If the best point and shoot cameras offer too little for your creativity and the DSLR cameras are above your level of experience, or maybe too complicated for use, the best bridge cameras come as the best middle-ground solution. They offer a little bit of both worlds, delivering compact size and good portability on one side, and fairly decent image quality on the other, which is what the majority of users are looking for.
How to Choose the Best Bridge Camera
When deciding on the best bridge camera, you should focus on the following characteristics:
Although it isn’t predetermined, a larger sensor size usually means a better overall image quality. In other words, if you want most for your money, the larger-sized sensors should certainly be your preferred choice.
Have in mind that the bridge cameras sensors aren’t as large as the best DSLR camera sensors; however, they still provide fairly decent image quality that should satisfy the vast majority of users.
Depending on what you plan to do with your bridge camera, you need to choose the one with an adequate lens. If, for instance, you want to observe wildlife, larger-sized lenses that are above 1500mm should be your main option; if, on the other hand, you need the camera only for everyday photography, lenses that are bellow that numbers would certainly be a more preferable option.
More connectivity options usually give you better overall versatility and usability of the device and bridge cameras are no exception. Don’t be satisfied with only one connectivity option and seek the devices with as many connectivity options as possible.
5 Best Bridge Cameras
Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV
An All-Mighty Bridge Camera
Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV is an amazing piece of equipment that, delivers premium performance, worth the best bridge cameras, thanks to the excellent quality of the components implemented.
Although a bit pricey, this camera fully justifies it, mostly thanks to features such as super-fast AF that needs only 0.03 seconds to work, as well as 315 point phase-detection and 24fps burst shooting that can be done with the AF and auto-exposure turned on. In other words, this camera is serious stuff, able to deliver top-class footage, with impressive dynamic range and very sharp and detailed image in both photos and videos that can be captured in 4K.
The key reasons for such a great performance are hidden inside it and include 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS CMOS sensor and ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm ultra-zoom lens, as well as excellent Sony engineers who obviously know what they’re doing.
Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV offers very good connectivity that includes Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi connection and provides great versatility that allows its easy pairing with both Android and iOS devices. Moreover, it comes fitted with a bright and sharp electronic viewfinder and altogether presents a pretty good upgrade of its lookalike predecessor RX10 III.
In other words, if you want a high-quality digital camera that will deliver nothing but excellent images, Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV is definitely the device for you.
- Good connectivity
- 315 point phase-detection AF
- It can capture 4K videos
- 25x zoom
- Excellent sensor
- A bit bulky
PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 II
Excellent Versatility in a More Budget-Friendly Edition
If you are after a high-quality bridge camera, with excellent versatility and more than a reasonable price, PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 II is a camera as made for you.
This is a device that brings the value for your money and offers a pretty good list of features that will allow you to express your talent for photography in the best possible way. It is equipped with 20.1MP 1” BSI CMOS sensor and 16x optical Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens that is equivalent to 25-400mm lenses, as well as 5-Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer that is the main reason for its excellent image quality.
Moreover, this camera allows for 30fps 4K and 60fps 1080p video capture and supports 30fps burst shooting in special “4K Photo” mode, as well as 7fps burst shooting with, or 12fps burst shooting without AF, when in regular mode.
PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 II comes with a 49 point face/eye detection AF that needs only 0.09 seconds to do the job and provides good connectivity that includes Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connection that guarantees for more than solid functionality.
All in all, this lightweight 808g camera has everything that you may need, and more importantly, it doesn’t cost a fortune. Therefore, if you are seeking the best budget bridge camera that certainly won’t disappoint you, PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 II seems like a pretty good option.
- 5-Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer
- Excellent image quality
- Great 1” sensor
- Leica 16x optical zoom lens
- A decent battery life
- No USB-C port
Nikon COOLPIX P1000
A Bridge Camera that Will Literally Take you to the Moon
Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is a specific camera that isn’t for everyone. It has a lot of good sides such as the utterly amazing 125x zoom that has no rivals in the class and will let you take photos of faraway objects, even moon craters, like they are placed on your front lawn and not located thousands and thousands of kilometers away. Moreover, it has an excellent optical stabilization that perfectly pairs with the zoom capabilities, decent build quality, and overall good performance.
However, this camera also comes with a few serious downsides that involve poor EN-EL20a lithium-ion battery that can handle only about 250 shots per charge, low burst speed of 7fps, as well as bulky design and not that great low-light performance.
On the other hand, this camera delivers very good 30fps 4K video capture; it offers RAW support and provides solid connectivity that involves USB2.0, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, and Wi-Fi connection.
Although its 3000mm lens significantly increases Nikon COOLPIX P1000’s performance, that can be hardly said about its modest 16MP BSI-CMOS sensor that delivers solid image quality but seems a bit inadequate for such a lens “power”.
In other words, Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is a mixture of both great and modest components and features that create a niche product that is perfect for observing and capturing distant scenes and objects, but not that great when it is used in everyday situations.
Overall, this device is fun to use and probably the best bridge camera for wildlife available on the market; however, if that isn’t really your deal you should certainly look for some other models that will be more adapted to your needs.
- Excellent zoom
- Great optical stabilization
- A decent image quality
- Good build quality
- A solid 4K video quality
- A bit bulky
- Not the best low-light performance
- Not so great battery life
- No touchscreen
- Small buffer
Canon Powershot SX70
A Solid Bridge Camera for the Price
If you are seeking a well-built and solid-performing bridge camera that won’t take too much money out of your pocket, Canon Powershot SX70 is a device made for you.
This camera comes fitted with a great 35mm (equivalent focal range of 21-1365mm) lens and excellent 65x optical zoom that will deliver everything that a wildlife observer and devotee might need. In contrast to Nikon COOLPIX P1000, this camera offers much better versatility, and other than wildlife observation, it can also be used for more mainstream stuff.
Canon Powershot SX70 comes with a 20.3MP CMOS sensor and high-resolution EVF; it offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and altogether presents a very good bridge camera package.
Moreover, it supports 10fps burst shooting, as well as 30fps 4K video recording along with 60fps and 120fps 1080p recording. Also, this camera is compatible with Android and iOS-based devices and delivers RAW file support. All in all, a pretty good deal if you are looking for the best bridge camera at a more likable price.
- Excellent zoom
- Great EVF
- Solid build quality
- RAW support
- Poor low-light performance
- Not so good for capturing fast-paced action
Panasonic Lumix FZ80
Affordability and Great Versatility in One
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is a budget-friendly bridge camera that incorporates all the right parts of the puzzle, making this device one hell of a deal.
With this camera, you are getting a great 60x zoom, excellent DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, and a solid 18.1MP sensor. More importantly, you can count on excellent image quality and great low-light performing bridge camera, for a rather small amount of money.
In other words, if you are looking for the best budget bridge or low light camera, you may be sure that this is the device that you are seeking. RAW file support, 30fps 4K video capture, sharp 1,170K dot viewfinder, good connectivity that includes micro USB and micro HDMI ports, as well as Wi-Fi connection, are just a fraction of features that this camera brings.
There is also very fast autofocus, 10fps burst shooting, literally everything that a bridge camera enthusiast might need. Therefore, if a great versatility and budget-friendly price are the key characteristics that you are looking in your new camera, Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is one hell of a choice without a doubt.
- 60x zoom
- Fast autofocus
- RAW support
- Good image quality
- Limited buffer
If you’re ready to treat yourself with a new bridge camera, the best one for you is definitely on this list. Pay attention to details and first be sure about what you are planning to do with it – and then it should be a piece of cake to make that decision!