The Best Bridge Cameras of 2016

 

Introduction

With photography having become more and more popular over the past decade, the market for bridge cameras has increased rapidly. With there being such a large choice of selection out there, we here at eReviews have come together to review the best bridge cameras of 2016! Along with this, we added some extra information to make your life a little bit easier – you’re welcome!

What Is A Bridge Camera?

A bridge camera can come in different shapes and sizes. However, they are often most comparable to that of the smaller DSLRs (Digital single­-lens reflex). Most digital bridge cameras out there will actually come with a retractable lens. This is in order to make them more compact and transportable than other cameras on the market. The re-tractability of the lens can make the cameras more appealing. Yet the digital bridge cameras lack an optical viewfinder system, which can actually turn people off this type of camera.

The Pros Of Using a Bridge Camera:

  1.  Ideal for many photographers out there, and are often marketed towards those that aim to use their bridge camera for travelling / holiday use.
  2.  Is lightweight and perfect for those that will be travelling around. You will not be having to carry around a bulky piece of equipment in order to get a decent zoom ratio that would be needed for a DSLR or CSC.
  3. They are a lot cheaper than the opposing DSLR or CSC that are available on the market, also.
  4. Many bridge cameras on the market offer full manual control and even raw format shooting. Whereas your standard aim and shoot cameras don’t offer this.
  5. If you are a photography enthusiast, you will be able to have all the control mentioned previously. Plus you will be able to avoid the bulk and irritation that a DSLR can end give you. They can also act as the perfect second camera to DSLR owners that are thinking of travelling. Then they don’t need to risk damaging their expensive equipment.
  6.  Large and chunky grips, DSLR­-like buttons and dials, you might end up preferring the style and handling of a bridge camera over the flatter counterpart, the aim and shoot­style camera.
  7. A viewfinder is also offered with most bridge cameras. This comes in handy when using the traditional framing method. If you would rather use a screen, or if you are using the camera in quite a bright area.

The Pros Of Using a Bridge Camera:

  1.  Ideal for many different styles of photographers out there. Especially those that aim to use their bridge camera for travelling / holiday use.
  2.  Lightweight and perfect for those that will be travelling around. You will not be have to carry around a bulky piece of equipment in order to get a decent zoom ratio that would be needed for a DSLR or CSC.
  3. They are a lot cheaper than the opposing DSLR or CSC that are available on the market, also.
  4. Many bridge cameras on the market will actually offer full manual control and even raw format shooting. Your standard aim and shoot cameras will not offer this.
  5. Photography enthusiast will be able to have all the control mentioned previously. Plus you will be able to avoid all the bulk and irritation that a DSLR can give you. Not only this, but they can also act as the perfect second camera to DSLR owners that are thinking of travelling, but do not want to risk damaging their equipment.
  6.  With large and chunky grips, DSLR­-like buttons and dials, it may just so happen that you end up preferring the style and handling of a bridge camera over the flatter counterpart, the aim and shoot­style camera.
  7.  A viewfinder is also offered with most bridge cameras. This comes in handy when using the traditional framing method. If you would rather use a screen, or if you are using the camera in quite a bright area.

The Cons Of Using a Bridge Camera:

As with any product, there are going to be at least one downside to the specific item, compared with competing brands or styles. ­This goes for the bridge camera, too!

  1.  In comparison to the DSLR or a compact­ style camera, the bridge camera will have a very small sensor.
  2. The lack of sensor quality will generally leave you with less detailed images also, and will tend to not work too well in darker areas.
  3. Even at the widest part of the lens, most bridge cameras will often have a maximum aperture that is quite narrow.
  4. Most bridge cameras do have viewfinders, but while that is the case, they may not always be up to scratch, and you may find yourself just using the screen anyway.

Getting The Perfect Photograph

● Try using a tripod whenever you are able

○ While it does add more bulk to what you will be carrying around, using a tripod can very effectively ensure that you get those blur­free photographs, especially if you will be shooting in a low­light area. Heavy duty tripods are not necessary, and are more of a personal preference, as bridge cameras are more of a light camera. Even using a smaller and portable tripod (such as a Gorillapod) would work well.

● Use the image stabilisation function

○ This option may actually be hidden away in the camera settings, but is definitely worth looking for. Once it is turned on, you should notice a very big difference in both reduction of blur and assistance in shot framing when shooting at telephoto distances.

● Take manual control

○ While leaving the camera in automatic mode can be good, it leaves all the important decision making up to the camera itself, and can potentially mean you losing the shot of a lifetime due to the wrong choices being made. Being able to pay attention to the sensitivity is particularly important when shooting with your camera, due to the fact that when setting a high ISO, it can lead to your images being too grainy. If you will be using a tripod, it is recommended that you lower the ISOs, in order to keep image noise down to a minimum.

● Be aware of the optical zoom

○ Any bridge camera that you use will offer some form of digital zooming, as well as optical zoom. In a general sense, most photos that will be taken with digital zoom will be a poorer quality than if it were to be taken with the optical zoom option. Digital zoom can be useful in itself if you need the extra reach, but if you are looking for quality, always try to stick with optical zoom instead. With many of the bridge cameras out there on the market, you can actually choose to switch off the ability to even use digital zoom altogether.

What To Look For:

Bridge cameras are amazing in the fact that they are able to offer such a broad range of features that you will be able to take advantage of, without having to take such a costly jump into the world of DSLR cameras. However, when jumping into unknown territory, it can be difficult to know exactly what to keep your eyes peeled for. So, at eReviews, we have supplied you with a list of what we would recommend keeping an eye out for, and what they actually mean:

Image Stabilisation

Image stabilisation, as mentioned previously, is a very important feature when it comes to photography. With this feature, whether you are taking photos in a low­-lit area or are using a long zoom, the image stabilisation will aid in preventing any hand­shaking from spoiling your photograph and will help to keep them sharp and blur­free.

