Point-and-shoot cameras have had a bad rep lately, since they’re neither as convenient as a smartphone nor as powerful as a mirrorless cam or DSLR. However, there are a few areas where they still excel: they can include ridiculously long-zoom lenses in small bodies, and take selfies that would be difficult or impossible to manage on your phone. And Panasonic, at least, is determined to make the most of those advantages. The company has just introduced the Lumix ZS70, a successor to the ZS60 that crams more into its compact frame. It now has a 20.3-megapixel sensor (up from 18MP), an even longer-ranged 24-720mm equivalent lens, and — most importantly — a flip-out 3-inch touchscreen. If you’ve ever wanted to take a high-quality selfie (including a new 4K mode) without sacrificing your ability to shoot far-off subjects, you might want to consider this model.
Otherwise, you’re looking at some fairly familiar hardware… not that this is entirely a bad thing. It can still shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second, and take 8MP photos at a similar speed. You’ll also find RAW capture, a very fast autofocus that promises a lock-on in about 0.1 seconds, and a slew of modern camera tricks such as after-shot focus selection, a beauty mode and creative filters. WiFi helps you share photos to your phone for those all-important Instagram posts.
As is often the case with super-zoom cameras, you’ll be paying a fair amount. Panasonic will ask $450 when the ZS70 arrives at the end of May. That’s competitive for the class, but consider this: Canon’s upcoming PowerShot SX730 HS will offer a similarly sharp sensor, 40x zoom and a swiveling LCD for $50 less. And if you’re more interested in image quality than distance, you could spring for either the PowerShot G9 X Mark II or an older camera like Sony’s original RX100. You might be happy with the ZS70 — just know that it’s not the only game in town.