Rise of the Super Zoom Cameras – What You Need to Know

You will have no doubt seen the videos doing the rounds in news stories and online, of cameras that can zoom right in on the moon, airplanes flying in the sky and other seemingly massively zoomed in on items. These new Super Zoom cameras could almost replace a telescope! But what are they? And are they up to task when it comes to day to day general photo taking? We’ve got the details for you.

What Are Super Zoom Cameras?

The 2 best known Super Zoom cameras currently available are the Nikon Coolpix P900 and the Canon Powershot SX60HS. Both are Bridge cameras and feature massive optical zoom capabilities. This, coupled with digital zoom, enables users to zoom in many times over what traditional cameras are capable of. Take for example, Canon’s offering. It features a 65X zoom, which can be extended to 260X digitally.

How Much Are These Cameras to Purchase?

One would imagine, given the extreme focal lengths on offer here that these cameras would be very expensive to buy. Especially given that, if you were to purchase an equivalent focal length lense for a DSLR camera, you would be parting with a serious chunk of change. However, you may be surprised to learn that these types of cameras (taking the 2 examples above for instance), can be purchased pretty inexpensively. Amazon currently lists them at $449, cheaper than a full blown DSLR, and in ball park range for a pretty good Bridge camera.

But Are They Any Good For General Photography Tasks?

The truth is, very few Bridge cameras are as good or as capable as DSLR cameras, and this rings true for the Super Zooms also. But for those who aren’t too worried about apertures or exposure times, then these cameras are perfectly capable. The Powershot is capable of outputting in RAW format for example, enabling you to improve on the photos taken,

A La a DSLR. And they handle more like a DSLR than a straight up digital camera too, with similar styles of control wheels and options. When they are at full zoom digitally however, this is when things begin to break down a little. Photos become extremely grainy, as does the videos captured (with these cameras, it’s often at 720p, at 30 FPS). 

Who Are These Cameras Best For?

If you are pretty new to photography, or are looking for a slightly smaller camera to tote with you, these are perfectly capable for your needs. Indeed, if you are someone who adores watching the night sky, the telescope like zoom on these cameras will be a delight to you. I myself have observed the moons of Jupiter through the lens of the Canon Powershot SX60, something I never thought would be possible through a “lowly” bridge camera – any camera for that matter. For the price tag, you are getting a very capable device, with massive zoom capabilities, so these are well worth considering.