Holiday 2012: Compact Zoom Digital Cameras

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The holiday season brings with it a number of decisions: chief among them is what to buy for all the people on your list. If someone special has expressed an interest in a compact zoom point-and-shoot digital camera, then this article presents you with a number of worthy choices.

Canon

PowerShot A4000 IS Digital Camera

Canon has completely updated their entry level A Series cameras for 2012 with six new models. At the top of the line is the PowerShot A4000 IS compact point-and-shoot camera. Its 8x optical zoom is the longest zoom out of the other A-Series cameras and it’s also the most feature-packed model. The A4000’s lens has a 35mm equivalent 28-224mm focal length with f/3.0-5.9 aperture range. It features a 16MP CCD image sensor, a DIGIC 4 Image Processor and optical image stabilization, which all work together to promote sharp videos and stills—even at the maximum zoom range.

In addition to capturing high-resolution stills, the A4000 can also record high-definition (HD) 720p video. Plus, since the camera supports the iFrame format for video, you can edit your movies in Apple's Final Cut Pro and iMovie without reformatting the files. The next model down in Canon’s A-Series is the A3400, which features a touch screen LCD panel. But strangely enough, at a slightly higher price point than the A3400, the A4000 doesn’t include a touch screen LCD. The A4000 has a standard 3-inch LCD panel, which nonetheless provides clear menu navigation, quick composition and instant review.

Some of the A4000’s other features include various scene modes, multiple special effects, a dedicated help button and a Smart AUTO function with 32 different shooting modes available. This last feature helps novices capture high-quality images regardless of the setting, since the camera automatically decides what mode is best for the shooting situation at hand.

The A4000 is available in black, silver, red, pink or blue.

PowerShot ELPH 530 HS Digital Camera

Another paramount choice from Canon that’s worth considering is the PowerShot ELPH 530 HS compact digital camera. It’s definitely the premier ELPH model in this year’s ELPH series. The 530 HS shares several features with the next ELPH model down (the 520 HS), but what sets it apart at the top are its built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and slick new 3.2-inch touch screen LCD panel. The 530 HS also has that traditional ELPH appeal. It’s stylish, compact and features a metal body.

The 530 HS also features a 10.1MP high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5 image processor and a notably long 12x optical zoom range, with a 28-336mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and an aperture range of f/3.4-5.6. This means that the camera is capable of shooting close-ups, group shots, sweeping vistas and everything in between. Plus, like the A4000, the 530 HS is equipped with optical image stabilization. It also supports Full HD 1080p video capture. And the camera’s 3.2” PureColor System LCD touch screen features a touch shutter for shooting images with just a tap of your finger.

This model’s built-in Wi-Fi connectivity uses Canon’s iMAGE GATEWAY app, which facilitates wireless transfer to a computer or for sharing images straight to social media sites. Files can also be shared between Wi-Fi-enabled PowerShot cameras, as well as uploaded to iOS and Android apps using Canon’s free CameraWindow app.

The ELPH 530 is available in black or white.

PowerShot ELPH 520 HS Digital Camera

Similar in stature but lighter on features, the compact PowerShot ELPH 520 HS digital camera from Canon is the little sibling of the ELPH 530 HS, which we just discussed. Like the 530 HS, the 520 HS features a high-sensitivity 10.1MP CMOS image sensor, DIGIC 5 Image Processor, optical image stabilization and Full HD 1080p video capture. It also supports the iFrame format for editing in iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Unlike the 530 HS, the 520 HS has no built-in Wi-Fi and only a standard (no touch screen) 3-inch LCD screen.

The camera does have an impressive 12x optical zoom with a 28-336mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and an aperture range of f/3.4-5.6 for solid, all-around general use. Additional features include a dedicated movie button, a wind-filter feature for clear audio capture, a Face ID function that registers up to 12 faces and a 6.8 fps high-speed burst shooting mode. The camera supports microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards as well. And, it can even capture 120 or 240 fps video using the Super Slow Motion movie mode.

The ELPH 520 HS is available in black, blue, silver or red.

PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera

Announced in the first half of 2012, the PowerShot SX260 HS is another new compact point-and-shoot digital camera in Canon’s prolific catalog. This model builds upon the foundation of last year’s PowerShot SX230 HS digital camera with a handful of improvements. The most striking of these upgrades has to be the 20x optical zoom lens with its considerable 25-500mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and f/3.5-6.8 aperture range. The camera is outfitted with Canon’s optical image stabilization as well, which ensures that no matter if you’re shooting a group portrait in a room or a tightly cropped sports action shot, you’ll always be able to capture sharp, detailed photographs.

Other features of the SX260 include a 12.1MP CMOS image sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 5 Image Processor. In addition to capturing high-resolution stills, the camera can also record Full HD 1080p video with stereo sound. Plus, the camera’s Movie Digest feature will actually preview your whole day’s worth of video—automatically collated by the camera. And, like the ELPH 520 HS, the SX260 also provides a 3-inch LCD screen with 100% frame coverage for clear menu navigation, composition and review.

Additional features include a dedicated movie button for instant recording, Apple’s iFrame format for computer-friendly video files right from the camera, a built-in GPS unit for adding a geographical narrative to your photo albums and High-Speed Burst HQ for a maximum of 10 shots in a single burst.

The SX260 is available in black, red and green.

Panasonic

LUMIX DMC-SZ7 Digital Camera

In the beginning of 2012, Panasonic added two new models to its SZ-series camera line. One of those is the LUMIX DMC-SZ7 compact point-and-shoot camera. It features a 14.1MP MOS sensor and a 10x LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR (f/3.1-5.9) zoom lens with a 25-250mm focal length (35mm equivalent). The SZ7 also features a 20x iA Intelligent Zoom and MEGA Optical Image Stabilization for blur-free macro to tele images. The SZ7 also has a Venus Engine with quad CPUs for processing large amounts of data with ease. The engine also enables noise reduction in addition to helping various other functions of the camera run smoothly.

Along with capturing high-resolution stills, the SZ7 can also record 1920 x 1080 Full HD video with Dolby Digital Stereo sound. It has a 3-inch LCD screen as well, which features a 100% field of view and LUMIX’s Intelligent LCD function that automatically adjusts the brightness in 11 steps, according to your shooting conditions. The SZ7 also offers an integrated HDR (high dynamic range) into iA mode that takes multiple shots and overlays them for one tonally full composite image. Plus, a dedicated movie button and a wind-cut function both enhance video and audio recording. And editing features like Cut Animation, Video Divide and Panorama Shot help to create fun videos and stills.

The DMC-SZ7 is available in black only.

LUMIX DMC-ZS15 Digital Camera

Panasonic’s popular ZS-series has two new additions for the 2012 holiday season, the more affordable LUMIX DMC-ZS15 compact point-and-shoot camera and the ZS20, which will be discussed below. The ZS15 is nearly as feature-packed as the ZS20, but it does have a lower resolution 12.1MP high-sensitivity MOS sensor, as well as a shorter 16x LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR 24-384mm lens (35mm equivalent). It’s also GPS-free. So, if you like to meticulously document your travels through photos, then the ZS20 might be the model for you.

The camera’s 24mm ultra-wide-angle zoom lens offers an f/3.3-6.3 maximum and f/5.9-6.3 minimum aperture range. Plus, the ZS15 features a 32x Intelligent Zoom and Power Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) with Active Mode for clear images, no matter what the subject. Like the SZ7, the ZS15 is designed around Panasonic's powerful Venus Engine processor, which allows the camera to capture full resolution high-speed bursts at up to 10 frames per second. It can also shoot Full HD 1920 x 1080 video and it features a 3D Photo Mode, as well as a Panorama Mode.

The ZS15 also provides a variety of Intelligent Auto applications for beginners, as well as selective manual controls for more experienced photographers. Additional features include Intelligent Noise Reduction, Intelligent HDR and numerous Scene Modes.

The ZS15 is available in black and silver.

