There’s a reason superzoom cameras are still popular: they do things your smartphone camera just can’t. An all-in-one camera with a built-in optical zoom that’s 25x or more is also substantially cheaper than buying a mirrorless camera or DSLR and a separate long zoom lens.
Sometimes referred to as “bridge” cameras because they bridge the gap between compact point-and-shoots and interchangeable lens camera (ILC) systems, most superzooms are also quite portable, making them great for travel photography. In recent years, these long-zooming champs have also added 4K video recording capability; larger 1-inch sensors; and WiFi and Bluetooth, making it (almost) as easy to share your snaps on social media as it is with a smartphone.
But which superzoom camera is right for you? As usual, there’s a range of differentiation in price and features. In this guide to the best superzooms, we pick our three favorite bridge cameras of 2021 in our Good, Better, Best format to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
Editor’s Note: Good, Better, Best is a product guide series on Digital Photo where we suggest three buying options for our favorite photo gear. A product qualifies as “Good,” if it’s affordable yet still offers decent quality for the price. “Better” means it’s a solid medium-tier choice that we think will appeal to most photographers both on features and price. “Best” are top-tier photography products that offer the pinnacle in quality but also the highest price.
GOOD: Nikon Coolpix B600
The Nikon Coolpix B600 ($326) might not be the flashiest superzoom camera on the market but it’s a solid choice if you’re on a budget. With a stratospheric 60x (24-1440mm equivalent) built-in lens with optical image stabilization, the Nikon B600 is quite versatile even if its image quality degrades a bit the further you zoom out. The 16.1MP B600 uses a small 1/2.3-inch sensor, so low light/high ISO performance is just average though regular daylight shooting was good. Overall, it’s a fine camera for vacation photos and the B600’s relatively compact size (4.8 x 3.2 x 3.9 inches, 17.6 ounces) means it’s easy to travel with. It’s also easy to use and comes with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth for wirelessly sharing your photos. While there’s no 4K video, it can capture 1080p HD. For still photography, the Nikon B600 can shoot at up to 7.7 frames per second, so it’s fast enough to capture most action. Best of all is the value. At just over $300, you won’t find a camera with this many features at a lower price.