Best Bridge Cameras

Review & Comparison, Last Update June 20, 2017
Bridge cameras have a fine combination of powerful zoom, wide aperture at short focal lengths, and even macro feature for close-up photos. Therefore, they are an awesome choice for when the point-and-shoot camera's performance can't satisfy your needs, but you don't want to spend big bucks on DSLR. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
ZOOM
Maximum Aperture
Sensor
SCREEN
VIEWFINDER
ISO Settings
Photo/Video Formats
BATTERY
WEIGHT
WARRANTY
 
PROS
Quick AF with only 0.09 sec focusing time. Excellent design. Supports XAVC S movie recording formats. Pretty large aperture at the widest point.
CONS
Options menu navigation can be a bit sophisticated.
OUR VERDICT
With Sony DSC-RX10 III bridge camera, even an ordinary user can take great photos of long-distance objects. And due to the 9-blade aperture, it can also create stunning photos with beautiful circular bokeh. This is overall balanced model with the exceptional ergonomics, bright lens, and pretty large sensor.
detailed parameters
ZOOM
Optical zoom - 25х,
Digital zoom - 4x,
Intelligent zoom - 2x
Maximum Aperture
F2.4–4
Sensor
20.1 MP, CMOS Exmor RS® 1.0"
SCREEN
Tilt-type 2.95" Xtra Fine TFT LCD,
1,228K dots
VIEWFINDER
0.39" electronic viewfinder (2,359K dots)
ISO Settings
100—12800,
Extended: 64—25600
Photo/Video Formats
JPEG, RAW / XAVC S, AVCHD, MP4
BATTERY
Photos: up to 420 shots,
Videos: up to 65 min
WEIGHT
2.4 lbs
WARRANTY
1-year limited warranty
PROS
Super optical 83x zoom and 166x Dynamic Fine Zoom allow you to capture a photo from very distant objects.
CONS
Shooting at maximum zoom requires a stable stand or a tripod. Doesn't support RAW format.
OUR VERDICT
In this moment, CoolPix P900 boasts the most powerful optical zoom. This is an ideal choice for birdwatchers, wildlife nature enthusiasts. You can even take photos of the planes, flying high in the skies, and see the letters and numbers on them.
detailed parameters
ZOOM
Optical zoom - 83х,
Digital zoom - 4x,
Intelligent zoom - 166x
Maximum Aperture
F2.8–4
Sensor
16.1 MP, CMOS 1/2.3"
SCREEN
Flip-out 3" TFT-LCD,
921K dots
VIEWFINDER
0.2" electronic viewfinder (921k dots)
ISO Settings
100—6400,
Extended: 100—12800
Photo/Video Formats
JPEG / MOV (H.264)
BATTERY
Photos: up to 300 shots,
Videos: up to 90 min
WEIGHT
2 lbs
WARRANTY
1-year limited warranty
PROS
Special Zoom Framing Assist function uses digital zoom for finding the subjects beyond optical zoom capabilities.
CONS
Might not be very suitable for low-light fast photography.
OUR VERDICT
Canon PowerShot SX60 can be recommended for both wildlife enthusiasts and travelers, owing to the huge optical zoom and great wide-angle view at the closest focal length.
detailed parameters
ZOOM
Optical zoom - 65x,
Digital zoom - 4x,
Intelligent zoom - 130x
Maximum Aperture
F3.4–6.5
Sensor
16.1 MP, CMOS 1/2.3"
SCREEN
Flip-out 3.0-inch LCD,
922K dots
VIEWFINDER
Electronic Viewfinder (922k dots)
ISO Settings
100—3200,
Extended: 100—6400
Photo/Video Formats
JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW / MP4, iFrame
BATTERY
Photos: up to 340 shots
WEIGHT
1.4 lbs
WARRANTY
1-year limited warranty
PROS
Owing to the bright Leica lens and super-fast focusing technology, you won't only miss an important shot.
CONS
Comparatively small zoom.
OUR VERDICT
Due to a large number of features and affordable price, this bridge camera is a great choice for people with any experience in photography and can create beautiful photos. It can also shoot video in Ultra HD quality.
detailed parameters
ZOOM
Optical zoom - 16x,
Digital zoom - 4x,
Intelligent zoom - 32х
Maximum Aperture
F2.8–4
Sensor
20.1 MP, High Sensitivity MOS 1.0"
SCREEN
Flip-out 3.0" TFT Screen LCD Display,
921K dots
VIEWFINDER
0.39" OLED LVF (Live View Finder) (2359K dots)
ISO Settings
125—12800,
Extended: 80—25600
Photo/Video Formats
JPEG, RAW / MP4, AVCHD
BATTERY
Photos: up to 360 shots
WEIGHT
1.83 lbs
WARRANTY
3-year limited warranty
PROS
Can record high-speed movies at up to 480 FPS rate for creating slow-motion videos.
CONS
At 800 ISO and bigger, the sensor may produce noticeable noise in the photos, shot in the dark.
OUR VERDICT
Fujifilm FinePix S1 is a really easy-to-use bridge camera with decent light transmission ratio at the medium aperture, providing more light and better quality to your photographs. Ideal for taking photos and videos of dynamic moving objects.
detailed parameters
ZOOM
Optical zoom - 50x,
Digital zoom - 2x,
Intelligent zoom - 100x
Maximum Aperture
F2.8–5.6
Sensor
16.8 MP, CMOS 1/2.3"
SCREEN
Flip-out 3.0" TFT LCD monitor,
920K dots
VIEWFINDER
0.2" electronic viewfinder (920K dots)
ISO Settings
100—3200,
Extended: 100—12800
Photo/Video Formats
JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG / MOV
BATTERY
Photos: up to 350 shots
WEIGHT
1.5 lbs
WARRANTY
1-year limited warranty

