможностей

  • Оптический стабилизатор SteadyShot и интеллектуальный активный режим стабилизатора SteadyShot

Тип матрицыМатрица Exmor R™ CMOS типа 1/2.3 (7,82 мм)Число пикселей (эффективных)Прибл 20,4 мегапикселяЧувствительность ISO (фотосъемка, рекомендованный индекс экспозиции)ISO 80-12800Изображение Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумомИзображение Компактная камера HX400 с 50-кратным оптическим зумом

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Sony Cyber-shot HX400V review -

The Sony Cyber-shot HX400V is a bridge camera – a DSLR-styled model with a non-removable super-zoom lens. It’s an update of last years HX300, though that model remains, for now, in the Cyber-shot line-up. The HX400V sports the same 50x stabilised optical zoom, 3 inch tilt screen and built-in electronic viewfinder as its predecessor, but is updated with a new 20.4 Megapixel CMOS sensor and Sony’s latest Bionz X processor as used in the latest compact system camera models like the A6000 as well as the new SLT A77 II.

After dropping the GPS-equipped V option on the HX300, Sony has re-introduced it (outside North America at least) and the new model is available both with GPS – the HX400V and without – just plain HX400. Here, I’ve reviewed the GPS-equipped HX400V. The GPS is the only difference between the two, both of which now have built-in Wi-fi and NFC for quick connection to an NFC equipped phone. Other improvements and additions include a hot shoe, or more specifically Sony’s accessory port, faster continuous shooting, an eye sensor to automatically switch from the screen to the EVF when you raise the camera to your eye and a new function button.

Is all of this enough to keep the HX400V ahead of a pack which includes the popular, but now ageing, Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, as well as newer models from Nikon and Fujifilm? Here I’ve tested the Sony HX400V alongside Nikon’s new bridge super-zoom, the P600.

The Sony HX400V looks and feels very much like its predecessor, which is no bad thing. It’s a very comfortable fit, in my hands at least, but it’s not the smallest bridge camera around. With measurements of 130x93x103mm and weighing 660g with battery, it’s the same size and more or less the same weight as before – which makes it significantly bigger and heavier than most of the competition, including the Nikon P600 at 125x85x107mm and 565g. But though it’s smaller, the Nikon is no less comfortable in your hands.

It’s not just the size that’s identical, the styling and control layout on the HX400V is very similar to the earlier HX300. One difference is that the Focus mode button, which sits alongside the custom button behind the shutter release, is now a customisable function button.

Further back is the mode dial and to the left of it the lozenge shaped on/off button. The button for toggling between the LCD screen and the viewfinder remains, but a sensor can now do that for you automatically – a far better arrangement, but one that Nikon isn’t convinced of – the COOLPIX P600 sticks with only the push-button method of switching between the screen and EVF.

Round the back things also look much the same as on the earlier model with the same 3-inch tilting screen occupying most of the available space. The HX400V retains the 3 inch 921,600 dot articulated screen and 0.2 inch 201,600 dot LCD electronic viewfinder of the HX300 and indeed the HX200 before that. As I mentioned earlier, the optical sensor that was dropped on the HX300 makes a welcome return on the right of the eyecup, automatically switching the view from the screen to the viewfinder as you raise your eye to it. Alternatively, you can manually switch the view using the button on the top panel.

The screen provides a contrasty, detailed view and does a good job in most conditions, but in bright sunshine it’s quite difficult to make out. The HX400’s screen is articulated and can be flipped up to a 90 degree position or down to around 45 degrees, handy for shooting from high or low angles and to keep the sun off, but not quite as versatile as the COOLPIX P600’s side-hinged screen which can be positioned forward-facing for self-shooting and folded in on itself for protection.

The electronic viewfinder provides a bright view, though this is now the fourth generation HX series super-zoom to employ the 201k dot panel. This might be a problem for Sony were it not for the fact that some of its biggest competitors in this market seem similarly reticent to update their viewfinder technology. Canon likewise has an ageing 201k dot EVF in the SX50 HS and Nikon has gone for the same low cost option with a 0.2in 201k dot EVF in the COOLPIX P600. If you want a more up-to-date, better quality viewfinder in a bridge super-zoom consider the Fujifilm FinePix S1 which has a 0.2in 920k dot EVF. Though Panasonic raised the bar for super-zoom viewfinder quality with a 1.3 million dot EVF in its flagship FZ200, it has a smaller 24x optical zoom range. For the 60x FZ70 / FZ72 we’re back to the 201k dot viewfinder, so it seems that long zooms and high resolution viewfinders aren’t a combination manufacturers are yet ready for. I wonder if Sony will deploy the 1.4 million dot EVF of the RX100 III to future super-zooms?

To the right of the screen, the thumbwheel for changing exposure settings sits on the protruding corner as before. To the left of that, on the top section of the rear panel is the direct movie recording button.

The control layout to the right of the screen consists of the playback button above the four-way controller and, below it, menu and help buttons. The four way controller itself remains largely as before with display overlays, flash modes, Photo Creativity, and drive modes on the cardinal points. The only difference (in practice a big one) here is the addition of exposure compensation sharing the bottom position with Photo Creativity.

On the left side of the camera body (as you hold it) is a hinged door which provides access to the USB and micro HDMI ports. The HX400 is charged via the supplied USB cable which means if you’re travelling you don’t have to take the mains charger with you but can instead simply plug the HX300 into a laptop PC, car adapter or any other USB charger you have for other devices.

Finally, the new hotshoe doubles-up as Sony’s accessory shoe, supporting not just optional flashguns, but the XYST1M stereo microphone for recording better sound on movies. The USB port also doubles as an accessory port, supporting options including the VPR1 cabled-remote control.

Sony HX400V lens and stabilisation

The Sony HX400V features the same 50x optical zoom as its predecessor. That’s no surprise as manufacturers typically maintain a lens for two generations and, as long zooms go, 50x is near the upper end of the range. It isn’t the longest by any means though, the Nikon COOLPIX P600 out-reaches it with a 60x optical zoom, as does Panasonic’s Lumix FZ70 / FZ72. But you have to ask yourself how important those bigger numbers really are and how often you’re likely to find yourself bemoaning the fact that, at an equivalent focal length of 1200mm, you’re still not close enough to the action.

