Best Novice Camera for Zoom Only?

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xmodlaw New Member • Posts: 24
Best Novice Camera for Zoom Only?

Hello, all. Per recent other thread discussion (Panasonic Compact), I've now decided that I want a largely "point and shoot" (or with simple adjustments as I'm a camera neophyte) to take zoom shots ONLY -- I'll use my Iphone for everything else.) Most shots will be scenery and wildlife from the deck of cruise ships or on walking tours (no lengthy, strenuous hiking), but I already travel heavily laden with books, etc. so add'l size/weight is always an issue.

I recently purchased a used ZS40 which I chose based on a cameradecision.com sort using criteria: "small sensor superzoom", GPS, wi-fi, compact enough to easily stuff in my backpack/carry on belt. There's about a week left in the return period. I'm not displeased with it, but I don't know enough to know whether to keep it or switch to something else more zoom-focused :-).

It seems to me that my decision process should be:

1. First decide whether the most important criterion is a flat camera suitable taking up minimum size and suitable for wearing on a belt case (ZS40 or ZS60?) If so, are superior features of the latter (better specs, a touchscreen) but same 30x zoom worth the add'l money? (And is getting GPS via link to my Iphone a significant drawback vs. built in GPS on the ZS40?)

2. Given my intended usage, is the most important criterion not portability but high optical zoom capability, so that I'm willing to have a larger, heavier non-belt camera? If so, then options increase: FZ80 (60x) or maybe Canon Powershot SX60HS (65x) or even Nikon Coolpix P900 (83x)? (But neither of the latter has a touchscreen, making me less likely to attempt adjustments?)

3. If I'm willing to forgo compact size/weight/belt carrying, is 24x zoom enough? If so, perhaps I should go for the apparently well-regarded FZ 300 to get weather protection, better specs, and maximum "user friendly" features?

Costco sells the ZS60 and the Coolpix P900, and has both a lengthy 90 day return policy and phone tech support. My current intention is to buy both of these and compare them with my ZS40 (especially deciding whether the size of the Coolpix is too big/heavy, in which case I'll either keep the ZS40 or upgrade to ZS60 (if not too late to return ZS40). If I find that the Coolpix isn't too big/heavy, then I'll buy the FZ80, FZ300, and perhaps PowerShot SX60HS and keep the one of the three that I prefer. (Or maybe there are others that I should consider?)

Does this seem like a good selection strategy?

Thanks!

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