Nikon 1 J4 vs Sony HX400V
The Nikon 1 J4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2014 and February 2014. The J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX400V is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an one-inch (J4) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 18.2 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 Nikon 1 J4 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 J4 and the Sony HX400V. 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.
The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the HX400V is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is considerably larger (102 percent) than the Nikon 1 J4. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the J4 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX400V has a lens built in, whereas the J4 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 lower price than the J4, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 J4 features an one-inch sensor and the Sony HX400V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX400V is 76 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 5.6. The sensor in the J4 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX400V offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 18.2 MP of the J4. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 2.52μm for the J4). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. 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 J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 J4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. 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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.7||12.3||874||70|
|13.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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. For example, the HX400V has an electronic viewfinder (210k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon 1 J4, the Sony HX400V, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||5.8||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX350||202||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H300||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J4 has a touchscreen, while the HX400V has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J4 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The J4 writes its imaging data to micro SDXC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The J4 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 Nikon 1 J4 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony HX350||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony H400||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony H300||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the HX400V has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The J4 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
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 J4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the J4 was succeeded by the Nikon 1 J5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 J4 and the Sony HX400V? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon 1 J4:
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 130x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the J4 necessitates an extra lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J4 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Nikon 1 J4 and the Sony HX400V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the J4 or the HX400V. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|2.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|11.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|13.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|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.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D C vs Sony HX400V
- Fujifilm X100 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Hasselblad X1D vs Nikon 1 J4
- Leica M9 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Nikon D3X
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Olympus E-620
- Nikon D610 vs Sony HX400V
- Nikon L840 vs Sony HX400V
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony HX400V
- Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony HX400V
- Panasonic G5 vs Sony HX400V
Specifications: Nikon 1 J4 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||Nikon 1 J4||Sony HX400V|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3|
|Launch Date||April 2014||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony HX400V|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18.2 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5232 x 3488 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.52 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||15.71 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||53||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.7||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||426||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony HX400V|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||210k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony HX400V|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||micro or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony HX400V|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 J4||Sony HX400V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
130 x 93 x 103 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
|Camera Weight||232 g (8.2 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
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