Best superzoom?

Started Feb 15, 2014 | Questions thread
noflashplease Senior Member • Posts: 2,490
Fujifilm X-S1 at $349, Olympus Stylus 1 If You Need Something Smaller

Speaking from personal experience, I've had my fill of cheap, all plastic, motorized super zoom cameras. The prices keep falling but so does the perceived build quality.

This is exactly why I went for the huge, all metal body, manual zoom, Fujifilm X-S1. It actually feels like the $700-800 camera it was supposed to be when it premiered in North America in 2012. For $350, it's an absolute best value, not just a relative bargain. The intermediate size 2/3" sensor gets the job done in poor ambient lighting but it means that it's a seriously large camera. It's good at macro, the lens on my late production example is very sharp, so far, so good. I'm convinced by the Fujifilm X-series line.

If I wanted something compact, at least in comparison, I might consider the Olympus Stylus 1, although it's twice the price ($700), has a plastic body and only a 300mm equivalent lens. But at least it's almost pocketable and doesn't have a conventional lens cap.

The Sony RX10 is a shocking $1,300 and only has a 200mm equivalent lens, which is the only reason I don't own one. That and the insane price.

Sadly, there aren't many other good options at the moment. The Panasonic FZ200 has a brilliant concept, but it still has a small sensor and I wouldn't buy one personally. There are lots of other choices, but none of them are very good in an absolute sense. The concept of a small sensor 1,200-1,500mm super zoom is a terrible idea and there currently is a competitive race to bottom, both in terms of price and slower, dimmer lenses.

It's a sad day when the best super zoom of early 2014 actually is a 2012 vintage model which as reintroduced into production.

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