LUMIX DMC-ZS20 Digital Camera

The second half of Panasonic’s new ZS-series additions is the LUMIX DMC-ZS20 compact point-and-shoot digital camera. Although similar in most ways to the ZS15, the ZS20 stands out due to its 20x LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR zoom lens with a 24-480mm focal length (35mm equivalent) and f/3.3-8.0 aperture range. It has a 40x Intelligent zoom, Nano Surface Coating and Power O.I.S. with Active Mode as well. The other two stand-out features on this model—as opposed to the ZS15—are its 14.1MP MOS image sensor and integrated GPS with World Map info.

The ZS20 features Panasonic’s Venus Engine processor, a 3-inch touch-screen LCD and 1920 x1080 Full HD video capture with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator. The camera also features Intelligent HDR, a dedicated movie button, an auto wind cut filter function, creative control modes and dual AC/USB battery charging.

The ZS20 is available in black, silver, red and white.

LUMIX DMC-SZ5 Digital Camera

One issue currently affecting camera manufacturers is the ever-encroaching danger that smart phones will kill the compact point-and-shoot digital camera market. Most smart phones shoot HD video and take quality still images. Plus, they send and receive calls and enable you to surf the Internet. How can camera manufacturers compete? Wi-Fi connectivity is the answer, and Panasonic’s LUMIX DMC-SZ5 is a Wi-Fi-enabled compact point-and-shoot camera designed to compete with the smart-phone market.

The SZ5 features a 14.1MP CCD sensor, Venus Engine processor, Mega O.I.S. and a 10x LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR (f/3.1-5.9 to f/16) zoom lens with a 25-250mm focal length (35mm equivalent). It captures high-resolution stills and HD 720p video. Plus, it has a 3-inch LCD screen. The camera’s Wi-Fi connectivity supports image transfer to iOS and Android devices, as well as direct transfer to a PC. The camera supports access to LUMIX CLUB cloud storage as well. You can also take advantage of the LUMIX Image Uploader, as well as play back photos and videos on DNLA-certified Panasonic HDTVs.

Other highlights of the SZ5 include numerous creative effects, scene modes and Panasonic’s Trust iA, which is an easy-to-use Intelligent Auto mode in which a suite of technologies is automatically engaged and the camera chooses the best settings based on the environment.

The SZ5 is available in black and white.

Sony

Cyber-shot DSC-H90 Digital Camera

Sony offers a handful of compact digital cameras that cover a range of features for a variety of consumers. We’re going to look at six here, beginning with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H90. The DSC-H90 is an intermediate-level compact point and shoot with 16.1MP Super HAD CCD sensor and a 16x Sony G lens with a 24-384mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and f/3.3-5.9 aperture range. The notable focal length means that everything from close-ups to far-off subjects can be captured with ease. Plus, Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization promotes blur-free images throughout the zoom range.

The DSC-H90 also captures HD 720p video at 30 fps, and users will be able to create movies with full use of the optical zoom. The camera stores your video clips in the MP4 format for fast transferring to your PC or Mac and effortless uploading to the Internet. You can also instantly share photos and video with the camera’s 3-inch Clear Photo LCD screen. The DSC-H90 also features a 360° Sweep Panorama mode, a Dynamic Range Optimizer for well-balanced photos that are free from blown-out highlights and blocked up shadows, and Intelligent Auto, which takes the guesswork out of shooting.

The DSC-H90 is available in black and red, as well as in several kits.

Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V Digital Camera

One of the most popular travel zoom point-and-shoot cameras from 2011 was Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V, so there was a lot of anticipation and high-expectations prior to the release of the updated Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V in early 2012. Although its predecessor seemed to have it all, the HX10V did feature some upgrades and improvements, mainly the jump from a 16.2MP sensor in the HX9V to the impressive 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor in the HX10V. It also features a more user-friendly layout for fast shooting and ease of operation.

The HX10V is equipped with the same 16x Sony G lens with a 24-384mm focal length (35mm equivalent) and f/3.3-5.9 aperture range. It also has Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode image stabilization and a 32x Clear Image zoom. Other highlights include a fast BIONZ image processor and a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen for intuitive and clear menu navigation, composition and review. Plus, like the HX9V, the HX10V features Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution video and an integrated GPS and compass for recording location data and camera direction as you shoot movies and photos. The camera’s 10 fps burst shooting, ISO sensitivity up to 12800 and numerous scene modes also prove it’s at least as worthy as its impressive predecessor.

