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Ultra-zoom cameras are most suited for very long distance photography. The key enabling feature is a very high optical zoom. The best ultra-zooms though combine the high zoom range with an equally effective image stabilization.

Most standard cameras max out at 4-5x optical zoom and max 10x optical zoom but ultra zoom cameras reach upto 30x optical zoom and some even as high as 50x optical zoom. These are also known as megazooms or bird zoom or superzoom.

Taking pics at such long distances can easily lead to blurred or fuzzy images with the slightest of hand shakes. Consequently the best ultra-zoom cameras come with very good image stabilization also. The image stabilization is the key when it comes to taking pictures with ultra-zooms.

Typically ultra-zooms come with an optical image stabilization, which is unlike the inbody stabilization which is found in high end DSLR's. The inbody stabilization uses the internal camera dynamics to stabilize the lens. Some of the best cameras released in 2016 have very good ultra-zooming capabilities.

Browse All Top Ultra-zoom Digital Cameras of 2016 »

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Canon PowerShot G3 X
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Nikon Coolpix P900
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Canon PowerShot G3 X
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Nikon Coolpix P900
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
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Release Date
Jul 2015
Aug 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Jul 2014
Optical Zoom
25.0 x
30.0 x
83.3 x
30.0 x
16.0 x
Camera Type
SLR-like (bridge)
Compact
SLR-like (bridge)
Compact
SLR-like (bridge)
Resolution
20.0 Megapixel
18.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
20.0 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
CMOS
CMOS
LCD Screen Size
3.2 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
Image Sensor Size
13.23 mm
2.5 mm
2.5 mm
2.5 mm
13.23 mm

  • The new Canon PowerShot G3 X is a solid super-zoom camera for enthusiast photographers, offering a wealth of options for shooting both stills and video, excellent image quality, speedy auto-focusing, intuitive and configurable handling, and solid construction. Unfortunately, it's rather ham-strung by the strange omission of a built-in viewfinder - trying to hold the Canon PowerShot G3 X at arm's length whilst using the full extent of the 25x zoom lens results in too many misses due to camerashake.

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    The Canon PowerShot G3 X certainly has some of the same drawbacks that you find with other fixed lens, large zoom cameras, but its extremely good image quality more than makes up for those issues. Add in a tiltable, high-resolution, touch screen LCD, a 25x optical zoom lens, a good mix of manual control and auto shooting modes, and great battery life, and the G3 X is a really good camera.


  • The G3 X delivers SLR-like zoom capabilities in a compact package thanks to its excellent lens and image stabilisation, only falling down when faced with fast-moving subjects. It's not a beautiful camera, but it's well built and easy to handle.


  • 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 Nikon Coolpix P900 boasts the longest zoom range of any camera on the market, but a lack of detail at higher ISOs holds it back.


  • Using zoom ratios seems to be the new way to sell cameras where once it was all about the megapixels. Here on the Nikon Coolpix P900 we have an 83x optical zoom, which is currently the market leader. However, to get to that kind of ratio, you need to have a huge camera and that won’t be to everybody’s tastes.


  • The P900 is the longest-zoom bridge camera in the world – for now, at least – but it's also big, heavy and expensive. Image quality at shorter focal lengths is good but falls away at high zooms settings.


  • 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.

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    - 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.


  • - Body materials feel a little plasticky compared to the Sony RX10.
    - Connector compartment door is fiddly to open and close.
    - Smartphone app used with built-in WiFi is a bit clunky and unituitive.
    - Plenty of dedicated, customizable controls keep you out of the menu system.
    - Bright, versatile 25-400mm eq. f/2.8-4 lens with very good optical performance is incredibly fun to shoot with.


  • The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is a formidable still and video camera thanks to a big 1-inch sensor and 4K recording capability.


  • The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is a premium bridge camera for a premium price. And yet, for anyone who requires 4K-video shooting without the need to change lenses, the FZ1000 is a so far unique product within its bridge camera class. But it’s not just about video; as that one-inch sensor and broad focal range equivalent to 24-400mm in 35mm film terms further attests: as it stands Panasonic’s latest bridge camera is arguably its most ‘future proofed’ yet.