The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V was announced in February 2014. It is a bridge camera packed with a number of features, making it very versatile. For macro photography the lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, but for shooting objects in the distance it has 50x optical zoom. Other features include Wi-Fi and GPS, making it ideal for travel photography. The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V has a 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and a 50x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-1200mm. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm and optical image stabilisation to keep images as sharp as possible. The HX400V can record at 10 fps.
There are two auto modes – Superior Auto aims to reduce blur and noise and Intelligent Auto selects the correct scene characteristics. The HX400V also has full manual controls, a range of scene modes and Sweep Panorama. There are also a number of picture effects you can apply to your shots – these include toy camera, miniature and partial colour.
The camera includes Wi-Fi for easy image sharing and also has GPS so you can geotag your images. Other features include the electronic viewfinder (EVF), tiltable screen and hotshoe mount.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with optical zoom available and sound recorded in stereo. You can record videos using PSAM modes to control the aperture and / or shutter speeds.The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V has a DSLR style body with a rubberised handgrip and rubber patch on the rear for your thumb. The lens barrel has a part that rotates, this for adjusting the manual focus or zoom when using autofocus, and has grooves to help your grip it. On the side of the lens barrel is a sliding switch that lets you choose between auto and manual focus. You can also attach 55mm filters. The lens has 35mm equivalent markings on it. Just above this is a switch to pop-up the flash.
On the top of the camera is a mode dial which sits alongside the function, custom and on / off buttons, as well as the zoom rocker and shutter release. The function button gives you access to picture settings such as ISO and white balance. There is also a button to switch between the EVF and monitor, although the EVF is activated automatically when you put it against your eye.
On the rear of the camera are movie record, playback, menu and ? buttons. There is a d-pad for cycling through the menus which also gives access to display, self-timer, continuous shooting, flash and exposure compensation. There is also a dial which lets you change the shutter speed and aperture – it’s also useful for cycling through menu options.
Also on the rear is the 3.0 inch LCD screen, which rotates making it easier to view from up above or down below and has an excellent 921k dot resolution. It’s worth noting that when looking down at the screen from directly above, the EVF does slightly cover the screen. The EVF is bright, colourful and comfortable to use – for those with slightly poor eyesight there is a dioptre wheel.
Using the Wi-Fi is easy – to transfer images to a smartphone / tablet, you go to playback, access the Wi-Fi settings via the menu and opt to either choose images in the camera, or choose pictures using your mobile device. The Wi-Fi is then switched on, so you join the Wi-Fi with your mobile device, then open the PlayMemories app which needs to be installed prior to using the HX400V’s Wi-Fi. Be aware that you may need to change the copy image size as it may be set by default to just 2 megapixels.Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to CIPA test results, which is good for a bridge camera – you can get more shots if you use the EVF rather than the screen. We took a number of shots to test the camera’s responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.