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The HX400V is a Big Step Forward for Sony
on April 5, 2014
I couldn't care less about a few silly, post-capture, in-camera picture effects. The purpose of a good camera is to take pictures out in the field, not play around with them afterward. There's plenty of time for that, after you get home.
The image quality and the quick, effective functions of this model, put it far ahead of the deficient HX300 of last year. I sent that one back after 5 days, but this one is a keeper. Even at full-size, most of its photos look presentable and at normal full-screen viewing sizes, they are sparkling good. I didn't think anyone could put 21 Megapixels on a tiny sensor like this and get good results, but Sony has proved me wrong.
The photo and video quality clear out to the end of the 1,200mm lens is sharp. The HX300 lost resolution at full zoom. With video, you can engage the Active Stabilization Mode and get 1.41X, or a 1,692mm equivalent in focal-length and there's no loss of quality. There are several other superzoom brands on sale now, that seem to match the HX400V in some specifications, but their overall performance for all purposes falls behind this one.
I recommend getting the Sony ECM-XYST1M stereo hotshoe mike, to put on this camera. It picks up distant sounds well and mostly eliminates wind noise using a furnished furry wind sock. Breathing sounds from the operator are not recorded, which is a problem if the built-in mikes are used. The two elements can be swiveled out wide or pointed ahead for varied pickup patterns. I also bought two sets of Wasabi NP-BX1 batteries and chargers here on Amazon. You don't get an external charger with the camera and having 5 batteries and two chargers gives me plenty of backup power and charging capability. This brand of battery seems to have the best reputation for an after-market source.
The autofocus for both photos and video is quick and solid. There is no better camera for shooting flying birds or aircraft. The low-light abilities of it are amazing and the unique multiple-exposure modes make it possible to get good photos in very dim light.
There's a KiwiFotos lens adaptor tube here on Amazon that is built to fit the HX300. Although it is claimed that the lens is the same size as that of the HX400V, it is not. The HX400V outer lens housing is 1mm larger in diameter and this adaptor will not fit. Perhaps KiwiFotos will build a new one later that matches the HX400V.
Although this camera is listed here and at other dealers in the USA as the HX400 (B), it is in fact the HX400V (B) they are selling. This model has GPS and the HX400 that is sold in some other countries, does not have GPS.