What is a Bridge Camera?
A bridge camera is similar in appearance to a DSLR; the bridge camera bridges the gap between the DSLR and digital compact. The main differences between the bridge camera and the DSLR can be summed up as follows, a bridge camera, usually:
- Has one fixed lens, probably a zoom.
- The lens zoom can be very powerful indeed.
- The lens can be retractable, making the ‘bridge’ more compact than the DSLR
- They employ a digital and not an optical viewfinder.
Bridge cameras have most, if not all, of the features found on DSLR’s; close-up, aperture, shutter control, ISO control, program modes etc. Technological advances have ensured the bridge camera’s popularity; superb features and high quality results from a relatively budget box of tricks.
The major selling point has to be the bridge camera’s compactness and awesome DSLR-like features.
Let’s adjourn to our top ten bridge cameras.
OUR CURRENT TOP TEN AFFORDABLE BRIDGE CAMERAS
Unlike the DSLR there are more big hitters in the bridge camera market. More competition, more choice and who knows, lower prices.
1. CANON SX60 POWERSHOT
A very classy act; feels good, looks good and by heck produces incredible results. The beautifully sharp LCD viewing screen is simply delightful, it accurately displays the sharp, crystal clear images that this camera is capable of taking. Plenty of pixels, a resolution of 16.1 megapixels and an impressive 65 x optical zoom. A lot of quality for not a lot of dosh.
- Zoom in 65x on faraway detail or capture stunning ultra-wide landscapes
- Easily keep your subject in the frame with Zoom Framing Assist
- Shoot images in any light with IS and HS system
- Capture all the action with fast response and sustained continuous shooting
- Connect with ease using Wi-Fi with NFC and enjoy remote shooting via smartphone
- Compatible battery NB-10L for Canon
- High quality battery - Capacity 1100mAh
- Replacement warranty for 12 months
- CE Approved.
2. PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ72
Panasonic really do make incredible products, their cameras are really no exception; beautifully crafted whilst endorsing all the latest technology. The DMC-FZ72, a snappy titles, is pure quality. It has an ultra-wide angle 60 X lens with, would you believe … Full-HD video with clear sound featuring wind shield zoom microphone; WOW!
Hmm, well suffice to say the whole Panasonic Lumix range is recognised, quite rightly, as one of the major market brands.
- 20 mm ultra wide angle, powerful 60x optical zoom Lens
- Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser) with active mode
- Full-HD video with clear sound featuring wind shield zoom microphone
- 16.1 MP high sensitivity MOS sensor and venus engine
- Intuitive control in shooting-style design
- Rugged nylon compartmentalised back-pack for ultimate protection of your SLR camera
- Secure zip closure and water-resistant lining will keep your device protected from spills and splashes, while durable nylon outer ensures protection from damage and the elements - finished in a classic black colour
- Padded adjustable shoulder straps and handle provide comfortable portability
- Versatile inner velcro dividers allow you to customise storage compartments to suit your individual needs
- Internal netted storage and front pocket zip compartment allows for you to keep all your important accessories to hand
3. FUJI S8650
Fuji really are big part players in the bridge camera arena. Their products are well designed and competitively priced. The Fuji S8650 is a classic example; sporting a respectable 16 megapixel sensor and 36x optical zoom. What’s more it contains many useful features such as face detection, manual focus and optical image stabilisation, to name but a few.
There’s a lot to get excited about here; the camera, for a bridge, is very compact, light and very easy to operate.
Furthermore it’s available in black, red and white … funky!
- Powerful 36x Fujinon zoom lens
- 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor with primary colour filtre
- 16 million pixels
- 3 inch LCD screen
- Carry your camera in supreme comfort, keep equipment safe and organized while you're on the go.
- Deluxe padded backpack is made from waterproof and shockproof material, resistant from abrasion, extrusion and water to ensure total protection.
- Secure zip closure and water-resistant lining protects against spills and splashes, while durable nylon outer ensures protection from damage.
- This bag features multi-function removable padded dividers for a versatile layout. You can store anything from your camera and lenses, to tripod and filters, and much more! If needed, you can remove the padded interior to be a casual daypack or travel bag.
- Comes with a Water-resistant polyester rain cover.
4. NIKON COOLPIX B500
Nikon are not to outdone by the likes of Fuji! Their Nikon Coolpix B500 comes with a classy red finish. I’ve since discovered there’s also a plum coloured option. Has the world gone mad!
Well just settle down, it is also available in the more traditional version of reassuring black.
Nikon’s famous Coolpix range always deliver; the B500 boasts 16 megapixels and a 40x optical zoom with an effective picture stabilisation feature. As always you’re guaranteed sharp images from this high quality Nikon zoom lens.
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5. OLYMPUS SP-620UZ
Let’s now welcome Olympus into our fold. The Olympus SP-620UZ, very snappy title, is a typical Olympus quality addition to the bridge camera range.
The camera has a slightly different twist in that it has a 21x wide optical zoom, aka UZ for Ultra Zoom.
It’s this wide feature that is so useful; get more of that glorious Cornish skyline and sneak Uncle Sid into the wedding photo as he stands swaying, with glass in hand, towards the edge of that all-important family group.
As always with digital products the specifications would take longer to list than a re-write of War and Peace; suffice to say it’s a very slim, compact and impressive bit of kit. Other models are available in the SP range, usually in black or silver finish.
- Case made of Neoprene material, lightweight, elastic and comfortable.
- An inner strap for attaching the pouch to a neck strap or to your camera strap eyelet directly
- Photographers have the option of using this pouch with or without a neck strap
- Opened and closed with a touch-fastening flap.
- Will accommodate a camera body with a lens up to 127 x 85 x 84mm (W x H x D).
