Canon Powershot SX30IS
14.1 megapixels; 35x optical zoom; Optical (lens-shift) image stabilization; 24mm wide-angle; 2.7-inch articulating LCD monitor; 720p HD video (in-video zooming); Automatic and full manual control, including manual focus; Continuous/Servo auto-focus; Zoom-framing assist; DIGIC IV image processor; Hot-shoe port; Mini-HDMI output; Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Canon's SX30 superzoom sports a whopping 24-840mm lens, the longest focal range on the market. The tradeoff for that huge range seems to be soft image quality, according to expert and user reviews. Since its built around a standard CCD sensor, it lags behind its competitors in terms of high-ISO image quality, speed, and video ability (it "only" shoots 720p video, where most upcoming competitors shoot 1080i or 1080p). For a few months after its release, it was one of the better superzooms out there, and it's still generally a good camera. But now that the market has caught up and the SX30 remains at a stiff $400, we have to knock it down a peg.
The body is built from components typically reserved for dSLRs, like an ultrasonic motor and several special lens elements. The optical image stabilization is said to be the most effective Canon has ever included in a camera, compensating for an equivalent of 4.5 stops' worth of camera shake. If those last couple specs went over your head, trust us when we say that means it's a really good camera. The reviews we've seen so far indicate that the picture quality is quite soft at the tip of the telephoto end, which is frustrating with a camera at this price, but that's a sacrifice that you'll have to make for that kind of zooming capability. It's still one of the best superzooms that money can buy at the moment.