The 12-megapixel Samsung WB600 has the longest, widest zoom range of any compact superzoom. Its 15x zoom goes from a super-wide 24mm right up to 360mm, and you get 720p high-definition movies and manual exposure control too.
You might expect the WB600 to cost a fortune then. But you'd be wrong. Just £210 is all it costs to get a compact camera that will give even a standard superzoom a run for its money.
It just so happens that the WB600 arrived in our testing laboratory at just the same time as Nikon's Coolpix S8000 superzoom with a 10x zoom. The differences between them are striking. You might expect that the WB600's longer zoom range would mean greater compromises in terms of quality, but it's actually the other way round. The WB600's lens is sharper, and produces good detail even at full zoom. It's sharp up to the edges of the frame and doesn't suffer from any significant chromatic aberration.
The WB600 only has 12 megapixels to the S8000's 14.2, but they're put to much better use. It looks like Samsung has cut back on the smoothing software, so there's slightly more noise, but there's also more detail. The WB600's pictures are crisp, clear and natural-looking, which is something of a result for any camera with a high-resolution, 1/2.3-inch sensor.
It's a pleasant camera to use too. The 76mm (3-inch) LCD display is big, bright and clear. A 'Fn' button displays all the major adjustments, like white balance, ISO and so on, in a quick-access menu running down the side of the screen. There's also a good selection of creative photo styles and 'smart filters' to jazz up your pics.
You can get more hands-on with the aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes, and you can shoot 720p movies in which (unlike with the S8000) the zoom and autofocus continue to work. The sound quality is rather good too -- except when it cuts out unexpectedly.