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The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 / FZ82 sets itself apart from interchangeable-lens cameras by offering all the controls you need for all types of photography, alongside a lens with a 20-1200mm focal range – and that zoom range alone makes a compelling case for amateur photographers to choose the FZ80 / FZ82 for use at home, on days out or on holiday.
Features such as 4K stills are designed to make the capture of fleeting moments even easier, and within the grasp of those who haven’t spent a lifetime behind the camera working professionally. The camera is incredibly easy to use, and the menus feel light and not at all intimidating, making it ideal for beginners.
The biggest let-downs are the EVF magnification, and the lack of an eye sensor to automatically switch between Live View on the LCD and the EVF. Noise at the highest ISO settings the camera offers is high, but shouldn’t prove too much of an issue for the photographers this camera is aimed at.
Put into context, though, none of those are deal-breakers, and when weighed against the convenience, features and price, the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 / FZ82 is an attractive proposition for beginners who are looking to take more control of their photography without the need for a bag full of lenses.
If you’re looking for a camera that will, forgive the pun, bridge the gap between compacts and DSLRs, the FZ80 / FZ82 will do just that, and very well.
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS features a 16.1MP rear-illuminated sensor powered by the DIGIC 6 processor. A 65x optical zoom provides an impressive focal range of 21-1365mm, and there's Intelligent IS with 5-axis Enhanced Dynamic IS for smooth handheld video and shooting stills with slow shutter speeds. The minimum focusing distance is advertised at 0cm.
Read the full review: Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX400V sports a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens offering a 50x optical zoom with a focal range of 24-1200mm and Optical SteadyShot stabilization. The 20.4MP Exmor R CMOS sensor is powered by the BIONZ X image processor, and the camera can be connected to smart devices using NFC or Wi-Fi, while GPS allows you to geotag your images.
Read the full review: Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Nikon Coolpix B700
With a high resolution of 20.3MP you can make some large prints from the Nikon Coolpix B700. For sharing images easily online and taking control of some camera functions the B700 features Nikon Snapbridge, with apps available for iOS and Android. The lens offers 60x optical zoom, with a focal range extending from 24-1440mm, and is supported by 5-stop dual-detect optical VR (vibration reduction).
James Abbott is a professional photographer and freelance photography journalist. He contributes articles about photography, cameras and drones to a wide range of magazines and websites where he applies a wealth of experience to testing the latest photographic tech. James is also the author of ‘The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing’.