WiFi / Geo­-Tagging

Some of the bridge cameras that are available on the market today will actually come with a built­in GPS that can amazingly track where your photographs were actually taken ­- this is an especially neat feature for those that are planning on using their bridge camera in order to travel around and take photographs in new places! Other bridge cameras may be able to connect to your smartphone instead, using WiFi, and take the information from your smartphone’s GPS. The WiFi feature can also be useful, as it has the capability to transfer images that are stored on your bridge camera onto your smartphone or PC. Not only this, but the feature may allow for you to preview photographs on your smartphone, or even take photos using the smartphone itself! Crazy, huh?

Burst Rate

Burst rate is a term that actually refers to the bridge cameras capability to take a series of photographs within a very small period of time. The way that this ability is measured is usually described as how many ‘frames per second’ it can do. An example of frames per second, or ‘fps’, is 12fps. This means that the example bridge camera would be able to take 12 photographs per second. The reason that burst rate is so important to many photographers out there is that it can help to capture the perfect moment during a live­-action event, such as wildlife or a sporting event.

Knowing How Much To Spend

When you decide on purchasing a bridge camera, as with many other products out there, price can vary greatly ­- this is great for those that are anxious on having to spend more than they feel comfortable doing. The only downside is that, if you decide to pay £100 ­- £150 (for example) for a bridge camera, you may not have as much of a high quality sensor or zoom lense than if you were to have a larger budget. If you are looking for a high quality product, it is recommended to work within the range of at least £200 and up to a whopping £850. However, be aware that in the grand scheme of things, a price like £850 is virtually nothing than if you were to purchase a DSLR, which can rinse you of a whopping £9,000 if you are looking at the top­-end products and accessories.

The Two Types of Bridge Cameras:

Superzoom Bridge Cameras

A superzoom bridge camera is the name that is given to the type of bridge camera that offers the style of a DSLR, controls and a very impressive optical zoom. The superzoom bridge camera style would be perfect for those that want an all-­in­-one camera that will offer the user more control over their photographs, without having to cough up for a DSLR.

The superzoom bridge camera is a great investment, as it shares a great amount of the functionality that is offered with a DSLR, but for around £300 or less! Some of the functionalities that can be included are, but not limited to, full manual control and a powerful zoom lense.

However, the superzoom bridge camera is actually bulkier than that of a compact digital camera, meaning that it is not a product that will easily just fit into your pocket. As well as this, the smaller sensors can mean that photographs are less impressive when taken in low­-lit areas.

Compact Bridge Cameras

The compact bridge camera, or also known as a high­-end compact camera, is very similar in shape as the digital compact camera, but is able to offer more manual control over settings such as exposure and aperture than other digital compact cameras would be able to. Even though they are able to offer control over many of these settings, they cannot match the control and quality that is offered by the superzoom bridge camera, making the compact bridge camera cheaper for those on a budget.

Being able to provide all the features of a pocket­-sized camera, the compact bridge camera is definitely a must for those that wish to take photographs on­-the­-go! With scene modes, automatic settings and manual controls that are offered with the DSLR, the compact bridge camera allows you to adjust in order to aid with your photography.

Although, while it is a great camera, most, if not all, will be lacking in a viewfinder. This means that the user will have to rely on the LCD screen to be able to frame a photo and access settings. Due to the small size, most available settings will have to be accessed through on­screen menus, rather than dials ­- this can make the size both a positive and negative aspect of the compact bridge camera.

Our Top Picks

Without any further ado, here at eReviews, we are very excited to get stuck right into the top bridge cameras of 2016 and break down why we love them so much:

Panasonic Lumix DMC­FZ1000 (£649.99)

Specifications:

Sensor: 1 inch CMOS

Megapixels: 20.1

Zoom Range: 16x, 25­-400mm equivalent

Screen Type: 3 inch articulating, 921,000 dots

Viewfinder: Yes

Shooting Rate: 12fps

Recommended For: Enthusiasts


PROS:

  •  Has a 1 inch sensor.
  • Impressive maximum aperture.

CONS:

  •  Is quite large for what it is.
  • The screen is not touch­screen.


 

Description:

When it comes to the Panasonic Lumix, we would most definitely recommend it as the photography enthusiasts new best friend. With a large f/2.8 maximum wide­angle aperture to f/4 at full zoom, this camera is perfect for helping the user capture that perfect moment in even the lower light without having to resort to any high ISO sensitivities, all the while its Hybrid 5­-axis Optical Image Stabilisation is able to minimise any camera shaking that may occur.

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Canon G3 X (£799.99)

Sensor Size: 1 inch CMOS

Megapixels: 20.2

Zoom Range: 25x, 24­-600 equivalent

Screen Type: 3.2 inch tilting touchscreen

Viewfinder: No

Recommended For: Enthusiasts


PROS:

  •  1 inch sensor.
  •  Has a powerful focal range.

CONS:

  •  Lack of viewfinder can be off-putting to enthusiasts.
  • Has no panorama mode or 4K video.


 

Description: The Canon G3 X has a 25x optic that offers a 24­600mm equivalent focal range which means that it is able to add more zoom versatility, making it a great choice. While it doesn’t have a viewfinder, we believe that the incredible 1,620,000 dot resolution makes up for that, greatly. The Canon G3 X is not able to shoot 4K, but is perfect for full HD, so you do get the raw and high quality image, with plenty of detail, but noise can occur above ISO 3200.

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