Last updated: August 9, 2021

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13Products analysed

27Hours spent

14Evaluated articles

90User reviews

Welcome to our big bridge camera test 2021. Here we present all the bridge cameras we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best bridge camera for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a bridge camera.

Contents




Summary

  • A bridge camera is characterised by an above-average zoom. Its lens cannot be changed, but in return it can cover everything from wide-angle to telephoto and is of very high quality.
  • Basically, you should first think about the price category of your camera and whether you want a beginner's camera, a camera that is more suitable for advanced photographers or a professional camera.
  • A beginner's camera is characterised by a solid and simple selection of features and an affordable price. For an advanced camera, the price-performance ratio should be right, and a professional camera is characterised by a wide range of functions, high image quality and a high price.

The Best Bridge Camera: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a bridge camera

What exactly is a bridge camera? What makes it special?

As the name suggests, the bridge camera bridges the gap between the compact camera and the SLR camera, combining the advantages of both types of camera. A bridge camera, which looks very similar to an SLR camera, is a semi-professional camera that can also be called a prosumer camera (a combination of professional and consumer).

Bridgekamera Wald

Although the lens of a bridge camera cannot be changed, it is very versatile: from wide-angle to telephoto, it can cover all requirements. (Photo: PhotoMix Ltd. / pexels.com)

Its lens cannot be changed, but in return it can cover everything from wide-angle to telephoto and is very high quality. The sensor of the bridge camera is larger than that of the compact camera, but slightly smaller than the sensor of a reflex camera.

The bridge camera is therefore not trimmed for compactness, but is usually characterised by an above-average zoom range (therefore often called a super-zoom camera), an optical viewfinder and a comparatively high light intensity.

In addition to the usual automatic functions, it also offers manual setting options. In addition, the bridge camera has an integrated flash and a hot shoe to which an external flash unit can be connected; a rear display is also available.

But a bridge camera does not only have advantages, as we will show in our guide. We will also show you for whom this type of camera is worthwhile, what you should look out for when taking pictures and when buying, what a bridge camera costs and where you can buy it.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of bridge cameras compared to other cameras?

A bridge camera is a good compromise between a compact camera and a single lens reflex camera (DSLR). However, there are some differences between the three types of cameras. After all, the advantages of a bridge camera over a compact camera can be seen as a weakness compared to a DSLR.

In our list, we have kept the differences between the compact camera and the bridge camera a little shorter and focused on the advantages and disadvantages of the bridge camera compared to the SLR camera, as their differences need to be explained more generously due to their more diverse features.

In a nutshell: What are the advantages of a bridge camera over a compact camera?

The bridge camera is considerably larger and offers more manual setting options than the compact camera. It is characterised by a zoom lens with a significantly larger focal length range.

While the zoom of digital compact cameras is usually operated electromotively by buttons or rockers, the larger design of bridge cameras allows much more sensitive zooming by means of an adjustment ring (more zoom options) directly on the lens. Some models also offer a focus ring for manual focus adjustment or correction.

In a nutshell: What are the disadvantages of a bridge camera compared to a compact camera?

Because the bridge camera is larger, it is also heavier and therefore more unwieldy than the compact camera. The bridge camera is more expensive and more complicated to use.

What are the advantages of a bridge camera compared to a single lens reflex camera (DSLR)?

Bridge cameras are much better suited for mobile, flexible use due to their more compact and lighter design compared to DSLRs. They are much cheaper to buy and easier to use than DSLRs, and thanks to their closed design, they are better protected from dust on the sensor.

Bridgekamera Spiegelung

Completely noiseless shooting is also a big advantage of bridge cameras, as they lack a mirror mechanism and are therefore not subject to vibrations caused by the flick of the mirror. (Photo: ShareGrid / unsplash.com)

The bridge camera is an unchanging package from the moment of purchase. The zoom performance has improved a lot in recent years and now reaches up to 83x, offers more focal length thanalmost any other interchangeable lens and yet remains pleasantly compact. With the DSLR, you can change lenses, but each lens costs extra money.

