Best Superzoom Cameras For Birding [2022 Review]

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Birding is one of the most common types of citizen science. Citizen science involves non-professional enthusiasts monitoring, researching, and collecting data regarding the natural world.

In this particular instance, the data is regarding birds. This activity has been around for centuries in one form or another. Collectors not only used to observe but also hunt and stuff the birds for their collections. But with the advent of bird protection organizations like the Audubon Society, that practice was rightly diminished.

Now, birders can take advantage of the numerous high-quality cameras available to them to capture birds in their natural state. But why use superzoom cameras? The reason must be obvious to some, but let’s get into more detail here. 

Review of the Best Superzoom Cameras For Birding 

If you are convinced that you need a superzoom camera for birding, then stick around, and you can see which one is the best that also comes within your budget.  

Brand
Nikon COOLPIX P900
Canon Powershot SX60
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80
Product
Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera (Black)
Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x...
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1...
Megapixels
16MP
16.1MP
18.1MP
Brand
Nikon COOLPIX P900
Product
Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera (Black)
Megapixels
16MP
Brand
Canon Powershot SX60
Product
Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x...
Megapixels
16.1MP
Brand
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80
Product
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1...
Megapixels
18.1MP

Best Overall: Nikon COOLPIX P900

Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera (Black)

PROS

  • Good low-light performance
  • High-resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Has 83x optical zoom and 166x dynamic fine zoom
  • Both point-and-shoot and full manual control options
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for easy transfer for photographs

CONS

  • No touch option on the LCD screen

What Recent Buyers Report

The thing that invites people to Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera product is its ability to capture high-resolution close-ups at a safe distance from wildlife. The GPS on the camera is very accurate and gives you your exact location no matter where you are. When shooting at the highest resolutions, it seems to get a bit slow, but the results make up for the delay. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The main feature of this camera is its zoom. You can go from a 2000mm (which is pretty impressive on its own) to 4000mm using its dynamic fine zoom feature. This gives you the ability to take photos of branches, leaves, ladybugs, eagles, and even the craters on the moon.

Since you are shooting birds that tend not to stay in one place for long, having a camera with stabilization technology goes a long way in producing sharp images. This Nikon COOLPIX P900 uses a five-stop dual detect optical VR (vibration reduction) for his purpose.

It includes both the viewfinder and an LCD display. You can use what you are more comfortable with. With its manual control, you get full creative freedom by adjusting the shutter speed and aperture.

Bottom Line

This camera stands out from the rest due to its high zoom range and exceptional build quality. Along with a high-resolution sensor, you get six brightness levels and many manual adjustment options. To make things more convenient, there is an inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC for data transfer and GPS for your digital travel diary.

Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera (Black)
  • 16MP CMOS sensor; 6 level brightness adjustment
  • 24 2000-millimeter 35-millimeter equivalent focal length. Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
  • 83x optical zoom Nikkor super ED VR lens

Runner-up: Canon Powershot SX60

Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x...

PROS

  • Gives fast and silent zooming 
  • Built-in optical image stabilizer
  • 21mm to 1365mm zoom range
  • Video shooting at 1080p HD quality
  • High-sensitivity 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor

CONS

  • Does not have full manual focus

What Recent Buyers Report

Apart from its exceptional zoom, it is the budget-friendly cost of the camera that attracts many buyers. The camera has a very fast autofocus and surprisingly light design. In addition, having the option to shoot in RAW mode gives photographers a lot of creative range and saves space. Despite having a slightly smaller aperture, it makes for a great investment.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x optical zoom camera can go from ultra-wide, i.e., 21mm to telephoto, i.e., 1365mm with a 16.1-megapixel sensor and DIGIC6 processor. This combination results in sharp images no matter how high you are in the zoom range.

Canon is known for its fast and accurate autofocus system. You will see the same qualities here. It uses USM and VCM technologies to make focus and zoom fast and silent. It has the ability to record videos in 1080p HD quality with the option of an external microphone for better sound quality.

Compatible with all the latest iOS and Android devices, you can share your videos and images wirelessly via NFC and Wi-Fi. Image stabilization is also available in the video mode. With this dynamic IS, your videos will be free of tilt, shift blurs, and distortions.

Having the option to shoot in RAW mode gives you a lot of control when editing it later. You can also shoot in JPEG along with RAW for more options. The zoom framing assist feature makes focusing on objects much easier and faster. The details of how to use it are given by the manufacturer.      

Bottom Line

There is no doubt that Canon cameras are trustworthy and high on the quality scale. This particular model combines technology and budget in one. 

You get many additional features along with the main ones you expect from a superzoom camera like predefined shooting situations, 46 automatic filters, HDR, saving zoom position, one-touch mobile connection, and more.   

Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x...
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC allows wireless transferring of images and video ; Power Source...
  • 16.1 megapixel 1/2.3-inch high-sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with DIGIC 6 image processor (Canon...
  • 65x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom and 260x combined zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer.Video Clip...

Best for the Money: Panasonic Lumix FZ80

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1...

