What’s better than zooming in on your favorite bird, seeing it in magnificent detail and capturing the moment forever?
However, if the photo comes out blurry and out of focus, the disappointment will be real.
Luckily, many superzoom cameras are on the market that is capable of taking sharp, crisp, and highly detailed photos. In the same breath, not all superzoom cameras are equal.
You’ll have to do some research before forking out some serious cash and ending up with a dud.
What To Look For When Choosing A Superzoom Camera for Birding?
With so many options and a lot of technical terms flying around, it can be difficult to make the right choice. Here’s a brief rundown of what specs you should look for in your superzoom camera.
If you spot a compact camera with a 10x or larger zoom factor, you’re looking at a superzoom.
Of course, a solid superzoom can give you up to 125x magnification. No need to explain why a higher zoom factor is preferable!
Quality and Low Light Capability
To get an award-winning shot, the golden hour is the best time to take photos. The time just after sunrise or before sunset is also when most birds are active.
For this reason, a camera that performs well in low-light conditions is important. The sensor size of the camera should not be too small.
Size and Weight
Although superzoom cameras look like DSLRs, they’re not. They tend to be lighter. This is a good thing because hauling around a heavy camera in search of the perfect photo can be tiring.
Look for models that give you between 300 and 350 shots on a charge. Cameras that can’t do that are not worth your consideration.
Optical or sensor-based image stabilization built into the camera body is better than lens stabilization.
The camera will cost more, but you will save in the long-term because the lenses will be cheaper because they won’t need stabilization.
Price can vary anything between $250 and $1800. Those with a higher price-point will include full features such as Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth connectivity, UHD 4K, multi-zone AF, and the list goes on. What you want to spend depends on what you need.
2020’s Best Superzoom Camera For Birding
It doesn’t matter if you want to take photos for fun or if you’re a serious enthusiast looking for a new toy, when it comes to birdwatching, a superzoom camera is a must.
1. Panasonic – Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera
A ‘go-anywhere’ camera that is affordably priced, especially considering its 4K capabilities.
Serious enthusiasts will have a few things to complain about, but at this price point, the Lumix FZ80 performs well enough.
- Great software to help you learn
- Unbelievable zoom range
- Images are crystal clear
- A lot of pre-set filter or scene modes
- Awesome image stabilization
- Quick focus
- Compact camera
- Complicated manual settings
- soft images at 1000 to 1200mm
- Falls short in low light
- Feels cheap
- Small image sensor
Perfect all-rounder superzoom for amateurs and professionals looking for a travel-ready superzoom. The 4K technology makes it possible to capture birds in flight in striking quality.
2. Nikon – COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera
This superzoom camera can be used for just about anything from close-up portraits to wildlife photography. It’s a compact camera with a decent electronic viewfinder and a flip-out rotating LCD.
- Easy to use
- Incredible zoom power
- Very portable
- Unique lens
- Lacks more advanced features like RAW
- Images are soft and lack detail in full zoom
- Autofocus slow in low light
- Manual mode not full spectrum
- Small sensor
It may not be the best superzoom camera out there, but if you’re looking for a lot of zoom on a compact camera, look no further. It’s a birder’s dream.
3. Kodak – PIXPRO Astro Zoom Digital Camera
Very popular superzoom with a terrific reputation among wildlife photographers and videographers.
- Quality build
- Picture quality is great
- Video is crystal clear
- Packed with features
- Easy to use
- Need tripod for stabilization in full zoom
- Low battery power
A solid entry-level superzoom that offers great bang for your buck.
4. Panasonic – Lumix FZ300 Long Zoom Digital Camera
Weather-resistant superzoom allows you to take excellent photos by using its extensive shooting mode and setting options.
- Comfortable control layout
- 4K video
- A lot of features
- Quality build
- Small sensor limits low-light use
- No headphone jack
- Controls overwhelming
- Images grainy
- Not compact
If you’re wanting to take your camera with you on a wild outdoor adventure without worrying about water, dust and general wear and tear, this superzoom is for you.
