Full-size megazoom cameras compared

Call them bridge cameras, longzooms, superzooms, or megazooms (as we do), they're all pretty much the same thing: a large lens slapped on the front of a point-and-shoot camera.

While that's a bit of an oversimplification, the fact remains that though these are full-featured models with digital SLR-style bodies, they still have the shooting performance and photo quality of a compact camera. That said, if you're after a long lens, point-and-shoot simplicity, and an affordable price (at least more so than for a dSLR that has comparable lenses), you've come to right roundup.

Editors' note: This post was originally published October 26, 2011, but is updated frequently. It was updated May 8, 2013, to include the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300.

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Olympus claims 810UZ is smallest 36x megazoom

Is a really long lens packed into a small camera body a good thing? We shall see, as today Olympus announced the 14-megapixel SP-810UZ, a megazoom camera measuring 4.2 inches by 2.9 inches by 2.9 inches with an ultrawide-angle f2.8-5.6 24-864mm lens, or a 36x zoom.

Though some may consider this a bridge camera simply because of its lens, I don't because it lacks semimanual and manual shooting modes. In fact, Olympus boasts that its lack of "time-consuming manual settings...frees you to concentrate on your subject." The 810UZ is full of scene modes and a scene-recognition auto mode as well as 10 Magic Filter creative modes: Pop Art, Pinhole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, Watercolor, Reflection, and Miniature. The camera also captures HD 720p-resolution movies at the touch of a button.

There's a 3-inch LCD on back for framing your shots, but to keep the camera small there is no viewfinder. Here's hoping its image stabilization is top notch because keeping that lens steady when fully extended won't be easy.

Estimated street price will be $329 when it hits stores in September. … Read more

Megacheap megazooms: 10 sub-$250 cameras with 10x or longer optical zoom

Ah, the lure of the long lens. Camera manufacturers have spent the past couple years waging a zoom war, trying to pack as much magnification into increasingly smaller camera bodies. A few of them, such as Nikon, Fujifilm, and Olympus, are offering both budget-friendly and high-end models of full-size megazooms, while just about all of the makers have a lower-cost compact megazoom in their lines.

It used to be impossible to find a 10x optical zoom camera for less than $200, but those days are officially in the past. Take the 10x zoom Kodak Z915 (pictured above), for example. It'… Read more

Kodak's new pocket-10: the EasyShare Z915

The only announcement to come from Kodak at PMA 2009 was for the EasyShare Z915: a $199.95 pocketable 10-megapixel compact camera with a 10X optical zoom lens and optical image stabilization. It's also powered by two, AA batteries and features a smallish (by today's standards at least) 2.5-inch LCD.

So it's a lot like the Canon PowerShot SX110 IS, except slightly higher resolution and a smaller LCD, but $50 less expensive. Or like the $299 Samsung HZ10W minus the 24mm-equivalent wide-angle lens or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3, though that one's $399 and features a … Read more

Olympus SP-570UZ gets firmware update

Last week, Olympus announced a firmware update to its 20x ultra-zoom, the SP-570 UZ, which was released in March 2008. The firmware update, version 1.1, is said to improve response while zooming, and corrects a part of the Swedish languages. For more information and instructions click here.

We generally recommend installing the latest firmware updates for your camera, so you can get the most out of your gear. For more information on firmware updates for a specific camera, visit the manufacturer's Web site. Before installing any firmware upgrade, always take the time to read through all of the … Read more

Sigma releases stabilized 18-200mm ultrazoom

Canon SLR (single-lens reflex) owners now have an answer to Nikon's 18-200mm ultrazoom--as long as they're willing to buy a non-Canon lens.

Japanese lensmaker Sigma this week announced it's begun selling its 18-200mm ultrazoom for Canon SLR cameras.

These lenses are flexible, but typically have lower image quality than zoom lenses with narrower ranges or "prime" lenses with a fixed focal length. They're convenient, though, and often are called "vacation lenses" because they're popular with people who don't want to carry a big, heavy bag of better lenses.

Sigma'… Read more

Zay cheese

In addition to its new M series of budget compact cameras, Kodak announced an ultrazoom compact and a high-megapixel compact for its Z series line of digital cameras on Tuesday.

Both cameras, set to be available this August for about $249, have Kodak's digital-image stabilization feature to assist with camera shake.

Kodak's Z1275 offers an impressive 12 megapixels for $249. (In this price range, 10 megapixels is on the better side of average.)

The Z1275 has a 2.5-inch LCD screen and will stitch together photos for one panoramic, a fun feature to have on board. It also … Read more