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This list of best ultra-zoom digital cameras under $500 price range has DSLRs and point and shoot cameras with optical zoom of over 12x suitable for nature and wildlife photography. Some of the best Bridge cameras are also available under this list of ultra-zoom digital cameras. These digital cameras also offer a camera resolution of over 14 megapixel.

Browse All Top Ultra-zoom Digital Cameras Under $500 »

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Nikon Coolpix P610
Samsung WB2200F
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40/ZS30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Nikon Coolpix P610
Samsung WB2200F
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 Digital Camera
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Release Date
Aug 2015
Mar 2015
Apr 2015
Apr 2014
Mar 2013
Optical Zoom
30.0 x
30.0 x
60.0 x
60.0 x
20.0 x
Camera Type
Compact
Compact
SLR-like (bridge)
SLR-like (bridge)
Compact
Resolution
18.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
18.0 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
BSI-CMOS
CMOS
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
MOS, 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.

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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.


  • At £340/$500, the Nikon Coolpix P610 is pretty pricey for a camera that doesn’t offer any better image quality than a well-sorted compact camera. However, you do get an awful lot of bang for your buck.
    Although a 60x optical zoom range no longer makes the P610 top dog in this sector (the Canon SX60 HS has a 65x range, and Nikon’s new P900 boasts an outrageous 83x lens), it still gives pretty much all the focal length flexibility you could ever need.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The Nikon CoolPix P610 is a compact digicam with a huge 60x optical zoom lens that allows you to be ready for any situation. Excellent performance and good overall image quality makes this camera a must see for travel or anyone looking for an affordable camera for any situation.


  • A well performing camera that produces good quality images, especially in favourable conditions. If you're looking for a long zoom or holiday camera, Nikon has produced a good contender. But if you want raw shooting, look at the Canon SX60 instead.


  • The Samsung WB2200F's 60x lens can capture virtually any scene, but it suffers from image noise and slow autofocus.


  • You have to hand it to Samsung for producing a bridge camera which stands out from the crowd, but it’s also quite a risky move. Although the WB2200F is roughly the same weight as many of its direct rivals, that dual grip design makes it considerably bigger. Sure, the excellent 600-shot battery life helps offset this size increase, but carrying a second battery with a smaller, single-grip bridge camera would give similar power reserves and save space.


  • A full-featured bridge camera that produces perfectly good images, but is let down by its AF system and a few interface quirks.


  • While last years' Lumix DMC-TZ30 / ZS25 model was more of a modest upgrade rather than a radical departure from what had gone before, 2013's DMC-TZ40 / ZS30 feels like a much more significant step forward for Panasonic's wildly popular travel-zoom range. The TZ40 is veritably stuffed to the gills with cutting-edge features, while the combination of a 20x zoom, effective stabilisation system and good image quality is hard to resist.


  • Impressive, but so far so similar to much of the competition. Where the TZ40 / ZS30 really differs from its rivals though is the implementations of various technologies. Amazingly it remains the only pocket super-zoom of its peer group to employ a touchscreen which genuinely enhances control and selective focusing. Of the models with GPS, the TZ40 / ZS30 is the only one with a built-in landmark database and mapping facilities.


  • Overall, this is an excellent camera, which should be one of the highest considerations for those looking for the ideal travel compact that offers more than some of the standard options on the market.


Top 5 ultra-zoom digital camera under $500:

  1. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
  2. Nikon Coolpix S9900
  3. Nikon Coolpix P610
  4. Samsung WB2200F
  5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 Digital Camera