Compact super-zoom cameras

October 2, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

There’s a new generation of little cameras out there, and I took the plunge. I’ve been looking for a powerful zoom, but I didn’t want to lug a big camera around. Then I noticed that several camera makers have come out with some extraordinarily small cameras with big zooms. I went to a couple of areas stores and looked at several of them, including the Canon SX260 and the Panasonic Lumix ZS20. They were both impressive looking, but I eventually went to Costco where I purchased the Sony HX10V for $260. It looks like a run-of-the-mill compact camera until you turn it on and use the 16x optical zoom. I don’t quite understand how the engineers figured out how to get the 2″ of zoom lens to protrude from a 1″ camera body. It’s quite an impressive work of engineering.

How well does the zoom work? I’ve tested it out at the Forest Park Grand Basin. The first photo is looking toward the St. Louis Art Museum without any zoom. The second photo, shot while standing in the same spot, is with full zoom.  Click on the photos for more detail (these are lo-res versions of the images–the camera max is 18.2 mega-pixels).

This is going to be fun for shooting wildlife and many other types of shots where you don’t want to distract the subjects. And the camera easily fits in a pocket, and it’s loaded with many features above and beyond its magical zoom lens.

No Zoom

Full Zoom

Sony touts this camera’s ability to take low light shots with good reason. This final image was a hand held shot of my street taken at midnight. I’m really impressed that the camera took a sharp photo in this very low light. I took this shot on full automatic–the camera recognized this to be a low light shot and automatically compensated.


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Category: photography

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    I am once again camera shopping. I was tempted by the new Canon Elph 110 HS because of its many video modes. It is a descendant of the Canon Elph SD1100IS that we both loved, and I am still using (although I am on y third instance of that model).
    But quick shopping at shows your camera high on the list of candidates.

    It is so hard to pick a set of features to settle on!

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