Traveling with heavy photography equipment is tough. I’ve had my share of discomfort lugging around my high-end camera and lenses across airports and countries – and I decided that I needed to do something about it. After a lot of research, I finally settled for bridge cameras – these cameras have helped me simplify my travel bag to a great extent!
The best part about bridge cameras is that they come with a fixed lens and are way lighter than DSLRs. Plus, they come with great features – good enough for you not to miss your high-end, heavy cameras and lense as you travel out there.
I’ve used bridge cameras over the past couple of months, and I’ve found no reasons to complain at all. They are sturdy enough to sustain outdoor shoots, have great features, and complement different photography genres. And most importantly -they are easy to use too!
Choosing a food, reliable bridge camera is important, as you’re already substituting the gear you usually use with this camera. A few months back, when I was looking for one for myself, I came across many bridge cameras from different reputed brands. These cameras span across different budget ranges, making them perfect for both beginners and professionals.
I’ll be taking you through the list of my favorite bridge cameras – the ones I picked after thoroughly researching different factors. So if you’ve been hunting for the best bridge camera for yourself, this one’s for you! Read through the models I’ve listed out in this guide, and I’m sure you’ll find one that best fits your requirements.
Best Bridge Cameras for Beginners
As a beginner, the word bridge camera might seem a bit intimidating. But there’s nothing to be worried about! These bridge cameras are very beginner-friendly and are, in fact, a great choice for you if you’ve just started with your photography journey.
A bridge camera basically bridges the gap between compact digital cameras, DSLRs, and high-end mirrorless cameras. So when you choose a bridge camera, you actually pick the best of all these different camera models.
Getting the hang of a bridge camera may be slightly difficult initially, but that’s the case with every camera, right? Use the bridge camera for some time, and I’m sure you’ll not only learn how to use it quickly but also fall in love with the whole experience.
I’ve picked some beginner-specific bridge cameras after a thorough look at the design, specifications, and user experience these cameras offer. Let’s have a look at these models:
|Resolution: 18.1MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 80-3200 (extendable to 6400)||Weight: 21.7 oz|
This model from Panasonic is one of the best affordable bridge cameras. Its equivalent focal length range of 20-1200mm makes it well-suited for different photographic applications. The optical design of the lens is powerful and features 14 elements in 12 groups. The presence of aspherical elements, spherical surfaces, and ED elements ensures you have good quality, aberration-free imagery.
The inbuilt O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilization) further ensures you have all the stability you require while shooting in indoor and outdoor locations. The camera comes with WiFi connectivity but lacks NFC support, which most people look for in cameras.
The camera features a 3-inch monitor screen, which is touch-sensitive. You can easily access all camera controls from this screen. It also offers Touch Focus and Touche Shutter release to help you focus on subjects quickly and accurately. This saves you a lot of focusing effort while ensuring you have sharp, clear images.
The extendable sensitivity range of the camera is another plus point, as it delivers well even in low-light situations. Panasonic has a good chance to incorporate the new i-inch chip for this camera, but they’ve chosen to stick with the 1/2.3-inch sensor for the Panasonic Lumix.
Autofocusing performance of the camera is pretty accurate, and it can track and lock onto moving subjects too. On an overall basis, the camera performs well and delivers good image quality, given the size of the sensor.
|Resolution: 12.1MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 100-6400||Weight: 25.5 oz|
This is the best bridge camera you could get for less than $500. It delivers high-quality images and videos, thanks to the amazing features it comes packed with. The Lumix FZ300 has a powerful sensor processor combination, ensuring good quality imagery in different shooting scenarios.
The EVF of this model now comes with a higher resolution (as compared to the FZ200). The camera also features an upgraded LCD that now comes with a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. The LCD also features a proximity sensor for accurate autofocusing and is instantly enabled when you raise the camera to your eye.
The low light performance of the camera is good, thanks to its native ISO range spanning from 100 to 6400. The autofocusing mechanism of the camera works well even in dimly lit shooting scenarios.
This splash and dustproof bridge camera from Panasonic is worth every penny you invest in it! It has an accessible, rugged design that quite a lot of photographers find unreasonably bulky too. But one look at the features this camera is loaded with, and I’m sure you wouldn’t mind a slightly bulkier body too!
|Resolution: 20.3MP||Viewfinder: No/LCD|
|ISO Range: 80-3200||Weight: 15.6 oz|
A compact bridge camera from Canon, this model is a better, more equipped version than its predecessor. It has a higher zoom range of 50x, allowing you to capture macro shots with ease. The quality of the close-up shots is clear and vibrant, with no trace of a blur.
The overall design of the camera does not differ much from the previous model. It is tough, durable, and has an accessible layout too. This makes it perfect for beginners, who typically struggle with handling cameras.