Sony HX400V coverage wide

Sony HX400V coverage tele

4.3-215mm at 4.3mm (24mm equiv)4.3-215mm at 215mm (1200mm equiv)

Other lens factors are likely to be as important, if not more so and the maximum aperture is not the least of them. The maximum aperture on the HX400V is f2.8 at the wide angle zoom setting, closing to f6.3 at the telephoto end of the range. That compares favourably with the COOLPIX P600’s f3.3-6.5 and f3.4-6.5 on the PowerShot SX50 HS, effectively meaning you can use an aperture half a stop wider at wide angle settings and so use a faster shutter speed, or a lower ISO sensitivity in similar lighting situations. Of course at at the maximum telephoto focal length, the apertures are closer, so the HX400V’s advantage is limited to the shorter focal lengths.

If a bright aperture throughout the zoom range is important to you, you should look at Panasonic’s Lumix FZ200 which boasts a constant f2.8 aperture throughout its 25-600mm equivalent range. Yes, it may only zoom in half as close as the Sony HX400V, but when both are at 600mm, the Panasonic is two stops faster, so you need to weigh up whether a bright aperture or telephoto reach is more important to you.

With such a powerful telephoto at your disposal, stabilisation becomes even more crucial and Sony improved the SteadyShot optical image stabilisation on the earlier HX300 adding a second group of lens shift elements to counteract camera movement. On the HX400V there are now three stabilisation modes – Standard, Active and Intelligent Active. The last of these is the most powerful and is the default setting.

As on the earlier model, you can’t turn the HX400V’s stabilisation off, so in place of my usual before and after shots, the 100 percent crop shown below right is from the red area indicated on the full frame on the left. This was shot in Shutter Priority mode with a shutter speed of 1/40th, around five stops slower than the photographer’s 1/focal length rule of thumb would suggest is safe at the HX400V’s’s 1200mm maximum zoom.

Sony HX400V Active Intelligent SteadyShot

4.3-215mm at 215mm, 80 ISO, 1/40th, Active Intelligent SteadyShot.100% crop , 4.3-215mm at 215mm, 80 ISO, 1/40th, Active Intelligent SteadyShot.

Sony HX400V shooting modes

The introduction of a new sensor and the Bionz X processor has brought about some changes in the HX400V’s shooting modes, though the range of exposure modes and features is broadly the same. As before the mode dial has not one but two fully auto modes, the PASM positions, SCN for the Scene modes, Sweep panorama and Movie. The 3D mode is dropped and in its place there is an additional memory recall position.

Intelligent Auto employs scene recognition to identify the subject and set an appropriate scene mode. The HX400V can tell if the camera is on a tripod allowing longer exposure times (but it won’t disable the stabilisation) or if there’s motion in the frame in which case it will increase the ISO sensitivity and use a faster shutter speed to arrest the movement. In Superior Auto mode the HX400V takes a burst of images and combines them into a single composite shot with improved dynamic range.

Switch the mode dial to the SCN position and you’ll notice some changes. The HX300’s Background defocus mode has gone, a sad loss as the HX400V’s small sensor makes it difficult to achieve shallow depth of field without zooming a long way in. Another casualty is Backlight correction HDR, but the good news here is that it’s replaced by Auto HDR. This isn’t a screen mode, but is selected from the menu so it’s independent of exposure mode and can be used at any ISO setting. Auto HDR shoots 3 images that are combined into a single HDR shot; you can set it to auto in which case it selects the EV increment based on the scene contrast or you can manually select between 1 and 6EV.

To return to the Scene modes, The composite Hand-held Twilight and Anti Motion Blur are retained along with all the other regulars from Beach to Snow. These are joined by a new High Sensitivity mode which automatically sets the ISO sensitivity between 80-12800. Why would you use this rather than simply setting the sensitivity manually, or even to auto in any of the other shooting modes? Because the upper sensitivity limit on the HX400V is 3200 ISO, so the High Sensitivity mode effectively gives you an extra two stops. You can’t select those manually though and the HX400V only chooses settings above 3200 ISO in the dimmest of lighting.

There’s one other way to deal with very low light conditions using the Sony HX400V and that’s to select Multi Frame Noise Reduction. This fires-off six frames in quick succession and stacks them into a single image in an attempt to lower noise levels. And unlike the Hand-held Twilight scene mode Multi Frame Noise Reduction can be applied at any sensitivity from 100 to 12800 ISO and in any of the PASM modes. Its inclusion on the HX400V is a real bonus, particularly as it’s a paid for app on some of Sony’s compact system cameras.

For those who don’t feel ready to venture into PASM territory unguided, pressing the down button on the four-way controller while in Intelligent Auto (or superior Auto) mode accesses the Photo Creativity modes. These provide a simple slider interface for adjusting brightness (exposure) colour (white balance) and vividness (saturation) as well as another route to the Picture Effect filters. Only some of the Picture Effects are available in the Auto modes, though, if you want the full set you need to set the mode dial to one of the PASM positions and hit the menu button. The full range of effects is wider than previously and includes Toy camera Pop colour, Colour posterisation, Black and white posterisation, Retro photo, Soft high key, Partial colour (Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow), High Contrast mono Rich tone mono, HDR painting, Miniature, Watercolour and Illustration..

Some examples of the various Picture effects are shown above. As they go, some of the effects are pretty cool, and the Bionz X processor now allows you to preview them on the screen or viewfinder. So you can see what you’re about to get and there’s no longer any danger of potentially ruining a days shooting by forgetting to turn the feature off when you’ve finished with it. About the only drawback is that in the absence of a RAW mode there’s no unfiltered version to fall back on if you decide you don’t like the result – then again even on its cameras with RAW, Sony only offers JPEG recording for its effects modes.

Finally, we can’t talk about a Sony Cyber-shot’s shooting modes without mentioning panoramas. The HX400V features the Sweep panorama feature, which provides several panorama modes including full 360 degree panoramas measuring a maximum 11,520 x 1080. Sony was the first to include panorama features on its compact and it remains the best. Its panorama modes are versatile, allowing you to shoot in portrait or landscape orientation in either direction and the results are excellent.

Sony HX400V movie modes

The HX400 retains the same movie modes as its predecessor with a choice of AVCHD or MP4 encoding that’s fairly consistent across the upper end of the Cyber-Shot range. In AVCHD mode you get four options, the best quality being 1080p50/60 (region dependent) at 28Mbps. This is followed by 1080i50/60 at with two quality choices of 24 and 17Mbps. The earlier HX300’s 1440 x 1080i50/60 option at 9Mbps is dropped, but is unlikely to be missed. Switch to MP4 encoding and the options become 1440×1080 and 640×480, both at 25fps (or 30fps in NTSC regions). There’s no longer a 720p25 option.

