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How to Find the Right Superzoom Camera
Superzoom cameras let you shoot both wide-angle and extreme telephoto images without having to swap lenses. A single superzoom camera can capture a sweeping mountainous landscape and also zoom in on a single bird perched atop a tree thousands of feet away. This flexibility makes such cameras well suited to stuff like capturing stick-and-ball sports or track and field, isolating details in distant architecture, or documenting wildlife. They’re especially popular choices for vacations, where bag space is at a premium.
Most of these cameras mimic the design and control layout of DSLRs but are smaller, lighter, and usually less expensive. With the exception of a small subset of cameras like our upgrade pick, they also have very small sensors, as most point-and-shoots do. That means their image quality is only marginally better than what you can get out of a high-end smartphone. These photos will look great on Facebook or in an email, but view them at 100 percent screen magnification, and you’ll see excessive image noise, artifacts, and blurred details due to the cameras’ noise-reduction algorithms—even at the lowest ISO settings. Image quality degrades even further as you raise the sensitivity.
Shooting in good light with these small-sensor cameras, you can usually capture enough detail to make a nice-looking 8-by-10 print.