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Best Digital Cameras for Advanced Photographers

Last updated on 03/01/2011

For photographers who need a little extra power, but want to avoid the cost and headaches associated with digital SLRs, these Extended Zoom cameras will do the trick. Plenty of advanced features at a fraction of the cost.
With great power comes great responsibility, and with the great responsibility of a high-end professional digital camera comes great anxiety. So why not pick an affordable, advanced camera that gives you the power you crave without making you endlessly fret over a multi-thousand dollar investment? No confusing and expensive lenses, no enormous price tags; these extended zoom cameras give you superior performance and image quality without the headaches. Below, you'll find our top picks for extended zoom/advanced digital cameras.

Canon Powershot S5 IS
New Twist on an Old Favorite
The Canon Powershot S5 IS is an excellent extended zoom/advanced camera, capable of capturing spectacular imagery with its 8MP sensor and 12x optical zoom. Sure, it's not as long-range as some of the newer 18x models, but that just means it's more compact and portable. 12x will get you plenty far, as will Canon's reputation for reliability and quality. Even on such a powerful camera, Canon manages to maintain a user-friendly, approachable feel that will satisfy photographers of every skill level.
Quick Specs: 8 Megapixels, 12x Optical Zoom, Image Stabilization, AA Batteries
The Fuji FinePix S100FS retains the comforts of a point-and-shoot while offering the features that advanced photographers crave. Both manual and automatic controls make the camera approachable, and a tremendous 10000 ISO (low-light) capability is just one of its many highlights. While it doesn't have the longest zoom among Extended Zoom cameras, the S100FS, nevertheless, has impressive features and is a fine choice for users who are not yet ready for SLR photography.
Quick Specs: 11.1 Megapixels, 14.3x Optical Zoom, Image Stabilization, Lithium-ion Battery
Olympus SP-570 UZ
A Truly Excellent Extended Zoom Camera
[Read our full Olympus SP-570 UZ Review] Adding to its stellar Extended Zoom lineage, Olympus has another hit with the SP-570 UZ. The camera lends users creative power with its manual control options, but with dual image stabilization and face detection technology, the SP-570 UZ takes pristine photographs. And the 20x optical zoom of the SP-570 gives the camera more range than many of its competitors. Excellent performance coupled with creative flexibility makes the SP-570 UZ a model to seriously consider.
Quick Specs: 10 Megapixels, 20x Optical Zoom, Image Stabilization, AA Batteries
Canon Powershot G9
RAW Power
The Canon Powershot G9 brings some fire back to the advanced 'G' series, reconciling some of the problems consumers had with its predecessor the G7. The G9 reintroduces the RAW image format, allowing photographers to take uncompressed, full-data images. It ups the ante with a top-of-the-line 12 megapixel sensor, and luxurous 3.0-inch LCD display. The G9 is a serious shooter, and if you've got the chops to put its many features to work, your reward will be stunning, sensational photographs.
Quick Specs: 12 Megapixels, 6x Optical Zoom, Image Stabilization, Lithium-ion Battery
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