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Best Ultrazoom Cameras for the Holiday
by Laura Hicks -  11/7/2012

[click to view image]Ultrazoom digital cameras are small, compact and feature long optical zoom fixed lenses often of 20x to 30x, and boast superior image quality.  These cameras usually have built-in image stabilization technology to reduce shake and image blurriness. Many resemble DSLRs with sculpted handgrips, viewfinders and manual exposure controls.

While the mirrorless cameras have taken over the forums and chat rooms, the ultrazooms have not been sitting idly by. Designed for the casual photographer, ultrazooms boast a large range of focal distances. These cameras are used for photographing anything from your child's soccer game to your family vacation in Europe. Their mega zoom lenses can reach a whopping 1000mm equivalent. If versatility is what you are looking for, check out our list of great ultrazoom cameras.

If you don't see the perfect camera in the list we've provided, be sure to seek out buying advice in our "What Camera Should I Buy?" discussion forum. Our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best camera for you.


#1Nikon Coolpix P510


[click to view image]The Nikon Coolpix P510 is nothing short of impressive. The P510 is a compact DSLR sized P&S digicam with an f/3.3-5.9 24-1000mm (equivalent) zoom - currently the longest focal length zoom available on any fixed-lens digital camera. The P510 is a practical and utilitarian DSLR-sized camera that looks very similar to every other ultrazoom currently available. The P510 is not the camera for stylistas, but it will appeal to serious photographers who want to be able to cover a very broad zoom range photographic genres without having to carry a heavy DSLR, a sturdy tripod, and a bag of lenses.

Retailing at $429.95 it is our pick for the top ultrazoom camera.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Nikon Coolpix P510 Review

#2 Fujifilm Finepix HS20 EXR


[click to view image]Fujifilm makes some lofty claims about the FinePix HS20 in its product literature. Though it comes up short in some areas, good image quality and overall performance make it a nice ultrazoom option.

Introduced at the 2011 CES, Fujilim's Finepix HS20 EXR ultrazoom compact digital camera (henceforth the HS20) is the replacement for the HS10. The new camera gets a hefty bump in resolution to 16 megapixels from 10 in its predecessor. More significantly, the resolution increase is accompanied by a slight increase in the physical size of the new sensor, which is of the backside illumination variety (BSI) that offers the promise of better high ISO performance over conventional designs.

The Fujifilm Finepix HS20 EXR can be found for under $400.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Fujifilm Finepix HS20 EXR Review

#3 Samsung WB150F


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The Samsung WB150F has two primary attractions on a very lengthy list of advanced features. It carries an 18x Schneider-Kreuznach optical zoom lens, covering a range equivalent to 24-432mm in 35mm terms. It also offers wireless photo uploading. This it offers in spades - not only is it capable of connecting to Wi-Fi networks, its able to make a direct connection with a compatible tablet or smartphone for file transfer without the need for any wireless network. With a Wi-Fi connection enabled, files can be sent straight to several social platforms including Facebook.

The Samsung WB150F can be found for the small price tag of $160!

Rating Average: 7 out of 10

Read the Samsung WB150F First Look

#4 Sony Cyber-Shot HX200V


[click to view image]The Sony HX200V does not come up short on features - GPS, a 30x zoom, and Sweep Panorama will keep any shooter busy. The Cyber-shot HX200 features a 30x Carl Zeiss zoom lens covering the 27 to 810mm focal range (in 4:3 format; 29 to 870mm in 16:9) with maximum apertures of f/2.8 and f/5.6 at the wide and telephoto ends, respectively.

The Sony Cyber-shot HX200V has a ton of features, its price tag is a bit heafty at $479.99.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Sony Cyber-Shot HX200V Review

#5 Canon PowerShot SX40 HS


[click to view image]The Canon SX40 produces sharp, high quality images in most conditions. However, it isn't immune to the limitations of a smaller lens and sensor.

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is the newest of Canon's all-in-one ultrazoom compact cameras. About the same size as an entry level DSLR, the SX40 offers a lower price and the added convenience of a single built-in lens. Unlike most other compacts the SX40 has an incredible effective zoom range of 35x, from 24mm to an amazing 840mm. Its extensive feature set also includes full 1080p video and various high speed shooting modes for both capturing action and slowing it down.

The Canon PowerShot is available for $429.99.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Review

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