Best Bridge Camera

Best Bridge Camera

Which is the best bridge camera to buy instead of bulky DSLRs and low quality compact cameras? Bridge cameras are universal camera bodies with DSLR manual controls and a huge built-in zoom lens that takes amazing wide-angle to telephoto images. In this review, I’m going to help you pick the best superzoom camera for wildlife and travel photography.

Need the answer right now?
 
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
 
With huge zoom lenses and DSLR-design handling, this bridge camera is a popular choice for many experienced wildlife photographers.
 

15 Best Bridge Cameras for Photographers

A bridge camera is a flexible and inexpensive DSLR replacement. It provides nearly identical manual control, user-friendly automatic modes, and incredible zoom lens. Bridge cameras are smaller and more lightweight. They’re usually used for travel, wildlife, street, and landscape photography. Got interested? Read my review of 15 best bridge cameras for affordable prices.


1. Panasonic Lumix FZ2500/FZ2000

panasonic lumix 

fz2500/fz2000

 
 

Price: about $1000

 
Pros+
  • Amazing picture quality, particularly when shooting in RAW
  • Well designed body with a convenient grip
  • Amazing continuous autofocus and subject tracking
  • Built-in zoom lens offers smooth focusing without noise
  • Awesome 4K footage quality
Cons-
  • Heavy noise reduction when shooting in JPEG
  • Yellow color gains a slightly green tint visible on skin tones
  • Limited automatic ISO settings
 
 

FZ2500 if one of the best bridge cameras for macro photography as it allows taking pictures that have nicely saturated colors and an adequate level of details. Shooting in JPEG also involves a great deal of noise reduction that leads to a significant loss of detail (water, in particular, looks very unnatural) and clipped highlights.

However, the NR system is very useful for taking JPG photos with minimal noise. The video recording quality provided by this zoom camera is amazing. If you shoot in 4K or 1080p with 60 fps, you’ll be impressed with the footage you receive. The recorded audio is also of high quality while the included sound level settings and wind filter give you more control over the shooting process.

Panasonic Lumix 

FZ2500/FZ2000 sample photo

Photo by Panasonic Lumix FZ2500/FZ2000


2. Fujifilm FinePix S1

fujifilm finepix s1

 
 

Price: about $400

 
Pros+
  • Waterproof bridge camera
  • Satisfying picture quality up to ISO 800
  • 7.8fps continuous shooting mode
Cons-
  • Doesn’t have an EVG eye sensor
  • No GPS or touchpad controls
  • Continuous shooting doesn’t work in RAW
 
 

S1 includes a 50-times zoom lens with nice AF speed and a water-resistant body. This candidate for the best bridge camera title is capable of handling everything you need from close-up shots to landscapes and sports photographs.

It’s water-resistant and allows using it in windy or rainy conditions. Because the resolution on this camera 1920x1080 it is unbeatable for even twice the price. Seriously, it's really difficult to find an affordable video camera that shoots 1080/60p.

This model has a flash hotshoe, rotatable LCD screen, a broad collection of manual modes, quick loading times, command dial, and a fast burst shooting mode while also supporting 1080p video with stereo audio. All these features allow the S1 to be called the best bridge camera in its price range.

View more reviews of the best travel cameras and the best cameras for landscape photography for taking breathtaking nature photographs.
 

Fujifilm FinePix S1sample photo

Photo by Fujifilm FinePix S1


3. Nikon Coolpix P1000

nikon coolpix p1000

 
 

Price: about $1000

 
Pros+
  • Incredible 24-3,000mm focal range
  • Supports shooting in RAW
  • “Snapback Zoom” feature is useful for finding “lost” subjects
Cons-
  • Quite large and bulky
  • Disappointing max aperture at larger focal lengths
 
 

If you want to take photos of running wild animals or flying birds, P1000 with its incredible 125-times zoom allows capturing them with comfort while remaining at a safe distance. This is definitely the best bridge camera for wildlife that offers nice stabilization due to the integrated vibration reduction system.

This model provides high-resolution EVF, 4K and RAW format support. While the sensor is smaller than in similar models, it still allows the camera to have an incredibly powerful zoom. Overall, the photos I’ve taken with this megazoom camera are of high quality.