What is a Bridge Camera

Bridge cameras are often related to as a transition product between point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras. The design of bridge cameras is closer to the DSLR, but they don't have interchangeable lenses. Also, they usually have a lens with the long zoom range from around 15-20mm up to 200 and more. That is the reason, they are also often called superzoom or ultrazoom cameras. However, unlike DSLRs, bridge cameras feature an electronic viewfinder along with the LCD screen on the rear side. Furthermore, bridge cameras can shoot in various photo genres, including portraits, panoramas, time-lapse, and macro. This makes it a considerable option if you need an all-in-one camera with incredible zoom for shooting close-ups of the objects from great distances.

On a related note, you can easily and almost momentarily print the photos, that you've taken with your camera or smartphone, using the mobile printers. Also, if you have a relative or a friend, who loves recalling their memories, consider presenting them with a digital photo frame as well. And if you are really not satisfied with the size of bridge cameras, take a look at our review of the best point-and-shoot cameras.

What Features to Compare

People usually turn to bridge cameras when they want something better than a standard point-and-shoot camera, but may not be ready to pay big bucks for a DSLR camera. However, each person may have his own reasons. Therefore, let's see what's what in bridge cameras.

Image Sensor is a digital sensor that is used instead of a film in digital cameras to capture the light, that comes through the lens, and create an image file out of it. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the sensor is the better the image quality it can provide. Most of the sensors, used in bridge cameras, are either of CMOS type or, more rarely, CCD. The CMOS sensors are cheaper, faster, and more energy-efficient than the other one. CCD, though, produce less image noise and have a faster shutter speed for shooting moving objects. The actual sensor size is more important than the number of megapixels, as you will get better photo quality, rather than a huge but grainy picture.

Zoom is one of the most (if not the most) important parameter in bridge cameras. Most of the modern ultra-zoom lenses have at least a 15x optical magnification ratio that can go up to around 80x. However, the companies are yet to deliver 100x magnifications, their predictions and patented technologies look promising. Most of the bridge cameras also have a digital zoom feature. However, the image quality becomes noticeable worse, when using it.

Note, even 15x magnification will greatly increase the subject. So, if you are not going to use the camera for shooting objects like the planes in the skies or a top of the mountain from its foot, you can save your money by getting a less expensive model or the one with a better sensor. 

Maximum diaphragm, aperture or F-number usually refer to the same characteristic that shows how wide the opening in the diaphragm at the longest and shortest focal lengths is. The lower this number is, the bigger the actual opening will be and the more light will come through it. It will result in a brighter image, allowing you to take photos with faster exposure and under low-light conditions.

Different modes and filter settings in the camera may drastically improve its performance in the right hands. You should also remember that bridge cameras can shoot objects not only from far away but close ranges and even in macro too, owing to the long focal length range. So, you might want to check these characteristics as well. That is why we have provided the links to user's manuals below each product for the experienced buyers.

