Long distances come into view as Canon engages new super-zooms

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You can never be totally prepared on a holiday with a digital camera, and unless you feel like bringing with lots of lenses, it can be hard to know what to take with you, and that’s where super-zooms come in.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “super-zoom” is a breed of digital camera that packs in a lot of range in a body that isn’t so big, peaking it possible to capture shots not just of things that are near you, but also of things way off in the distance, much like if you had a very long lens attached to your camera.

That makes the super-zoom a versatile camera for situations you’re not entirely sure of, and while the compact camera is beginning to move over thanks to all of us having better cameras inside our smartphones, super-zooms are an area that is sticking around thanks to these lengthy lenses on offer.

And that brings us to two newbies from Canon, as the company truly embraces the super-zoom concept with the PowerShot SX400 IS and PowerShot SX520 HS cameras.

Canon's PowerShot SX400 IS

The SX400 is the smaller of the two, and will offer 30x optical zoom in its small and reasonably modern looking body, equivalent to 24 to 720mm if compared to 35mm. Digital zoom is also included, which Canon calls “ZoomPlus,” bringing it up to 60x if you can handle a bit of softness and cropping.

Effects are also part of the package, as is some image stabilisation and HD 720p video recording, and a 16 megapixel sensor to let you get some high resolution photos for that next trip around the world.

That zoom length should offer some good distances too, but if you’re really curious what’s inside the building or who’s looking down at you from tall monuments, Canon is also releasing the SX520 HS.

Close, but not exactly the same: Canon's SX520 HS brings a bigger lens to the table.

A little bit bigger again, this model offers the same 16 megapixel sensor with a bigger zoom lens, equivalent to 42x if you’re talking Canon’s optical zoom language, or 24 to 1008mm if you’re comparing it to a 35mm camera.

That’s a staggering length, and Canon has packed in more shooting modes here (including manual modes its SX500 brother lacks), a slightly better flash, and the hardware to let you capture up to Full HD 1080p video with stereo sound.

Pricing for the cameras is, unfortunately, an unknown, now that Canon doesn’t release an official price guide and asks the customer to check out what the retailers are offering it for, but we’ve had a quick glance at the previous models, and expect the SX400 to come in under $400, while we imagine the SX520 should grace store shelves for less than $500.