Ready for your closeup?
The digital camera market offers a range of cameras with high-performing optical zooms, allowing you to shoot those panoramic shots without needing to sacrifice any image quality. Let’s take a look at what’s out there for the outdoors photographer who wants to get up close and personal with nature.
To be able to get up close with a point and shoot type of camera, you will be looking for a “super zoom” camera. These are typically digital cameras with 20x optical zoom or better. They are classified as bridge cameras but be careful as not all bridge cameras are superzoom cameras. As you can see with the minimum 20x zoom, they will give you great up close images.
Top Rated Bridge Camera on the Market
First up, let’s take a look at one of Panasonic’s offerings. The Panasonic’s Lumix FZ40 is a great model with a 24x optical zoom supporting it 25mm wide-angle lens, high definition video and 360 degree panoramas. You can view your images on the three inch LCD screen.
One of the biggest factors you’ll need to consider when looking for the best super zoom digital camera is the optical image stabilization (OIS). Pansonic’s solution is the MEGA OIS which, according to most users, does provide an excellent level of stability which is absolutely vital if you’re at the full 20x, or the 40x digital zoom.
Best Super Zoom Camera for the Money
Canon are of course contenders in this market, and models such as the PowerShot SX280 offer excellent zoom at an entry-level price. The build quality on this camera is really outstanding with a very tough, durable body and outstanding battery life (initially this model had some battery issues but these have now been resolved).
In terms of performance, it’s about equal to any other contenders with a 20x optical zoom, reliable image stabilization and Canon’s trademark excellence in video capture. The price is something that should attract most users, plus the reassurance of owning a camera with the Canon seal of quality.
Best Compact Bridge Camera
Sony offer incredible zoom in a tiny body via their Cybershot HX50V. It’s one of the most compact cameras on the market in itself but offers a stunning 30x optical zoom, plus the excellent Sony SteadyShot technology to help you keep the balance.
The camera itself is also pretty remarkable, with a 20mp CMOS, 1080p video, and 10fps continuous shooting, plus built-in WiFi and GPS. This is a superb all-rounder: a terrific digital camera that also has an excellent optical zoom. The fact that it’s so small and portable to boot is pretty incredible and this is a camera that most people will want to think about owning.
Best Super Zoom Camera to Buy
Can we get any better than 30x optical zoom? We sure can, and stepping up into the world of larger cameras we find the Olympus SP-820UZ whose built-in 35mm lens offers an optical zoom of up to 40x. It’s got dual image stabalisation, which you’re really going to need on this model, plus an ISO range of 80-6400.
Although it looks huge, this is technically still a compact and the intuitive UI offers a pretty great point and click functionality. It’s also surprisingly cheap, although this isn’t reflected in the overall build quality as stated in the consumer reports. They say that it is light weight, easy to use and is one of the best super zoom cameras they have owned.
It is possible to go further than this, but there does come a point when you’re better off considering a separate lens solution rather than a built-in optical zoom. Ultimately, the point of these bridge cameras is to combine adaptability with ease of use. Any one of the four cameras above should be able to provide you with plenty of both.