The Best 24X Optical Zoom Cameras


A camera's zoom factor is the focal distance on the long end of a zoom divided by the focal distance on the short end of the zoom. As of the time of publication, there were three “super zoom” cameras with 24X zoom on the market: The Leica V-LUX 2; Fujifilm S3200; and the Panasonic FZ100. "Super zoom” cameras are moving toward larger zoom capabilities, with most offering 25X to 30X.


  • The zoom on a 24X zoom camera is around 25mm to 600mm. 25mm to 600mm does not represent the length of the lens itself; rather, it shows the equivalent focal length if the camera were an SLR. Most compact cameras have sensors smaller than your fingernail, while the sensor of a full frame camera is 1-by-15 inches. The field of view produced with the smaller sensor at 103mm is equivalent to that of a full-frame camera with 600mm.

Fujifilm S3200

  • The Fujifilm S3200 uses a 14-Megapixels sensor measuring 1-by-2.3 inches. The sensor will produce a 4288-by-3216 pixels image at 100 to 6400 ISO (low light capability). The camera can be set up to take images in the 3:2, 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. It utilizes a 24-to-576mm equivalent focal length, with digital image stabilization. Digital image stabilization tries to determine if an image has blur due to camera shake after it is taken. That stabilization technique is considered inferior to optical stabilization. The S3200 can take videos using a 16:9 ratio and a resolution of 720P with a length limited to nine minutes. The Fujifilm manufacturer chose to utilize a 3-inch rear screen with 230,000 pixels. despite the move of its competitors to 460,000 pixels LCD. The S3200 uses four regular AA batteries for power.

Panasonic FZ100

  • The Panasonic uses a sensor similar to that of the Fujifilm, with 14 megapixels and measuring 1-by-2.3 inches. The FZ100 adds the 1:1 aspect ratios. The FZ100 has a 25-600mm lens that includes optical image stabilization. In an optical image stabilization system, a module in the lens compensates for the shake and corrects the image before it is recorded, providing better quality than digital stabilization. The FZ100 can take true 1080P HD videos with a 90-minute time limit. The rear display has 460,000 pixels. The FZ100 uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery.

Leica V-LUX 2

  • The Leica V-LUX2 is nearly identical to the FZ100 Panasonic. Leica rebrands the Panasonic FZ100 as V-LUX 2 and creates a semi-custom firmware for the camera. The capabilities of both cameras are identical.

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