The bridge camera's built-in LCD monitor allows you to preview images live. Often the monitor can be swivelled, allowing pictures to be taken from ground level and overhead. Dark subjects can be electronically enhanced on the monitor and optimised in brightness and contrast

Almost all bridge cameras offer the possibility of creating and playing back videos in VGA format with sound and audio commentary , which is not possible with many older SLR cameras. Newer models can even shoot videos in Full HD or Ultra HD up to 4k quality

What are the disadvantages of a bridge camera compared to a single lens reflex camera (DSLR)?

Compared to a DSLR, the image quality of a bridge camera is poorer, which is primarily due to the significantly smaller image sensor. In addition, the image quality can suffer from the high focal length range, as distortions or dark corners can occur more easily.

Also due to the smaller image sensors, the image noise is stronger with a bridge camera than with a SLR camera. Bridge cameras are not as fast to operate as DSLRs; in addition, the AF system of a DSLR works more efficiently and thus realises higher autofocus speeds.

Since it is not possible to exchange the lens for a stronger one in a bridge camera, this camera class also usually offers a less large optical zoom than the DSLR can offer. In addition, the absence of interchangeable lenses limits creativity in photography.

In particular, the optical properties in the wide-angle or macro range are usually insufficient with the bridge camera (despite the usually available macro mode); despite lens converters for increasing the focal length range, the DSLR flexibility cannot be achieved with interchangeable lenses

Even at an optimal aperture, the bridge camera achieves a shallower depth of field thanthe DSLR. It is therefore limited in its image-compensating possibilities.

The bridge camera has a higher power consumption and thus a shorter operating time with one battery charge than the DSLR, because both the image sensor and the viewfinder or monitor must be switched on to display the subject.

For whom is a bridge camera worthwhile?

Bridge cameras are a good alternative for those who want to take high-quality pictures: Since the rather large optical zoom is one of the typical trademarks of a bridge, it is therefore very well suited for telephoto as well as macro photography, but also for landscape photography.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of changing lenses, don't want to carry around a lot of equipment and a lot of weight, and want an inexpensive camera with high image quality, a bridge camera is the right choice for you.

In addition, the bridge camera is easy to operate and does not require in-depth knowledge of photography. Since the bridge camera is a space-saving all-round camera, it is sometimes a good choice for beginners and ambitious hobby photographers, e.g. for travelling, hiking and other activities.

What should I pay attention to when taking pictures with a bridge camera?

Photography

Since the sensor is quite small, the photographed image section is smaller with a bridge camera than with a DSLR model for the same focal length. In view of this fact, you should take panoramic shots, especially in landscape photography, which at least put the shortcoming of the smaller image section into perspective.

If you want to take photos at extreme macro, telephoto or wide-angle focal lengths, make sure that the camera has an attachment thread on the lens. This at least gives you the option of attaching appropriate converters to the bridge, with which you can still take satisfactory pictures even under unfavourable conditions.

Energy consumption

As a rule, a bridge camera consumes more energy than a DSLR or compact camera, because many functions are switched on when taking pictures.

After all, the electronic viewfinder, the display and the recording sensor are constantly active and therefore require a lot of energy. If you plan to use your bridge camera for a longer period of time and do not have a way to charge the battery, you should always carry a spare battery with you.

Settings

When buying a bridge camera, you should also make sure that the ISO values can be set manually. Unfortunately, many modern representatives of this camera class still tend to produce image noise at higher ISO values. In the worst case, the pictures become unusable.

Are there waterproof bridge cameras?

With your bridge camera, you can go out in bad weather without worrying about taking unique pictures. Some models, including the Fujifilm Finepix S1, the Canon Powershot G3X and the Panasonic Lumix FZ 300, are waterproof.

These models can't be harmed by the next rain shower! But even if their bridge camera is not waterproof, they can get creative and use an umbrella for protection, for example.

What are bridge cameras with a 1 inch sensor and what is special about them?

The sensor is a small chip that registers the incident light and converts it into an image. Usually, sensors in the 1/2/3 inch format are installed. In the past, there was a tendency towards larger sensors as they promise better image quality, but 1 inch sensors also offer a great advantage.

The 1-inch sensors collect significantly more light, which is especially promising for shooting in poor lighting or at night. However, this comes at the cost of a limited zoom (20-25x).

A 20-25x zoom is sufficient for most amateur photographers, so you shouldn't worry too much if you have to weigh up whether you want better exposure or more zoom.