The DSC-HX10V is available in black, silver, white and red.

Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Digital Camera

Consumers looking for a midrange GPS-equipped compact travel zoom camera should consider the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V. Although it doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi like its cousin, the HX30V, it does have all the other bells and whistles. The HX20V features an 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, a BIONZ processor and a 20x Sony G lens with a far-reaching focal length of 25-500mm (35mm equivalent) and an f/3.2-5.8 aperture range. This Sony G Lens can capture everything from a close-up to a far-off vista with ease. When it comes to getting any shot, the HX20V also features a 40x Clear Image Zoom and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help ensure your success and prevent blurry photos.

In addition to capturing high-resolution stills, the HX20V can also record Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps, which is a standout feature compared to a lot of similar cameras that are limited to 30 fps at 1920 x 1080p resolution. The camera also has a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD TruBlack display. The built-in GPS and compass are handy features as well. The HX20V also supports 10 fps burst shooting and a myriad of scene modes. It features both automatic and limited manual controls, a useful sweep panorama mode, and it even has 105MB of built-in memory as well. Plus, it can easily fit into your pocket or purse.

The HX20V is available in black only. 

Cyber-shot DSC-W690 Digital Camera

One of the thinnest and most affordable compact cameras from Sony is the Cyber-shot DSC-W690 point and shoot. It was part of a trio of cameras released early in 2012. It features a 25-250mm (35mm equivalent), f/3.3-5.9 Sony G Lens. The respectable 10x zoom range makes the camera capable of almost any shot—from close-up to telephoto—making it an idea all-purpose snapshot taker. The W690 also features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active mode, a 16.1MP Super HAD CCD image sensor and a BIONZ image processor. In addition to capturing high-resolution stills, the camera can also record 720p HD video. The W690 is equipped with a 3-inch Clear Photo LCD screen, a 360° Sweep Panorama mode and a healthy selection of scene modes.

The W690 is available in black, red, silver and blue.

Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 Digital Camera

Released simultaneously with the DSC-W690, the Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 is an ultra-thin 7/8-inch compact point-and-shoot camera with an 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS image sensor and a BIONZ image processor that supports fast autofocus speeds of around 0.13 seconds in daylight and 0.2 seconds in low-light conditions. The camera has a sufficient 10x optical zoom that can handle most shooting situations. Plus, the 25-250mm (35mm equivalent), f/3.3-5.9 Sony G Lens is aided by Optical SteadyShot image stabilization that enables blur-free movies even while walking. It’s bolstered by a new electronic image stabilizer as well, which provides extra camera-shake compensation.

The WX150 can capture Full HD 1080/60i movies, and has a convenient dual-record function that allows you to record video and still images simultaneously. And, like its cousin the W690, the WX150 features Sony’s 3-inch Clear Photo LCD screen. The camera also supports 3D still image capture and 3D Sweep Panorama, as well as Intelligent Sweep Panorama HD mode and several scene modes. It even has a Background Defocus function that captures two images simultaneously to create a DSLR-like photo with a blurred background.

The WX150 is available in black, silver, red and blue.

Cyber-shot DSC-HX30 Digital Camera

The next step up from Sony’s HX20V is the Cyber-shot DSC-HX30 compact point-and-shoot camera. They share many of the same features, including the HXV20’s 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, BIONZ processor and 20x Sony G lens with a flexible focal length of 25-500mm (35mm equivalent) and an f/3.2-5.8 aperture range. What sets the two cameras apart is the HX30V’s built-in Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi enables you to quickly upload photos and videos directly to your favorite social media sites almost as fast as you can take them—as long as there’s a Wi-Fi hot spot close by. Wi-Fi also facilitates wireless backup of photos onto a network-connected PC, as well as wireless slideshows and movies on network-enabled HDTVs. You can also use your smart phone or tablet to grab images from your camera and upload them to the Internet or send them to friends and family via email.

