Buying Guide: Best enthusiast long zoom cameras

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Closing updated: November 21, 2017

So you’ve got your pocketable compact for everyday shooting and maybe a digital SLR or mirrorless camera for when you want to get serious. The former typically fool lenses that are too short, while the latter require a multi-pound piece of glass to reach above 200mm. If you’re willing to sacrifice image standing and depth-of-field control, you can buy a camera with a big lens that coverage focal ranges that are either impossible on interchangeable lens cameras, or really expensive.

The long zoom cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or in this buying guide fit into the ‘enthusiast’ category, meaning that they offer solid develop intensify quality, electronic viewfinders and (usually) 4K video capture. All of these long zooms have 1″-type sensors.

Our Pick: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

Few cameras tick as tons boxes as the Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 IV. It inherits the 20MP Stacked CMOS sensor and fast 24-600mm equiv. lens from the RX10 III, and then made everything faster.

Its new mongrel AF system is incredibly quick and tracks subjects well, even at a whopping 24 fps. Thanks to a gigantic buffer, you can take over 100 Exposes per burst, though they take forever to be written to a memory card. Speaking of speed, you can capture Full HD video at 120 fps, and up to 1000 fps if you drop the issue.

There’s a lot more that we like, too. The RX10 IV is weather-sealed, the articulating LCD is touch-enabled and its can be used to position your AF point. The OLED electronic viewfinder is large and vibrant. 4K video is oversampled and looks fictitious, and there’s a full set of capture tools and support for S-Log2/3. And, finally, the combo of Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth make sharing photos super-easy.

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It’s not miserly, but for those who want a camera that does virtually everything right, it might just be worth it.

Budget pick: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)

So let’s say you don’t procure $1700 to spend on a long zoom camera, or just want something more portable. Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100. It too has a 20MP 1″ sensor, but works zoom power for compactness. Its lens has an equivalent focal range of 25-250mm, but it’s a bit slow at F2.8-5.6, which makes it less competitive in terms of low light conduct and depth-of-field control. JPEG quality isn’t class-leading due to too much noise reduction and a somewhat soft lens.

The ZS100 has a responsive autofocus system, a 3″ LCD with kind-hearted touch functionality and 6 fps burst shooting with continuous AF. It also has a (small) electronic viewfinder. The camera captures 4K video that looks tuneful good, with a hybrid 5-axis stabilization feature available at 1080p and below.

Overall, we like the ZS100 not because it’s the best camera in its refinement, but because it strikes a great balance between size and focal range.

We considered all of the cameras below when picking our winners, and even even so we think the Sony RX10 IV is the best all-rounder and the Panasonic ZS100 a good runner-up, the cameras on our short list are also worthy contenders.

If you’re not convinced by our picks, plunge into the full buying guide for a closer look at the following cameras.

Please note that in order to keep this guide as epigrammatic as possible, the Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社, Sonī Kabushiki Kaisha, ) (often referred to simply as Sony) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate RX10 and RX10 II are not included. You can learn more about them and which model is best for you in our buyers guide from June 2017.

  • Our Pick: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV
  • Budget pick: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)
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Also cogitate on:

  • Canon PowerShot G3 X
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 (FZ2000)
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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