Sony HX400V vs Zeiss ZX1
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and the Zeiss ZX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2014 and September 2018. Both the HX400V and the ZX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) and a full frame (ZX1) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Zeiss provides 37.4 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and the Zeiss ZX1? 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 Sony HX400V and the Zeiss ZX1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 Zeiss ZX1 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Sony HX400V. Moreover, the ZX1 is markedly heavier (21 percent) than the HX400V. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the HX400V nor the ZX1 are weather-sealed.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||142 mm||93 mm||46 mm||800 g||250||n||Sep 2018||5,999||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Kodak AZ901||139 mm||104 mm||119 mm||777 g||400||n||Jan 2016||499||amazon.com|
|6.||Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899||ebay.com|
|11.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|12.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The HX400V was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the ZX1, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony HX400V features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Zeiss ZX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the ZX1 is 2986 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the HX400V has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the ZX1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 37.4MP, the ZX1 offers a higher resolution than the HX400V (20.2MP), but the ZX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 1.18μm for the HX400V) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the ZX1 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the HX400V, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX400V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Zeiss ZX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.4 x 25 inches or 95.1 x 63.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.1 x 50.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.6 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony HX400V are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Zeiss ZX1 are ISO 80 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the HX400V is build around a BSI-CMOS sensor, while the ZX1 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||25.2||14.1||2759||94|
|6.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|7.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the ZX1 provides a better video resolution than the HX400V. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the ZX1 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the HX400V (6221k vs 210k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony HX400V, the Zeiss ZX1, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||6221||n||4.3 / 2765||fixed||Y||1/1000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Kodak AZ901||202||n||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Leica Q2||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||20.0/s||n||Y|
|7.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|9.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony HX350||202||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H300||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The HX400V has one, while the ZX1 does not. While the built-in flash of the HX400V is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 ZX1 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 HX400V is equipped with a zoom lens, while the ZX1 comes with a built-in prime. The HX400V has a 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3 optic and the ZX1 offers a 35mm f/2.8 (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 Zeiss. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
The HX400V writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the ZX1 uses an internal SSD.
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V and Zeiss ZX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Kodak AZ901||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica Q2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony HX350||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|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||-||-|
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 ZX1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Zeiss. In contrast, the HX400V has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the HX400V from Sony. Further information on the features and operation of the HX400V and ZX1 can be found, respectively, in the Sony HX400V Manual (free pdf) or the online Zeiss ZX1 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony HX400V or the Zeiss ZX1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 140g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (300 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (92 percent cheaper at launch).
Arguments in favor of the Zeiss ZX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.4 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (6221k vs 210k dots).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More prestigious: Has the Zeiss luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZX1 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 11 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Sony HX400V and the Zeiss ZX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the HX400V or the ZX1. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||3/5||..||..||83/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||5,999||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Kodak AZ901||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2016||499||amazon.com|
|6.||Leica Q2||..||..||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899||ebay.com|
|11.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|12.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony H400||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H300||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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 1300D vs Sony HX400V
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon 400D vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Sony HX400V
- Canon 650D vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon G3 X vs Sony HX400V
- Nikon D2Xs vs Zeiss ZX1
- Nikon D5000 vs Sony HX400V
- Olympus E-M1 II vs Zeiss ZX1
- Olympus E-M5 vs Sony HX400V
- Olympus E-PL10 vs Sony HX400V
- Panasonic FZ1000 II vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Sony HX400V vs Zeiss ZX1
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||Sony HX400V||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2014||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony HX400V||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||37.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||7488 x 4992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||4.33 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Sony HX400V||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||210k dots||6221k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||4.3inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony HX400V||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||SSD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony HX400V||Zeiss ZX1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Sony HX400V||Zeiss ZX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
130 x 93 x 103 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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