The HX30V also features Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with 3-Way Active Mode, Full HD 1080p video capture and a 3-inch Xtra Fine TruBlack LCD screen. You can shoot 3D stills and 3D Sweep Panorama images as well. It’s equipped with GPS and a compass, which allows you to endow your photos with both location and camera direction information.

The HX30 is available in black only.

Leica

V-LUX 40 Digital Camera

A new addition to this year’s Leica compact camera portfolio is the V-LUX 40 compact point-and-shoot digital camera with a notably long 24-480mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. The 20x Leica DC Vario-Elmar f/3.3-6.4 lens and optical image stabilization help keep every shot, from close-up to telephoto, within range and blur free. Plus, the minimalist look of the V-Lux 40 is very appealing and the shiny black finish highlights the classic Leica “red dot” logo. This is a visually striking compact travel zoom camera.

Other features of the V-LUX 40 include a 14.1MP CMOS sensor that not only shoots high-res stills, but also Full HD1080p video. Like many other cameras its size, the V-LUX 40 has a 3-inch LCD screen, but Leica went a step further and provided touch-screen control for fast and fluid menu navigation. The camera has built-in GPS and it also supports 3D still image capture. As an added bonus, Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Premier Elements 10 software are included.

The Leica V-LUX 40 is available in black only.

Nikon

COOLPIX S9300 Digital Camera

This year Nikon released the COOLPIX S9300 Digital Camera—the new flagship model of the COOLPIX S series family. The company announced that this new model would feature multiple upgrades and take the place of last year’s COOLPIX S9100. The most noticeable difference between the two is the S9300’s higher-resolution 16MP CMOS sensor. The S9100 featured only a 12.1MP CMOS sensor. The other major upgrade to the S9300 is built-in GPS mapping and an electronic compass, which logs camera direction and location so you can add a geographical perspective to your slide shows and movies.

Both cameras feature an 18x optical zoom lens with a 25-450mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and an f/3.5-5.9 aperture range. They also feature similar 3-inch TFT-LCD screens with anti-reflection coatings. However, the S9300 has the added bonus of a five-level brightness adjustment. One point of contention is the battery. Both the S9300 and its predecessor include the same EN-EL12 lithium-ion battery, but the added features apply added strain on the battery, so it has a shorter life between charges than it did in the S9100.

Aside from that issue, the S9300 exceeds expectations. Other highlights include Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 fps and a 7-shot, full resolution continuous shooting mode at 6.9 fps. You can shoot movies using the iFrame format as well. The S9300 also provides optical image stabilization (IS) in movie mode, instead of the electronic IS found in the S9100.

The S9300 is available in black, silver and red.

COOLPIX S6300 Digital Camera

Another new member of Nikon’s COOLPIX S-series family is the COOLPIX S6300 Digital Camera, which has been described by Nikon as the perfect “family camera.” It sits at a lower price point than its cousin, the S9300, but the large difference in price doesn’t translate to a major disparity in features. The S6300 does have a more modest 10x NIKKOR ED f/3.2-5.8 glass lens with a smaller 25-250mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range than the S9300.

It also has no GPS mapping and its 2.7-inch LCD touch screen is slightly smaller than the screen on the S9300, but the S6300 does feature touch control. Both models have the same LCD anti-reflection coating and five-level brightness adjustment. Plus, they’re each equipped with the same 16MP CMOS sensor that supports high-resolution images and Full HD 1080p video capture.

The S6300’s other features include optical VR image stabilization, wide-view 180° and 360° panoramas, high-speed continuous shooting, 3D photo capture and 20 scene modes. It’s also equipped with several fun and creative effects including Low Key, High Key, Nostalgic Sepia, Selective Color and more.

The S6300 is available in black, silver, blue and red.

COOLPIX L610 Digital Camera

Another budget-friendly new release from Nikon for the 2012 holiday season is the COOLPIX L610 compact point-and-shoot camera, which features an effective all-around 14x NIKKOR ED f/3.3-5.9 glass lens with a 25-350mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and Optical VR image stabilization. It also features a 16MP CMOS sensor, Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 fps and an anti-reflective, 3-inch LCD monitor with five-level brightness adjustment. Plus, the L610 is powered by readily available and easily replaceable AA batteries.