What's important? What do I need to consider when buying a bridge camera?

You'll be spoilt for choice when deciding between different brands, as most reputable camera manufacturers have several bridge cameras in their range. Before buying, you should think about the purpose for which you want to use the camera.

An important argument, especially for professionals, is that all settings, such as aperture and time, can be adjusted manually . If you are more of a recreational photographer and want to use the camera as an all-purpose camera for travel and leisure photography, it should have at least 12 megapixels.

Meanwhile, all modern bridge cameras also have a Full HD video function. However, you should make sure that the sound can also be recorded in stereo. In addition, an image stabiliser should not be missing to minimise camera shake under extreme conditions.

Another purchase argument is the available zoom range. It should be able to cover the wide-angle range from 25 mm to the super-telephoto range up to 600 mm. Only then does a fixed lens really make sense. Another criterion is the shutter release delay and the speed of continuous shooting. This is where some models reach their limits.

When buying a camera, make sure that it has an HDR function. Here, three shots with different exposures are taken in succession, which are then merged either directly in the camera or on the PC at home as a high-contrast HDR image.

How much does a bridge camera cost? What is a reasonable price for my first bridge camera?

Bridge cameras come in all price ranges - from inexpensive products for beginners and recreational photography to expensive professional cameras. You definitely have to pay around 200 euros for a good bridge camera.

The top models are a good 500 - 1500 euros.

If you want to buy your first bridge camera, you should pay close attention to the price-performance ratio (see "Which is the best bridge camera in comparison?", you can also take a look at our comparison table).

You can get a good bridge camera from around 280 euros.

The following table shows what prices you can expect from bridge cameras:

Camera model price
Beginner and leisure camera from approx. 200€
Professional model approx. 500€ - 1,500€

Which are the best-known manufacturers of bridge cameras?

The leading manufacturers in the field of bridge cameras are primarily Panasonic, Canon, Nikon and Sony.

The Lumix models from Panasonic are very popular. The Lumix models differ in image quality, maximum zoom and built-in sensor. There are Lumix models for beginners, advanced and very experienced photographers.

The Nikon Coolpix P900 offers the best zoom. It impresses with an 83x zoom.

Can I rent a bridge camera?

Yes, in principle you can rent a bridge camera. The easiest place to do this is at a camera or photo shop near you, where you can see the cameras on site. However, they often have a limited selection.

Renting a camera is also relatively expensive. If you plan to buy a camera yourself soon, you should not rent one beforehand. Of course, it helps that you can try out the camera first by renting it.

However, you can also get a feeling for which camera suits you by researching and reading reviews on the internet. We are happy to help you with this on our website.

If you only need a camera for a specific event (e.g. a wedding) and don't take many photos otherwise, renting a camera for a day is definitely a good option. However, ask friends and relatives beforehand if they have a good camera for you.

Does a high price mean good quality?

As you can see in our top 3 best bridge cameras, a good bridge camera doesn't necessarily have to cost a lot of money. Good features often come at a price, but you can get a very solid and good camera with all the important features for around 300 euros (see "What is the best bridge camera in comparison?").

Quality is always a matter of definition - depending on which features are most important for your photography and what you can easily do without.

What are the alternatives to bridge cameras?

The following sections should help you to find your way around the map of cameras. We explain how a bridge camera differs from an SLR, a system camera and a compact camera.

Bridge camera vs. single lens reflex camera (DSLR)

Bridge cameras are much more suitable for mobile, flexible use because they are more compact and lighter than DSLRs. They are much cheaper to buy and easier to operate than DSLRs, and thanks to their closed construction they are better protected against dust on the sensor.

From the moment of purchase, the bridge camera is an unchanging total package. The zoom performance has improved a lot in recent years and now reaches up to 83x, offers more focal length than almost any other interchangeable lens and still remains pleasantly compact. With the DSLR, you can change lenses, but each lens costs extra money.

The bridge camera's built-in LCD monitor allows you to preview images live. Often the monitor can be swivelled, allowing pictures to be taken from ground level and overhead. Dark subjects can be electronically enhanced on the monitor and optimised in brightness and contrast.

