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Sony Cyber-shot HX400V Ken McMahon, May 2014
 
 

Sony HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600 Quality

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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.

  Sony HX400V results
1 Sony HX400V Quality
2 Sony HX400V Noise
3 Sony HX400V Sample images

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.


Sony HX400V JPEG
 
Nikon P600 JPEG
f2.8, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f2.8, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f2.8, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f2.8, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO

 

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V vs Nikon COOLPIX P600 Quality at approx 600mm

 
 

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 HX400V JPEG
 
Nikon P600 JPEG
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

 

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 JPEG
 
Nikon P600 JPEG
f6.3, 80 ISO
f6, 100 ISO
f6.3, 80 ISO
f6, 100 ISO
f6.3, 80 ISO
f6, 100 ISO
f6.3, 80 ISO
f6, 100 ISO


Sony HX400V results : Quality / Noise


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