It can stand up to some of the most challenging environments.
5. Canon – PowerShot SX740 Digital Camera
This versatile superzoom camera takes well-saturated images that are easy on the eye. Extras like 4K video and the flip-up screen broaden the PowerShot SX740’s appeal.
- Large and stabilized zoom lens
- Nice colors on images
- Fast autofocus system
- Sturdy design
- Easy to use
- Image quality lower at max zoom
- No RAW shooting
- A long delay after shooting
- Slow focus
An awesome travel camera with all the zoom you need. It’s wise not to compare image quality too closely with cameras with better specs – you may end up disappointed.
6. Sony HX400V Compact Digital Camera
A solid superzoom camera but lacks features some more advanced photographers will miss. It’s not first in its class but a nifty little camera nonetheless.
- Does-it-all camera
- Sharp photos at long distances
- Slow zoom function works great
- Breaks easily
- Batteries don’t last
- Extremely noisy
- Slow processing speed
- Hard-to-use controls
This camera makes it possible to shoot sharp images at the far reaches of the 50x zoom lens.
However, the price point is on the high side, and you’ll be able to find a better quality cam by paying a few bucks more.
7. Nikon – COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera
This superzoom has a list of specs as long as its lens. It may be a lot to handle for beginner shooters, but with practices and patience, you can expect remarkable results.
- Supports RAW
- Dual Detect VR reduces shake
- Has dedicated birdwatch mode
- Short battery life
- No image stabilization, tripod needed
- Small sensor
- Slow autofocus
Made for the hardcore wildlife photographer, the Nikon P1000 is a superzoom superstar.
8. Nikon – COOLPIX B700 Digital Camera
Perfect go-to camera for birding. The COOLPIX B700 is an all-rounder, but you can expect to pay for it.
- RAW capable
- Birdwatching mode
- Powerful zoom
- Great 4K video
- Versatile camera
- Vibration Reduction technology
- Very bulky
- Crashes and freezes easily
- Difficult to get in focus
- Small sensor
- Inconsistent quality of images
So powerful, birds barely visible to the naked eye will come into sharp focus.
9. Canon – Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera
More of a ‘sunny day camera,’ this superzoom is perfect for the outdoors and birdwatching. It has features that will keep even the pros happy.
- High-quality viewfinder
- Tilting screen
- Effective image stabilization
- Competent autofocus system
- Build quality could be better
- No weather sealing
- Heavy when the lens is fully extended
- Small sensor
If you’re out to catch birds in the golden hour, give this superzoom a skip.
10. Canon – Powershot SX530 Super Zoom Digital Camera
This isn’t a ground-breaking superzoom camera, but it does its job well. As with all superzooms, there will be a compromise. You will have a 50x zoom range but the only max aperture of f/3.5 at the wide end.
- Responsive performance
- Fairly compact
- All-day battery life
- Little distortion on max zoom
- Slow to lock focus
- Pricey for what you get
- Body feels cheap
- Small aperture
This camera doesn’t push the boundaries considering that it only offers 50x while Nikon and Panasonic offer cameras at the same price point with a 60x zoom range.
Which Product Is Best?
Since we’re looking for the perfect superzoom camera to take out on your birding excursions, the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 stands out. Built to shoot wild animals and birds, you’ll capture your favorite feathery friend in crisp clarity.
Given the list of features, this is not really a pickup and shoot type of camera. You will have to spend time getting to know the specs and settings.
Although the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 has its downsides, no image stabilization being the most problematic, the dedicated birdwatch mode is worth a gold star.
However, considering that this superzoom camera is the highest-priced on the list, you’ll have to balance the books and decide if you’re happy to pay for a camera with quite a few faults.
If not, consider the COOLPIX B700. You’ll save a few hundred dollars and still end up with a camera that takes some good quality photos.