Almost all bridge cameras offer the possibility of creating and playing back videos in VGA format with sound and audio commentary, which is not possible with many older SLR cameras. Newer models can even shoot videos in Full HD or Ultra HD up to 4k quality.

Bridge camera vs. system camera (DSLM)

Most bridge cameras have a smaller sensor. This means that the system cameras can score with their image quality thanks to the larger sensor. But small sensors can also offer advantages, as you will learn below.

Another difference is that you have the flexibility to put interchangeable lenses on your camera. You don't get this freedom with a bridge camera! If you plan to get serious about photography in the future, then it certainly makes sense to invest in a system camera.

Besides, you have to spend a lot more money on a system camera. While bridge cameras are available for as little as €180, you have to spend at least €300 for a system camera.

Bridge camera vs. compact camera (digital camera)

The bridge camera is much larger and offers more manual settings than the compact camera. It is characterised by a zoom lens with a much larger focal length range.

While the zoom of digital compact cameras is usually operated electromotively by buttons or rockers, the larger design of bridge cameras allows much more sensitive zooming by means of an adjustment ring (more zoom options) directly on the lens. Some models also offer a focus ring for manual focus adjustment or correction.

Because the bridge camera is larger, it is also heavier and therefore more unwieldy than the compact camera. The bridge camera is more expensive and more complicated to operate.

Decision: What types of bridge cameras are there and which one is right for you?

Which bridge camera is right for me? What should I look out for? Many people who want to buy a camera probably ask themselves these questions. However, despite many considerations, many important details are forgotten or not taken into account at all. In the following, we give you a few tips, depending on whether you want to buy a bridge camera

  • Bridge camera for beginners
  • Bridge camera for advanced users
  • Bridge camera for professionals

prefer.

As a beginner, what should I look for in my first bridge camera and what are the possible advantages and disadvantages of a beginner's bridge camera?

Price is often a very important criterion for beginners who want to try out their photographic skills. Since the price of a bridge camera is much lower than that of an SLR with various lenses, the bridge camera is very suitable for photo beginners and newcomers to photography.

Your beginner's bridge should therefore be in the lower price segment. But don't worry, a low price doesn't mean poor quality. You can get a good bridge camera for as little as 200 euros. Take a look at our chapter "Which is the best bridge camera in comparison?

An important decision when buying a camera is often whether it feels good in the hand. Holding a bridge camera is much easier than holding a smartphone or compact camera. This is due to the viewfinder that you can hold in front of your eyes and, of course, the size of the camera, which often fits well in the hand, depending on the brand and model.

The electronic view finder of the bridge camera takes some getting used to at first. However, an optical viewfinder for manual focusing is often easier and simply more natural.

Electronic viewfinders try to compensate for the disadvantage by offering magnification centre fields that show a magnified section when focusing manually. This can be very precise in comparison. Optical or electronic is certainly a matter of taste.

As an enthusiastic beginner, you often spend hours trying out which setting suits best. Of course, it takes time to learn something. Due to the electronic viewfinder and the constant use of the sensor, the power consumption of bridge cameras is very high.

Advantages
  • Low price
  • Easy to use
  • Light weight and more mobility
Disadvantages
  • Low level of detail
  • Simple features
  • Image noise possible

This means you should take at least three batteries with you for extensive photography on the road. For filming, you may need four or five batteries.

As an advanced photographer, what should I look for in my bridge camera and what are the possible advantages and disadvantages of an advanced bridge camera?

As an advanced photographer, you should definitely think about the zoom you need:

When it comes to zoom, manufacturers are always trying to outdo each other, as zoom range is one of the most important if not the most important differentiator in a bridge camera. Of course, the demands of potential bridge camera buyers are also constantly increasing.

The highest bar in the zoom range at the moment is set by the Nikon Coolpix P900 with an 83x zoom, which is correspondingly equipped with a smaller 1/2.3" sensor. But also the Fujifilm Finepix S1, the Olympus Stylus SP100EE, the Nikon Coolpix P600 and the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V have a solid zoom equipment with a 50x or 60x zoom.

In the telephoto range, the zooms of most bridge cameras have a lower speed. With an aperture of 5.6 to 6.5 at maximum telephoto setting, it is better to shoot in sunshine - then you have enough light for shake-free shots. For this, despite the built-in image stabilisers, very short exposure times are necessary at these extreme focal lengths.

