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Sony pumps extra features into 50x zoom Cyber-shot HX400V

Its lens, sensor, and LCD remain unchanged from its predecessor, but a new processor, Wi-Fi, and GPS keep the flagship megazoom from getting stale.

Joshua Goldman
Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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Sony's Cyber-shot HX400V, its newest flagship megazoom, is more minor iteration than complete overhaul.

The camera uses the same main ingredients as last year's HX300: a 50x f2.8-6.3 24-1200mm lens, 20-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, and a 3-inch tilting LCD. Sony sweetened the recipe by adding Wi-Fi with NFC, GPS, and a multi-interface shoe for adding an external flash.

Along with those things, the HX400V has a new Sony Bionz X image processor, which enables features such as improved Clear Image Zoom, which digitally doubles the zoom range to 2400mm, and automatic conversion of photos to 4K resolution, so they look better on your 4K display. Plus, Sony has unified its camera interfaces, so that those familiar with the operation of its Alpha cameras will get the same experience on the Cyber-shots and vice versa.

Other enhancements include the capability to shoot full-HD movies at 24p in AVCHD format and access to Sony's PlayMemories downloadable camera apps, brought over from its Alpha interchangeable lens cameras. Also passed down is Direct Manual Focus (DMF) that allows you to use autofocus, but then use the lens barrel to manually focus.

Huge 63x zoom camera leads Sony's new compacts (pictures)

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Those are certainly some nice bells and whistles added into what was already an excellent camera, but, again, no big leaps in features and technology. And it still doesn't capture in raw, which will likely disappoint some potential buyers.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V will be out in March for about $500.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Joining the HX400V are the Cyber-shot DSC-H400 and DSC-H300, which have 63x f3.4-6.5 24.5-1543.5mm and 35x f3.0-5.9 25-875mm lenses, respectively. They both have 3-inch LCDs as well as 20-megapixel CCD sensors, which means you won't get the excellent low-light performance or a lot of the extra shooting features found on the HX-series models including 1080p movie capture and high-speed burst shooting.

The H400 will ship in March and sell for around $320, while the $220 H300 shows up later this month.

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