There may be other, less important design features and parameters. However, we've tried to cover the most useful of them in each camera's detailed review below. So, proceed to read to find out more about them.

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Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera

Brilliant Opportunities

Sony DSC-RX10 III is a high-end bridge camera with ultra-zoom 24-600mm bright lens.  F2.4 aperture on the widest end offers ideal light transmittance, compared to most of the superzoom models from Sony and other companies alike. Even more, it boasts a 9-blade diaphragm that creates an artistic-looking rounded bokeh in a variety of modes, including macro and portraiture.

Of course, the key feature here is 25x optical zoom. With it, it's possible to take crisp and sharp photos even at the longest focal length, because Sony DSC-RX10 III features the built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilizer that effectively compensates vibrations in a handheld shooting. Even on the longest zoom end, the F-number is still only f/4, allowing taking bright photos in low light. Still, if you are going to shoot in darkness, we'd recommend mounting the camera on a tripod or some kind of a stand.

A special intelligent focusing system takes only 0.09 sec to lock on the target within the direct viewing range. By default, the camera focuses on the objects in the center frame of the screen. However, you can use manual focus for getting sharper pictures of the objects in the specific focal plane, where autofocus can't pinpoint the target. In AF mode, the camera has a focus range from around 1.2" to infinity from the lens edge at a wide-angle position and from 9.84" to infinity at the maximum zoom.

In addition to the standard controls, the lens barrel has 3 rings - for aperture, focus, and zoom. Now, you can manually control your lens just like on a full-fledged DSLR camera.

Review of Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera

In Full View

We can talk forever about its powerful zoom and what it has to offer you for expressing your creativity. However, Sony DSC-RX10 III can also shoot quality videos in 4K resolution and in a special XAVC S format for improved image quality. With this format, Sony promotes its consumer cameras for shooting not only home video, but also professional promotional clips, documentaries, TV shows, and even full-length movies. Also, the camera supports High Frame Rate shooting at 500 FPS in Full HD quality, that can be played back later at normal FPS to capture the smallest object movements in a slow motion.

Sony DSC-RX10 III is also Wi-Fi and NFC enabled, allowing users to transfer the photos and videos from the camera without cables directly on their smartphones or computers. Additionally, there's a special Sony's app for smartphones that allows you to control your camera remotely in various modes and take photos with it, using your mobile device.

The bottom line is that this Sony bridge camera is an incredible choice for when you need a stable 25x zoom feature, a bright and fast lens for close-up and macro photos, and overall great functionality paired with simple controls.

Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera in the use

More Products to Consider

The more storage the memory card has, the more photos and the longer videos you can shoot without being distracted by having to switch the cards or upload them to the computer. Also, in order to record a high-quality video, the camera needs a high-speed memory card. Luckily, you can find a good range of them in our review of the best SD cards.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera
Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera
 

Nikon COOLPIX P900 Wi-Fi Digital Camera

Nearly Telescope

“Change the way you see, capture and share the world.” This is what a Japanese company says about its Nikon CoolPix P900. In this review, you will find out what makes it special.

Owing to the 24-2000mm focal length, the camera boasts insane 83x optical zoom. With the Dynamic Fine Zoom option, it's possible to extend its zoom even further up to 332x magnification ratio. However, in this mode, the image might lack some quality. But that may also be helpful for checking out the target place in order to find out if the necessary object is there. For example, a text on the signpost or a bird in the nest. Speaking of the avian wildlife, Nikon P900 has the "Birdwatching" mode with a quick selection between single and continuous - up to 7 FPS - shooting.

The vari-angle display comes in handy for shooting in portrait orientation or with a tripod, allowing you to adjust the screen in all dimensions for the best view and camera positioning. 

Review of Nikon COOLPIX P900 Wi-Fi Digital Camera

All in Your Hands

The optical image stabilization in Nikon CoolPix P900 is also useful for shooting videos and taking photos during sports events. The AF is pretty fast here and takes around 0.12 sec to lock on the subject. The left side of the lens barrel has a small lever for zoom control. However, it can be reassigned for the manual focus control in case you prefer to be fully involved in the shooting process.

Furthermore, the camera supports various wireless technologies. Wi-Fi and NFC have become a standard in the latest camera generations. Still, Nikon went even further and geared up the camera with GPS, GLONASS, and QZSS satellite navigation, allowing you to mark a photo with the precise coordinates of the location where it was taken. What else can be useful on travels is that with a new camera you will also get 20GB storage on the Nikon Image Space cloud service where you'll be able to quickly save your photos and access them from any part of the world.