In the meantime, however, more and more cameras (such as the Panasonic Lumix FZ300) are foregoing a monster zoom in favour of light intensity. The FZ300 has an aperture of 2.8 as its widest aperture throughout and "only" a 24x zoom. The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III and the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 still have a 4.0 aperture at the end of the zoom range.

As a general rule, the larger the zoom selected, the more difficult it is to take sharp pictures. At high zoom levels, a tripod is almost mandatory.

How important a large zoom is for the purchase decision must, of course, be assessed individually. In terms of price, your bridge camera should be in the lower to middle segment. In addition, almost all bridge cameras have a built-in electronic viewfinder. With this, you can still see motifs without any problems despite reflections on the monitor.

There are only a few exceptions among bridge cameras that do not have an electronic viewfinder: The Canon Powershot SX 540 HS and the Canon Powershot G3X. With the SX540 HS, you have to make do with the built-in monitor; for the G3 X, a viewfinder is available as an accessory.

Most bridge cameras are equipped with GPS, WLAN, Bluetooth or NFC. GPS is very useful for GEO tagging, for example. An integrated GPS sensor ensures that the GPS coordinates are written directly into the EXIF metadata when the picture is taken. This saves time-consuming subsequent GEO tagging.

WLAN, Bluetooth and NFC are interfaces for pairing the bridge camera with another end device such as a PC or smartphone. NFC enables fast pairing by "holding" the items together. Bluetooth and WLAN are mainly used for fast data exchange.

This saves removing the SD card and possibly a separate SD card reader. So if you want to easily load your pictures onto a laptop while travelling, for example, you should pay attention to connectivity when buying.

Advantages
  • Good value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Reasonable number of functions
Disadvantages
  • Image noise possible
  • Lower image sharpness compared to expensive cameras

In addition, many manufacturers now equip their cameras with smartphone apps so that remote control is possible via WLAN or Bluetooth. A simple example of use: the smartphone serves as a remote shutter release for the camera.

As a professional photographer, what should I look for in my bridge camera and what are the possible advantages and disadvantages of a professional bridge camera?

There are many good bridge cameras on the market, but only a few bridge cameras offer what many professional photographers desperately seek in bridge cameras: A large sensor.

The sensor size stands for the area available to the megapixels. If there is more surface area, then more and faster light can be captured. As a result, images have less noise. Another advantage is that the megapixels are resolved correctly and there are fewer image errors. This means that details come out more. Sensor size therefore stands for image quality.

The sensor is one of the most important factors you should look at when buying a camera. Despite their generous sizes, most bridge cameras have only a small sensor, usually in 1/2.3-inch format (sensor size 4.7×6.2 millimetres).

A similar sensor size is also found in smaller compact cameras and many smartphones. In the dark, however, the image quality increasingly suffers. For this reason, the top models contain image sensors in 1-inch format (sensor size: 8.8×13.2 millimetres), but they also have their price.

The 1-inch sensors have a similarly good resolution - usually 16 or 20 megapixels - but are around five times larger than the smaller models and are also more light-sensitive, which enables better shots in the twilight.

If a camera is to contain a large sensor, the difficulty is to build small lenses with a large zoom range. Therefore, manufacturers compromise on light intensity or zoom range:

The Canon Powershot G3X has a 25x zoom that starts at f/2.8 and then drops down to f/5.6, as does the Nikon DL 24-500 with 20.8x zoom. The fastest zoom is in the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 - f/2.8 throughout - but the zoom range is smaller at 8.3x.

If you like filming, you should go for a bridge camera with 4K video function. The bridge camera does not have the option of shooting with a high-quality fixed focal length. The advantage of fixed focal lengths is usually the larger open aperture and the better image quality.

Using an extreme wide-angle (10-20mm) is usually not possible either, because the photographer cannot change the lens. Often the smallest aperture is f8. This has the significant disadvantage of not achieving the slower shutter speeds that one would like to achieve for some blurred camera shots.

For example, shutter speeds of 1/30s are not possible with a lot of sun without screwing a grey filter in front of the lens. The remedy for this with some camera brands is the built-in ND filters that can be used optionally.

