So you’re in the mood to zoom? Perhaps a traditional DSLR camera isn’t quite what you’re looking for? Today we took a look at the best bridge cameras in the market, and what we’ve learned through out the research is that these things are highly effective (if it’s what you’re looking for, at least). The benefits you’ll be getting if you end up purchasing one are vast, including some amazing zoom capabilities (some up to 60x!), accessibility, user friendliness, and more. Let’s get into the details.
What is a bridge camera?
A bridge camera is the solution if you’re in the need of something in between a point-and-shoot camera and a traditional DSLR camera. If you weren’t feeling the traditional compact camera style but still wanted some features they bring, as well something just before you get into DSLR’s, here’s your solution. There are some sacrifices you’ll have to make that don’t provide some of the popular features DSLR’s provide; however, sometimes it fits just what the user needs.
In regards to its technical build, this type of camera has mirrors that send light from the camera lens to the viewfinder (hole through which you look into the camera to observe the certain object you will take a photo or video of). A bridge camera has several parts: lens, shutter, reflexive mirror, sensor of images, focusing screen that is matted, lens for condensing, and viewfinder just as a DSLR camera. However, you’re missing one important part: an interchangeable lens. This may be a pro or con for you — we know some who say interchangeable or bust, while others could care less about fiddling with expensive lenses that are sometimes priced higher than the camera body itself. It all depends on your wants!
The top 10 best bridge cameras
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
To get our list started, we have in our opinion one of the best bridge cameras in the market based on ratio of quality to price-point. It’s interesting we don’t have a Canon or Nikon first (at least some may feel), however this isn’t the same game as traditional DSLR cameras. To start, there are numerous features that will capture everyone’s attention, including a nice 16x zoom, powerful 20.1 MP MOS Image Sensor and an excellent 25-400 mm lens with some solid image stabilization when you are shooting moving objects (or on the move). If you love making videos, with this camera you are getting a capable 4K QFHD 30p video feature for movie shooting. It is also important to mention the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that will enable you to share your photos and videos as opposed to transferring them with the memory card each time. You can also integrate your smart phone as the viewfinder with this one, a feature we haven’t really seen with older DSLRs and the like. The Lumix DMC-FZ1000 lastly comes with a convenient playback screen option that will be really handy when you want to check out what you’ve been working on. If you are wondering which is the best bridge camera, especially if you’re just starting out, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 one of our top picks. It was also number one in Independent’s bridge cameras list.
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Up next, here’s Canon’s first and definitely not last appearance. This one delivers a sharp 16.1 MP CMOS sensor with a nice DIGIC 6 image processor; however, that isn’t what stands out most about this one. The amazing 65 times optical zoom is what really highlights this model. Its 21-11365 mm wide-angle zoom means you will be able to take crystal clear photos even in low visibility and it also enables you to shoot full HD 1080p videos. With all these elements, you are getting great image quality as well as swift response – you can count on up to 30 frames per second and HD recording with up to 60 frames per second. Built-in Wi-Fi allows instant sharing and uploads. If you’re able to sacrifice the lack of 4K and want something that really puts the “super zoom” alternative title to use, then the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS is surely one of a few very nice surprises when it comes to the category of the best bridge camera.
Nikon Coolpix P610
Nikon gives us an option on the lower-end of the price-point in the bridge camera category here, and this highly reviewed model is equipped with a whopping 60x Optical Zoom and 120x Fine Dynamic Zoom. The P610 also notably has 16 MP Low-light CMOS Sensor and a large 3 inch touch screen that gives easy access to all camera controls, which comes in very handy when you want to switch between taking photos and shooting videos, zoom in or out, etc. There is also an option for video shooting in Full HD (1080p), Dual Detect Optical VR (for image stabilization), Wi-Fi and NFC. If you are looking for a high-quality bridge camera yet pretty affordable for a lower budget, you can add the Nikon Coolpix P610 to the list. Many raved about this model’s quality considering the price, let alone that amazing super zoom you’ll be getting.
Sony RX10 III
With a 20.1 MP CMOS image sensor and 25x optical zoom that will enable you to take excellent, crystal clear photos in different conditions as well as imagery of moving objects, you’re getting a higher-end model here if your cash flow allows. Additionally, with this camera you can shoot both high-quality photos as well as great full HD 1080p and 4K videos, which really makes this one of the best bridge camera options out there at the moment. This thing defines high-end in the best bridge camera category — it’s advanced BIONZ X image processor is arguably the best out there that will handle a large amount of data and capture the details you intend on grabbing. Fully expand your creativity with numerous options such as picture profile, gamma display assist, dual recording, recording control, etc. Taking photos and videos on the go is easy as well and you will get a high-quality end-product at a frame rate as high as 60 frames per second. The zoom isn’t necessarily the largest but if you can sacrifice only having 25x optical, the Sony RX10 III is a beast if you can afford it.
