Best Superzoom Camera below $400?

The girlfriend wants a camera that can do a tad more than a phone camera, without breaking the budget (no more than $400).

Flowers, landscapes, birds, wildlife. The latter means descent zoom is a must. We are aware that in this price range sensors will be tiny, meaning low-light pictures will tend to be high ISO, blurry, etc. What we want is something that in good light can deliver good photos all the way to the maximum zoom.

Contenders so far:
Nikon Coolpix B600, 60x optical zoom, price at Officeworks $348

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80, 60x optical zoom, price at JB $389

Advantages Nikon:
2 years warranty

Advantages Panasonic:
EVF (electronic view finder)
4k Video

Main disadvantage Panasonic: only 1 year warranty, and I had previous Panasonic cameras break soon after the warranty ended, service was atrocious. Would not buy it without extended warranty, probably for more $$$.

Any other models worth considering? Has anyone managed to get an extended warranty included for free at JB, when they already have the best price?


  • +2

    Surely a camera should reasonably last longer than one year? If the Panasonic does break I'm sure you could claim under ACL.

    • Sure it should. Unfortunately claiming something under ACL is not easy if the manufacturer doesn't want to play along.

      Consumer protection in WA is hopeless. And WA has abolished the small claims tribunals and rolled it all into the magistrate courts system.

      I have friends whose Rheem solar hot water tank rusted through just after the 3 year warranty was over. They got the replacement tank 'for free', but were left out of pocket over $700 for labour to swap it out. I reckon that was unreasonable.

      They called multiple times, wrote emails, involved consumer protection. Nothing. Only option left would be to go to court. With significant up-front costs to file. They've given up.

      I would have fought this one, since I'd put the odds of winning the court case at 95% and the manufacturer would probably settle the moment they get the summons. Would I do the same for a $380 camera that breaks after 20 months? Not sure, because it being a lot cheaper than a $3000+ Solar HW system, a court might rule against me, and I'd be out of pocket $200+ in fees…

  • +2

    I suggest buy a good DSLR or mirrorless on gumtree and keep some of the money to do the same for a nice lens.

    • +2

      For below $400? Would be hard to find a DSLR or mirrorless for that price, without even a lens.

    • Show me an SLR lens with 60x zoom?


        Nobody said it had to be affordable too, did they?

        • 1200mm isn't even 60x, it's like less than 30x haha

          • @plmko: I've done some further Googlin' and people claim 1200mm is between 30x and 50x. I trust nothing anymore.

            • @Sleeqb7: 'x' isn't really an accurate measurement of a lens's reach. It's a ratio of minimum to maximum reach. so a 600-1200mm lens is 2x but a 20mm-1200mm lens is 60x. That lens is a prime lens so it's actually 1x.

              A lot of people use 'based off 35mm being standard'. Which would make 1200mm about 34x but most super-zoom lenses go much wider than 35mm so 1200mm 35mm equiv on a super zoom is quite probably 60x range. (and it is on these)

              It gets more complicated again because these sort of super zooms use smaller than 35mm sensors, so they get to say 1200mm '35mm equivalent', but the detail isn't quite as good.

              Basically that giant canon 1200mm lens is actually going to show the same height of an object in the viewfinder of a 35mm full frame camera as these super zooms are zoomed all the way in. It's just that these smaller cameras are projecting that image onto a much smaller sensor (and with much less/cheaper glass).

      • I mean the 60x zoom is relative to what focal length you start off with on the wide end. I'm guessing OP doesn't need a 1200mm lens!

    • Second that.:)

  • If you absolutely must get a zoom camera in that style I think the Sony RX10 would be the best. You can probably find a used one for around your budget.

    • +1

      Are you sure about the price, in new it comes up at $1800+. Who would sell a used one that's still working for $400?

      • Plenty, and I am talking about the older generation cameras not the newest.

        • Got a link?

        • The original RX10 had only 3x optical zoom. Not useful for the described purposes at all.
          RX10 II had 8x optical zoom. Still not quite there.
          RX10 III has 25x optical zoom, that would do us, but finding one anywhere near the price limit appears unlikely.

    • Sure you're not thinking of the RX100 pricing? Even sony still sell a box damaged OG RX10 for $1100 on their ebay page and they go used for double OP's price range.

  • +1

    A few years ago I grabbed a used Sony HX90V for $150. It has 30x zoom and nice and compact. Pocketable if you are going on walks

    Should be able to get around $400 new ($444 at Good Guys), but might be able to get a lot cheaper used.

    Example photos at long zoom

    Note it is pretty hard to keep stable at high zoom levels - might need a tripod for optimal clarity.

    • Note it is pretty hard to keep stable at high zoom levels

      That's true for any photo at a long focal length.

      • Not with a stabilised body/lens.

    • You found a great deal for yourself.

      Best I can find right now: Refurbished for $355 from Sony on Ebay, with 1 year warranty. If Ebay drops a 15% off code we will seriously consider it.

      Love the small form factor. Nice to have a Zeiss lens.

      2015 release model is a lot older though than the 2018 for the Nikon and Panasonic. Not sure if sensor technology has changed much over those years.

      • +1

        The flash on mine is broken which I think might be why it was cheap, works perfectly otherwise. I don't think the low-light performance is meant to be that great anyway.

        It is an older model but think it still stands up pretty well. It probably won't have as much post processing as some newer models. I generally think the picture is pretty good outdoors when you can get good light.

        Here is a nice shot of Hobbiton:

  • I've had two Panasonic Lumix ultrazooms, FZ35 and FZ300, no issues with either (had the first one for many years) and they take nice pictures.

  • -3

    Stick with the phone… consider deducting $400 from the total of a PRO range phone. Samsung is using Panasonic cameras, so don't write them off.

  • The lumix is the way to go

  • +1

    I have had the Lumix DC-FZ80 for well over 12 months and it has been great. I have some serious cameras, lens etc and love photography but I got tired of carting heavy bags. I'll still bring the Nikon and gear for bird shots etc but the Lumix has been excellent for most of my photography, particularly zoom shots. I have seen some average reviews for FZ80 but my experience has great. I would certainly recommend it.

  • The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 sounds pretty good, gut it doesn't have GPS for geotagging of picture locations. Do any of these cameras around this price point do this?

  • Thanks everyone. We went for the Panasonic.

    Paid by credit card to get an extra 1 year warranty that way, bringing it to 2, like the Nikon.

    • As to the question about bargaining: no luck. They said: it's already $100 off the usual price, nothing more we can do.

      Extended warranty was offered for $60 and dropped to $54 for 2 years extra. Decided to not do that and rely on credit card and ACL in case something goes wrong.

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