Advantages
  • Large number of special functions
  • True to detail
  • Very good image quality
  • Protection against dirt
  • 4K video function mostly standard
  • Large sensor
Disadvantages
  • High price
  • Usually heavier than cheaper cameras
  • Shutter speed
  • No extreme wide angle possible

Professionals often want interchangeable and higher-quality lenses and therefore tend to go for SLR cameras. But for private photos - if you simply enjoy it - the bridge camera is a good alternative, e.g. for travelling or hiking.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate bridge cameras based on these factors

Of course, you should make your decision based on the criteria that are most important to you. In the following, we will explain which factors you should pay special attention to when buying a bridge camera. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not. Here is the first overview:

  • Optical zoom
  • Resolution
  • Focal length
  • Viewfinder
  • Video quality
  • Display
  • Connectivity
  • Weight and dimensions
  • Colour
  • Sensor
  • Image stabiliser
  • Built-in flash
  • Continuous shooting

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Optical zoom

A large zoom range is probably the most important criterion when buying a bridge camera. Bridge camera manufacturers are constantly improving the zoom range of their cameras. The current record is 83x zoom (Nikon Coolpix P900).

When you zoom, you change the focal length (see below for an explanation) and the image section in order to get closer to a more distant object. With the bridge camera, the large zoom range replaces the use of several lenses with a fixed focal length. Because the bridge camera has a fixed zoom lens, it is sometimes heavier than the interchangeable lenses of other cameras.

Bridgekamera Linse

In the telephoto range, the zooms of most bridge cameras are often somewhat slower. So it's best to shoot when the sun is shining - then you'll have enough light for shake-free shots. (Photo: Jakob Owens / unsplash.com)

This is because, despite built-in image stabilisers, very short exposure times are necessary at these extreme focal lengths. In the meantime, however, more and more cameras such as the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 (24x zoom) are doing without a monster zoom in favour of light intensity.

What is luminous intensity? Luminous intensity is the ratio between the maximum aperture and the focal length (see explanation below). The lower the value, the larger the aperture - and the more light can fall on the sensor.

Since a large zoom range always brings disadvantages for fast photography, you have to decide for yourself which factor is more important to you. If you prefer close-up photography, a solid bridge camera with a zoom of 16x or more is perfectly adequate and very reliable even in unfavourable light conditions.

However, if you like to take nature photos and zoom in on objects further away, a bridge camera with a large zoom range is definitely recommended.

Resolution

Camera manufacturers always specify the resolution in megapixels. The higher the megapixel number, the more image information the image sensor captures. In other words, the more megapixels, the better the image quality. So don't skimp on the megapixels. But be careful: it is not only the megapixels that determine the image quality, because a favourable camera setting and a suitable lens also play a role.

Focal length

What exactly do we mean by focal length? The focal length indicates the distance between the focal point (point where the light rays meet) and the image sensor. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view of the lens. This means that more can fit on one image. Comparing the focal lengths of different cameras is difficult, however, because the comparison only makes sense if the sensor size is the same.

Viewfinder

Not all bridge cameras, but most of them, have an optical or electronic viewfinder. The optical viewfinder makes the image particularly rich in detail and contrast. In addition, the display is not delayed.

The only disadvantage of the optical viewfinder is that, unlike the electronic viewfinder, it cannot show the effects of camera settings such as exposure and white balance.

The electronic viewfinder often has a higher resolution than the screen and also shows a very detailed image. Because the image sensor is read out for the display, the view is delayed in contrast to an optical viewfinder.

Video quality

If you also like to film with your bridge camera, you should definitely pay attention to the quality of the recording. Most bridge cameras have a Full HD video function (1920×1080 pixels). Particularly detailed videos in 4K are the domain of Panasonic.

Both the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 and the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 record videos in 4K with 3840×2160 pixels. Good bridge cameras spoil you with a zoom that you can also change while filming and that runs much slower than in photo mode. The autofocus also continuously focuses and you can manually change the exposure settings.

With some bridge cameras, 360° shots are also possible. Recording at 50 or 60 frames per second (1080p) is standard. Thus, the bridge camera can replace the camcorder in terms of video quality. The most important advantage over a classic camcorder:

The image sensors are larger and collect more light, which makes videos shot in dim light look better, especially with the bridge cameras with 1-inch sensor. However, since the bridge camera is primarily for taking photos, the video recording time is limited.

