A guide to buying the perfect bridge camera10th July 2018 // Bronya Bouchia
If you’re looking to invest in a brand new camera then a bridge camera should definitely make your camera shopping shortlist. A bridge camera (a digital point-and-shoot camera with a superzoom lens) ‘bridges the gap’ between a basic point and shoot compact camera and a full-blown DSLR.
Typically, cameras classed as ‘bridge’ cameras have:
- Some degree of manual control
- A long-range zoom
- A viewfinder
There are some great entry-level bridge cameras which are perfect for beginner or mid-weight photographers looking to capture better quality photos and videos than they could with simply with their compact camera.
The following guide to bridge cameras will help you on your way to deciding if it’s the right camera for you.
Bridge camera vs DSLR: how different are they?
Despite their appearance, bridge cameras and DSLRs are very different. While they both have a prominent handgrip and are comparable in size and weight, a high-end bridge camera can cost around the same as an entry level DSLR.
Bridge Camera Lenses
One of the main differences between the two is that the lens of a bridge camera cannot be removed. The viewfinder (if the bridge camera has one) will be electronic rather than optical and the focusing mechanism is not as fast as the one you would typically find in a DSLR.
The images produced by a bridge camera are usually one step below the quality of image produced by an entry level DSLR camera.
Upgrade your compact camera to a bridge camera
A bridge camera’s ease of use, pre-set modes and fixed lenses makes photography quick and simple.
The impressive zoom has led to bridge cameras also being known as superzooms or ultra zooms will let you take quality close-up shots, which is especially useful if you’re into wildlife photography.
Bridge cameras are now widely available with some of the industry’s best manufacturers creating different models to fit different photographer’s needs.
Some provide a perfect compromise between price, size and image quality while others challenge DSLRs as an all-rounder to meet all of your photographic needs.
The best budget bridge camera
Bridge cameras start from around £150, but spending slightly more on your camera can double or triple the quality of the image produced.
If you’re looking to upgrade your compact camera to a bridge camera without breaking the bank, the Kodak Pixpro AZ401 is the best bridge camera, coming in at just under £150. With this light and compact bridge camera you’ll be able to capture beautiful images from a distance thanks to its 40x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation feature. This camera is the ideal budget camera for when you’re on the go.
If you’re a fan of Sony or Panasonic and are looking to spend up to £200 then look no further than the Sony DSCH400 and the Panasonic Lumix F272.
Whatever budget your working with, you’ll want to protect your bridge camera from the elements. Check out our range of Peli waterproof protective cases. These hard shell camera cases will provide worry-free protection, wherever your bridge camera takes you.
Our favourite bridge camera viewfinder
The Panasonic FZ2000 is grabbing plenty of headlines at the moment due to its spectacular viewfinder. Prices for this Panasonic bridge camera start at £800, so it may be on the expensive side if you’re levelling up your camera gear for the first time.
Don’t worry though, as the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 is a great compromise at just under £400. The FZ330 comes complete with 4K video recording, a free-angle touchscreen LCD and much more. In fact, the FZ330’s specification reads like the greatest hits of Panasonic’s imaging achievements.
With a high-resolution viewfinder and a splash- and dust-proof body, it’s one of the best cameras available at the moment.
When a high-quality zoom is what you’re looking for
The Nikon P900 bridge camera has gained a reputation as having one of the most incredible zooms ever. It has a whopping 83x optical zoom and Nikon even included a digital zoom option, allowing users to double the cameras maximum focal length.
With such a large zoom, the Nikon Dual Detect Optical Vibration Reduction system counteracts the blur effects which are commonly experienced with long zooms.
If you’re looking for a solid, all-rounder coming in at under £500 then this Nikon bridge camera could be right for you.
If you’re looking to spend under £350 but not sacrifice the zoom capabilities then look no further than the PowerShot SX60 Canon bridge camera. This well-rounded bridge camera looks like a DSLR but its zoom extends rather nicely thanks to its 65x zoom lens.
Its great control layout and framing assist function helps you take beautiful photos from a distance and is great for beginners.
Protecting your brand new bridge camera
Give your new bridge camera the protection it deserves while you’re on the go with a Peli hard-shell camera case. Waterproof, dustproof and with completely customisable options, keeping your bridge camera safe from the elements has never been easier and what's more, these protective camera cases all come complete with with Peli’s lifetime guarantee.