Ultracompact megazooms compared

Zoom lenses sell cameras these days, so it’s no surprise that manufacturers are doing everything they can to get longer lenses into increasingly smaller bodies.

A 3x or 5x zoom lens used to be the standard for ultracompact cameras — those measuring 1 inch thick or slimmer — but in 2012, you can easily find a skinny point-and-shoot with a 10x optical zoom.

The frontrunner here is the sub-$250 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 thanks to its excellent features, fast autofocus, and the quality of its pictures and video (though its color accuracy could be better). Most of the category consists of sub-$200 cameras, though, so there are options if you’re just looking for a simple pocket camera with a long lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150The 10x, f3.3-5.9, 25-250mm lens in the WX150 is nice, but its fast BSI sensor and image processor are what helps put it ahead of others. Read the full review.

Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS The smallest camera here with the biggest zoom range — 12x, f3.4-5.6, 28-336mm — and also the most expensive, the 520 HS was disappointing compared with past PowerShots. Still, if you’re looking for a tiny long-zoom camera to slip into a small bag or pocket, it’ll do the trick. Read the full review.

GE E1410SW With its 10x, f3.2-5.6, 28-280mm lens and 14-megapixel CMOS sensor, the E1410SW is a good value if you can live with its limitations. Read the full review.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 Likely giving the Sony WX150 some strong competition, the SZ7 has a 10x f3.1-5.9 25-250mm lens and Panasonic’s Light Speed AF system. This one’s currently in our labs, so we’ll have a full review later this month. Read the preview.

Nikon Coolpix S6300 The S6300 is essentially the same as 2011’s S6200 except for one important change: the sensor. Nikon switched to BSI CMOS from CCD, which adds 1080/30p movie capture and at the very least should improve shooting performance, and perhaps improve low-light quality. Read the preview.

Fujifilm FinePix T400 The 16-megapixel T400 and its 14-megapixel linemate, the T350, are simple, straightforward point-and-shoots with 10x, f3.4-5.6 28-280mm lenses. Read the preview.

Olympus VR-340 The least expensive option here at less than $150, the VR-340 has a 10x f3.0-5.9 24-240mm lens that’s wider and slightly brighter than the Fujifilm’s. Read the preview.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare this group of cameras head-to head.

For cameras with even more zoom range, check out our roundups of compact megazooms and full-size megazooms.

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via CNET Latest News http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-6501_7-57444842-95/ultracompact-megazooms-compared/?part=rss&subj=latest-news2&tag=title

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