You no longer need a huge camera to facilitate a long zoom range. We take a look at some of the best pocket friendly, high zoom compact cameras currently on the market.
Sales of compact cameras have been suffering thanks to the rise of the smartphone, but, superzoom compacts offer something which phones can’t – a great zoom range. Here we take a look at some of the best 18-40x optical zoom compact cameras on the market.
Street Price: £299
Zoom: 40x (24-960mm)
The newest camera in this list, the Canon SX720 also features the biggest zoom focal length range. At a whopping 40x optical zoom, you have a reach of almost 1000mm in your pocket. The 1/2.3 inch sensor has a 20.3MP resolution, which is coupled with a Digic 6 processor – so low light shooting should be pretty good. Enthusiast photographers may also find the SX720 appealing as it features a range of manual and semi-automatic shooting modes – you don’t get the possibility to shoot in raw format, though. Other useful features include inbuilt Wi-Fi and full HD video recording.
Street Price: £350
Zoom: 30x (24-720mm)
Panasonic’s TZ80 comes hot on the heels of the TZ70 – Panasonic generally refreshes its travel compact range once a year. The big new features for the TZ80 is the addition of 4K video and photo modes, but there’s also been an increase in resolution from 12MP, up to 18MP. The 30x optical zoom covers a very flexible focal length range, which coupled with the ability to record raw format files and shoot in a number of manual and semi-automatic exposure modes, makes it an appealing prospect for travelling enthusiast photographers. There’s a small inbuilt viewfinder for those who prefer to compose using one, rather than a screen. Low light performance is not on a par with cameras which have larger sensors, but if you’re mainly going to be photographing in good, daytime light, you should find the TZ80 very good.
Street Price: £223
Zoom: 30x (25-750mm)
If you’re already a Nikon owner, chances are you might want to remain loyal to the brand. The S9900 gives you a flexible focal length range and also has a number of other enticing features. The back-illuminated 16 million pixel sensor may seem like quite a low resolution compared with some other cameras currently on the market, but fewer pixels should translate into decent low light shots. The S9900’s rear-screen is fully articulating, which is useful for framing slightly awkward shots, while there’s also the ability to shoot in manual or semi-automatic modes. As with Canon’s SX720, you can’t shoot in raw format however.
Street Price: £300
Zoom: 30x (24-720mm)
The sleek and stylish HX90 seems to have based its design on the highly specced RX100 IV. It’s got a retracting electronic viewfinder which slots into the body of the camera when not in use. There’s also an 180 degree tiltable LCD monitor, which is very useful for photographing selfies, or for other awkward framing positions. The HX90’s 18.2 million pixel sensor is combined with a Bionz X processor, and there’s also a range of shooting modes including manual and aperture priority.
Olympus Stylus SH-2
Street Price: £200
Zoom: 24x (25-600mm)
Although the Stylus SH-2 doesn’t have quite the huge zoom range as some of the other cameras further up this list, a 24x optical zoom still represents a great amount of flexibility and should be enough for most shooting conditions. There’s a 1/2.3 inch 16-million pixel CMOS sensor, which is paired with a TruePic VII image processor. You can take full manual control of shooting, and there’s also the ability to record raw format images. The rear screen is touch sensitive, but there’s no viewfinder. The SH-2 has a classy retro look, so if you like an old fashioned look for a camera, you may find it appealing.
Street Price: £175
Zoom: 20x (28-560mm)
The little brother to last year’s TZ70, Panasonic has decided to stop refreshing this range. However, it’s available at a great price if you need a smart travel compact. Although 20x isn’t quite as flexible as 30x, it should still suit many different shooting scenarios. As well as a shorter focal length, for the cheaper price there are a few other trade-offs. There’s also no possibility to shoot in raw format, and there’s no viewfinder. There’s a 16 million pixel sensor, with a tilting rear screen. Other features include inbuilt Wi-Fi and Full HD video recording.
Nikon Coolpix S7000
Street Price: £135
Zoom: 20x (25-500mm)
With a back-illuminated 16MP sensor, the S7000 is a good bargain for Nikon fans who need a reasonably flexible focal length range. There’s no viewfinder, and you’ll find yourself limited to automatic shooting options, but if you just want something small and light for your holiday or travel, then it’s a good option.
Street Price: £102
Zoom: 18x (25-450mm)
The lowest price camera on this list, the SX610 is a good, reliable option if you need something simple and slim to chuck in your holiday bag. It’s got a 20.2 MP sensor, has inbuilt Wi-Fi, full HD video recording and a range of automatic shooting options.