Best Bridge Cameras

Think of the best bridge cameras if you can’t choose between the comfort of a compact or the ergonomics of a DSLR. These fixed lens cameras are designed to look like DSLRs, with the range power of the best super-zooms, and most importantly, many of them can be purchased at a fantastic price! So, you may be wondering why not all photographers use bridge cameras all the time? Although bridge cameras are very useful for a variety of applications, they do have a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before taking the plunge.

First of all, the fixed lens mentioned above. While many bridge cameras have superb superzoom lenses attached to their front side, you are and will always be limited to the length and quality of the lens on the box. With a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, you have the possibility to switch to the main lens if you want a sharper image, but you won’t have that chance with bridge cameras. Nor is it possible to switch to a teleconverter or switch to an unorthodox lens such as a fisheye, macro, or tilt lens. What you see is what you get.

Best Bridge Cameras

While the DSLR-like ergonomics of bridge cameras is definitely an asset for many users, some are disillusioned by their physical size. If you’re looking for a bridge camera, but don’t think you’d want something too bulky, check out our guide to the best travel cameras.

1. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

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If your budget allows it, the RX10 IV is undoubtedly the best bridge camera currently available on the market – and not only from Sony. You have a zoom equivalent to 24-600 mm, coupled with a large, high-performance one-inch sensor. The installation is quite cumbersome but compared to carrying a camera and a set of lenses, it’s a decent option for photographers on the go who need something for all kinds of situations. In addition to fantastic photo quality, you also get great video recording.

In addition, you get a touch screen, an excellent viewfinder, and a very good grip. The 5-axis image stabilization is very handy when using a long lens, but there is a slight vignetting at the end of the frame. It is possible to take pictures in raw or JPEG format, while a full range of shooting options is available for enthusiastic photographers. Bulky and expensive – yes – but sometimes you get your money’s worth. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras right now.

2. Panasonic Lumix FZ2500

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If your budget doesn’t allow you to reach RX10 IV levels, but you still want a high-quality, flexible camera with excellent image quality, the Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 is an excellent choice. It uses a one-inch sensor, and although the maximum zoom is 480 mm, which is relatively short for a bridge camera, it is still sufficient for all but the most extreme everyday use. We would certainly sacrifice some zoom range for better and faster optics, and we like the FZ2500 because it offers both image quality and zoom range. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

3. Panasonic FZ1000

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More reasonably priced than Panasonic’s FZ2000 bridge camera, this camera is also a better option than the cheaper FZ330, as it has a larger image sensor and a higher megapixel count, 20.1 Mpx instead of 12.1 Mpx. It doesn’t extend that far into the super-telephoto range, but still offers an effective zoom range of 25 to 400 mm thanks to its Leica lens. Speed-of-light AF helps to track fast movements, and hybrid 5-axis optical image stabilization helps to maintain stability. 4K video capture is available and the maximum continuous speed for still images is 12 or 50 frames per second, using the mechanical or electronic shutter respectively. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

4. Panasonic FZ300

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From its junior models to its various flagships, Panasonic has always been generous in functionality. This has kept its models attractive to its new competitors, and the 2015 FZ300 is a perfect example: a camera under $500 with 4K video recording, a splash-proof body, and a 25-600mm (equivalent) lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture. You simply can’t find this anywhere else at the moment! On top of that, there’s a tilting touch screen, a 1.44 million-dot EVF, Wi-Fi, and image stabilization, all of which complement the specifications to offer a very interesting proposition for the advanced novice or enthusiast on a limited budget. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

5. Nikon Coolpix P950

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For our tenth camera, we chose a superzoom bridge camera, a type of camera that continues to be popular. There are compromises – you have to accept a smaller sensor and somewhat reduced image quality in exchange for the huge lens – but what you get is a camera with a colossal zoom range that DSLR and mirrorless camera owners can only dream of. So why recommend the smaller Coolpix P950 rather than the Coolpix P1000, which has an even greater range? Frankly, the P1000 is simply too much. It’s a huge camera with a fairly high price tag. The P950 comes with raw capture and 4K video, and it’s just a little more portable and affordable. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

6. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

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The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is what we consider to be a more conventional bridge camera than those found in the top four. That’s because it uses a smaller 1/2.3-inch sensor that gives you the advantage of a huge 65x optical zoom range. Manual control is still total, with other interesting features such as a fully articulated screen (it lacks touch sensitivity, however), a decent electronic viewfinder, and the ability to shoot in raw format. Integrated Wi-Fi and NFC is another advantage.

It’s a classic all-purpose camera that will suit those who are looking for something relatively small and light for trips such as safaris, where the large zoom makes sense. A bugbear has to activate the viewfinder manually since there is no sensor, but otherwise, it is very powerful. The image quality is very good, the image stabilization system allowing to keep the sharpness of the shots, even at the end of the telephoto lens. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

7. Nikon Coolpix P1000

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With its 24-2000 mm (equivalent) zoom lens, the Coolpix P900 made headlines, but the new P1000 runs it with an amazing 125x zoom range, offering the equivalent of a 3000 mm telephoto lens at full extension. It’s a stretch, though, because, at this setting, the lens’ maximum aperture loses three points from its maximum f/2.8 to a miserable f/8. You’ll be happy to use Nikon’s built-in VR (vibration reduction) system to reduce camera shake, although it can’t correct the overall smoothness of the lens that slips into long focal lengths.

It enhances the P900 in some key areas, offering raw-format shooting, a higher-resolution electronic viewfinder, and 4K movie shooting. However, its price is almost as astronomical as its zoom capabilities – that’s a lot to pay for a bridge camera with a small 1/2.3-inch sensor. But if you want the longest zoom range the camera world has ever seen, you can’t expect it to be cheap. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

8. Panasonic Lumix GX85

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Incredibly good value for money, with or without its small 12-32 mm zoom kit, the Panasonic Lumix GX85/G80 incorporates a host of high-tech features in its compact size. These include 5-axis image stabilization, light speed AF, post-focusing, and ultra-high-definition 4K for photos and videos, just like Panasonic’s high-end cameras. A high-resolution electronic viewfinder is also integrated on the back of the camera, as well as a tilting touch screen. If you want a camera that offers many features and performance but is small in size and reasonably priced, this is the ideal choice. It’s a great camera for traveling, and its price also makes it great for beginners. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

9. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V

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The HX400V is a fairly old model now, but if your budget is limited and you want a superzoom option, it’s worth considering it. In addition to its 50x optical zoom, it features a 1/2.3-inch sensor, a 3-inch tilting rear screen, and a 0.2-inch eye-level viewfinder. There are a few compromises to consider – for example, quite poor battery life, no 4K video shooting, and no touch sensitivity, but you won’t find many better options if you need a bridge camera at this price level. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

10. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII

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It’s crazy to think that this is the seventh iteration of Sony’s RX100 series, but when you consider the popularity of this line over the years, it’s perhaps not hard to understand why. These models are traditionally very expensive but give you the best picture quality you can put in a pocket. The last two versions of the RX100 have seen a longer lens than ever – and the same goes for the RX100 VII, with a 24-200mm lens reappearing from the RX100 VI.

We also have a tilting touch screen, as well as an electronic viewfinder that can be inserted into the camera body for better readability when you don’t need it. Sony likes to show exactly what it can do with its latest technology, and to that end, we have an amazingly ridiculous 90 fps burst speed (a much more reasonable 20 fps gives you full AF/AE tracking). Other improvements have been made in the form of video performance modifications, including the addition of a microphone input jack. Overall, this is one of the best bridge cameras.

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