Best Ultrazoom Cameras

Sections: Cameras for Beginners, Point and Shoot

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Canon-PowerShot-SX50-HS-lef Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Designed with advanced features, fast focusing, and multiple-shot speed, the PowerShot SX50 HS boasts a whopping 50x optical zoom, 24–1200mm equivalent lens and significantly reduced lag time than previous PowerShots.

The first point-and-shoot model with a high-powered 50x optical zoom, 24mm wide-angle lens with optical image stabilization to combat blurring, the SX50 HS doesn’t just get you up close to the action—it delivers image quality in every shot. Whether you’re shooting a large group, fast action, or a faraway subject, Canon’s HS system—a combination of a 12.1-megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor and Digic 5 image processor—will let you create beautiful images every time. And, you can record your memorable moments in lifelike 1080p Full HD video with stereo sound. You can even use the camera’s high-speed autofocus and optical zoom when recording video. Plus its high-speed burst mode lets you capture 12.1MP photos at 10 frames per sec.

Other notable features include a 2.8-inch, vari-angle LCD screen (461,000 dots) and zoom framing assist, which makes it easy for you to locate, track, and keep subjects in the frame while using the extreme telephoto lens. By just pressing a button, the zoom framing-assist-seek function remembers your previous zoom position, zooms out to let you locate a subject, and zooms back into the saved position when the button is released. A second zoom framing-assist-lock button permits the camera to lock the image stabilization onto the center of the frame for even more correction of camera movement.

Canon’s PowerShot SX50 HS also features an electronic viewfinder, smart auto mode, which selects the best settings for you based on 58 predefined shooting situations, and the ability to capture 12-bit RAW + JPEG image files for instant file backups and greater ease when you post-process and edit images. A hot shoe lets you use optional accessories such as Canon Speedlites or additional lighting units. $449.99.


Fujifilm-S8400W-ReviewFujifilm FinePix S8400W

If you want the features of a digital SLR without the size, the all-in-one FinePix S8400W may be your model. It boasts a Fujinon 44x optical zoom lens (24–1056mm equivalent) and a 0.39-inch super-macro mode so you can cover a huge focal range without having to change a lens.

“The new FinePix S8400W is a long-zoom bridge camera with amazing performance and high-speed operation, giving photo enthusiasts the range and quality that they are looking for,” said David Troy, director, Marketing, Digital Cameras, Electronic Imaging, Fujifilm North America Corporation. “And with its built-in Wi-Fi, users can easily connect and upload their favorite images to their smartphone or tablet for quick online sharing.”

The 44x optical zoom lens has a fast aperture of f/2.9–6.5 and an optical image stabilization system so you get handheld shots free of blur. Its 16-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor provides low-noise, crisp photos at sensitivities as high as ISO 12,800, even of dark scenes. And this camera is quick, with an autofocus speed of 0.3 second, a start-up time of 1.0 second, and a 0.5-sec interval between shots—as well as a full-resolution continuous shooting speed of 10 frames per sec.

The camera also has an easy-to-use mode dial for shooting selection, dual zoom control for speed, and zooming; a 3.0-inch, 460k-dot LCD screen; and an electronic viewfinder with 201k-dot resolution for easy composition. For worry-free shooting, you can select SR auto mode (scene recognition), and the S8400W will analyze the framed scene and apply the best setting from six scene types: portrait, landscape, night, macro, night portrait, and backlit portrait. To add a creative flair, there are six in-camera special effects filters, like cross screen that creates starbursts around bright objects, pop color, and soft focus.

The automation doesn’t stop there: when recording Full HD 1080i/60-fps movies with stereo sound, via a dedicated movie button, movie scene recognition will ensure that settings are optimized for your subject. There are also in-camera movie-editing features, like movie trimming and movie join. And if the action is moving too fast, the FinePix S8400W can freeze it at an amazing 480 fps, so you see every detail and watch things happening step by step in slow motion. Movies are also recording in the H.264 format for easy uploading.

When you want to share you endeavors, simply connect an HDMI cable to your HDTV for playback. Or the FinePix S8400W’s new wireless feature lets your transfer photos and movies to smartphones, tablets, and computers to upload them to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. To connect the camera to a smartphone/tablet, just download the free Fujifilm Camera application to the iPhone/iPad or Android device. Once connected it will transfer up to 30 pictures at a time.

Also notable, the camera’s Wi-Fi capability lets you back up photos on your home computer. Once you install the free Fujifilm PC AutoSave software onto the computer, select a photo backup folder, and link a Wi-Fi router with the S8400W, the camera automatically backs up photos to the PC.

Fujifilm’s FinePix S8400W, which runs on four readily available AA alkaline batteries, retails for $349.95.

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