Best superzoom cameras

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Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.

Does the thought of a digital SLR scare you? Do you want a long zoom without the hassle of interchangeable lenses?

Panasonic FZ100

(Credit: Panasonic)

It sounds like you need a superzoom camera. Superzooms are characterised by their SLR-like styling, but are generally more compact and boast optical zooms that can range all the way up to 50x.

You might also see these sorts of cameras termed as "bridge" or "megazoom" cameras.

What to look for

The advantages that superzooms have over conventional long-zoom compacts is that most of them have manual controls for fine tuning your photos. Some manufacturers also have a range of fun accessories that you can buy, such as filters and external flashes that can simulate the shooting experience of an SLR without the bulk.

Image stabilisation is standard on superzoom cameras; however, for the best results, particularly when you start to reach the upper echelons of zoom, you will need to invest in a tripod to avoid camera shake.

Full HD video recording is standard on pretty much all new cameras, but it's definitely worth checking to see whether you can attach extra accessories, like an external stereo microphone to improve sound. The Panasonic FZ150, for example, has a jack into which you can plug another microphone.

Batteries

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are standard fare on superzooms; however, if you value AA batteries, check out a model like the Nikon Coolpix L810, or the older model, the L120.

Want something smaller? You might be interested in compact cameras with big zooms.




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SiddharthP posted a comment   
India

again missed out on the Sony here... what about a comparison with the above and sony hx200v - would have liked to have seen where it stood.

 

doug posted a comment   

The main drawback with both the Canon SX30 and the Fuji HS10,is the slow speed of processing the images.
The Panasonics are much quicker,and the Fuji S200EXR,although "only" a 15x zoom is the quickest of them all,almost DSLR like.
And the images are great,but it is a bigger camera,but worth it!

 

Paul posted a comment   

I own an old Panasonic FZ50 and the IQ is better than the SX30,FZ100,FZ45,HS10,P100,etc.
The one and only best super zoom is the FZ35 even when their 18x zoom seems to be too small these days of monstrous zooms

 

A. Stevens posted a comment   

SX30IS is undoubtedly the best set for those who want a single camera which can zoom in with great good image quality and a good high-ISO performance me for pictures or movies.
Then the FZ35 (if it costs less than $ 300.00, for more than that for the SX30 is better deal.) After the FZ100.
The HS10 is unfortunately very bad at high ISO, as the FZ100, but at least the FZ100 offers many features. The HS10 was also impaired in the video due to manual zoom. On the other hand its controls are cool.

Of course performance in high ISO is secondary in the superzoom category. However, the SX30 does a good job at high ISO both in photography and in film, unlike its competitors. And who would not want to harness the power and convenience of a superzoom to shoot a film the evening concert or theater child's school?

 

drummo posted a comment   

The FZ 100 is 1080p not 1080i

 

Hans posted a comment   

I am looking for something like this, but the NIKON P100 is 100 euro cheaper, performs better in low light and has 1080P instead if 1080i. The only disadvantage of the Nikon is that it does not have a hot shoe.
I considered the Canon SX30, but it has 720P, and that is not enough for me.
Can anyone convince me otherwise?

 

drummo posted a reply   

sorry Hans, you are correct I am mistaken

 

vicky posted a reply   

there isn't any major difference you can notice in 720p & 1080P, only the fps is what matters. The image quality will be almost the same.

 

howzy posted a comment   

how does this compare with canon sx1 is need to choose one quick smart going away for world trip in few days help!!!


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