You can start recording on the HX400V by pressing the movie button in the rear panel, assuming you’re shooting 4:3 stills and HD video, this switches the screen to 16:9 with black bars top and bottom. So if you want to accurately frame up your shot beforehand it’s better to first turn the mode dial to the movie position. When you press the movie button with the mode dial in any position other than movie, exposure is set using the HX400V’s intelligent Auto mode with Scene detection.

Selecting the Movie position on on the mode dial also activates the movie exposure menu which provides full PASM control over exposure. This is a big advance over the HX300 which only allowed the choice of Program Auto or a selection of scene modes. I was also pleased to discover that the aperture and shutter speed can be altered during recording.

In another big advance over the earlier HX300, you can now manually focus during movie recording and what’s more, you can use focus peaking to make sure you’ve got the focus spot on. For most people though, the The HX400’s continuous AF will get the job done satisfactorily. It works very well, smoothly and silently adjusting focus to keep the subject sharp. You can also engage tracking focus on the HX400V by pressing the centre button on the four-way controller once to activate tracking focus and a second time to select the target.

The new hotshoe doubles-up as Sony’s accessory shoe, supporting not just optional flashguns, but the XYST1M stereo microphone for recording better sound on movies.

It’s not all improvements on the movie front though, it’s no longer possible to shoot stills while recording movies, something the HX400V’s predecessor was very good at and a feature that will be missed. It’s also worth noting this is something the Nikon COOLPIX P600 can do, albeit at quite low resolution. Some Picture Effects can be applied during movie shooting with the HX400V, but not all of them work, Soft focus, HDR painting, Miniature Watercolour and Illustration are all greyed out on the menu when the mode dial is set to the movie position.

Sony HX400Vsample video 1: outdoors, Sunny, handheld pan
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This clip, like the others below was shot using the Sony HX400V’s 28M 1080p50 setting. The Intelligent Active stabilisation does a great job of keeping things steady during the pan and even when at the maximum 1200mm equivalent zoom setting it’s not bad. The Autofocus also works well and there’s no audible motor noise during the zoom.
Sony HX400Vsample video 2: outdoors, sunny, tripod pan
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The Sony HX400V’s stabilisation can’t be turned off so I was hoping that the ‘Intelligent’ moniker might mean it would recognise the camera was on a tripod and disable itself. That’s not the case as you can tell by the way the frame floats back in the opposite direction at the end of the pan. Once again the Auto focus does a good job of keeping things sharp during the zoom. The wind noise is a bit distracting, though there is an electronic filter available.
Sony HX400Vsample video 3: indoors, low-light, handheld pan
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The high ISO automatically set for this interior pan has resulted in some visible noise as well as colour desaturation, but the exposure is good and, once again the stabilisation does a great job.
Sony HX400V sample video 4: indoors, continuous AF
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To test the continuous AF performance of the Sony HX400V I set the mode dial to the movie position and selected Aperture priority exposure mode, selecting the widest available aperture with the lens zoomed in a little. I panned from the close-up coffee cup to the bar and back again several times. The HX400V’s small sensor doesn’t make for particularly shallow depth of field, all the same, the autofocus does a good job of tracking from the coffee cup to the bar and back.

Sony HX400V Wifi and GPS

The Sony HX400V has built-in GPS and Wi-fi, along with NFC for easier wireless negotiation with compatible handsets. I tested the Wifi on the HX400V with my iPhone 4S and iPad 2. To transfer photos and videos to these iOS devices you first need to establish a Wi-fi connection by selecting the camera’s SSID as an access point and entering the password. Then you need to launch the PlayMemories mobile app. Transferring a single image or a batch from the camera is very straightforward, you can either select them on the camera, or on the smartphone app and they transfer pretty smartly, although this will obviously depend on your own particular setup. You can set the image size to VGA, 2M or original and I found original images took around eight seconds to transfer.

The HX400V can also be controlled remotely using a smartphone, for this, you need to run an app pre-installed on the camera called Smartphone Embedded. As before, the HX400V acts as an access point and once connected you can control the camera and take shots using the PlayMemories app. Control is very basic – you can zoom the lens, adjust exposure compensation and set a 2 second self-timer, but you can’t, for example, switch exposure modes or change aperture and shutter speed in the PASM modes. Neither can you tap the screen to set the focus.

The app itself is also a little bit clunky with quite a bit of screen lag if you zoom or reposition the camera. Nonetheless it’s both a fun and useful option to have on a Wi-fi equipped camera.

The HX400V also supports Sony’s downloadable PlayMemories apps which include Bracket Pro, Time-lapse, Picture Effect+ and the new Star Trail and Smooth Reflection apps. Once you’ve set up a PlayMemories account you can buy and download apps either directly to the camera via wifi, or connecting it to your computer via the USB cable. The only criticism I’d make here is that the sign in process would be so much easier if the HX400V was equipped with a touch-screen. Once apps are downloaded they can be run from the Applications list in the Wireless menu. It’s a great way to add new features to the HX400V for relatively little additional outlay.

The HX400V’s built-in GPS adds geo-positional data to your photos so that you can locate them on a map using software once the images are transferred to a computer. There’s no map display in the camera itself though, and neither is there a location database that can actually tell you where you are rather than merely providing latitude and longitude co-ordinates. The HX400V does allow you to record a track log though, so you can plot the course of a trip using software or on a trip logging website.

Sony HX400V Handling and Sensor

The HX400V is a camera that handles well and is generally a pleasure to use. The one part of the experience that fell short was the electronic viewfinder. A couple of years ago an EVF with a 201k dot resolution would have been perfectly acceptable in a camera in this class but, perhaps as a consequence of habitually using much better EVFs, it now looks and feels coarse and sluggish. Having said that, it’s no worse than the COOLPIX P600’s. On a more positive note, at least it has a sensor to automatically switch from the screen when you put your eye to the viewfinder. Again I wonder if Sony will deploy the SVGA / 1.4 million dot viewfinder of the RX100 III to future super-zooms?

The HX400V is more customisable than its predecessor, now with not one, but two custom positions on the mode dial. The custom button now has more options including (hooray!) ISO sensitivity and Sony has taken up my suggestion of adding exposure compensation to the bottom position on the control dial, reducing the function load on the thumb wheel and making exposure control a much simpler affair.

Top of the list of changes though is the new function button which replaces the Focus button on the HX300. This brings up a quick menu – a first for Sony – featuring Drive mode, Flash mode, Flash compensation, Focus area, Exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, Metering mode, White Balance, DRO/Auto HDR, Creative style and Picture effect. These are the defaults, so if you prefer you can substitute other functions.

