Call them bridge cameras, longzooms, superzooms, or megazooms (as we do), they're all pretty much the same thing: a large lens slapped on the front of a point-and-shoot camera.
While that's a bit of an oversimplification, the fact remains that though these are full-featured models with digital SLR-style bodies, they still have the shooting performance and photo quality of a compact camera. That said, if you're after a long lens, point-and-shoot simplicity, and an affordable price (at least more so than for a dSLR that has comparable lenses), you've come to right roundup.
Editors' note: This post was originally published October 26, 2011, but is updated frequently. It was updated May 8, 2013, to include the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300.
If you're looking for a fast camera with a ton of features including raw capture and a hot shoe, and the best -- if not the longest -- zoom lens in this category, you'll want the Panasonic FZ200.
Like the FZ200, the HS50EXR is well-designed for those who want fast, direct control over settings. The camera's manual 42x zoom lens makes it a good choice if you regularly photograph fast-moving subjects. Also, it, the Canon SX50 HS, and the Panasonic FZ200 are also the only ones on this list that can shoot in raw or raw plus JPEG.
If the Fujifilm HS50EXR's 42x zoom sounds too limiting, the SX50 HS is your camera. Its 50x zoom is the longest available (though it is matched by and ), taking you from a wide 24mm all the way to 1,200mm. It has excellent photo quality for its class, too.
Nikon Coolpix P520 The P520 is for the most part the same as its predecessor, the P510. It uses the same 42x, 24-1000mm lens, though it gets a 2-megapixel resolution bump to 18 megapixels and a new rotating and slightly larger LCD. It's somewhat slow to focus when the lens is zoomed in, but it's otherwise worth checking out is you're looking for an easy-to-use megazoom that's geared more for snapshooters than enthusiasts. Read the full review.
For those who don't need the hot shoe and raw support of the Canon SX50 HS, but really want the long lens, consider this Sony. It, too, has a 50x zoom lens and, like the FZ200, it's a good choice for handling photos and movies. Shooting options between it and its predecessor, the , are very similar, though the HX300 doesn't have built-in GPS.
Looking for specs and pricing? Compare this group of megazoom cameras head-to-head.