The Best Superzoom Camera



If your camera (or smartphone) doesn’t have the reach to capture the subjects you like to shoot—think nesting birds, airplanes, or the moon’s craters—a superzoom might be the solution. We’ve tested dozens of these versatile point-and-shoots over the past decade, and our current favorite is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300. Although its zoom isn’t as long as those of some rivals, it strikes a just-right balance of telephoto capability, user-friendly design, and excellent image quality.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300’s 24x zoom lens (25–600mm) is shorter than those of other superzooms but still provides ample reach for wildlife and travel photography. Its image quality is superior to what you can get from similar superzooms thanks to its f/2.8 constant-aperture lens, and its blazing-quick autofocus and burst shooting make it a great candidate for sports and action photography.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99
If portability is paramount—on a quick business trip, say, or a backcountry hike where you need to travel light—we think the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 is your best bet. Despite its 30x zoom lens and truly tiny body (just a little bigger and thicker than a pack of playing cards), it includes features many bigger cameras leave out, such as a nifty pop-up electronic viewfinder, customizable controls, and a flip-up selfie screen. The photo and video quality is great, if not quite a match for that of the Panasonic FZ300.
Canon PowerShot SX70 HS
If you need more zoom than the Panasonic FZ300 provides, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS has a 65x lens that goes both wider (21mm) and longer (1365mm). It can give you good-looking photos and decent video, and its simplified menus and button layout may make it more approachable than our top pick for less experienced photographers. Overall, though, we don’t think its photos look as good as what you can get out of the Panasonic, so don’t bite unless you’re certain you need more zoom.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
If you want even better image quality than the FZ300 provides—and are willing to sacrifice a little more zoom to get it—the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 delivers. Its 1-inch sensor captures far more detail than the tiny 1/2.3-inch sensors found in our other picks; that means images from this camera will still look great at 100 percent magnification on a monitor and will make beautiful prints. Sure, the FZ1000 has only a 16x zoom lens (25–400mm), but its f/2.8–4 aperture range creates beautifully blurred backgrounds that make the subject pop, and it lets you use lower ISO settings for cleaner, more natural-looking images in dim light.
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