The camera’s Easy Auto Mode, high-resolution sensor and midrange super-zoom lens with optical IS will enable even the novice family photographer to consistently capture detailed, blur-free images. Plus, the widely available AA power source should satisfy travelers and hobbyists on a budget. The L610 also features six Scene Modes, a dedicated Movie Record button and HDMI connectivity.

The L610 is available in black, silver and red.

Olympus

VR-340 Digital Camera

Olympus offers a handful of V-series compact point-and-shoot cameras with long and midrange zoom lenses. By far the most affordable and most compact of these used to be the VR-320. This year, Olympus replaced the VR-320 with the similarly compact and affordably priced VR-340. With a 24-240mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range, the VR-340 is well suited for close-up photography and for shooting far-off subjects. Its 10x super-wide f/3.0-5.7 optical zoom lens features Dual Image Stabilization for clear, bright shots at any range.

The VR-340 also features a 16MP CCD image sensor for high-resolution stills and 720p HD video. The camera is equipped with a 3-inch LCD screen as well, which facilitates intuitive menu navigation, composition and review. The VR-340 also benefits from Magic Art Filters, a Beauty function with Makeup mode and AF tracking.

The VR-340 is available in black, silver, white, red and purple.

Fujifilm

FinePix T400 Digital Camera

Of the four Fujifilm cameras in this article, the FinePix T400 compact point-and-shoot is one of two models that’s a member of the Fujifilm T series entry-level, long zoom compact camera family. It features a basic, but useful 10x Fujinon f/3.4-5.6 optical zoom lens with 28-280mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and Dual Image Stabilization composed of High Sensitivity and CCD Shift Image Stabilization. The camera is built-around a 16MP CCD image sensor that promotes high-resolution stills, but is limited to only 720p HD video capture.

Like most compacts, the T400 also has a 3-inch LCD screen for user-friendly menu navigation, composition preview and instant photo and video review. It’s equipped with an easily engaged direct movie record button as well, which enables fast one-touch video recording. Additional features include Motion Panorama, in-camera movie editing, ISO 100-3200, multiple scene modes, a Smile & Shoot function, Face Recognition and Blink Detection.

The T400 is available in black, red and blue.

FinePix F660EXR Digital Camera

Built around Fujifilm's EXR technology, the FinePix F660EXR is a compact point and shoot with a travel-worthy 15x Fujinon f/3.5-5.3 lens with a 24-360mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. It features a 16MP EXR CMOS image sensor, a dual CPU EXR Core processor and CMOS shift type image stabilization. There’s also a 30x Intelligent Zoom for additional digital zooming capabilities. The camera supports High ISO sensitivity up to 3200 or 12800 when using “S” image size.

Like many of its contemporaries, the F660EXR features a 3-inch LCD screen and Full HD 1080p video recording at 30 fps. It also supports fast Auto Focus and continuous shooting at up to 8 fps. It’s equipped with a Pro Low-Light mode, one-touch movie recording capabilities and 3D photo capture.

The F660EXR is available in black only.

FinePix F750EXR Digital Camera

The FinePix F750EXR from Fujifilm is another compact travel zoom point-and-shoot digital camera that features Fujifilm’s new 16MP EXR CMOS sensor and EXR processor. EXR technology provides fast 0.16-second autofocus. It’s also responsible for the user-friendly EXR Auto function with Motion Detection that instantly recognizes 58 different scene types and optimizes the camera settings to ensure you always capture high-contrast images.

The F750EXR also features a long 25-500mm (35mm equivalent) focal length, thanks to the 20x Fujinon f/3.5-5.3 lens. You’ll enjoy the benefits of 40x Intelligent Digital Zoom and Dual Image Stabilization. The camera can capture Full HD 1080p video as well. And, it has a 3-inch LCD screen with a Monitor Sunlight Mode, which affords easier viewing in bright sunlight. Additional features include High Speed Movie capture and a myriad of other shooting modes such as film-simulation mode.