The Sony HX400V has a 20.4 Megapixel 1/2.3in sensor that produces images with a maximum size of 5184 x 3888 pixels. Its ISO sensitivity range is from 100 to 3200 ISO (12800 ISO in High Sensitivity Scene mode) and in Manual mode its shutter speed range is 30 seconds to 1/4000. It saves images as JPEG files at one of two quality/compression settings and at the best quality Fine setting image size is on average around 9 to 9MB. There’s no support for RAW.

To see how the quality of the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V measures-up in practice, take a look at my Sony HX400V quality and Sony HX400V noise results pages, browse my Sony HX400V images, or skip to the chase and head straight for my verdict.

Page 2

Sony HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600

To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and Nikon COOLPIX P600 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length.

I’d previously determined the best results on the Sony HX400V were produced at the maximum f2.8 aperture, so for this test I set the HX400V to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode. The COOLPIX P600 was set to its maximum aperture of f3.3. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can’t be disabled on the HX400V, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the COOLPIX P600.

The image above was taken with the Sony HX400V. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and at f2.8 with the sensitivity manually set to 80 ISO the HX400V selected a shutter speed of 1/1600. The COOLPIX P600, set to f3.3 at 100 ISO metered a shutter speed of 1/1250. As usual the crops are taken from the areas marked in red above.

Though it doesn’t get off to a great start, generally the HX400V gives a good account of itself in this first set of crops taken at the maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length. The first crop from close to the left edge of the frame is showing a little bit of distortion, but if there was any colour fringing it’s been dealt with in the camera. The detail is a little fuzzy and clumpy looking here too.

The second crop, from closer to the middle of the frame, shows clearer fine detail, sharper edges and none of the distortion of the first one. The very finest detail, the roof tiles for example, elude the HX400V’s compact sensor, but the window frame verticals are nice and clean and you can make out some detail in the distant buildings. There’s a similar level of detail in the third crop and the fourth crop from close to the right edge of the frame, like the first, looks a little clumpy.

Overall, this is a good performance from the HX400V, though not the best in terms of definition that I’ve seen from a compact super-zoom. So how does it compare with the COOLPIX P600? The first thing to note is that the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces a larger crop area with smaller detail than the 20.4 Megapixel sensor in the Sony HX400V. The first crop from the COOLPIX P600 looks cleaner and more detailed to me. And so does the second one. The COOLPIX P600 has overexposed slightly, so there’s less detail in the highlights, but the edges look crisper to me. Conversely there seems to be less detail in the third crop, but the P600 just edges it in the final one. In practical terms this is a small difference which is hard to spot even at 100 percent viewing size, but I think the lower resolution COOLPIX P600 just about wins out.

Scroll down the page to see how these models compare when zoomed in to 600mm and 1200mm equivalent focal lengths. Alternatively, to see how they compare at higher sensitivities check out my Sony HX400V noise results.

For this next test I zoomed both cameras in to an equivalent focal length of around 600mm. At this setting the widest available aperture on both cameras is f5.6. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles opposite.

At 600mm equivalent there’s no distortion at the edge of the frame, but the clumpiness has become much more evident and high contrast edges have taken on a wiggly appearance. Things improve a bit in the two crops from closer to the middle of the frame, but there’s a slight softness that wasn’t there in the wide angle crops. The high contrast edges in the third crop look wobbly and there’s a hint of colour fringing too.

The Sony HX400V crops generally look a little clumpy at this focal length with less fine detail in evidence. This isn’t something you’d be likely to notice at anything other than 100 percent viewing sizes, but it’s there all the same and it’ll be interesting to see how the Sony HX400V crops compare when fully zoomed in.

As before, the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces a larger crop area with smaller detail than the 20.4 Megapixel sensor in the Sony HX400V. Despite that, as before, I think there’s marginally more detail in the COOLPIX P600 crops; the detail looks less clumpy, and edges look sharper and straighter. I’ll re-iterate, this is only likely to make a difference at, or close to 100 percent viewing sizes, but the COOLPIX P600 still has the edge.

Scroll down to see how they compare at their longest focal lengths or check out my Sony HX400V noise results or head to my Sony HX400V sample images.

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600 Quality at approx 1200mm

For this final test I zoomed both cameras in to 1200mm equivalent – the maximum zoom on the Sony HX400V, but a little short of the COOLPIX P600’s 1440mm maximum zoom. Again, the exposure was left in Aperture priority mode and at this focal length the widest available aperture was f6.3 on the HX400V and f6 on the COOLPIX P600. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

At the HX400V’s maximum focal length most fine detail is lost and the clumpiness of the pixels is more visible than ever. These crops have a very impressionistic look about them. Again though, at smaller sizes they look perfectly respectable. At this focal length there’s further evidence of chromatic aberration (notice the blue line along the ridge of the roof in the second crop).

Once again, I think the Nikon COOLPIX P600’s lower resolution 16.1 Megapixel sensor has a slight quality advantage at this focal length with less noise, clearer image detail and sharper edges. And, of course, this isn’t the end of the line for the COOLPIX P600 which can zoom in a little further to an equivalent 1440mm. Now check out my Sony HX400V noise results or head to my Sony HX400V sample images.

Sony HX400V vs Nikon P600 noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and the Nikon COOLPIX P600 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length.

I’d previously determined the best results on both cameras were produced with the aperture at its widest setting, so for this test I set the HX400V to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode. The COOLPIX P600 was set to its maximum aperture of f3.3. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can’t be disabled on the HX400V, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the COOLPIX P600.

The image above was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V. The HX400V was set to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode and at its base 80 ISO sensitivity setting, selected a shuter speed of 1/4s. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX P600 metered an exposure of 1/4s at f3.3.

The 80 ISO crop from the HX400V looks good, there’s a little bit of noise texture in the label at the top of the hymn board, but you have to be looking carefully at these 100 percent crops to spot it. The noise increases a tiny bit in the 100 ISO crop, so for outdoor shooting in good light it pays to stick to the base 80 ISO setting if you can. At 200 ISO there’s quite a hike in the noise and the edges, which were previously nice and clean, are just a bit softer. You can also see noise texture in the numbers. At 400 ISO the noise takes a another quite hefty notch up; now there’s an overall clumpiness obscuring finer detail and he edges are looking a bit grungy.

The 800 ISO crop is grainier still, but there’s plenty of detail and at anything other than 100 percent 800 ISO it looks very presentable. The same is true at 1600 ISO, though now even medium sized detail is beginning to suffer and the text on that label is only just legible. Even at 3200 ISO ISO, though, the noise is regular and organic looking and there’s none of the ugly clumping and smearing that often accompanies aggressive noise reduction at high ISO sensitivities. Overall I’d say this is a good result for the HX400V. Though the noise increases very noticeably in the lower part of the sensitvity range, it’s managed well, delivering useable results right the way up to the maximum 3200 ISO setting.