Display

If you want to take pictures, e.g. from close to the ground or overhead, you should go for a bridge camera with a swivelling monitor. Dark motifs can be electronically enhanced on the monitor and optimised in brightness and contrast. A display size of 3 inches is also standard on the newer models.

Connectivity

Most of the newer bridge camera models are at least equipped with WLAN. The camera manufacturers offer apps for smartphones or tablets. This allows the cameras to be controlled remotely and images to be transferred.

Bridgekamera Blende

If you like to travel for longer periods of time and want to synchronise your photos without much effort, a WiFi function is certainly a good thing. (Photo: ShareGrid / unsplash.com)

Some bridge camera manufacturers also have NFC chips in the camera, which makes it easier to establish a connection between smartphone and camera by simply holding the devices together. With built-in GPS satellite receivers, the cameras determine the location where the picture was taken and can save it in the image files.

Weight and dimensions

Bridge cameras are a compromise between a compact camera and a single-lens reflex camera in terms of functions, dimensions and weight. Therefore, they are not very light, but not very heavy either.

One of the lightest bridge cameras is the Canon SX510 HS, which weighs 350 grams. The weight of the different cameras varies greatly. There are also bridge cameras that weigh 1 kilogram or even more, which also tend to belong to the more expensive category. Because often the more equipment and the more professional, the heavier.

For travellers and adventurous people, weight is certainly a very decisive factor when it comes to buying a bridge camera. The lighter the weight, the more mobile the camera.

Colour

For many, colour may also be an important criterion. However, the manufacturers of bridge cameras have not delved very deeply into the colour pot. Most cameras are still only available in black. Colours such as red, blue and white are also occasionally available. So if you are more of a colourful type, you will certainly find what you are looking for - if you search a little.

Sensor

Despite their relatively large housings, most bridge cameras only have a small sensor, usually in 1/2.3-inch format (sensor size 4.7×6.2 millimetres) - as is also the case in somewhat smaller compact cameras and in many smartphones.

The small sensor is not a problem in daylight, but in darkness or poor lighting conditions, the image quality increasingly suffers. That is why many camera manufacturers build effective image sensors in 1-inch format (sensor size: 8.8×13.2 millimetres) into their top models.

The 1-inch sensors have a similar resolution, but are about five times larger than the smaller models and accordingly more light-sensitive. This makes for significantly better shots in dim light.

One disadvantage of a large sensor, however, is that it makes it more difficult to build small lenses with a large zoom range. Therefore, manufacturers have to make concessions in terms of light intensity or zoom range: For example, the Canon Powershot G3 X has a 25x zoom range that starts at f/2.8 and then drops to f/5.6.

Similarly, the Nikon DL 24-500 has a 20.8x zoom. The fastest zoom is in the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 - f/2.8 throughout - but the zoom range is much smaller at 8.3x.

Image stabiliser

The image stabiliser's job is to compensate for the photographer's movements and prevent camera shake from causing blurred images.

There are 3 types of image stabilisers:

  1. Moving lenses in the lens
  2. Image stabilisers that move the image sensor
  3. Digital image stabilisers that move the pixels on the sensor and are most commonly used in video recording.

Not all bridge cameras have such an image stabiliser. But if they do, it is certainly an advantage, especially for action shots.

Integrated flash

Light is the be-all and end-all in photography. If the available light is suboptimal, a flash can improve conditions. Nowadays, there is hardly a camera that doesn't have a flash function, which is why we clearly advise you to buy a model with a flash.

With automatic flash, problems can arise because the picture is often overexposed. This makes your photos look unnatural. If you want to avoid this, you should make sure that your bridge camera allows manual settings.

Continuous shooting

Continuous shooting is a shooting option that takes several pictures within a few seconds. Continuous shooting is a nice feature, but by no means a must.

If you mainly shoot sports activities, a continuous shooting function is certainly useful, as it is difficult to capture the right moment in hectic situations. If you use your bridge camera mainly for landscape photography, you can neglect the continuous shooting option.

Facts worth knowing about bridge cameras

Which manual settings are indispensable?