JPEG images are nicely colored while shooting in RAW allows bypassing the noise reduction and capturing more details. The focal spectrum of the P1000 is amazing that is perfect for night photography.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 sample photo

Photo by Nikon Coolpix P1000


4. Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)

leica v-lux (typ 114)

 
 

Price: about $1200

 
Pros+
  • 1-inch sensor
  • 16x optical zoom and large maximum aperture
  • Excellent photo quality at higher ISOs
Cons-
  • No touch screen
  • Quite big dimensions
  • Cropped 4K video and no automatic exposure control
 
 

Unlike other cameras having an equal number of pixels, Leica V-Lux (Typ 114) is equipped with a sensor that allows taking extremely sharp images. Improved light sensor of larger pixels reduces noise and makes detail retention better. Nevertheless, grain noise appears in neutral tones and shadow zones of low ISO pictures.

Leica bridge camera provides good picture quality at ISO1600, while a great number of bridge cameras can’t boast of image excellence at ISO800. In general, I like its bright images, dynamic range, and first-rate clarity.

Need the best cheap camera that takes good nature and street photos? Read my review of 10 best cameras for backpacking for affordable price.
 

Leica V-Lux (Typ 

114) sample photo

Photo by Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)


5. Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

panasonic lumix dc-fz80

 
 

Price: about $300

 
Pros+
  • 4K UHD video support
  • Reasonable price
  • 3” touchscreen display
  • Wide-angle lens with a 60-times optical zoom
  • Upgraded resolution of the digital viewfinder
Cons-
  • Large amount of noise at ISO 1600
  • Short battery life when employing the EVF
 
 

Unlike other bridge cameras, the DMC-FZ80 shoots stills with much lower quality at high ISO. Unfortunately, raising this setting is inevitable if you want to lower camera shake when shooting at a higher focal length.

Slight noise appears even on small ISOs, but it isn’t a real issue up to 800. However, when I take photos in RAW, I have to maintain a small ISO to avoid noise.

Its macro mode is amazing. It enables you to focus on objects that are merely 1cm away. That’s why I think this is the best bridge camera for macro photography especially if you’re on a budget.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 sample photo

Photo by Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80


6. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

sony cyber-shot rx10 iv

 
 

Price: about $1600

 
Pros+
  • Great dynamic range capture in all modes (movie, JPG, and RAW)
  • Convenient touchscreen controls
  • Rolling shutter works smoothly even with dynamic subjects
  • Highly efficient optical stabilization system
Cons-
  • Lacks lock-on autofocus when recording proxy footage or working in 1080/120p
  • Sensor controls can’t be used for menu navigation
  • Can’t use zoom in AF-C when autofocus is turned on
 
 

This Sony bridge camera allows easily tracking a moving subject with an impressive continuous shooting speed. It’s not a professional sports camera but it offers great performance for such a price. It has a fast burst shooting mode and nice autofocus, the zoom doesn’t work when focusing on an object in AF-C. I think this is a rather serious drawback regarding shooting sports events.

On the positive side, this bridge camera is great at taking highly-detailed images, particularly on high ISO settings. However, automatic noise reduction can result in smeared colors. I managed to achieve the most optimal results by setting “High ISO NR” to “Low.” When it comes to taking photos in JPEG, I usually set the color profile to “Vivid” as it allows receiving pictures that are more vibrant.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 

IV sample photo

Photo by Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV


7. Canon PowerShot SX60 HS

canon powershot sx60 hs

 
 

Price: about $450

 
Pros+
  • Impressive zoom range
  • Comfortable to use
  • Sturdy body
  • Manual controls and RAW support
  • Integrated WiFi and NFC
Cons-
  • Doesn’t have touchscreen controls
  • Slow lens
  • Same size as beginner-level DSLRs
  • Digital viewfinder lacks a proximity sensor
 
 

This Canon bridge camera provides good performance when used in sufficient lighting or for birding. The possibility to adjust all the camera’s settings manually and several additional dials and buttons are other pluses of this camera.

The picture quality provided by the PowerShot SX60 HS bridge camera is satisfying with saturated and vibrant colors and a fine amount of details. In poor lighting, the photographs tend to get noisy, as the device isn’t suitable for work in the darkness. However, that is expected from this camera type.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS sample photo

Photo by Canon PowerShot SX60 HS


8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

panasonic lumix dmc-fz300

 
 

Price: about $400

 
Pros+
  • Impressive battery charge duration (380 images)
  • Allows setting the focus and exposure manually
  • RAW support
  • Includes an external microphone input
  • Weather-resistant sealing
Cons-
  • Slightly disappointing JPEG colors
  • Soft corners when shooting at certain focal lengths
 
 

The larger the zoom, the worse picture quality you’ll receive when taking photographs in the darkness. This happens because the majority of zoom lenses have a max aperture of approximately f/5.6 at full zoom. This is a good bridge camera for concerts that breaks that rule as it provides a fixed aperture of f/2.8 on the whole zoom spectrum.

