Let’s start off with full disclosures here. I’m not a photographer, but I like good photographic arrangements. I love vivid colours and I’d love to be able to do this one day.
When we started blogging back in January 2016 all we had was our iPhone 5’s camera. Which worked out fine for snapping in well-lit areas. It was also by chance that our first live music review we managed to basically lean on the stage for They Might Be Giants!
This was one of the downfalls of the camera phone though. Any further than arms length in well-lit areas and the quality dropped off. So It was time to invest a little into a better camera. I asked other bloggers what types of cameras they used and most of them used a DSLR camera (Nikon D3200 was the most popular). However I wasn’t sure about committing to the Camera Body plus Extra lenses set up. I’m a point and shoot kind of guy. I certainly don’t think Catherine would have wanted to do much more than aim and fire at the kids (photography wise).
So I opted to go with this Sony DSCH400 Digital Compact Bridge Camera.
Unlike a DSLR Camera the Sony DSC-H400 has a fixed lens system. Which means I’m stuck with what I’ve bought, but for less than £200 I shouldn’t complain. There are other comparisons for and against, but as I’m not a photographer, I’ll just point you to this article of Bridge Cameras vs DSLR Cameras.
The Main features that pulled me in was the 20 Megapixel Sensor and the 63x Optical zoom. I had been looking at a Nikon P530, but in comparison it offered more zoom and more pixels. In my mind more is better, but there are other things to consider.
Sony DSC-H400 Photos
So without any prior testing… and not even charing the camera up I set off to the Great North Run to see what it can do. Oh yes I love jumping in at the deep end. To put you in the picture of my choice of location. I’m standing on the East side of the older bridge that links Northumbria University to their Halls of Residence. Also my photos are web optimised to speed up your viewing displeasure!
With a little zoom The Sony DSC-H400 coped well with this crowd shot. Below is a cropped version of one of my “snaps”.
One of the reasons I chose this location is it is near the start and it has a good overhead view. While Everyone crowded the fences looking for mo Farah to blast over the Central Motorway I took a more leisurely lean on the side fence and zoomed over their heads.
Considering I was playing with setting and had one chance at the photo I was chuffed with this.
Sony DSC-H400 Zoom
To test the zoom I chose to rest on the south-facing bridge barrier to steady the camera. There is stabilisation built-in to the camera, but unless I read the manual I’ll not know how it works! To give some reference to the focal points I’ve highlighted 2 locations.
Focus A is the Camera copter poised over the Tyne bridge.
It’s not the crispest photo, but considering the distance its gone from spec on a screen to a recognisable item. This may improved when I know what the settings are!
Focus B was the multi storey car park by 55 degrees North.
I felt almost Paparazzi! I didn’t even see the car park, until the camera zoomed in. Let alone a guy with a camera looking back up the Central motorway.
Here is a cropped version showing the image at 100% size.
I won’t deny it is blurry and I’m sure if you’re a photographer you’ll be saying of course it is it was never going to be crystal clear. Which it wasn’t. Id say even with a tripod, the bridge was possibly vibrating too. So the movement over that distance would get picked up.
Sony DSC-H400 Gripes
The biggest issue I have found so far is capture speed. When you click to take the photo it seems to take about 2 seconds before you can take the next photo. This shows up on the next photo set.
I sat poised for the Red Arrows. From previous years I remembered they fly over the Tyne Bridge just after the runners are pounding over it. The Helicopter was ready to film it’s over head shot, so I listened for the engine roar.
By the time I took my second shot the Red Arrows were in the distance and only really visible by the coloured smoke and because they fly down the Central motorway over the Tyne Bridge.
Sony DSC-H400 Conclusion
The Camera has many features I’ll possibly never touch, but so far I’m happy with the ease of use, but also the ability to tweak the settings. It is comfortable to hold onto and sits firmly in your hand. The eye view finder rests comfortably to gain the zoomed out photos, while today it was too bright to use the larger monitor screen on the back.
I didn’t manage to capture a good second shot of Mo mainly because the camera processes the image too slowly. And I had heard this from other reviews too. For the majority of my blogging photos this shouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand this may lead my way onto building up to a DSLR if photography does become my thing.