The updated 20.3MP sensor and the advanced DIGIC 6 image processor work well hand-in-hand. The image processor allows you to capture fast-paced action scenes and moving subjects with great ease. In addition, the sensor and its native ISO range ensure your videos and images are of great quality. You also have the in-built image stabilization, which helps combat the camera shake as you capture your imagery.
The visual capability of this camera is up-t0-the-mark, and its audio recording features, too, are great – thanks to the presence of the in-built stereo microphones. The camera comes with wireless connectivity and NFC, allowing you to seamlessly transfer images and videos from your camera to other connected devices. In this price range, this camera is definitely one of the best bridge cameras you can get.
|Resolution: 20.2MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 80-1600||Weight: 15.7 oz|
The whole purpose of bridge cameras is to offer a wider zoom range than a smartphone or compact digital camera. And this model from Nikon nails this feature well. It delivers a wider zoom range and a host of other useful features in a sleek, compact, and portable body.
If you’re on a tight budget and yet are looking to invest in a bridge camera, the Nikon Coolpix model is just what you need to get for yourself. The design of this camera is pretty much typical for a bridge camera, but its build is not up to the mark. The camera feels cheaply made, but the rubberized grip compensates for this average-looking camera.
The camera has a good enough image sensor but an inadequate ISO range of 80-1600. This is also why you’ll find the camera struggling to deliver in low-light conditions. Even in bright shooting scenarios, the camera would deliver average image quality, which is a drawback.
While the camera doesn’t have exceptional features, you can’t really expect much from a model in this price range. For beginners or for those with a limited budget, this camera is still a great choice. You can upgrade your gear as you progress in your photography journey later.
|Resolution: 16.4MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 80-1600||Weight: 17.92 oz|
This bridge camera from Kodak has a plastic body and comes in two colors – red and black. It offers a maximum zoom of 960mm, with which you can comfortably shoot s=distant subjects. The resultant images are blur-free and of good quality.
Despite being priced for entry-level photographers, the Pixpro offers a pretty good amount of manual control capability. You also have the automatic alternative, using which you can leave the camera in fully automatic mode too.
The stabilization mechanism of the camera isn’t great, and it struggles to capture subjects in motion. The image stabilization of the camera is not enough to combat the aberrations due to camera shake either.
The layout of the camera is super simple and apt for someone who has just started out with photography. The controls are located in prominent, easily accessible locations. Rear buttons include Display Info, Play, Record, Set, and Menu options.
Additionally, you have the four-way control pad to adjust different settings of the camera, such as the focus, flash, self-timer, and macro shooting modes. More detailed controls are accessible via the on-screen menu.
The camera does not support WiFi connectivity, which makes it difficult to transfer images to other devices. You’d have to manually transfer images with the help of a USB cable to smartphones and other gadgets.
Best Bridge Cameras for Professionals
As a professional, all you want is a good quality, reliable camera that would perform well in all shooting scenarios. And to get this, you wouldn’t mind shelling out some extra bucks either.
Personally, I don’t compromise on my professional gear – even if it’s slightly outside my budget. Because compromising on the gear would mean compromising on the quality of images.
So for those who are looking to take their craft a notch higher, I have recommended these three models which would suit your requirements are a professional photographer. Let’s have a look at them:
|Resolution: 20.1MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 65-25600||Weight: 38.6 oz|
When this model was launched, it became an instant hit among bridge camera lovers. Sony bundled together all the features you’d look for in a bridge camera and compiled it in a chic and compact camera body. Right from its powerful fixed zoom lens to its large image sensor, this camera has git all the features right.
The camera has a user-friendly interface and is upgraded as compared to the previous models from Sony. You have text and color cues, which you can easily use even when in a hectic photoshoot. The camera settings can also be customized according to your preferences too.
The Sony Cyber-Shot also offers WiFi connectivity, using which you can not only control the camera from a distance but also transfer images to other smart devices. Along with WiFi connectivity, you also have Bluetooth, and NFC features too.
The ISO sensitivity of the camera is excellent and has the ability to deliver well even in difficult lighting conditions. As you use the camera, you can also set the lowest shutter speed threshold, beyond which the camera will automatically increase the ISO speed.
|Resolution: 20MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 125-12800||Weight: 28.28 oz|
This camera model comes with a single built-in lens and does not feature interchangeable lenses like other cameras. This single lens is capable enough to cover all bases and works wonders with the bright f/2.8-4 aperture it offers. You can comfortably capture images in different shooting scenarios without worrying about the resultant quality.
While the lens does not have wide-angle possibilities, it does have an amazing telephoto, which makes up for the former drawback. The build of the camera is plastic, but that only helps to keep the weight on the lower side. It has a much powerful lens in a compact, lightweight body.