Compared with the HX400V, the COOLPIX P600 gets off to a good start. Just a reminder that the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces crops with a larger area and smaller detail than those from the 20.4 Megapixel HX400V. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX P600 crop compares very favouraby with the 100 ISO crop from the HX400V, but I’d say it’s marginally noisier with visible texture in the white label as well as the numbers on the board.

As with the Sony HX400V, as you progress up the sensitivity scale the noise increases very visibly with each 1EV step, but the margin is bigger on the P600 with the result that by 800 ISO there’s a clear gap opening up. Though the P600 has a top setting of 6400 ISO compared with 3200 ISO on the HX400V, beyond the base 100 ISO setting, at each step up the sensitivity scale its results are noisier than the equivalent on the HX400V.

Apart from its superior high ISO noise performance the HX400V has a couple of other tricks up it’s sleeve. Firstly, at the wide angle setting its maximum aperure is a little wider than the P600, so you can shoot with a lower ISO using the same shutter speed in similar lighting conditions. In my test, for example, I was able to shoot at 80 ISO on the HX400V compared with 100 ISO on the P600 using the same shutter speed (even then, the P600 crops are slightly darker).

Secondly the HX400V has a raft of composite modes that produce lower noise results at high ISO settings. The most useful of these is Multi Frame Noise Reduction which allows you to set the ISO manually from 100 to 12800. For comparison purposes I’ve shown a crop at the end of the table using MFNR at 3200 ISO as well as the HX400V’s Hand held Twilight mode which sets the ISO automatically.

Now head over to my Sony HX400V sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my verdict.

Hand held Twilight 320 ISO

www.cameralabs.com

Amazon.com : Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX400V Wi-Fi Digital Camera : Camera & Photo

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.

Get amazingly close with 50x optical zoom plus 100x Clear Image zoom G lens . Most digital zooms use electronic cropping to get closer to the subject, resulting in unsharp images. With Clear Image Zoom the powerful processor compares patterns found in adjacent pixels and creates new pixels to match selected patterns, resulting in more realistic, higher-quality images. Clear Image Zoom doubles optical zoom for closer photos.

Shoot incredibly smooth video1 and still images with the new BIONZ X processor and Optical SteadyShot (Intelligent Active mode). When the processor and image stabilization technology work together they deliver sharp image quality with low noise and minimal blur even while the user is strolling and the camera is zoomed in

This camera features a 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS image sensor that brings out the full resolving power of the camera’s professional G Lens to deliver extremely fast speed, high resolution, and stunning low-light sensitivity with improved image clarity and drastically reduced grain. In addition, the combined Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor delivers extremely fast up to 10fps, Anti Motion Blur, Hand-held Twilight and 1080p movie modes.

Lock-On AF gives you the ability to focus on multiple points with subject recognition to keep your subject in sharp focus even when in motion.

Connectivity with smartphones for One-touch sharing/One-touch remote has been simplified with Wi-Fi w/NFC3 control. In addition to Wi-Fi support for connecting to smartphones, the camera also supports NFC (near field communication) providing “one touch connection” convenience when transferring images to Android smartphones and tablets. Users need only touch devices to connect; no complex set-up is required. Moreover, when using Smart Remote Control — a feature that allows shutter release to be controlled by a smartphone — connection to the smartphone can be established by simply touching compatible devices.

Motion-Shot Video traces subject movement on the camera’s LCD for a unique visual effect. Use this playback function on the camera to study form and pathways of subjects.

Record crystal clear movies at the highest resolution available with capabilities for 60p/24p in 1080 AVCHD video.¹ This provides stunning, fast motion video with less distortion for playback on your HDTV.2

GPS records location data and camera direction as you shoot movies and photos. GPS Log lets users track a photographic journey and later view the path and images on a map. Map View in “they were taken. The logged path and images PlayMemories Home” software, allows users to view images on a map showing where can also be displayed on Google Earth.

Get creative with PlayMemories Camera Apps by applying exciting artistic effects or retouching images with professional results, then easily upload your photos to Facebook or Instagram. Enjoy added functionality with apps that include Time Lapse, Smart Remote Control, and Direct Upload.

Enjoy the beauty of 4K quality still image (4x the resolution of Full HD) via simple HDMI connection to compatible 4K TVs2. The camera can also be connected via HDMI to HDTVs for full HD 1080p resolution images.

1Records in 29 minute segments

2Requires compatible 4K/HDTV and HDMI cable sold separately

3Requires NFC-compatible mobile device. Check device’s user manual for compatibility.

11Requires a valid Sony Entertainment Network account. Some apps require a fee.

2014 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, Cyber-shot, SteadyShot, Smile Shutter, Sweep Panorama, Exmor R and the Sony make.believe logo are trademarks of Sony. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Vista are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Mac is a trademark of Apple, Inc. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Features and specifications subject to change without notice.

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Sony Cyber-shot HX400V review

Sony HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600

To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and Nikon COOLPIX P600 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length.

I’d previously determined the best results on the Sony HX400V were produced at the maximum f2.8 aperture, so for this test I set the HX400V to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode. The COOLPIX P600 was set to its maximum aperture of f3.3. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can’t be disabled on the HX400V, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the COOLPIX P600.

The image above was taken with the Sony HX400V. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and at f2.8 with the sensitivity manually set to 80 ISO the HX400V selected a shutter speed of 1/1600. The COOLPIX P600, set to f3.3 at 100 ISO metered a shutter speed of 1/1250. As usual the crops are taken from the areas marked in red above.

Though it doesn’t get off to a great start, generally the HX400V gives a good account of itself in this first set of crops taken at the maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length. The first crop from close to the left edge of the frame is showing a little bit of distortion, but if there was any colour fringing it’s been dealt with in the camera. The detail is a little fuzzy and clumpy looking here too.

The second crop, from closer to the middle of the frame, shows clearer fine detail, sharper edges and none of the distortion of the first one. The very finest detail, the roof tiles for example, elude the HX400V’s compact sensor, but the window frame verticals are nice and clean and you can make out some detail in the distant buildings. There’s a similar level of detail in the third crop and the fourth crop from close to the right edge of the frame, like the first, looks a little clumpy.

