4 Affordable Super-Zoom Cameras for Your Digital Nature Photography

Because of the importance of zooming when it comes to taking digital nature photography, knowing about the types of cameras available for such photography is key.

It is widely recognized that Digital SLR cameras offer superior quality to their point-and-shoot cousins, which are now sporting quality telephoto lenses. However, if you are not a professional photographer, an excellent choice for a holiday safari is a digital super-zoom camera. Digital SLR cameras are generally heavy, bulky pieces of equipment as opposed to their much lighter super-zoom counterparts. The lenses for a digital SLR also tend to be heavy, cumbersome and very expensive, whereas the lenses on a super-zoom are fixed to the body of the camera and cannot be removed.

The sheer cost alone of an SLR camera would be difficult to bear if the camera were to be damaged, stolen or lost in transit, but the affordable cost of the super-zoom makes it an ideal choice for traveling. Plus, the impressive zooming capacity of the super-zoom empowers the photographer to take some fantastic-quality nature and scenery shots, making the camera truly versatile. Because of their low cost and great performance, super-zoom cameras have become immensely popular in recent years.

Tip 1 - Features

A super-zoom camera should possess, as a minimum, the following features:

  • A 12X zoom, the equivalent of a 432mm standard telephoto lens
  • A resolution of at least 8 megapixels
  • Include image stabilization for hand-held telephoto shots
  • A built-in flash unit
  • A video function for sending videos to YouTube
  • A weight equal to or less than 600 grams including batteries
  • A price less than $600 US dollars

Tip 2 - Top Choice Model

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 must surely rank as one of the top contenders for digital nature photography. Sporting a resolution of 8 mega pixels, an 18X zoom and a superb Leica lens, the Lumix uses Lithium Ion batteries supplied with a charger to minimize the cost of replacement batteries. If charging becomes a problem in remote locations, buying a spare battery or batteries, or a vehicle charger, should sort this out. Weighing in at 407 grams, the DMC-FZ18 is a very lightweight camera. Video may be recorded in 640x480 at 30 frames per second or in 320x240 at 30 frames per second. Unfortunately, the zoom is not operational in video mode.

Tip 3 - Large Zoom Model

The Casio Exilim EX-FH20 supports the largest zoom in this category of cameras, enabling the photographer to get closer than most other cameras. The camera has a 20X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 520 mm. At 9.1 mega pixels, the EX-FH20 supports a resolution of 3456x2592. Video may be shot at 15 frames per second for respectable action shooting. The action is displayed on a 3-inch LCD screen.

Tip 4 - Best Resolution

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50 enjoys the same 3456x2592, or 9.1 mega pixels, as the Casio Exilim EX-FH20, but the zoom magnification is only 15X, equivalent to a 465 mm lens. It is the heaviest camera featured here, weighing in at 547 grams. But of all cameras on this page, this Sony has the best resolution.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: