On this page you will find our ranking of the best bridge cameras on the market, accompanied by all the information you need to choose the model that best suits your needs.
Like all of our buying guides, this page is divided into two main sections. In the first we will talk about bridge cameras in general, explaining who they are intended for and what are the main features to consider before buying one.
We think that clarifying these aspects can help our less experienced users to choose the best bridge for their needs with greater awareness.
In the second part of the guide, we will instead review what we believe to be the best models of the moment. For each of them, we have drawn up a detailed sheet, in which we comment on the main technical characteristics and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. If you already know the subject and want to skip the introduction, feel free to use the button below.
First of all, let’s spend a few words explaining exactly what a bridge camera is.
This particular type of camera is often described as a middle ground between the economical compact and the most advanced reflex cameras. This is where their name derives, which in English means ” bridge “.
Beyond this “official” definition, let’s clarify right away that, in general, bridges are cameras of a purely amateur nature. In fact, they are much closer to simple compact cameras than to reflex cameras, under (almost) all points of view.
Best Bridge Camera 2021
And if you are really in a hurry, in the mirror below you will find the list of the best bridges Camera that we have included in this guide. By clicking on the name of a model you will go directly to the section dedicated to it.
Best Bridge Camera | Comparison Table 2021
|Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, F2.8-5.9 Aperture, Power O.I.S. Stabilization, Touch Enabled 3-Inch LCD, Wi-Fi, DC-FZ80K (Black)||Panasonic||Check Price|
|Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ652-BK 20MP Digital Camera with 65X Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black)||KODAK||Check Price|
|Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV with 0.03 Second Auto-Focus & 25x Optical Zoom (DSC-RX10M4)||Sony||Check Price|
|Minolta M35Z 20MP 1080p HD Bridge Digital Camera with 35x Optical Zoom, Purple - Bundle with Camera Case, 16GB SDHC Card, Memory Wallet, Cleaning Kit, Card Read er, Tabletop Tripod||Minolta||Check Price|
|Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen (Black)||Canon||Check Price|
|Minolta MN67Z 20MP Full HD Wi-Fi Bridge Camera with 67x Optical Zoom, Purple Essential Bundle with Bag, 64GB SD Card, Octopus Tripod, Corel PC Software Pack and Accessories||Minolta||Check Price|
|Minolta Pro Shot 20 Mega Pixel HD Digital Camera with 67X Optical Zoom, Full 1080P HD Video & 16GB SD Card, Black||Minolta||Check Price|
|Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen (Black)||Canon||Check Price|
|Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 4K Point and Shoot Digital Camera with 16x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 25-400mm Lens DMC-FZ1000 Bundle with Deco Gear Bag Case + Filter Kit + Photo Video Software & Accessories||Panasonic||Check Price|
Best Bridge Camera | 2021 Reviews
A “mind-boggling” Zoom
Digital Bridges: Differences and Points in Common with Other Cameras
Just like that of the compact cameras, the zoom lens of the bridges is fixed; unlike reflex and mirrorless, therefore, it is not possible to replace it with another lens.
From an aesthetic point of view, bridges generally appear very similar to reflex cameras but are normally smaller in size. There is usually a fairly pronounced grip, a small physical dial that allows you to change some settings, and a shooting mode dial.
As for the methods of use, more space is often left to automatisms than to the creativity of the photographer. It is generally possible to intervene in the management of exposure and depth of field, but not with the same freedom offered by interchangeable lens cameras. For example, in budget models, the range within which an aperture can be chosen is often limited to just 2/3 stops.
Some of the best medium / high-end bridges, not surprisingly aimed at the most experienced, instead allow you to set all the shooting parameters without any constraints, as well as to perform long exposures and apply filters to the lens.
Even from the point of view of image quality, the bridges cannot compete with the most advanced reflex and mirrorless cameras. The cheaper models offer a level of detail very similar to that typical of compact and only slightly higher than that of smartphones.
