Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

If you're looking for a camera that shoots faraway objects (birds, the moon, or your kid on stage from the back of the auditorium when you arrive late for her recital), then I have the compact camera for you: the Nikon COOLPIX P600. At 60x optical zoom, it's the only camera in its category that zooms to 1,440mm. If you want more zoom, you can use Nikon's Dynamic Fine Zoom to digitally increase the focal length. I found the results very usable when shot from a tripod.

Other parts I like on the P600 are the 3″ Vari-angle LCD and the array of manual and auto shooting modes. The LCD flips out to the left side of the camera, and can be flipped all the way around for selfies or monitoring your video recording from the front. It also has an electronic viewfinder, but if you've ever used a quality viewfinder on a DSLR, you'll know why I'm not a real fan. The manual and auto shooting modes are excellent and recently allowed me to capture a great handheld image of the Blood Moon.

My number one request to improve or add to this camera is to include RAW format in picture mode—it's JPEG only. The autofocus is also slower than most of its contemporaries, which can cost you to miss a shot. Finally, as a guy who's shot a lot of video, I found that the lens makes a good bit of noise when moving, which can ruin a nice video when recording.

Overall, Nikon COOLPIX P600 is about one thing: providing you with one of the most impressive zoom mechanisms on a lightweight compact camera. On that fact, it can't be beat.

Company: Nikon Inc.
Web: www.nikonusa.com
Price: $429.95
Rating: 4
Hot: Amazing 60x long lens zoom
Not: No RAW support; autofocus a little slow