Bridge cameras are a versatile and affordable alternative to DSLRs, offering the same kind of manual controls (as well as a host of easy-to-use auto modes) plus a huge zoom lens that covers everything from wide-angle to super-telephoto photography.
The ultra zoom – or bridge style camera is a popular format of camera, which lets you get wide-angle shots and then zoom into distant subjects, with the latest cameras offering up to 83x optical zoom and non-removable lens .
he most sophisticated models have high-end features including Wi-Fi, NFC, and/or Bluetooth connectivity, UHD 4K or Full HD 1080p video capability, advanced AF and AE systems, large, hi-res LCDs, built-in multi-axis image stabilization systems, tilting touchscreens, hi-res electronic viewfinders (EVFs), and comprehensive Wi-Fi options for seamless connectivity.
There’s a massive range of choice when it comes to the best compact cameras. Each of the models chosen herr offer something your average smartphone can’t. That could be a large sensor, optical zoom, or a plethora of manual controls, giving you greater creative freedom with your shots.
1. Sony RX100 VI
The Sony RX100 VI is a high-end compact camera successor to the RX100 V, it shares the same 20.1 Megapixel sensor
This flagship of Sony’s line of DSLR-styled is an all-in-one long-range zoom cameras, beautifully contoured high-performance machine featuring a large 1-inch 20.1MP Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor integrated with a cutting edge BIONZ X image processor, a Front-End LSI, and 25x, 24-600mm-equivalent Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.4-4.0 zoom, with confident phase-detect autofocus, 4k video, 24fps shooting with autofocus, and a wealth of slow motion video options at 240, 480 and 960fps to deliver outstanding speed, versatility, and image quality.
It can also capture UHD 4K video at 30 fps and Full HD 1080 video at 120 fps, provides sensitivity settings to ISO 12800, and incorporates an ultra-fast Hybrid AF autofocus system with 315 phase-detection points that enables a 24 fps full-res burst rate with full-time AE and AF.
Other key features: a 2.36m-dot OLED Tru-Finder EVF, a 3.0-inch 1.44m-dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Clear Image 2X digital zoom that uses interpolation to maintain high image quality, and the ability to save 8MP stills while recording UHD 4K video. There’s also Bluetooth to complement the Wifi and a raft of pro video features, but the biggest upgrade is the lens range, up from the 24-70mm of the Marks III, IV and V to a new 24-200mm zoom in a body that’s only 1.8mm thicker than before.
2. Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500
The Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 (known as the FZ2500 in the US) uses a 1-inch sensor, and while the zoom tops out at 480mm equivalent, which is relatively short for a bridge camera, that’s still plenty for all but the most extreme everyday use. We’d certainly sacrifice a little zoom range for better and faster optics, and we love the FZ2000 because it delivers both image quality and zoom range. If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, the older FZ1000 (below) is also worth a look.
The LUMIX FZ2500 can also capture DCI 4K video at 24 fps, UHD 4K at 29.97, 23.98 and a true 24, as well as 25 fps with a high bit rate of 100 Mbps, and download while recording via an optional micro HDMI cable. Its contrast-based AF System features DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology, enabling AF in as little as 0.09 sec, and it can capture bursts at up to 12 fps (in AFS mode), for a maximum of 100 JPEG or 30 (RAW) images. Its hi-res OLED LVF (Live View Finder) displays images at 2360K-dot resolution, and it also has a free-angle 3.0-inch, 1040K-dot touch-control monitor, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
3. Nikon Coolpix P1000
This newly released, crisply styled all-in-one compact stands at the pinnacle of its class, providing an astonishing 125x zoom ratio thanks to its 24-3000mm-equivalent f/2.8-8 Zoom Nikkor lens, and a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor integrated with a high performance EXPEED image processor.
Other impressive specs include a big 3.2-inch, 921k-dot Vari-Angle LCD monitor, a 2.36m-dot OLED EVF, Dual-Detect Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) that provides a 5-stop anti-shake advantage in handheld shooting, and 4K UHD video recording at 30/24 fps. The P1000 also offers SnapBridge connectivity via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, aperture- and shutter-priority plus manual exposure modes, and sensitivity settings from ISO 100-6400.
An ergonomic control ring on the front cam be used to set a variety of functions including focus, exposure, white balance, and ISO, and 250x Dynamic Fine digital zoom lets you get out to an incredible 6000mm equivalent.
4. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400V
This understated, compact, ergonomic, DSLR-style long-ranger has an extended-range 50x Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T zoom lens that provides an equivalent 24-1200mm-equivalent focal-length range, incorporates a 1/2.3-inch 20.4 MP Exmor R CMOS sensor coupled to an advanced BIONZ X image processor for excellent responsiveness and image detail, and provides Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to minimize the effects of camera shake at long focal lengths and close focusing distances.
Other key features: 3.0-inch Xtra Fine 921k-dot LCD, a hi-res eye-level EVF, 10fps continuous shooting and Lock-On AF, Full HD AVCHD 1080p video capture at 60/24 fps, Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and GPS, Intelligent Auto mode, 360-degree Sweep Panorama mode, Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Picture Effect, and Party modes, and a dedicated movie button.
5. Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
This higher-end version of the Canon Powershot delivers even more zoom, coming in at 50x optical zoom. This level of detail will allow you to capture travel, landscape and entertainment in vivid high quality even from great distances. The camera’s intelligent IS automatically factors in shooting conditions and applies advanced stabilization technology to allow you to produce quality images. Improved Zoom Framing Assist also helps you capture faraway moments, while a lock feature allows you to capture your family and friends. The ergonomic design fits securely and comfortably in your hand, allowing you to focus on the distance to create these images. The camera also boasts WiFi connectivity and a 20.3-megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor that excels in low light situations
6. Nikon P900
This is Nixon newest bridge camera, the 16-megapixel Coolpix P1000. This super-zoom includes a 125X optical zoom lens, the 35mm-film equivalent of a 24 to 3000mm zoom lens. That’s by far, the longest to date and roughly twice the range available on most super zooms from other brands. It can even be extended up to 6000mm using the camera’s digital zoom. Like Nikon’s previous super zoom, the P900, the new P100 measures 7.2 x 5.8 x 4.7 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds with its battery. Its maximum aperture range is f/2.8 to f/8 and includes a variety of other features and technologies, including 4K HD-resolution video, RAW mode, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 7 frames-per-second burst mode, and a robust image-stabilization system.
7. Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72
The Lumix FZ70 (Lumix FZ72 outside the US) is one of the cheapest bridge cameras in our selection, and has since been replaced by the FZ80 / FZ82 (see above), but it still sports a great zoom range with an impressive 20mm-equivalent wide-angle focal length. Its lens aperture also opens up as wide as f/2.8, though it does narrow to f/5.9 at full zoom. Raw format recording and full manual control give the FZ72 enthusiast appeal, as does the attractive image quality. We would rank the FZ72 higher, but there’s no Wi-Fi, while the relatively low screen and electronic viewfinder resolutions are a let down; you’ll also have to do without an eye sensor to automatically switch between the two displays.