The F750EXR is available in black, red and white.

FinePix T350 Digital Camera

The last entry-level Fujifilm model that qualifies as a compact, long-zoom camera is the FinePix T350. It was unveiled alongside its entry-level sibling—the T400. The T350 features a 10x Fujinon f/3.4-5.6 (f/14 minimum) optical zoom lens with a focal length of 28-280mm (35mm equivalent). It supports CCD Shift Image Stabilization as well, to ensure pleasing photos at any focal length.

Like the T400, the T350 is ideal for travel and casual all-around shooting. It provides a slightly more modest 14MP CCD image sensor and it’s also limited to capturing only 720p HD video. The camera has a 3-inch LCD screen as well, which makes operating a user-friendly camera like the T350 even easier. Additional features include one-touch movie recording and multiple scene modes.

The T350 is available in black, blue and red.

Samsung

WB850F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera

Samsung unveiled two new Wi-Fi enabled SMART cameras recently: the WB850F is the flagship model. It’s built around a 16.2MP BSI CMOS sensor and a 21x Schneider KREUZNACH f/2.8-5.9 lens with a 23-483mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. It’s also equipped with an industry-standard 3-inch AMOLED display, built-in GPS mapping and integrated Wi-Fi.

The camera design allows for a small hand-grip-style groove, which should improve your grip on the camera as well. It also features a smooth metal frame with intuitively positioned controls, for ease of use. The camera is outfitted with several user-friendly functions including Smart Auto and Smart Wi-Fi. However, it works well for more advanced users as well, thanks to functions like Program AE, Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority and Manual modes.

Other features include a pop-up flash, Full HD 1080p video capture, Wi-Fi photo/video sharing and wireless file backup. The built-in Wi-Fi also supports a remote viewfinder feature that you can use with your smart phone or tablet to control the camera remotely via a wireless network. The WB850F includes photo-editing software as well. It even features multiple in-camera editing effects.

The WB850F is available in black.

WB150F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera

Along with the WB850F, Samsung’s other new SMART super-zoom compact point-and-shoot camera is the WB150F. It’s the more modest, lesser equipped and more affordable of the two. It’s also similar to 2011’s WB750, except that the WB150F is equipped with Wi-Fi. It features a notable 24-432mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range and an f/3.2-5.8 aperture range. The 18x Schneider optical zoom lens is bolstered by the camera’s Dual Image Stabilization to capture far-reaching and close-up shots with ease and detail.

Other features of the WB150F include a 14.2MP CCD image sensor, 720p video capture, manual control options for more advanced users, a Live Panorama function and multiple shooting modes, for ease of use. The camera has an industry standard 3-inch LCD screen as well. The WB150F’s Wi-Fi capabilities allow you to wirelessly share photos and back up files. It also supports remote control of the camera from a smart phone or tablet.

The camera is available in black or white.

ST200F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera

The last camera in this holiday roundup is Samsung’s ST200F SMART Long Zoom Digital Camera. It’s another compact, long-zoom point-and-shoot that’s worth considering if casual travel photography suits you or someone on your holiday shopping list. The camera’s 10x optical f/3.1-5.6 zoom lens features a 27-270mm (35mm equivalent) focal length, as well as Samsung’s Dual Image Stabilization. The ST200F has a 16MP CCD image sensor that supports high-resolution still images, but like the other CCD sensors in this roundup, it’s limited to only 720p HD video capture.

Predictably, this model also features a 3-inch TFT LCD screen for easy intuitive menu navigation, composition and review. Plus, like the other SMART Samsung cameras, the ST200F is equipped with Wi-Fi as well, which facilitates wireless uploading of photos and video to all your favorite social media sites. You can also back up files wirelessly or transfer photos to your smartphone or tablet for attaching images to your email. The Wi-Fi allows remote smart phone or tablet control as well. The ST200F also shares several features with the other Samsung models in this roundup.

The ST200F is available in black, silver and plum.

From Nikon to Leica to Olympus and more, these cameras are sure to please that special someone on your list when they rip the holiday paper and open their gift!