PROS

  • Touch-enabled LCD display
  • 4K video and image quality
  • 60x zoom range (20-1200 mm)
  • One of the cheapest superzoom cameras
  • Change image focus points and depth of field after it’s taken 

CONS

  • Not the quietest camera

What Recent Buyers Report

Cameras can be a hefty investment. The more features there are, the more you have to pay. But you don’t always need all of them. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera has everything you will need in a good superzoom camera at a very reasonable price. 

It gives what you would expect from a point-and-shoot at this price, but you will not consider the quality to be less. The images always come out sharp with minimum shutter release time. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Price is an important aspect for many buyers, and finding cameras that don’t compromise on quality over price can be difficult. With this Panasonic camera, you might not get the 4000mm zoom of the Nikon COOLPIX P900, but the zoom is still impressive at 20-1200mm.

One of the great features you get from this product is the F2.8 maximum aperture, allowing for amazing low-light performance. Low light performance is important in nature photography as you will not be using extra lights, but just the sun, and that can be challenging in evening and night times.

Shooting at maximum aperture and trying to hold the camera steady while you wait for the perfect shot is not easy. Your pictures often come out blurry and distorted; therefore, this camera has a POWER optical image stabilization to compensate for any movements.

Instead of just 1080p, this product lets you shoot at 4K quality and has an 18.1-megapixel sensor. Giving you full control over the final result, it allows you to change the focus points, add extra ones, and change the depth of field of the image as well.

For easy use, it has a comfortable grip and fits in your hands easily and has a large touch LCD display. Along with that, you get many connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, USB charging, HDMI D, Micro USB, and USB 2.0.     

Bottom Line

Without spending a lot of money on unnecessary things, you can save money and still get professional quality birding photographs. With a lot of creative control, this camera lets you produce unique images while assisting with light and resolution. Everything from troubleshooting to other technical details is explained in detail in the user manual as well.

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1...
  • Point and Shoot Long Zoom Camera: 18.1 megapixel MOS sensor plus 60X zooms DC Vario lens (20 1220...
  • High Resolution View Finder and LCD Display: High resolution 1,170K dot view finder and rear touch...
  • 4K video Capture: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160) with three unique 4K ultra HD video...

4. PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 4K Point and Shoot Camera,...

PROS

  • 4K video and image resolution
  • 5-axis optical image stabilization 
  • Minimum noise even at high ISOs
  • 16x optical zoom lens (25-400 mm)
  • Ultra-fast autofocus (0.09–0.1714 sec)

CONS

  • Build quality could be better

What Recent Buyers Report

Everyone from amateurs to professionals find this camera to be one of the best ones you can buy in the superzoom category. It gives the sharpest results and has a good zoom. It is a good travel camera, fits easily in your hands, and removes the need for constantly replacing lenses.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are not looking for extra-large zooms like 1200 and 2000mm, then Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 4K Point and Shoot Camera will do nicely for you. The 25-400mm range combined with the F2.8 aperture results in the best lowlight images and videos. Its lens is designed with aspherical lenses to give smoothly defocused backgrounds.

It gives not only high-resolution images but also 4K videos with a stereo option, creative video mode, and dramatic slow-motion option. It also gives you the option of extracting high-quality images from videos.

It has a large sensor of 1-inch and 20.1 megapixels that can give low-noise images, even at high ISOs like 25600. This camera uses a linear motor which they claim focuses faster than any other. It takes as little as 0.09 seconds on the wide focal lengths and 0.1714 seconds when in telephoto mode.

Since birding takes a lot of time and patience, having a good image stabilization system is important. This product includes 5-axis correction, meaning it will remove blurs in the directions, including horizontal, vertical, vertical rotation, horizontal rotation, and the axis of rotation.      

The minimum focusing distance of 3cm also lets you shoot in macro mode and enhance your creativity. That combined with panorama mode and some in-camera filters really give it an extra edge.     

Bottom Line

For a normal use camera by amateurs and hobbyists, the FZ-1000 is one of the best. That has a lot of helping features that make sure your images come out sharp and perfect without you having to do much. With a decent zoom range and good-quality build, you can use this as a starter and learn to shoot birds.  

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 4K Point and Shoot Camera,...
  • Big sensor quality: Large 1-inch 20.1MP MOS sensor for improved low light capture and large sensor...
  • 4K video & Photo: 4K 30P video with hybrid photography 8MP video frame grabs as photos.
  • Leica DC lens: A bright and ultra-sharp Leica DC lens 25-400 millimeter (16x) F2.8-4.0 and macro...

5. Nikon COOLPIX P1000

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2'...

PROS

  • 300mm maximum zoom ability
  • 4k UHD video with manual mode
  • Easy to use and smooth control ring
  • Remote control for remote shooting
  • Uses dual detect optical vibration system

CONS

  • Limited video recording time

What Recent Buyers Report

Despite its price being a little higher than others, this camera is popular with birders for its zoom and sharp results. This is a newer version of the p900, and it definitely shows in the build quality, ease of use, and image quality. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera can capture images at the range of 3000mm, allowing you to go beyond the birds and to the moon and still get great details. To compensate for the camera movements and vibrations, the dual detect optical vibration reduction is used.