The body of the camera is comfortable in hand, and it has an easy-to-understand layout. Even though this camera is built for professionals, a beginner can get used to it pretty soon. You have a range of dedicated, customizable controls that help you navigate through the menu easily.
The bright electronic viewfinder and its flexible LCD only adds t the comfort and quality delivered by the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. The camera is WiFi-enabled, which means you can quickly transfer data from your camera to the phone or PC.
With very fast autofocus speeds and a very low shutter lag, the camera is adept enough to capture videos as well as subjects in motion. On an overall basis, the camera is a great alternative, especially if you’re looking for a bridge camera for under $450.
|Resolution: 20.3MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 100-3200||Weight: 20.8 oz|
A compact superzoom bridge camera from Canon, this model has excellent, promising features. The image quality delivered by the Canon Powershot is clear and vibrant, thanks to the presence of its high-sensitivity sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor. The features of this camera make it compatible with both videography and photography – making it the perfect fix, especially for travel.
If you compare this model to its predecessor, it has a better, evolved, and upgraded design. The easy layout of this camera is simple to understand and accessible as well. It boasts of solid build quality, with a rugged plastic case along with a tactile rubber coating. The ergonomics of this camera make it very easy to handle and shoot for long hours too.
A major drawback of this camera is that it does not feature the remote flash triggering mechanism. You have to manually open the built-in flash by pulling it upwards, and there is no specific button to quickly access this either. This makes it a bit difficult to use the camera, especially in situations when you require the flash quickly.
The camera offers Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and you can establish the same using the button that’s right beside the On/Off button at the top of the camera. If you connect the camera to the Canon Camera Connect app via Bluetooth, you can control the camera remotely too.
If you put aside the few drawbacks of this bridge camera, it is definitely worth the investment – especially if your budget range is less than $550.
|Resolution: 16.10MP||Viewfinder: EVF/LCD|
|ISO Range: 100-6400||Weight: 49.9 oz|
If you’re looking for a bridge camera that would deliver more than what a typical bridge camera would, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 should be your go-to model! This camera sports a bunch of exceptional features, each of which you contribute to stellar imagery. Right from its 125x optical zoom lens to the wide focal length range of 24-3000mm, this camera is built to perform in different shooting scenarios and genres.
You can comfortably capture macro images, close-up shots, or distant subjects with ease. These features make this bridge camera well-suited for wildlife, birding, and sports photographers. With all the features it comes loaded with, the camera is on the bulkier side – but that’s okay, as long as you get the image quality you expect off a high-end bridge camera.
The optical layout of the lens is impressive and features 17 elements in 12 groups. Each of these special elements helps counter aberrations and deliver even-toned, vibrant imagery. While it may seem very chunky when you hold it, the design of the camera is otherwise pretty user-friendly. With its well-placed, easily accessible buttons, you can use this camera with ease – even if you are someone who is transitioning to high-end cameras.
Apart from a few drawbacks, this camera is definitely of the best bridge cameras you can find out there. So if you’re willing to shell out a good amount for a bridge camera, go for this model – I’m sure you’ll love it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Bridge Cameras Mirrorless?
Both the camera formats may seem the same, but there are a couple of differences that set them apart. Bridge cameras have fixed lenses, whereas mirrorless cameras offer you the flexibility to change lenses are required. Bridge cameras offer a much larger zoom as compared to mirrorless cameras, which deliver a reasonable zoom.
Mirrorless cameras have larger sensors, whereas a bridge camera would feature a relatively smaller sensor. This also affects the quality of imagery. Due to the presence of a larger sensor, a mirrorless camera would perform better in lower light situations. The performance of a bridge camera in varying light situations is average, except for a few cameras that still manage to deliver well.
Are Bridge Cameras Good for Beginners?
Yes! You can opt for a beginner-friendly model for starters ( I’ve suggested the best of the lot, you can pick one!). The features of the bridge camera make it well-suited for those who have started out on their photography journey. It has more of a point-and-shoot structure but with a set of additional advanced features. Starting off with a bridge camera would make it easy for you to transition to high-end cameras (such as mirrorless models) later.
Can I Attach a Bridge Camera to a Telescope?
Yes, you can. But do keep in mind that bridge cameras are not built for astrophotography. Merely because a bridge camera offers ample zoom doesn’t make it a good pick for astrophotography. But yes, there are no limits on experiments – so you can always try your hand at using a bridge camera in combination with a telescope and check out the results.
How Does a Bridge Camera Work?
Bridge cameras work in the same way as any digital camera without a DSLR-style mirror box mechanism would work. These cameras offer full manual controls over shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, color balance, and metering and aperture as well.
The ISO range of bridge cameras is lesser as compared to DSLRs, as they typically have smaller sensors. Bridge cameras feature only one fixed but versatile lens, which is capable of delivering in different photographic and video graphic applications.
Marco Downs is is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers.