Quick Test and Review: Sony HX400V, a Bridge Camera with 50x Optical Zoom


Zooming power is one of the most important criteria taken into account in choosing a camera by consumers. Studies show that 84% of consumers consider the optical zoom to be second in importance after the number of megapixels. Despite this, not many large zoom cameras also produce good quality images. Most of the time, a large optical zoom hides a lens of poor quality, which lowers the price of the device, but also the quality of the resulting photos.

It’s the reason why we find cameras with a 30-40x optical zoom at prices as low as $175. Most likely the photos taken at maximum zoom are unusable. More than likely so.

However, there are manufacturers who take image quality at high zooms seriously, and Sony is one of them. The latest bridge camera that I tested is the Sony HX400V, which comes with a whopping 50x optical zoom. But let’s see the full technical specifications.

Technical specifications of the Sony HX400V

20.4-megapixel CMOS sensor;
Full HD video shooting at 50fps;
50x Optical Zoom with a focal length of 24-1200mm and f/2.8-6.3;
Image stabilization system;
Continuous shooting at 10 frames per second;
Wireless connectivity and GPS localization;
ISO sensitivity up to 3,200;
Minimum exposure time of 1/4000s;
Integrated flash;
Weight: 660 grams/1.2 pounds.

The Sony HX400V can be purchased at the price of $ 478.

By far the lens is the camera’s strongest point. Starting from f/2.8 and 24mm, the lens turns out to be very useful in narrow and dimly lit spaces. At the tele end, Sony HX400V is able to deliver usable images even at 50x zoom. That is a focal length of 1200mm. You can take gorgeous pictures even at this magnification. Put the camera on a tripod and photograph the Moon on a clear night. You will be surprised by the result.

I noticed, however, after tests, that I’ve obtained the best results somewhere around 40x, with the exception of course of the wide end where the lens excels from all points of view, revealing the Carl Zeiss quality.

The wide end is great for capturing wide landscapes, and does this very well thanks to the sensor with a very large dynamic range compared to other cameras in the same segment. You can see this in the photos below. Most were taken in bright light in the middle of the day. The results are not bad at all.

Before we get to the bulk of the photos, let us observe two frames. One is taken at the wide end at 1x zoom, and the other at the tele end, zoom 50x.

And now let’s have a look at the pictures that we’ve taken with the new Sony HX400V.
Sony HX400V sample test images:

Testing the creative modes

In the camera menu there are, of course, a number of creative options to alter the images right when they’re taken. They won’t blow you away, as such filters are rarely truly helpful, but they can help in some situations. Have a look at a comparison between the creative modes of the HX400V.

Quick-test: Conclusions

Sony HX400V is a bridge camera that turns out to be useful in most situations. Nevertheless, I’d rather buy and use it for travel and vacation photography. The camera can cover a broad range of situations, from landscapes to wildlife or distant subjects. In a word, a good all-rounder.

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