Overall, this is a good performance from the HX400V, though not the best in terms of definition that I’ve seen from a compact super-zoom. So how does it compare with the COOLPIX P600? The first thing to note is that the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces a larger crop area with smaller detail than the 20.4 Megapixel sensor in the Sony HX400V. The first crop from the COOLPIX P600 looks cleaner and more detailed to me. And so does the second one. The COOLPIX P600 has overexposed slightly, so there’s less detail in the highlights, but the edges look crisper to me. Conversely there seems to be less detail in the third crop, but the P600 just edges it in the final one. In practical terms this is a small difference which is hard to spot even at 100 percent viewing size, but I think the lower resolution COOLPIX P600 just about wins out.

Scroll down the page to see how these models compare when zoomed in to 600mm and 1200mm equivalent focal lengths. Alternatively, to see how they compare at higher sensitivities check out my Sony HX400V noise results.

For this next test I zoomed both cameras in to an equivalent focal length of around 600mm. At this setting the widest available aperture on both cameras is f5.6. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles opposite.

At 600mm equivalent there’s no distortion at the edge of the frame, but the clumpiness has become much more evident and high contrast edges have taken on a wiggly appearance. Things improve a bit in the two crops from closer to the middle of the frame, but there’s a slight softness that wasn’t there in the wide angle crops. The high contrast edges in the third crop look wobbly and there’s a hint of colour fringing too.

The Sony HX400V crops generally look a little clumpy at this focal length with less fine detail in evidence. This isn’t something you’d be likely to notice at anything other than 100 percent viewing sizes, but it’s there all the same and it’ll be interesting to see how the Sony HX400V crops compare when fully zoomed in.

As before, the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces a larger crop area with smaller detail than the 20.4 Megapixel sensor in the Sony HX400V. Despite that, as before, I think there’s marginally more detail in the COOLPIX P600 crops; the detail looks less clumpy, and edges look sharper and straighter. I’ll re-iterate, this is only likely to make a difference at, or close to 100 percent viewing sizes, but the COOLPIX P600 still has the edge.

Scroll down to see how they compare at their longest focal lengths or check out my Sony HX400V noise results or head to my Sony HX400V sample images.

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600 Quality at approx 1200mm

For this final test I zoomed both cameras in to 1200mm equivalent – the maximum zoom on the Sony HX400V, but a little short of the COOLPIX P600’s 1440mm maximum zoom. Again, the exposure was left in Aperture priority mode and at this focal length the widest available aperture was f6.3 on the HX400V and f6 on the COOLPIX P600. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

At the HX400V’s maximum focal length most fine detail is lost and the clumpiness of the pixels is more visible than ever. These crops have a very impressionistic look about them. Again though, at smaller sizes they look perfectly respectable. At this focal length there’s further evidence of chromatic aberration (notice the blue line along the ridge of the roof in the second crop).

Once again, I think the Nikon COOLPIX P600’s lower resolution 16.1 Megapixel sensor has a slight quality advantage at this focal length with less noise, clearer image detail and sharper edges. And, of course, this isn’t the end of the line for the COOLPIX P600 which can zoom in a little further to an equivalent 1440mm. Now check out my Sony HX400V noise results or head to my Sony HX400V sample images.

Sony HX400V vs Nikon P600 noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and the Nikon COOLPIX P600 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length.

I’d previously determined the best results on both cameras were produced with the aperture at its widest setting, so for this test I set the HX400V to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode. The COOLPIX P600 was set to its maximum aperture of f3.3. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can’t be disabled on the HX400V, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the COOLPIX P600.

The image above was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V. The HX400V was set to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode and at its base 80 ISO sensitivity setting, selected a shuter speed of 1/4s. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX P600 metered an exposure of 1/4s at f3.3.

The 80 ISO crop from the HX400V looks good, there’s a little bit of noise texture in the label at the top of the hymn board, but you have to be looking carefully at these 100 percent crops to spot it. The noise increases a tiny bit in the 100 ISO crop, so for outdoor shooting in good light it pays to stick to the base 80 ISO setting if you can. At 200 ISO there’s quite a hike in the noise and the edges, which were previously nice and clean, are just a bit softer. You can also see noise texture in the numbers. At 400 ISO the noise takes a another quite hefty notch up; now there’s an overall clumpiness obscuring finer detail and he edges are looking a bit grungy.

The 800 ISO crop is grainier still, but there’s plenty of detail and at anything other than 100 percent 800 ISO it looks very presentable. The same is true at 1600 ISO, though now even medium sized detail is beginning to suffer and the text on that label is only just legible. Even at 3200 ISO ISO, though, the noise is regular and organic looking and there’s none of the ugly clumping and smearing that often accompanies aggressive noise reduction at high ISO sensitivities. Overall I’d say this is a good result for the HX400V. Though the noise increases very noticeably in the lower part of the sensitvity range, it’s managed well, delivering useable results right the way up to the maximum 3200 ISO setting.

Compared with the HX400V, the COOLPIX P600 gets off to a good start. Just a reminder that the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces crops with a larger area and smaller detail than those from the 20.4 Megapixel HX400V. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX P600 crop compares very favouraby with the 100 ISO crop from the HX400V, but I’d say it’s marginally noisier with visible texture in the white label as well as the numbers on the board.

As with the Sony HX400V, as you progress up the sensitivity scale the noise increases very visibly with each 1EV step, but the margin is bigger on the P600 with the result that by 800 ISO there’s a clear gap opening up. Though the P600 has a top setting of 6400 ISO compared with 3200 ISO on the HX400V, beyond the base 100 ISO setting, at each step up the sensitivity scale its results are noisier than the equivalent on the HX400V.

Apart from its superior high ISO noise performance the HX400V has a couple of other tricks up it’s sleeve. Firstly, at the wide angle setting its maximum aperure is a little wider than the P600, so you can shoot with a lower ISO using the same shutter speed in similar lighting conditions. In my test, for example, I was able to shoot at 80 ISO on the HX400V compared with 100 ISO on the P600 using the same shutter speed (even then, the P600 crops are slightly darker).

Secondly the HX400V has a raft of composite modes that produce lower noise results at high ISO settings. The most useful of these is Multi Frame Noise Reduction which allows you to set the ISO manually from 100 to 12800. For comparison purposes I’ve shown a crop at the end of the table using MFNR at 3200 ISO as well as the HX400V’s Hand held Twilight mode which sets the ISO automatically.

Now head over to my Sony HX400V sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my verdict.

Hand held Twilight 320 ISO

www.cameralabs.com

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V review

The Sony Cyber-shot HX400V is the updated version of 2013’s HX300. Externally, it’s a very similar model and sports the same 50x optical zoom with an equivalent 24-1200mm range and a bright f2.8-6.3 aperture. It also retains the older model’s 201k dot EVF and 921k dot 3 inch LCD screen – though now there’s a sensor to automatically switch from one to the other.

