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The best ultra-zoom cameras sport zoom lenses capable of 12x and over. This means that the user gets close to the action, but at the cost of speed and image quality. These megazooms need about 0.5 seconds for a picture. The more the zoom, the greater the shutter lag, the heavier the camera and the more the chance for camera shake when zoomed out. There is also the possibility of extra vibration pick up resulting in a noisy image. Look for ultra-zoom compacts with offsets like back-illuminated CMOS sensor that offers more speed and less noise, or check whether the extended zoom compact you are researching includes digital image stabilization, or better still, optic image stabilization.

This list of the best megazoom compact cameras is narrowed down to the compact cameras which have optical zoom 12X and over.

Browse All Top Ultra-zoom Compact Digital Cameras »

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX500
Olympus SH-2
Canon PowerShot SX610 HS
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX500
Olympus SH-2
Canon PowerShot SX610 HS
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Release Date
Aug 2015
Mar 2015
Sep 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Camera Type
Compact
Compact
Compact
Compact
Compact
Optical Zoom
30.0 x
30.0 x
30.0 x
24.0 x
18.0 x
Resolution
18.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
18.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
20.0 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
BSI-CMOS
CMOS
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
Image Sensor Size
2.5 mm
2.5 mm
2.5 mm
2.5 mm
2.5 mm

  • The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V has an incredible zoom range and an excellent EVF, but its images suffer when the light gets low.


  • We liked last year's HX60V, but with slightly underwhelming image quality and no EVF or lens barrel control ring like the competition from Panasonic, it couldn't quite compete. Sony has clearly listened though and the Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V addresses most of our concerns.
    The move to an 18.2MP Exmor R sensor has given the HX90V a much-needed image quality boost, and although the results are no better than the class-leading Panasonic TZ70, they're certainly on a par, whether shooting in daylight or indoors.


  • With the HX90V/HX90, Sony presents a serious contender for the title of best 30x compact: it provides all-round performance, a plethora of features and is the only model to offer an electronic viewfinder, adjustable screen and customisable settings ring, all in one compact package. Indeed, despite having all these features, it's still the most compact camera of its kind. Unfortunately, this all makes for a relatively high RRP.


  • The addition of the versatile vari-angle screen, a dedicated command dial, enhanced GPS tracking and NFC connectivity make the new Coolpix S9900 Nikon's best travel-zoom camera yet, although it doesn't make any great strides forwards in terms of image quality or general performance.

  • Rating Unavailable

    - Not so good are the remote shooting features which remain very basic.
    - The COOLPIX S9900 also adds NFC for easier Wifi connections, allowing you to intitiate wireless transfers and remote control by gently tapping your smartphone against the camera body.


  • The Nikon S9900 offers a very long zoom range in a surprisingly compact body, but there's no overcoming the limitations of the small sensor, and the image quality isn't great – you can't shoot raw files, either.


  • Compact cameras with 30x optical zoom are becoming fairly commonplace, but the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX500 stands out from the crowd by being noticeably smaller than the competition. It’s a pity this comes at the expense of ergonomics though, as the camera could really benefit from better gripping points.
    The only other significant shortcoming with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX500 is that you don’t get an electronic viewfinder.


  • The Olympus Stylus SH-2 is a stylish compact camera with a 24x zoom. It's a solid performer when shooting Raw, but its JPG output is disappointing.


  • Back in 2014 when we reviewed the Olympus Stylus SH-1, we really wanted to like that camera. After all, it was a beautifully crafted product with a great feature set, responsive operation and a versatile lens. However, we were somewhat let down by its image quality, specifically its sub-par JPEG engine and lack of raw image capture.
    Thankfully, Olympus addressed both of these issues in the new SH-2 model.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The Olympus Stylus SH-2 is a powerful compact digicam that offers tremendous versatility with its 24x optical zoom lens and 5-axis image stabilization. Easy and creative shooting modes get the most out of the 16-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, letting you just snap away.


  • The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS is an attractive compact camera with an 18x zoom lens, but image quality takes a step back from last year's edition.


  • The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS is a well-designed camera that’s easy to use thanks to its chunky, ergonomic build, and an intuitive menu design. You can also be sure it’ll snap accurately focussed and well exposed shots.
    Performance and image quality are also good, though not outstanding. The switch to a 20.2-megaixel sensor sounds great on paper, but in reality the camera can only resolve marginally more detail than the 16MP SX600 HS.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS is the latest basic point-n-shoot model from Canon, but there just isn't much in this camera that will make you take notice of it. The SX610 offers 20.2-megapixels of resolution, but its image quality simply isn't where it should be for a camera with that much resolution and an MSRP of $249. Even under nearly perfect lighting conditions, the PowerShot SX610's image quality isn't good enough to make mid-to-large-sized prints. This model has no manual control features.