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The 6 Best Zoom Cameras - Winter 2024 Reviews

Best Zoom Cameras

Zoom range is the last bastion of the point-and-shoot. Though smartphones have slowly devoured the point-and-shoot market and are becoming more and more impressive in their own right, they still have one major limitation: optical zoom. Physically speaking, you can't get the kind of optical zoom range on a smartphone that you can get with a dedicated superzoom camera. These fixed-lens bridge or compact cameras may not give you the same flexibility you get with interchangeable-lens mirrorless or DSLR cameras, but they do offer long zoom ranges with more portability and convenience.

If you're shopping for a zoom camera, look no further. We've bought over 100 cameras, and below, you'll find the best cameras we've tested with fixed zoom lenses. If you're looking for a camera well-suited to capturing wildlife, check out our favorite cameras for wildlife photography. You can also see our best compact cameras for travel if portability is a priority or the best cheap and budget cameras we've tested if you're shopping for a camera on a tighter budget.

  1. Best Zoom Camera

    The Sony RX10 IV is one of the best zoom cameras you can get. While it isn't cheap, it's an incredibly well-rounded bridge camera with impressive tech. Its stacked 1-inch sensor keeps rolling shutter to a minimum and allows for burst shooting at up to 24 fps. Beyond that, its high-resolution OLED EVF gives you a sharp view of your subjects, and the camera even records decent 4k video quality.

    With a 24-600mm full-frame equivalent focal length, its built-in Zeiss lens has a fairly wide 25x optical zoom range. Though it isn't the longest zoom range on this list, the camera makes up for that with features like a weather-sealed body, fantastic ergonomics, and a great battery life. In addition, you get a highly reliable autofocus system with real-time subject detection and tracking. Ultimately, if you're looking for a well-rounded zoom camera in a relatively portable and well-constructed package, and money is no obstacle, this is the one to get.

    See our review

  2. Best Superzoom Camera

    A list of the top zoom cameras wouldn't be complete without the Nikon COOLPIX P1000. It's the camera to beat if we're talking sheer zoom range. With a stunning 125x optical zoom, its bazooka of a lens can capture details on the moon's surface. Of course, that 24-3000 mm equivalent lens means this isn't the best choice if you want something even remotely portable, but it's an impressive camera nonetheless.

    It's best suited to shooting in broad daylight because of its small sensor and narrow aperture at max zoom, and you'll likely need a tripod or something else to stabilize the camera when shooting at the tail end of its focal length range. However, despite its limitations, the P1000 still has something to offer besides awe-inspiring zoom, including RAW photo capture and 4k video capability, along with a high-res EVF and fully articulated screen.

    See our review

  3. Best Compact Zoom Camera

    If you're looking for the best compact zoom camera, it doesn't get much better than the Sony RX100 VII. The RX100 series has long been a favorite for street and travel photos, with cameras that balance zoom range with a wide array of features you don't often see in compact point-and-shoots. Like the Sony RX10 IV above, it uses a stacked 1-inch type sensor that captures above-average image quality and has a quick burst mode for faster-moving subjects.

    In addition, it has a tilt-out screen for waist-level shots, a pop-up viewfinder that comes in handy on sunny days, and a small pop-up flash that you can use as a fill light in harsher lighting. Plus, Sony's ever-reliable real-time AF tracking ensures you'll rarely miss focus. With a 24-200mm full-frame equivalent focal length, it doesn't have nearly as much zoom range as other options here, but if the price isn't a dealbreaker, this is one of the best premium point-and-shoots on the market. If you want to save some money, you can also find older models in the RX100 series on the used market.

    See our review

  4. Best Mid-Range Zoom Camera

    The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II is the zoom camera Goldilocks would choose. It's less premium and well-built than the Sony RX10 IV, but it's sturdier than budget options, with a great balance of features and performance for its price. Its built-in lens has a fairly wide-ranging 25-400mm equivalent focal length, giving you plenty of flexibility to shoot far-away subjects like birds. It also uses a 1-inch sensor, so image quality is good for its class.

    If that wasn't enough, the camera comes packed with a ton of beginner-friendly shooting modes. That includes a '4k PHOTO' mode that lets you pull stills out of 30 fps 4k video clips, which is handy for isolating fleeting moments of fast action. Its battery life is also good. Ultimately, this is the way to go if you're looking for a bridge camera that won't break the bank but still offers a well-rounded feature set, good ergonomics, and decent build quality.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Zoom Camera

    Those on a tighter budget should look to the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80. This budget bridge cam feels notably cheaper than the pricier picks above, with a plasticky exterior and fewer frills, like a fixed LCD monitor and relatively low-resolution viewfinder. It's also one of the best-value bridge cameras you can get, offering a lot of features at a reasonable price.

    Though it uses a smaller sensor than higher-end models, its 20-1200mm lens gives you a very wide 60x optical zoom range, allowing you to easily capture far-off subjects. On top of that, it can record 4k video and shares some of the extra features found on the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II, including a '4k PHOTO' mode for freezing moments of fast action and a macro focus mode for close-up photography. All of that, along with simple controls and plenty of creative shooting modes for beginners, give this camera a lot of value for its price.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Compact Zoom Camera

    Looking for something small on an equally small budget? Check out the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80. It's got a 30x zoom lens with optical stabilization, a flip-up screen, and a relatively high-resolution viewfinder—all in a highly portable form factor that makes it a great fit for travel.

    Naturally, image quality isn't remarkable, especially compared to a larger-sensor option like the Sony RX100 VII, but the camera's 24-720mm equivalent lens makes it incredibly versatile. It even supports 4k video recording and has a small grip, making it fairly comfortable to shoot with. On top of that, its battery life is better than most compact cameras. Overall, this is the camera to get if you need a reasonably-priced point-and-shoot with plenty of zoom range.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Canon PowerShot SX70 HS: The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is a great zoom camera with a longer zoom range than the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II. It's a good mid-range choice if you want to save some money, though it uses a smaller sensor, resulting in worse overall image quality. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 29, 2024: Checked article for accuracy and clarity, with no change to recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras with built-in zoom lenses. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our point-and-shoot zoom cameras in order of longest to shortest zoom range. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.