What’s new is the imaging engine; the HX400V is fitted with Sony’s 20.4 Megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor coupled with the new Bionz X processor found in recent Sony compact system cameras.

The other major improvement is built-in Wifi and GPS, with NFC for connecting to a suitably equipped smartphone. Beyond that the HX400V now has Sony’s accesory port for mounting an external flash, an additional memory position on the mode dial, a new Function button, focus peaking, and a wider range of Picture effect filters. It all adds up to a significant advance on the earlier model that keeps the HX400V in contention with the competition for new entrants to the super-zoom market, but is unlikely to motivate upgraders to action.

Externally, the Nikon COOLPIX P600 and Sony HX400V bear a superficial resemblance – they’re both bridge super-zooms after all – but the COOLPIX P600 is smaller and lighter. You could easily mistake the HX400V for a DSLR, but not the P600. And though it’s smaller, it packs a bigger punch – in the form of its 60x optical zoom. With an equivalent range of 24-1440mm it starts at the same wide-angle as the HX400V but outreaches it at the telephoto end of the range – 1440mm compared with 1200mm. Against that, the HX400V has a slightly brighter maximum aperture – f2.8 compared with f3.3, but it’s a small advantage and it really only makes a difference at the wide angle lens settings. At 1200mm the P600 is actually brighter – f6 compared with f6.3 on the HX400V. One other differentiating factor is the zoom itself. Both mdels have a zoom rocker on the shutter release, but the P600 also has one on the side of the lens barrel, where the HX400V has a zoom ring on the barrel that can be re-assigned to focussing.

Beyond the lens, the HX400V’s sensor produces higher resolution 20.4 Megapixel images than those from the 16.1 Megapixel COOLPIX P600. But despite packing more photosites onto the same physical sized sensor, the HX400V actually did better in my High ISO noise tests. The HX400V can also take advantage of various composite modes that provide it with Multi Frame Noise Reduction, HDR and other features. Interestingly though, the P600 came out on top in my outdoor quality tests – albeit by a narrow margin.

Both models are equipped with a 3 inch LCD screen with the same resolution, but the Sony HX400V’s flips up or down, whereas the COOLPIX P600’s is side-hinged and can face in any direction including forwards for self-shooting and in portrait orientation. Like the screen, the electronic viewfinders are pretty evenly matched, but the HX400V has an eye sensor to automatically switch from one to the other.

Both models offer the full range of PASM exposure modes in addition to scene detect auto and both offer a range of effects modes, but the HX400V has more of them and they are more versatile. What’s more, unlike the P600’s effects, the HX400V’s Picture effects can be applied from the menu in most shooting modes. Both models offer a pretty good panorama mode.

With 1080p/50/60 HD video, a dedicated movie position on the mode dial and the ability to use PASM exposure modes for movie shooting, the Sony HX400V is a better choice for shooting video than the COOLPIX P600. In its favour, the COOLPIX P600 does offer a wide range of movie modes including 1080p30, 1080p24, 1080i50, and 1080i60. It also offers the edit-friendly iFrame codec in addition to two high speed modes and can take low resoution stills during movie recording.

Both models have built-in Wifi, but the HX400V also offers GPS and NFC tap-to-connect as well as the ability to download and install apps for added features and functions. The Sony also supports more accessories, including an optional microphone, cabled release and various external flash units.

On price, the HX400V is a little more expensive, though in regions where the HX400, without the GPS, is sold, you can find the two pretty closely matched. As always, it comes down to which model you feel is the best fit personally but, broadly speaking, the HX400V is a more fully featured model with better customisation options and more versatile movie shooting. The COOLPIX P600 has a longer zoom, is more compact and lightweight and has a more versatile flip-out screen.

See my Nikon P600 review for more details.

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V final verdict

The Sony HX400V is a first-rate super-zoom that improves on its predecessor in numerous ways. The headline improvements – a new sensor and powerful processor are welcome, but it’s the smaller incremental changes that impressed me more. The return of the eye sensor, an additional memory recall position on the mode dial, the new Function button and the easily missed re-assignment of the buttons on the control dial all make for a better handling experience that will be appreciated by anyone who likes to take real advantage of the opportunities for control that the PASM modes provide.

The addition of Wifi with NFC and the built-in GPS bring it right up to date and the ability to download and install new features via apps provide the chance to extend its capabilities for little more than the price of a coffee. Like most Sony cameras, the HX400V is also well-catered for accessories with the chance to connect optional flashguns, a cabled release or external microphone.

It’s a disappointment to see the same old viewfinder retained, but that’s a criticism that applies to most of Sony’s competitors in this market. And the HX400V is a camera that really cries out for a touch-screen, it would make Wifi connections for non-Android smartphones easier and improve the experience of downloading and installing apps, as well as improve overall handling. Those are more of a wish list than fundamental criticisms though, and not enough to deprive the HX400V of a well-deserved Highly Recommended award.

Good points 50x optical zoom. Excellent stabilisation. Built-in GPS and Wifi with NFC. 1080p50/60 HD video with PASM.

Hot shoe / Accessory port.

Page 2

Sony HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600

To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and Nikon COOLPIX P600 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length.

I’d previously determined the best results on the Sony HX400V were produced at the maximum f2.8 aperture, so for this test I set the HX400V to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode. The COOLPIX P600 was set to its maximum aperture of f3.3. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can’t be disabled on the HX400V, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the COOLPIX P600.

The image above was taken with the Sony HX400V. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and at f2.8 with the sensitivity manually set to 80 ISO the HX400V selected a shutter speed of 1/1600. The COOLPIX P600, set to f3.3 at 100 ISO metered a shutter speed of 1/1250. As usual the crops are taken from the areas marked in red above.

Though it doesn’t get off to a great start, generally the HX400V gives a good account of itself in this first set of crops taken at the maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length. The first crop from close to the left edge of the frame is showing a little bit of distortion, but if there was any colour fringing it’s been dealt with in the camera. The detail is a little fuzzy and clumpy looking here too.

The second crop, from closer to the middle of the frame, shows clearer fine detail, sharper edges and none of the distortion of the first one. The very finest detail, the roof tiles for example, elude the HX400V’s compact sensor, but the window frame verticals are nice and clean and you can make out some detail in the distant buildings. There’s a similar level of detail in the third crop and the fourth crop from close to the right edge of the frame, like the first, looks a little clumpy.