Manual settings are essential for flexible photography and unique images. While many manufacturers use the automatic setting, which is convenient for beginners, this does not do justice to many advanced photographers.

One important setting is the aperture. The aperture describes the opening in the lens and it regulates the amount of light coming in. If the photo is too bright through the lens, it is overexposed and the aperture is too wide open. A manual device now allows you to correct the exposure. The same procedure applies to underexposure, of course.

We also recommend a camera that allows you to set the exposure time manually. Exposure time is the amount of time the sensor is exposed to light during a shot.

This is especially important in the dark, because automatic exposure programmes increase the exposure time in the dark. The result is often blurred shots.

What accessories do I need for my bridge camera?

Of course, a bag for your new camera is recommended. It will protect it from bumps, rain, dust and dirt. Compared to the value of your new bridge camera, the bag is only a small investment - a life insurance policy, so to speak.

Depending on what you use your bridge camera for, we can recommend a tripod. But that's really up to your personal preferences.

If you choose a model with a short battery life, it may be a good idea to buy one or two extra batteries. Imagine running into a jaguar on safari and not being able to sell it - that would be annoying!

Bridge camera for macro photography

Although SLR cameras are best suited for macro photography, nowadays you can also take excellent photos with a bridge camera.

If you want to take close-up photos, you should choose a model with a short shutter release delay. A tilting viewfinder also makes macro photography easier.

In the meantime, there are also accessories such as an object thread, which enlarges the photographic field of application. You can then attach a close-up lens to this thread, for example, to optimise macro photography.

How long has photography existed?

Have you ever wondered who took the first photograph in the world? What the photo showed and who was behind the camera? We have the answer for you: The first permanent photograph that has survived to this day was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826/1827 and shows the view from a study in Le Gras.

Did you know that the Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niepce is considered the inventor of the camera?

In 1826, Niepce managed to take the first permanent picture. It shows the view from the window of his study. However, with exposure times of up to eight hours, it was impossible to photograph people or moving objects.

He worked with Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre on a process that would capture camera obscura images for eternity. However, Daguerre did not present the first photograph to the public until 19 August 1839, which is considered the official birth of photography. Today, the picture belongs to the Gernsheim Collection of the University of Austin at Texas.

How long has the bridge camera existed?

The design principle of the bridge camera, a camera with 35 mm film and a fixed lens and a close resemblance to the SLR camera, had already existed since the 1950s (e.g. Nikkorex 35).

However, the term "bridge camera" was not coined until 1988 with the half-format camera Yashica Samurai and subsequent models from other manufacturers. The design principle of bridge cameras was initially also adopted for digital cameras.

Typical representatives of 35 mm bridge cameras are the Ricoh Mirai and Chinon GS-9. All of these 35 mm bridge cameras corresponded to entry-level SLR cameras in terms of features.

What are the trends and new models in 2017?

The absolute sales figures of 2016 have dropped again and the big digital camera boom is over, which is mainly due to the ever-improving image quality of smartphones.

Therefore, manufacturers are focusing on class instead of mass. To the delight of all technology fanatics, ever more elaborately equipped (e.g. WLAN, touchscreen) and correspondingly more expensive cameras are coming onto the market. In addition, almost all camera manufacturers are currently focusing on 4K videos.

Canon presented the new Powershot SX430 IS with a 45x zoom lens. Panasonic presented the super zoom camera FZ82 with 60x zoom.

Canon Powershot SX430 IS

It has been on sale since February and costs around 270 euros. With a focal length of 24 to 1,080 millimetres (45x zoom), the photographer can get close to any subject. It weighs only 323 grams, even though it contains a huge telephoto zoom lens. However, the light intensity of 1:3.5-6.8 is average for superzoom cameras. It only records videos in 720p.

Panasonic Lumix FZ82

The Lumix FZ82 is priced at 349 euros. The sensor has 1/2.3 inch and a resolution of 18 megapixels. The new Panasonic Lumix FZ82 superzoomer offers a focal length of 20 millimetres up to 1,200 millimetres at maximum telephoto setting.

The speed decreases with increasing focal length, so that at 1,200 millimetres there is a value of 1:5.9. The FZ82 produces videos in 4K resolution with 3840×2160 pixels and 30 frames per second.

Image source: tomertu / 123RF.com

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