If you're ready to step up to a superzoom but balk at the cost, Nikon's budget Coolpix L100 could be the answer. At around £240, it's hardly cheap, but it'll cost you a good deal less than the top-end and other premium superzooms, and the 15x zoom and 10-megapixel sensor aren't bad.
Here's an interesting factoid. Nikon quotes a battery life of 230 shots from the li-ion cell in its upmarket P90, while the cheaper L100 uses ordinary alkalines. In the old days, these were the poor relations of the battery world, cursed by a short and unpredictable life expectancy. But now Nikon says the L100 can take 350 shots on a single set of alkalines and 900 shots on disposable lithium cells. Times have changed. AAs might be the cheap option, but they're extremely practical, especially in the L100.
There's more to like. This camera's aimed at budget-conscious beginners, so there are precious few frills, making the L100 pleasingly simple to use. It starts up fast, zooms fast and focuses fast. The 15x zoom range is slightly down on the market leaders, but it's equivalent to 28-420mm, so it's still a wideangle zoom and should be enough for all but the most distant subjects.
You also get a big, 76mm (3-inch) display, solid build quality and all the fancy technology found in the rest of the Nikon range. This includes 13 frames per second continuous shooting -- although only at 3 megapixels and a bizarre ISO 720 minimum -- and vibration reduction, as well as face-, smile- and blink-detection.