On the whole, this Nikon bridge camera can become a great companion for travelers and enthusiastic birdwatchers, owing to the wide range of scene modes, built-in GPS feature, and one of the longest zoom ranges among the superzoom cameras.

Nikon COOLPIX P900 Wi-Fi Digital Camera in the use

More Products to Consider

The best way for carrying your camera on travels is a camera backpack. It has special compartments and dividers, designed to keep your pricey photo equipment safe and sound under any conditions.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Nikon COOLPIX P900 Wi-Fi Digital Camera
Nikon COOLPIX P900 Wi-Fi Digital Camera
 

Canon Powershot SX60 Digital Camera

Golden Middle

With each new model from ultrazoom S/SX-series, Canon adds a better, more powerful zoom lens. The pay-off, though, is that the maximum aperture in SX60 at the widest position has become narrower, compared to the earlier models from the series. However, when compared to the previous SX50 bridge camera, Canon PowerShot SX60 offers bigger image size, much longer zoom, and larger 3" LCD screen at a relatively small difference in price.

Its 16.1 MP 1/2.3" CMOS sensor can take photos at up to 4608x3456 maximum resolution. As for the focal length, it's equivalent to the 21-1365mm on 35mm Full Frame sensor, offering 65x effective optical zoom. You can also extend it up to 260x, using digital zoom, although it backlashes with a significant drop in picture quality. This series is also famous for its superb image stabilization that allows photographers to take crystal-clear handheld photos. Yet, with improved magnification comes increased vibration sensitivity. Thus, using a tripod at the long focal length is advised.

Review of Canon Powershot SX60 Digital Camera

Camera which Inspires

With all seriousness, Canon PowerShot almost always featured serious functionality that is more typical for DSLR cameras. SX60 continues this tradition, offering its user a variety fo scenic modes and convenient features. Among them, there's an electronic level to determine and align the camera tilt. Another one is the magnification of the focus area, that is helpful for checking out if the camera is focused right on the required subject.

Face ID feature is pretty interesting. It allows you to register a person's face in the camera beforehand. Next time you'll try to take the photo of the registered person in Auto mode, the intellectual face recognition will try to focus on him or her automatically. This can be incredibly useful for taking photos of your kid, performing on the stage among the other children or playing on the field during a sports event. The birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts may also like that camera records quality Full HD videos at 60 FPS rate.

Ergonomic-wise, the camera is pretty handy. The body is made of lightweight, yet durable plastic. The handle on the right side has now a wider rubberized area, offering a better grip for handheld photos. Furthermore, Canon PowerShot SX60 supports NFC and Wi-Fi data transferring and smartphone or tablet control with the special free app. 

Summing up, this Canon super zoom bridge camera can be recommended for both amateurs and advanced users, thanks to the good optical characteristics and numerous creative effects.

Canon Powershot SX60 Digital Camera in the use

More Products to Consider

In order to take a steady shot in low-light conditions, we recommend setting the camera on a tripod or monopod. Lucky for you, our website features a good review of the best camera tripods, that can be found on the market for a really great price.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Canon Powershot SX60 Digital Camera
Canon Powershot SX60 Digital Camera
 

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 Camera

Exceeding Expectations

With more than 15-year experience in the field of bridge cameras production, Panasonic was the first company to release the bridge camera, that is capable of recording video in 4K resolution, and named it LUMIX DMC-FZ1000. As of now, it's still their flagship camera not only in the series but on the whole market as well.

Extra-large 20.9 MP 1.0" MOS sensor is paired with the bright Vario-Elmarit Leica DC Lens. The camera has only 16x optical zoom, which may be a far cry from calling it "ultrazoom" by up-to-date standards. Yet, it's in no way short and is still way longer as to what many other point-and-shoot cameras can provide. The 49-area AF is quick and spot-on most of the times even in low-light conditions along all of the focal length range. Furthermore, a special Depth from Focus technology not only detects the contrast between the objects but also tracks the distance to them. That way, the camera knows in what direction it should move the lens right away that further improves the hunting time.

