Sony H400 Review

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400
Resolution: 20.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
Lens: 63.00x zoom
(25-1,550mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
ISO: 80-3200
Shutter: 30-1/2000
Max Aperture: 3.4
Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in.
(130 x 95 x 122 mm)
Weight: 22.2 oz (628 g)
MSRP: $320
Availability: 03/2014
Manufacturer: Sony
Full specs: Sony H400 specifications
63.00x zoom
1/2.3 inch
size sensor
image of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400
Front side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 digital camera Back side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 digital camera Top side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 digital camera Left side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 digital camera Right side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 digital camera

Sony H400 Review -- First Impressions

Preview posted

Are you consumed by your need for zoom? If so, the Sony H400 may put a skip in your step. This SLR-styled, fixed-lens camera offers more zoom than you could shake a tree full of sticks at, ensuring you'll have a tighter-cropped photo of your kids at the ball game than all the other parents put together.

At the center of the Sony H400 sits a Super HAD-branded, 20.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch type CCD image sensor. Compared to the more commonplace CMOS chips, CCD sensors save a little on cost, but they're typically much slower.

That's borne out by the H400's very modest full-resolution burst capture rate of just 0.71 frames per second, although the depth of 100 frames means that, at least, you shouldn't often be troubled by an even slower rate due to the buffer filling. Sensitivity ranges to as high as ISO 3,200 equivalent.

In front of the imager is a Sony-branded, 63x zoom optic with a generous 24.5mm-equivalent wide angle and an extremely powerful 1,550mm-equivalent telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from f/3.4 at wide angle to f/6.5 at telephoto.

As you'd expect, Sony has included Optical SteadyShot image stabilization in the H400, and it features a new Intelligent Active mode that's said to stabilize movies even better than the Active mode of past models. (And we were already pretty impressed by the latter, which turned in usable results even when shooting while walking.)

The H400's contrast-detection autofocus system offers up multi-point, center, and spot AF modes, and includes both tracking and face tracking functions. There's also an AF illuminator to help get sharp shots of nearby subjects in low light.

In keeping with its SLR-like design, the Sony H400 includes both an electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor. The viewfinder is based around a 0.2-inch LCD panel with a relatively low 201,000 dot resolution. (That's a bit less than 320 x 240 pixels, with each pixel comprised of separate red, green, and blue dots.) The monitor, meanwhile, is centered on a 3.0-inch ClearPhoto LCD panel with ~460,000 dot resolution (or ~480 x 320 pixels).

Want to illuminate a nearby subject? The Sony H400 lacks any external flash connectivity, but it does include a built-in popup flash. With auto ISO sensitivity, this has a working range of around 28.8 feet at wide angle or 15 feet at telephoto.

Although the main focus here is affordability and zoom reach, the Sony H400 still offers a full array of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual shooting modes. For those who prefer some hand-holding, it also offers a single-shot Intelligent Auto mode, plus Panorama and Scene modes, all accessed from a dedicated Mode dial on the top deck. Scene modes include High Sensitivity, Soft snap, Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Gourmet, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Pet mode, and Party Mode.

Exposures are determined with Multi-pattern, Center-weighted, or Spot metering, and +/-2.0EV of exposure compensation is provided in 1/3EV steps. Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer function is also included, to help hold onto highlight and shadow detail in difficult lighting conditions.

The Sony H400 supports not just still imaging, but also video capture. Although you can't shoot Full HD video, likely due to the use of a slow CCD imager, the H400 can capture HD (1,280 x 720 pixel; 720p) video at a 30 frames-per-second rate. Videos recorded by the H400 include monaural audio.

The Sony H400 offers two wired connectivity choices: USB 2.0 High Speed data, or composite standard-definition video output using the same port. Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, as well as on Sony's own proprietary Memory Stick Duo cards. Power comes courtesy of an NP-BX1 battery pack, rated as good for 300 shots on a charge.

Available from March 2014, the Sony H400 ships only in a black-bodied version for about US$320.

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