- Water resistant padded digital camera case, protect cameras from scratch, shock and light shower.
- Big front accessory compartment with two built-in pen holder inside.
- Built-in handle and belt loop. Adjustable shoulder strap include.
- Material: Water resistant canvas.
- Main compartment dimension: H140 x W120 x D80 mm. External dimension: H180 x W140 x D120 mm
6. NIKON P900
The Nikon P900 is a powerful tool indeed wading in with an absolutely gob smacking 83x optical zoom! Add the digital zoom options and you can times that 83 by four. Surely this means it should be listed as a telescope?
OK, fair to say that this beast may just stretch your budget closer to the limit; but then this is a phenomenal creature indeed.
Boy, where to start, well the zoom is not only big it also provides a bright image right up to its longest distance. Images really are crystal clear, sharp and vibrant. An ideal lens for capturing wildlife, and the odd neighbour or two.
Further to that the auto focus is high speed and extremely accurate.The camera’s functions are numerous, including an inbuilt microphone with its own zoom feature!
- Capture details not visible to the naked eye with the 83x NIKKOR zoom lens - extendable to 166x Dynamic Fine Zoom
- Back-illuminated 16MP CMOS image sensor enables clear, richly detailed images which are easy to achieve, even at night
- Get fast and detailed location information with GPS/GLONASS/QZSS international satellite systems tracking your route
- Share images anywhere, using the one-touch Wi-Fi button ot tapping the NFC enabled camera to a smart device.
- Full HD movies have high-quality directional sound, as the Zoom microphone changes direction to match how you operate the zoom
- Alexander S. White
- White Knight Press
- Paperback: 186 pages
7. SAMSUNG WB2200F
Samsung is a huge South Korean electronics company renowned for producing high quality precision electronic products, including cameras. The Samsung bridge camera range is typified by the WB2200F; innovative and affordable.
The camera upon first sight appear bulkier than most others, this is because it has a dual-grip system with controls on top and on the bottom; makes portrait framing so much easier.
The Samsung also has a whacking 60x zoom and a 16.4 megapixel sensor.
It’s a smart bag of tricks including Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC pairing. Full HD video with stereo sound help make this a well-rounded ergonomic delight.
Rumour has it that the model will soon be available with a matching fridge and toaster … probably just a rumour.
- Type: Li-ion Battery; Voltage: 7.60V; 12 Months Warranty
- 100% Q.C. of every battery 100% New A+ Cell ; No memory effect, Recharge up to 500 cycles
- Dimensions: 40.05 x 30.27 x 33.28 mm; Weight : 100g; Color: Black
- Package inc: 2x BP-1410 Battery+1x Charger, Brand New replacement battery
- 100% Compatible With Original item, Efficient, Environmentally, Energy-saving
- High quality & retractable micro USB data transfer sync and charge PC cable
- Charge and sync your device to your computer
- Stylish, compact and lightweight design
- Durable and high quality construction
8. KODAK AZ421 PIXPRO
It’s about time we featured Kodak, probably the most famous brand in camera history. Well truthfully, Kodak slipped quite a way behind when digital started to gnaw into their traditional camera sales. However Kodak are by no means out of the picture, their bridge cameras are among some of the best.
The Kodak AZ421 is part of Kodak’s Astro Zoom Bridge Camera range; it has a healthy 42x zoom and a 16 megapixel sensor. The camera is compact and definitely one of the more budget bridge cameras around.
Don’t be fooled by the price tag, the camera has a quality zoom lens and a host of other feature including the ability to auto focus on a moving subject. The Kodak has all the control you’d find on its more expensive siblings and rivals.
- 42X Optical Zoom
- 24mm Wide Angle
- 16 Megapixels
- Li-ion Battery
- Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, AC Adapter, USB Cable, Neck Strap, Lens Cover, CD-ROM, Service Card, Quick Start Guide, Warranty
- The case is cushioned, padded,and waterproof.
- Soft interior lining keeps your device scratch free
- A adjustable divider in the main compartment, enough room for camera and accessories
- Adjustable shoulder/neck strap
- Dimensions(WDH): 110 X 100 X 145 MM (Internal) 130 X 120 X 160 MM mm(External)
9. PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ330EBK
The Panasonic FZ330EBK may only have 12.1 megapixels, but every single pixel must be coated in magic pixie dust; the images from this, and virtually all Panasonic cameras are always crisp and vibrant.
No doubt you would expect this from a company that prides itself on the production of quality imaging products.
The lens will focus down to one centimetre; that’s macro! The FZ330EBK will even give fabulous picture quality in low light conditions, more pixie dust I suspect.
The camera’s panoramic mode is most creative and fun to use, beware it can become addictive! Another great feature is the ability to shoot at twelve frames per second; you just gotta get one photo that’s right!
Panasonic, not the cheapest option but rest assured you’ll get more than you paid for.
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10. CANON SX540 HS POWERSHOT
The Canon SX540 HS bridge camera is yet another impressive offering in the PowerShot range. This camera has a wide 50x zoom lens, just great for virtually all occasions. Plenty of pixels to use, 21.1 megapixels to be precise; I know, just finished counting them!
The Canon SX540 is beautifully sculptured, it is well balanced and ergonomic, an absolute pleasure to operate.
The lens is impressive, crisp auto focussing with a useful subject tracking option. The whole package is designed for beginners and the more advanced photographers, easy to use with all the fiddly bits to satisfy the most intense of connoisseur among us.
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And so it has come to pass, our current top ten bridge cameras serve to reflect the buoyant bridge camera market and the ever growing popularity of these feature packed digital wonders. The list is by no means definitive, there’s always a new model with new features just around the corner.
Read the reviews and take the plunge; the bridge camera is a fantastic innovation, a compact alternative that eliminates most of the baggage required by DSLR users.