Review of Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 Camera

Great Capabilities at an Affordable Price

As we've mentioned, this camera can shoot movies in up to 4K at 30 FPS rate. A zooming speed in this mode slows down to provide smooth video. What's more, the 5-axis stabilization changes to 4-axis. What we really liked here is that the viewfinder has a very large eyecup and provides full image view. Also, it's pretty bright and has a high resolution. Thus, checking the image and focus in it on a clear sunny day isn't an issue at all.

If you want to edit your photos, you'll appreciate that the camera supports shooting in RAW format. In the burst mode, it can take up to 10 RAW fps or up to 50 fps in JPEG with autofocus on. The camera also supports Wi-Fi and NFC technologies for uploading the files and controlling the camera with a phone or a tablet without additional cables.

Ultimately, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 bridge camera with a lithium battery offers balanced performance and many features and modes, that make it a universal choice for both new photographers and travelers who also want to shoot quality videos on their journeys.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 Camera in the use

More Products to Consider

Another way to carry your camera around is to put it in a camera bag. That way, you can always have your camera at hand and will never miss an interesting shot.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 Camera
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 Camera
 

Fujifilm FinePix

Weather-Sealed Ultrazoom

Fujifilm FinePix S1 boasts a dust and weather-resistant body, making it a great all-weather camera in your photo equipment. 3" LCD screen can be flipped out and tilted in any position, allowing you to check out the screen while holding the camera at an awkward angle or when it's set on a tripod. The controls design is pretty common: a mode dial is on top, the controlling wheel and other function keys on the rear side next to the screen. There's also a button for switching the image between the viewfinder and 3" screen even when it's flipped out. There's also a slot for hot-shoe on top.

USB and HDMI ports are sealed with the rubber insert. The memory card is stored under the battery lid and accessed at the bottom. Yet, you might not have to ever take it out, because you can upload your files directly to the computer via Wi-Fi.

Review of Fujifilm FinePix Digital Camera

Stop the Moment

Of course, the key feature is 50x zoom and 5-axis optical image stabilization that allows taking steady handheld shots at the biggest focal length. Speaking of it, the camera has an effective optic focal length within the range from 24mm to 1200mm. In addition, you can further enhance the image with the digital zoom up to 2400mm, though, the image quality will obviously decrease the further you increase the magnification. Just like many other superzoom cameras, FinePix S1 features a super macro feature for when you want to shoot close-ups with a shallow depth of field for blurred-out background - objects like flowers, bugs, raindrops on the leaves, and so on.

The camera is awesome for sports events, where you can observe the game and take close, dynamic photos of the players on the field even from the upper-level seats.  For this, you can use the burst mode, in which the camera takes photos at 10 FPS rate, or shoot Full HD 60 FPS videos. Furthermore, FinePix S1 can record video at 480 FPS! However, the video resolution is only 240x180 pixels, yet, it's enough to create a documentary-like slow motion video of the stuff breaking or exploding.

Fujifilm FinePix Digital Camera in the use

In Your Own Tempo

The camera has many standard modes like Shutter and Aperture priority, Auto, Manual, Custom, Panoramic, and others. What's more, Fujifilm FinePix S1 has 9 visual filter effects that can even be applied for shooting movies as well.

You can use the camera for taking photos after the set time intervals - every few seconds or even minutes for up to 6 hours long. After that, you make time-lapse photos on your computer to share with friends.

We liked that the zoom can be controlled not only with the ring around the shutter release, but with a handy lever on the left side of the lens as well.

As a result, it's a safe choice for when you need a superzoom camera with a built-in optic image stabilizer for shooting photos and videos from afar on the concerts, sports events, and so on.

Detailed review of Fujifilm FinePix Digital Camera

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Fujifilm FinePix
Fujifilm FinePix
 

Sources:

1. Nigel Atherton The WDC Guide to Bridge Cameras, WhatDigitalCamera. June 20, 2016.

2. Ryan Shawr How to buy the best bridge camera, Which?

3. Gavin Stoker What is a bridge camera? techradar. January 6, 2012.

4. Josh A Beginner’s Guide To Photography, ExpertPhotography.

5. Bridge camera, Wikipedia. September 6, 2016.

6. Tips On Choosing And Buying A Digital Camera, January 12, 2016.

7. Keith Reilly DSLR vs Bridge Camera, PictureCorrect. 2016.

8. Jim Goldstein 10 Tips For Great Telephoto PhotographyDigital Photography School.

9. Jason D. Little 6 Tips for Successful Macro Photography, Light Stalking Photography Blog and Community. December 9, 2012.

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