We wanted to focus, quite literally, on the zoom capabilities of this camera. It actually has a 30X optical zoom which is really good. The pictures shot in this range were clear without any noise. Beyond 30x the zoom is digital and this is where you need really steady hands to handle this camera. We suggest you use the tripod when you go to 200x, which is the equivalent of a 500mm lens. Even the wind can set you off target at this range and you would have to zoom out and see what you were shooting. At full zoom, the quality is not that great, considering the camera is just blowing up the 30x image to focus on a certain part. But step back a bit, to about 140x and the pictures will be passable.