Some more advanced models, those with 1 ″ sensor, provide a higher image quality (however not at the level of interchangeable lens cameras), but on the other hand, they often have a price much higher than that of an SLR entry-level with a standard lens.
Best Bridge Cameras: the Most Important Features
Now that we have briefly explained what are the distinctive features of these cameras, let’s move on to describe their main technical specifications.
In this way, you will be able to determine which aspects are more relevant than others, for your needs, and choose the model that suits you with greater awareness.
Furthermore, this section allows us to provide you with an explanation of the various features to which we will refer later, in the individual cards of the best bridge cameras.
First of all, as promised, let’s go back to taking care of the zoom, making some considerations a little more in-depth.
We explained how bridges are characterized by an extremely powerful zoom: usually, their characteristics are summarized simply by the number of “per” (like 40x or 60x), which indicates its range.
In truth, however, there is much more to say about a camera lens, especially if it is a bridge type.
The equivalent focal length, measured in millimeters, is the parameter that indicates in a “scientific” way what the amplitude of the framed scene will be, understood as the angle of view.
When we shoot a very wide scene, such as a landscape, we are using a short equivalent focal length (for example 24mm), which corresponds to a wide-angle of view. When we “zoom a lot” on a distant subject we are doing nothing but reducing the framed angle of view and we are using a high equivalent focal length (such as 200mm, 500mm, or more). If you want to learn more about this topic, we recommend that you read the page dedicated to the objectives.
It is precisely in the area of long focal lengths that bridge cameras give their best; let’s try to clarify by giving some practical examples.
Animals in the wild are among the subjects that require the most extreme focal lengths given that, for obvious reasons, one cannot get close to them that much. The photos of birds in flight and animals in their habitat that we can admire on the photography forums are in fact normally taken with powerful telephoto lenses.
Typical focal lengths for this kind of photograph are around 500mm or 600mm equivalent, sometimes 800, but are rarely longer.
Yet, almost all the best bridge cameras that we will present to you later reach at least the focal length of 600mm and most of the models go far beyond, touching the equivalent 1,200-1,400mm or even more.
The image below takes as an example a subject familiar to everyone, the moon, and shows the level of magnification that can be achieved with focal lengths of this type.
This is clearly a simulation that we made starting from a single shot, but the area occupied by the moon with respect to the entire frame is reported in a very precise way.
Notice how at 2000mm our satellite almost completely fills the frame: a very illustrative example of the zoom potential in this type of camera.
In terms of maximum focal length, the bridges do not, therefore, seem to have rivals. Even the minimum focal length, however, is a parameter to be taken into strong consideration, especially if you often photograph landscapes and large scenes in general.
In truth, on this point, the models we have considered in our ranking of the best bridges do not differ that much: we almost always start from 24mm equivalent. However, some cameras are an exception and offer a shorter minimum focal length.
The image below shows the same scene framed with a focal length of 20 and 24 millimeters equivalent. It is evident that in the first case the “room for maneuver” is far greater!
The focal range simply indicates the ratio of the maximum to the minimum focal length covered by a zoom lens. In practice, it is nothing more than the number of “for” highlighted in the technical data sheet of the cameras and often stamped directly on their body.
The zoom we have referred to so far is the optical one, which generates magnification through the movement of the lenses inside it. Amateur cameras also often integrate a digital zoom, which promises to further increase the range of the lens.
With this type of zoom, however, the enlargement is obtained simply by “dilating” the central area of the frame: the level of detail remains unchanged while the image quality dramatically worsens. Since it is a useless feature, as well as misleading, we have chosen not to mention it at all in the cards of the best bridges on this page.
If the lens represents the eye of a camera, the sensor can be called its “heart”. The performance of the machine in terms of image quality and resistance to high sensitivities largely depends on this component.
The digital sensors used today correspond to certain standard formats and the main difference between one and the other is the physical size. Generally speaking, the larger a sensor the better the image quality .
In the image above you will find a schematic comparison between the dimensions of the various sensors used on modern digital cameras (of any type).
Only the two smaller formats are used on bridge cameras: the 1 / 2.3 “ and the 1″ . In particular, the cheaper bridges all have a 1 / 2.3 “sensor (the same as the low-end compacts) while only some of the more advanced models have a 1” sensor.
Although in no case can these sensors compete with those available to reflex and mirrorless cameras, the difference between the two standards is quite evident.
If for you image quality (understood as the level of detail, sharpness, and color fidelity) is essential, we, therefore, advise you to choose models with a 1 ″ sensor.
From the 1 / 2.3 ″ sensor bridges you can expect quality similar to that of the economic compact, which does not differ too much from that offered by medium / high-end smartphones.
On the other hand, as you may have guessed by now at this point of the guide, the strength of bridges is not the quality, but the power of the zoom and versatility in general.
The resolution is the size of the photos that can be taken with a particular camera and is measured in megapixels, or in millions of pixels. In other circumstances, we have warned a little about the exceptionally high resolutions touted by some cameras. In fact, all too often an exaggerated number of pixels results in a lower level of detail at maximum magnifications.
When it comes to the best bridge cameras we’ve reviewed, however, there aren’t any major differences from one model to another. The resolution generally fluctuates between 16 and 20 megapixels, adequate values for any amateur use and consistent with the possibilities offered by a small sensor.
Almost all bridge cameras on the market offer, in addition to the automatic ones, also the manual and semi-automatic shooting modes “P”, “A”, “S” and “M”. Using them, you can adjust parameters such as exposure duration, aperture, ISO sensitivity or white balance at your discretion.
Compared to the most advanced cameras (reflex and mirrorless), these modes are not without limits. In many cases, the usable aperture range is for example reduced to one or two stops, which severely penalizes the creative use of the camera.
Some of the bridge cameras included in our ranking then allow you to shoot in RAW format as well as in the classic Jpeg. This format preserves all the information recorded by the sensor during shooting and allows you to perform much more intense adjustments in post-production, remedying even small errors in the shooting phase.
The most important options
Some technological options and some accessory functions of the bridges that we are going to analyze deserve an in-depth study by virtue of the importance they cover.
The image stabilizer, integrated into all bridge camera models that we will analyze, is a device that improves the stability of the camera by compensating, at least in part, the movement of our hands as we shoot. Its presence greatly reduces the chances of running into blurred photos when using very high focal lengths (at which the risk is greater) or when there is little light.
The ability to connect the camera to another device via WiFi (smartphone, tablet, or computer) is increasingly sought after, even for amateur models. This feature is presented above all as a quick way to upload the shots taken on the internet and share them on social networks. However, there are also other important potentials offered by the wireless connection to a smartphone.
Since these are bridge cameras, you will often find yourself using very long focal lengths: in this case, simply pressing the shutter button destabilizes the camera, and can cause blurred photos. By using your smartphone to operate the shutter remotely you can easily get around this problem.
In addition, many of the bridges that we are going to analyze allow you to view the shot on the mobile phone display and to change some settings: a very useful function when you need to move away from the camera when shooting. While traveling, you can also make sure that the GPS coordinates of the place where you are, detected by your smartphone, are recorded in the EXIF data of the photos.
Conclusion: the Advantages of a Bridge
Bridge cameras are now highly popular among various categories of users. Obviously, those who are used to shooting very distant subjects, impossible to photograph with a smartphone, with a compact, or even with a reflex associated with basic lenses, often resort to this type of camera.
More generally, bridges are perfect for those looking for a camera that is easy to use and relatively light, but suitable for really facing any subject, perhaps during travels and trips.
This type of camera, as we said, is to be considered mainly amateur in nature. However, it is not uncommon for even experienced or even professional photographers to choose an advanced bridge, using it on all those occasions in which it would not be possible to carry a professional kit.