It offers 4K support, a 5-point image stabilization system, and a 12fps continuous shooting mode that are all packed in a stylish water-resistant camera body with a digital viewfinder and a rotatable sensor screen.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 sample photo

Photo by Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300


9. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

panasonic lumix fz1000

 
 

Price: about $500

 
Pros+
  • Lens has a ring for zooming and focusing
  • 4K support with an impressive 100Mbps
  • Comfortable to hold and carry
Cons-
  • Doesn’t have an integrated noise reduction filter
  • Ring can be accidentaly rotated
  • Microphone tends to record the sound of rotating
 
 

This Lumix camera has a 16-times optical zoom and a 1” sensor that serves to improve the general picture quality. The included lens is a Leica optic model with a satisfying max aperture of f/2.8 (wide-angle) and f/4 when using full zoom. These characteristics will allow you to shoot in low lighting without setting ISO to large values.

The image quality provided by the FZ1000 is more than satisfying. The exposure setting is usually accurate and I haven’t seen practically any highlight clipping. The colors are crisp and vibrant without being too saturated. Even though the photos are too soft when shooting in wide-angle mode, they become sharper as you zoom in.

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 sample photo

Photo by Panasonic Lumix FZ1000


10. Canon Powershot SX540 HS

canon powershot sx540 hs

 
 

Price: about $300

 
Pros+
  • Simple and timesaving file transfer via WiFi or NFC
  • Manual focusing and exposure setting
  • Increased image quality thanks to a larger sensor
  • Higher max video resolution of 1920x1080
Cons-
  • Doesn’t have an integrated viewfinder, rotatable screen, or hot shoe
  • Battery lasts only for about 210 photos on a single charge
  • No panorama mode
 
 

A powerful DIGIC 6 processor and a 50-times optical zoom make SX540 HS one of the best bridge cameras I’ve used. It allows taking amazing photographs in low light and electronically doubling a zoom without the slightest drop in quality.

When it comes to outdoor and daily photography, this model is probably one of the best superzoom cameras. However, it isn’t suitable for portraiture, wildlife, or sports event shooting where the subjects are mostly dynamic. Thus, if you mostly plan to take pictures of still objects or landscapes I think you’ll be in love with this model.

Canon Powershot SX540 HS sample photo

Photo by Canon Powershot SX540 HS


11. Olympus Stylus SP-100EE

olympus stylus sp-100ee

 
 

Price: about $250

 
Pros+
  • 1080p video at 60fps
  • 5-axis hybrid image stabilizer
  • Tracking distant subjects with a dot sight
  • Functional design and convenient rubber handle
Cons-
  • No Wi-Fi module
  • Absence of EVF
  • Low contrast photos in case of high optical zoom
  • Appearance of soft corners and slight purple fringing
 
 

If you need to track moving objects, for example, a butterfly or a basketball game, the Olympus bridge camera is an ideal camera for you. Its built-in dot-sight makes the process of tracking objects quick and easy. Besides, I don’t lose my object while recording videos too. I am able to frame and shoot only when the subject is still.

A functional design and a convenient handle make it the best budget bridge camera. It is definitely worth its money. As for me, the image quality still leaves much to be desired since photographs appear rather soft when applying full optical zoom. But it is not really essential for online picture sharing. By the way, the photos are still colorful and have good exposure.

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE sample 

photo

Photo by Olympus Stylus SP-100EE


12. Canon PowerShot G3 X

canon powershot g3 x

 
 

Price: about $850

 
Pros+
  • Movable touch-screen display
  • External flash supports built-in EVF and Canon Speedlites
  • Connections for a microphone and headphones
  • Wi-Fi module
Cons-
  • Slow focus
  • Relatively long process of switching-on
  • Rather expensive EVF
 
 

Canon PowerShot G3 X is a reliable super-zoom camera being truly desirable among passionate travel photographers. While shooting in the wide-open mode, excellent bokeh at both ends of the zoom range is achieved thanks to the fast f/2.8-5.6 lens.