Overall, this is a good performance from the HX400V, though not the best in terms of definition that I’ve seen from a compact super-zoom. So how does it compare with the COOLPIX P600? The first thing to note is that the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces a larger crop area with smaller detail than the 20.4 Megapixel sensor in the Sony HX400V. The first crop from the COOLPIX P600 looks cleaner and more detailed to me. And so does the second one. The COOLPIX P600 has overexposed slightly, so there’s less detail in the highlights, but the edges look crisper to me. Conversely there seems to be less detail in the third crop, but the P600 just edges it in the final one. In practical terms this is a small difference which is hard to spot even at 100 percent viewing size, but I think the lower resolution COOLPIX P600 just about wins out.

Scroll down the page to see how these models compare when zoomed in to 600mm and 1200mm equivalent focal lengths. Alternatively, to see how they compare at higher sensitivities check out my Sony HX400V noise results.

For this next test I zoomed both cameras in to an equivalent focal length of around 600mm. At this setting the widest available aperture on both cameras is f5.6. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles opposite.

At 600mm equivalent there’s no distortion at the edge of the frame, but the clumpiness has become much more evident and high contrast edges have taken on a wiggly appearance. Things improve a bit in the two crops from closer to the middle of the frame, but there’s a slight softness that wasn’t there in the wide angle crops. The high contrast edges in the third crop look wobbly and there’s a hint of colour fringing too.

The Sony HX400V crops generally look a little clumpy at this focal length with less fine detail in evidence. This isn’t something you’d be likely to notice at anything other than 100 percent viewing sizes, but it’s there all the same and it’ll be interesting to see how the Sony HX400V crops compare when fully zoomed in.

As before, the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces a larger crop area with smaller detail than the 20.4 Megapixel sensor in the Sony HX400V. Despite that, as before, I think there’s marginally more detail in the COOLPIX P600 crops; the detail looks less clumpy, and edges look sharper and straighter. I’ll re-iterate, this is only likely to make a difference at, or close to 100 percent viewing sizes, but the COOLPIX P600 still has the edge.

Scroll down to see how they compare at their longest focal lengths or check out my Sony HX400V noise results or head to my Sony HX400V sample images.

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600 Quality at approx 1200mm

For this final test I zoomed both cameras in to 1200mm equivalent – the maximum zoom on the Sony HX400V, but a little short of the COOLPIX P600’s 1440mm maximum zoom. Again, the exposure was left in Aperture priority mode and at this focal length the widest available aperture was f6.3 on the HX400V and f6 on the COOLPIX P600. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

At the HX400V’s maximum focal length most fine detail is lost and the clumpiness of the pixels is more visible than ever. These crops have a very impressionistic look about them. Again though, at smaller sizes they look perfectly respectable. At this focal length there’s further evidence of chromatic aberration (notice the blue line along the ridge of the roof in the second crop).

Once again, I think the Nikon COOLPIX P600’s lower resolution 16.1 Megapixel sensor has a slight quality advantage at this focal length with less noise, clearer image detail and sharper edges. And, of course, this isn’t the end of the line for the COOLPIX P600 which can zoom in a little further to an equivalent 1440mm. Now check out my Sony HX400V noise results or head to my Sony HX400V sample images.

Sony HX400V vs Nikon P600 noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and the Nikon COOLPIX P600 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 24mm equivalent focal length.

I’d previously determined the best results on both cameras were produced with the aperture at its widest setting, so for this test I set the HX400V to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode. The COOLPIX P600 was set to its maximum aperture of f3.3. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can’t be disabled on the HX400V, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the COOLPIX P600.

The image above was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V. The HX400V was set to f2.8 in Aperture priority mode and at its base 80 ISO sensitivity setting, selected a shuter speed of 1/4s. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX P600 metered an exposure of 1/4s at f3.3.

The 80 ISO crop from the HX400V looks good, there’s a little bit of noise texture in the label at the top of the hymn board, but you have to be looking carefully at these 100 percent crops to spot it. The noise increases a tiny bit in the 100 ISO crop, so for outdoor shooting in good light it pays to stick to the base 80 ISO setting if you can. At 200 ISO there’s quite a hike in the noise and the edges, which were previously nice and clean, are just a bit softer. You can also see noise texture in the numbers. At 400 ISO the noise takes a another quite hefty notch up; now there’s an overall clumpiness obscuring finer detail and he edges are looking a bit grungy.

The 800 ISO crop is grainier still, but there’s plenty of detail and at anything other than 100 percent 800 ISO it looks very presentable. The same is true at 1600 ISO, though now even medium sized detail is beginning to suffer and the text on that label is only just legible. Even at 3200 ISO ISO, though, the noise is regular and organic looking and there’s none of the ugly clumping and smearing that often accompanies aggressive noise reduction at high ISO sensitivities. Overall I’d say this is a good result for the HX400V. Though the noise increases very noticeably in the lower part of the sensitvity range, it’s managed well, delivering useable results right the way up to the maximum 3200 ISO setting.

Compared with the HX400V, the COOLPIX P600 gets off to a good start. Just a reminder that the 16.1 Megapixel sensor in the COOLPIX P600 produces crops with a larger area and smaller detail than those from the 20.4 Megapixel HX400V. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX P600 crop compares very favouraby with the 100 ISO crop from the HX400V, but I’d say it’s marginally noisier with visible texture in the white label as well as the numbers on the board.

As with the Sony HX400V, as you progress up the sensitivity scale the noise increases very visibly with each 1EV step, but the margin is bigger on the P600 with the result that by 800 ISO there’s a clear gap opening up. Though the P600 has a top setting of 6400 ISO compared with 3200 ISO on the HX400V, beyond the base 100 ISO setting, at each step up the sensitivity scale its results are noisier than the equivalent on the HX400V.

Apart from its superior high ISO noise performance the HX400V has a couple of other tricks up it’s sleeve. Firstly, at the wide angle setting its maximum aperure is a little wider than the P600, so you can shoot with a lower ISO using the same shutter speed in similar lighting conditions. In my test, for example, I was able to shoot at 80 ISO on the HX400V compared with 100 ISO on the P600 using the same shutter speed (even then, the P600 crops are slightly darker).

Secondly the HX400V has a raft of composite modes that produce lower noise results at high ISO settings. The most useful of these is Multi Frame Noise Reduction which allows you to set the ISO manually from 100 to 12800. For comparison purposes I’ve shown a crop at the end of the table using MFNR at 3200 ISO as well as the HX400V’s Hand held Twilight mode which sets the ISO automatically.

Now head over to my Sony HX400V sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my verdict.

Hand held Twilight 320 ISO

www.cameralabs.com

Sony HX400V

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

www.techradar.com


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