Digital Cameras 2013

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Best Extended Zoom Digital Cameras

Last updated on 03/18/2013

Somewhere between point-and-shoot territory and DSLRs, Extended Zoom cameras cater to users who want both sophistication and affordability. In addition to their long lenses, Extended Zoom cameras include a variety of features comparable to DSLRs and present a great option for users who have more than just a casual interest in digital cameras. Despite the multitude of features, Extended Zoom cameras are user-friendly, and you won't have to take out a second mortgage to finance your purchase.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Constant 2.8 Makes a Comeback
from $481.02
The Panasonic FZ200 is undoubtedly sitting pretty as the extended zoom camera of choice for 2012. Although much pricier than its competitors, the FZ200 crams a 24x f2.8 lens into a body not much larger or heavier than its predecessor, the FZ150. Other features, like a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, tilting screen, fast autofocus, 1080/60p video capture and 12fps burst mode, are just icing on the cake. The 12 megapixel sensor isn't any larger than the competition, and indeed reviews haven't noticed a big change in image quality, but that fast lens helps keep ISOs up to two stops lower at the long end than the competition.

Runner-up: Fujifilm X-S1
Nikon COOLPIX P510
Ridiculously Long Zoom
from $319.00
[Read our full Nikon COOLPIX P510 Review]

The P510 digital camera is the first camera to break the 40x zoom barrier, heralding a new age of ridiculously versatile zooms in handheld packages.

The Nikon P510 is the follow-up to 2011’s P500, a well-reviewed camera that pushed the limits of zoom range in a compact. That camera’s 36x optical zoom, however, pales in comparison to the P510’s monstrous 42x range, a number that handily eclipses the offerings from every other major manufacturer in the market. While that incredible lens is certainly the selling point here, the P510 offers a wealth of other features that keep it competitive too, such as a 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, GPS tracker, an electronic viewfinder as well as tilting LCD, and a handy zoom lever on the lens barrel

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Longest Zoom Ever
from $399.00
Extended zoom cameras are all about zoom, and the SX50 HS has once again pushed the limits of what we believed was possible in a handheld camera. The SX50's 50x optical zoom surpasses the Nikon P510's 42x, making it the most lusted-for lens by birders the world over. The zoom begins at 24mm and stretches all the way out to 1200mm, a length that even with Canon's claimed 4.5 stops of stabilization will be a shaky mess. Canon has also thrown wireless into the SX50 HS and claims much-improved autofocus performance over its predecessor the SX40.

Runners-up: Nikon P510, Fujifilm HS30EXR