Although this Canon bridge camera can’t compete with DSLR cameras or an APS-C equipped compact system camera at the higher ISO speeds, ISO 100-1600 is remarkably usable with 3200 as a backup.

When it comes to quality of construction and performance, water and dust resistance should not go unmentioned either. What is more, customizable lens control ring, command and exposure compensation dials undoubtedly make it a handy bridge camera.

Canon PowerShot G3 X sample photo

Photo by Canon PowerShot G3 X


13. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

canon powershot sx70 hs

 
 

Price: about $550

 
Pros+
  • Pleasant performance
  • Great image stabilizer
  • Proper 4K video quality
  • Decent autofocus
Cons-
  • No touchscreen
  • Relatively poor build quality
  • Slow-motion video modes are limited
 
 

Canon PowerShot SX70 is equipped with 10 fps continuous shooting, an improved electronic viewfinder, Bluetooth module, 4K video resolution, eye-sensor and convenient second zoom control on the lens barrel. The problem is that even at ISO 100 this bridge camera is rather noisy.

It offers an effective usage of just 100-400 before the object gets eliminated. Picking this bridge camera among other superzoom cameras is not the best idea as close-ups at zoomed-in shots are not acceptable.

Nevertheless, it possesses many features that are perfect for shooting at a mid-range focal lens. For example, great image stabilizer, AF performance, speedy handling, and a nice EVF definitely improve image quality and satisfy the photographer’s needs.

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS sample photo

Photo by Canon PowerShot SX70 HS


14. Sony DSC-RX10 III

sony dsc-rx10 iii

 
 

Price: about $1300

 
Pros+
  • 4K/30p and high frame rate video
  • Headphone and microphone connections
  • First-rate EVF
  • Weatherproof
Cons-
  • No touchscreen
  • Menu system is not modernized
  • Inconvenient buttons
  • User interface is stuffed with an extensive feature set
 
 

Thi bridge camera has a 24-600mm F2.4-4 lens and 20MP 1"-type stacked CMOS sensor amazing dynamic range and high ISO performance. Besides, 4K video recording and some high-speed video capture modes are also available.

Apart from an upgraded feature set, developers modernized this Sony bridge camera with an awesome lens which considerably improved its performance. Moreover, 24-600 mm equivalent F2.4-4 zoom lens provides an impressive sharpness shooting with any zoom and focus placement.

It is rather heavy and expensive, but RX10 III is definitely worth its money. No matter whether you are an intrepid explorer, passionate photographer or a travel blogger, it is an appealing offer. Be sure, the combination of great zoom range and excellent video quality is not available in other bridge cameras.

Sony DSC-RX10 III sample photo

Photo by Sony DSC-RX10 III


15. Sony DSC-HX300

sony dsc-hx300

 
 

Price: about $300

 
Pros+
  • High results at the maximum optical range
  • Hand-operated zoom
  • Movable LCD
Cons-
  • No raw format
  • Small sensor and a great number of pixels
  • No external flash or accessory port
 
 

Being equipped with hand-operated zoom, the Sony Cyber-Shot HX300 provides really sharp images. Macro performance allows me to focus 1cm away from the subject. The especially universal 50x lens provides control of barrel distortion at the 24mm wide-angle focal length.

Sony 

DSC-HX300 sample photo

Photo by Sony DSC-HX300


List of 15 Best Bridge Cameras

IMAGE NAME DETAILS  
panasonic lumix fz2500/fz2000 Panasonic Lumix FZ2500/FZ2000FOR MACRO
  • 20.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
fujifilm finepix s1 Fujifilm FinePix S1WITH VIEWFINDER
  • 16 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
nikon coolpix p1000 Nikon COOLPIX P1000FOR WILDLIFE
  • 16.7 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
panasonic lumix dc-fz80 Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
  • 18.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
sony cyber-shot rx10 iv Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
  • 20.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon powershot sx60 hs Canon PowerShot SX60 HSOUR CHOICE
  • 16.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
panasonic lumix dmc-fz300 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300FOR VIDEO
  • 12.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
panasonic lumix fz1000 Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
  • 20.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon powershot sx540 hs Canon Powershot SX540
  • 20.3 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
leica v-lux (typ 114) Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)
  • 20 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
olympus stylus sp-100ee Olympus Stylus SP-100EEBUDGET
  • 16 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon powershot g3 x Canon PowerShot G3 X
  • 20.2 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon powershot sx70 hs Canon PowerShot SX70 HS
  • 20.3 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
sony dsc-rx10 iii Sony RX10 IIIFOR BIRDING
  • 20.1 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
sony dsc-hx300 Sony Cyber-Shot HX300
  • 20.4 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE

How to Choose a Bridge Camera?

To choose the best bridge camera you should know what particular features to pay attention to. I have put together a list of such features to know what to look at while making a choice.

1. Lenses

As you already know, the lens in a bridge camera is not interchangeable. Nevertheless, zooming features make it truly the best zoom camera since extra lenses are not required. Being equipped with wide-angle lenses (24 mm or 28 mm), it extends to nearly 1200 mm when zooming the lens to the maximum limit. Moreover, the focal length is equivalent to 500 mm and 1000 mm. I can’t agree more that you won’t find such an impressive lens among DSLRs at cheap prices.

2. Viewfinder

Owners of superzoom bridge cameras take pictures with the assistance of the LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder since the optical viewfinder is not available. Sometimes, the most compact bridge cameras lack the EVF either. In other words, you should use optical viewfinder if any and count on the LCD screen to settle the camera lens. Users snap the picture based on the image preview seen on the screen.
Nonetheless, the EVF can’t compete with the optical viewfinder as snapping pictures with superzoom cameras is rather slow. Moreover, image distortion may appear when we make a fast move.

3. Sensor Size

Bridge cameras are usually equipped with the sensor almost identical in size as the one in compact cameras. 15 mm or less is a common diagonal for a conventional bridge camera. Accordingly, if you print your photographs in A3 format, images may be slightly distorted.

4. Size and Weight

In spite of the fact that bridge cameras are rather lightweight and small, they are improved with the best DSLR’s features. In fact, cheap models are made of plastic which decreases their weight. On the other side, such bridge cameras are not durable and may be easily disrupted.

5. Accessories

As a rule, modern bridge cameras are equipped with an external ‘hot shoe’ flash, suitable for the attachment of extra flash units and EVFs if they are not available in a standard kit. You may also fit filters or close-up lenses with the help of a bayonet fitting for lens present in many bridge cameras. Moreover, remote shutter release may be added to some cameras.

6. Image Stabilization

Unlike compact point-and-shoot cameras that are prone to shaking while shooting, bridge cameras are modernized with optical or sensor-shift stabilizer. In such a manner, it keeps the camera steady and reduces blurring.

Bridge Сameras vs DSLR vs Mirrorless

bridge vs dslr vs mirrorless

Let’s take a close look at key differences between a bridge camera and mirrorless or DSLR. A bridge camera may be characterized as a connecting link between compact point & shoot cameras and heavy DSLRs. Consequently, having compared them I have found essential differences.

Can’t choose tha camera you need, read more about the differences between mirrorless vs DSLR cameras.
 

Bridge Camera vs DSLR

  1. Though bridge cameras have improved optical zoom lens, they are not equipped with an interchangeable lens while DSLRs are.
  2. Due to the ordinary sensor, bridge cameras are not as impressive in low light/high ISO situations as DSLRs. But at the same time, they are much better than point & shoot ones.
  3. While an optical viewfinder is an obligatory feature for all SLRs, a bridge camera may not be necessarily equipped with it. In general, it may have an LCD display or just an electronic viewfinder. In other words, you can’t see a real image as reflected by the mirror looking into the viewfinder eyehole, you simply look at the image captured by the sensor, as seen by the lens.
  4. Such peculiar DSLRs’ features as Aperture Priority, Program, Shutter Speed Priority and Manual exposure programs are also available in the best bridge camera. Control set and handling are analogs to those of DSLRs.

Bridge Camera vs Mirrorless

  1. As a rule, bridge cameras are very convenient, equipped with a permanent zoom lens, relatively big and modernized with a great number of adjustments.
  2. Mirrorless cameras are also small but slightly more complicated than bridge ones. Actually, you are to choose the lens and exposure adjustments on your own. Body design is similar to a point & shoot one, though lenses are interchangeable. In general, you may apply numerous adjustments as well as use menus for some settings.
  3. DSLRs are considered to be the most expensive cameras providing perfect image quality. Having rather complicated bodies, they belong to the group of large cameras. Latest models are improved with full adjustments. Like with mirrorless cameras, you are to select an appropriate lens, lighting, and exposure.

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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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