Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony HX400V
The Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and February 2014. Both the V-LUX 4 and the HX400V are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony HX400V are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is notably larger (11 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 4. Moreover, the HX400V is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the V-LUX 4. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V-LUX 4 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|2.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|7.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|8.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|12.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|14.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The HX400V was launched at a markedly lower price (by 47 percent) than the V-LUX 4, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the V-LUX 4. This megapixels advantage translates into a 30 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the HX400V has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.53μm for the V-LUX 4). However, it should be noted that the HX400V is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the V-LUX 4, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX400V implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX400V for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica V-LUX 4 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica V-LUX 4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|5.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|8.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the V-LUX 4 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the HX400V (1312k vs 210k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica V-LUX 4, the Sony HX400V, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
Both the V-LUX 4 and the HX400V have zoom lenses built in. The V-LUX 4 has a 25-600mm f/2.8-2.8 optic and the HX400V offers a 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Leica. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
The V-LUX 4 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The V-LUX 4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the HX400V cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica V-LUX 4 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the V-LUX 4 has a microphone port, which is missing on the HX400V. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The HX400V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the V-LUX 4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the V-LUX 4 was succeeded by the Leica V-LUX Typ 114. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony HX400V? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica V-LUX 4:
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1312k vs 210k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 72g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (47 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V-LUX 4 comes out slightly ahead of the HX400V (10 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony HX400V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the V-LUX 4 and the HX400V in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|2.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|7.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|8.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|11.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|12.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|14.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony H400||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|17.||Sony H300||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony HX400V
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Leica V-LUX 4||Sony HX400V|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||25-600mm f/2.8||24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3|
|Launch Date||September 2012||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 949||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica V-LUX 4||Sony HX400V|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica V-LUX 4||Sony HX400V|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1312k dots||210k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica V-LUX 4||Sony HX400V|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica V-LUX 4||Sony HX400V|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica V-LUX 4||Sony HX400V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||540 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
125 x 87 x 110 mm
(4.9 x 3.4 x 4.3 in)
130 x 93 x 103 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
|Camera Weight||588 g (20.7 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
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