It lets you shoot videos in 4K at 30 fps and stereo sound. The extra-large zoom is fitted into a compact and easy-to-handle camera that removes the need for bulky equipment.

Switching between manual and autofocus is very easy, and the control ring is smoother than before. In addition to all the required features, this product also gives you a remote shooting option, which you can use at maximum focal length to get sharper results.     

Bottom Line

Overall, this camera not only compensates for distortions to give sharp results, but it also gives you features like moon and bird mode. These modes automatically adjust light and other settings for the particular shooting environment. All this is given at a price that you would definitely agree is worth it. 

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2"...
  • 3000 millimeter optical zoom-the most powerful zoom lens; Ever put on a Nikon Coolpix camera
  • 4k ultra hd video with HDMI out, stereo sound and an accessory hot shoe
  • Rock steady dual detect image stabilization and great low light capability. Vibration reduction:...

Comparison of the Best Superzoom Cameras For Birding

What Makes a Superzoom Camera Great For Birding?

A superzoom camera can be classified as any compact camera with a ten or more zoom factor. The reasons for using them for birding are numerous. Here are some of the few you might find important.

Zoom

One main thing you have to keep in mind when birding is that birds are usually very far away for you to be able to capture all the details with a normal camera. There are two things that can determine how well you capture far off objects, i.e., focal length and zoom.

The focal length is something that comes to mind first, but zoom plays a huge role as well. It can make the birds seem as if they are right in front of you and not just a spec in the sky. Just imagine zooming in on a picture without losing any details. 

bird with branches and water surface

Source

Weight

The great thing about superzoom cameras is that you can take telephoto and wide-angle images without having to change the lens. Despite this feature, these cameras are not extremely heavy, as lenses tend to get on higher focal lengths. Weight is an important factor in any photography, especially this kind.

Birding is not something you do in a studio but outside surrounded by nature, maybe while on a hike, so it is good to have a camera that doesn’t get in the way and fits in your hand easily. 

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Superzoom Camera For Birding 

Having read through the reviews, you would have developed an idea of what you will get out of these products. But here are some general features that are common in all our top picks.

Extra Zoom

A camera with 11x zoom will also be considered a superzoom camera. But is that enough? Our list includes products with 16x to 85x zooms. But the real measure of this feature is the effective focal length that you will get, and the highest from this list goes to 4000mm with 4k videos and images.

This lets you capture not only birds but also the moon in much detail than lower zoom cameras.    

Image Stabilization

As a result of high zoom, the camera can take longer in some cases to shoot, and in all cases, the vibrations are amplified. With good image stabilization, getting a sharp image is almost impossible. We have made sure to include cameras with this feature only.

Some of them will give you dual detection (horizontal and vertical correction) while one also gives you 5-axis correction (helpful in video shooting).

bird eating fruits

Source

High-Quality Videos

Birding not only involves pictures but high-quality videos of birds in their natural habitats. Because they move at their own pacing, having the option to shoot videos lets you capture real-time movements in high-resolution.

Some will also give you the option of choosing a frame for a picture. All these cameras have 1080p and 4k resolution and not less.

Superzoom cameras are supposed to make things easier for you by letting you change your range from wide to telephoto in one lens and in a much lighter body. All the cameras on our list come in that category. Your pick should now depend on your budget and specific requirements.   

People Also Ask

There is a lot you can still learn about superzoom cameras and if they are really what you need. Here are some of the frequently asked questions that might help you as well.

Are Superzoom Cameras Any Good?

It depends on what you are looking for from your purchase. If your aim is to reduce bulk and the number of lenses you carry around, then they are the way to go. They have almost all the features of a DSLR and the image quality to go with it.

superzoom camera on a brown surface

Source

What Metering Mode Should I Use For Bird Photography?

The commonly used modes for bird photography are Evaluative for Canon and Matrix for Nikon. Some also suggest using Spot metering. It depends on how well you know about these and how good you are at using each.

How Do You Photograph Birds in Low Light?

In low light, adjust your aperture and ISO settings. Set the aperture to the maximum that your camera allows, increase the ISO (but make sure it doesn’t end up producing noise), and reduce the shutter speed (this gives more time for light to reach the sensor).

Is 300mm Enough For Bird Photography?

300mm might be too low for bird photography. Usually, you start from 400 or 500mm and up though some people use 300mm for their lower price.

What is the Best Aperture For Bird Photography?

Because you are focusing on the bird in your image, having a smooth blurred background or bokeh can really enhance your image, like in portrait photography. For this, you need apertures like f/4 or f/8 when you are using in the extreme telephoto range.   

How Can You Tell if a Camera Lens is Zoomed?

Zoom lenses will have a zoom ring on them to increase or decrease the focal length. They are also usually larger and heavier.

Conclusion 

In the end, the important thing to remember is that for birding, there are two main things, i.e., zoom and stabilization. All other features, though, add to the experience; without these, you should not consider buying the camera.