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While most of new 1" sensor enthusiast cameras have been on the shorter end of the focal length spectrum, there are now quite a few long zoom models, as well. Whether you want something pocketable or want to shoot for the moon (pun intended), you'll find it in this group.
There are plenty of other long zoom compacts out there, some offering focal ranges reaching 2000mm though they almost always use much smaller 1/2.3" sensors (the Olympus Stylus 1s is one exception). The cameras in this roundup eclipse those models, especially when it comes to image quality and control over depth-of-field.
The models we're looking at in this article include:
- Canon PowerShot G3 X
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III (coming soon)
The cameras that have the shortest zoom are arguably the most robust, feature-wise: the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 twins. (The RX10 Mark III, which will cover soon, has a significantly longer lens.) The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100 is likely the best travel zoom ever, offering a good balance of size and zoom power, while the Canon PowerShot G3 X and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 swing for the fences in terms of zoom power.
To further help you pick the right camera in this class, we've created the chart below, which breaks down the equivalent aperture for each camera, as you work your way through the zoom range. Our article here explains the concept of equivalence, but at a high level all you need to know is that the lower the line is on the graph below, the blurrier the backgrounds you'll be able to get and typically, though not always, the better the overall low-light performance.
|This graph plots equivalent focal length against equivalent aperture - with both axes taking sensor size into account so that they can be compared on a common basis. Equivalent focal lengths offer the same field-of-view and equivalent apertures give the same depth-of-field and similar total light capture. For more information, click here.|
With its constant aperture (F2.8) lens, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 I/II capture more total light and offers more control over depth-of-field compared to its peers, by 1 or 2 stops. The trade-off is that its focal length caps out at 200mm equiv. The Canon PowerShot G3 X has the longest lens, but it reaches its maximum aperture (F5.6) at around 200mm equiv., putting it 1 stop behind the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, which tops out at F4.
And with that out of the way, let's get right into exploring the enthusiast long zoom cameras!
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