Canon PowerShot G3 X
Canon brings us a camera in the middle price-point will enable you to take clear photos in different light conditions and with different environments, thanks to the wide ISO that ranges from 100 to 12800. Let’s not forget the high-quality full HD 1080p and MP4 video option and numerous options for creative improvement of your photos and videos. You can easily access all camera controls on its large, intuitively designed touch screen. Additionally, the screen can be tilted up to 180 degrees for easy usage in all directions that’ll surprisingly help more than you think. The Canon PowerShot G3 X is definitely one of the best bridge camera models available with its unique highly sensitive CMOS 20.2 MP that delivers excellent images together with a powerful 25 times zoom on top of it all.
Don’t forget about Fujifilm as Canon and Nikon flood the game with models with just about every configuration possible. The XQ2 is a popular one among those in the middle price-range, want something quite compact, don’t need a crazy amount of zooming as well as great autofocus for on-the-go filming and photo capturing. It comes with a 12.0 mp XTRANS CMOS 2 Sensor, capable EXR processor and speedy AF system (with nine focus areas) that will enable you to take some pretty solid, crystal clear photos in all different shooting conditions. If you would like to make a movie instead of taking photos, you can also do that thanks to its standard full HD 1080p video resolution. Like many others, built-in Wi-Fi will give you the option to instantly share videos and photos and its decent 25-100mm f lens will ensure solid image sharpness. If you are looking for the best bridge camera that doesn’t have much pizzazz, you should definitely check out the FujiFilm XQ2 — although some may argue it’s a point-and-shoot, it’s for those who wanted a model on the bridge spectrum near that type.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
The Lumix series makes yet another appearance thanks it to its numerous positive reviews among users in the camera world. The specs of this particular model aren’t necessarily ground-breaking, but provide at least another option if you’re still not finding a camera we previously listed to catch your eye. The features here include a 12.8 mp MOS sensor, Wi-Fi, NFC connection, some advanced auto focus (called “Light Speed AF” — their tech for a “fast” autofocus special for Lumix cameras) and capable Leica DC zoom lens (Vario-Summilux f/1.7-2.8) that might make it the best bridge camera on the market at the moment if you have the cash. The large touch screen is simple and intuitive for use – you can access all of these options as well as 2 dozen different filter effects, such as sepia, retro, soft focus, etc quite easily. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 is a solid choice if your budget allows and merely gives you another option to keep in mind.
Nikon DL 24-500
Nearing the end of our list here, the DL 24-500’s 20.8 MP CMOS sensor and very functional and speedy proprietary Expeed image processor makes this one of the highest priced of our list. This camera delivers a great ISO range from 100 to 12800 that will enable you to capture photos and videos of excellent quality even with low light conditions. For taking videos that’ll separate you from the norm, there is a 4K UHD video system. This Nikon camera comes with a unique Nikkor zoom lens of professional quality for great image sharpness. Image quality will be further ensured with its hybrid AF system that will allow amazing capturing of moving objects. This Nikon DL 24-500 will be a great choice if you are looking for the best bridge camera that costs around a grand (double-check to see).
Sony Cyber-Shot HX300
Want 50 times optical zoom? Let’s bring it back to those super-zooms some of you may be looking for. You can shoot at a wide-angle and zoom close up in no time, much more effective than popular DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, making this guide make sense as to why you’d prefer these over the masses. Aside from the zoom highlight, it also has a large LCD monitor that will offer you easy and intuitive use and the powerful BIONZ processor will quickly process information and enable you to take as many as 10 shots in a second. The Sony Cyber-Shot HX300 is surely on the list of the best bridge camera with its whopping 20.4 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor and great DSLR-like design that will enable you to take great photos in all light conditions, let alone that zoom that overpowers many others in its class.
Sony Cyber-Shot HX400V
Last but not least, we had a hard time finding the 10th bridge camera to check out considering these are relatively rare in the digital camera game. This is another Cyber-Shot camera by Sony we feel caps off the list nicely. It’s just a slight increase in price (if it is indeed lower, grab this one instead of our previous pick — but the prices fluctuate way too much for us to state the price in here and stay up to date on it) than our previous Cyber-Shot pick. The specs? 20.4MP 1/2.3″ Exmor R CMOS Sensor, BIONZ X image processor and 24-1200mm focal length. Not to mention the 921k-Dot Monitor and viewfinder, 1080p AVCHD video filming resolution, and 10fps continuous burst shooting. One of the top candidates, listed last but not least for the best bridge camera is definitely the Sony Cyber-Shot HX400V.