The best bridge camera in 2024: ultra-zoom cameras for far off subjects

The best bridge camera will deliver high-quality images, have a relatively big zoom, and DSLR-style handling

Sony RX10 IV bridge camera being held in a reviewer's hand

The Quick List

  • Best quality

Biggest zoom

Best for portability, best overall value, best for video.

  • How to choose
  • How we test

Amazon Prime Day is taking place on July 16-17, and the  best Prime Day camera deals  can be very tempting, but we don't see the same scale of discounts as Black Friday .  Some camera companies don't offer Prime deals at all, and even exclude Amazon from their own rebate schemes. With stock being volatile, our advice is that if you're ready to buy a product then jump on it now – prices probably won't fluctuate much, but stock levels will!

The best bridge camera combines the convenience of a compact camera with the zoom of a telephoto lens and the ergonomics of a DSLR. In fact they look and feel pretty similar to a DSLR, but they have a fixed lens and usually a massive zoom range – sometimes all the way up to 3000mm, which is a lens doesn't even exist for a traditional camera system!

This hybrid performance makes the best bridge cameras great for capturing wildlife, sports, or even astrophotography – and they won't cost you the earth. The enormous zoom covers everything from wide-angle landscape shots to detailed images of a single bird in the distance. Combined with fast burst speeds and 4K video, this can make them perfect for family, travel, and animal photography – but the massive zoom capability comes with a few compromises. 

The main one is that image sensors in bridge cameras are smaller than those in the best DSLRs and best mirrorless cameras . They generally offer lower resolution, have less dynamic range and don't perform as well in low light. The fixed lens offers huge zoom, but doesn't shoot genres like macro photography – and combined with the smaller sensor, makes it harder to blur backgrounds for things like portraits.

Despite the limitations, bridges are still incredibly useful. You get a whole lot of bang for your buck and they put a lot of power in the hands of even inexperienced cameras users. Here are the best bridge cameras based on size, features, zoom reach, portability, and price…

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has over 20 years’ experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). As one of DCW's principal testers, he has a thorough and detailed knowledge of the cameras selected for this guide.

Sony Cybershot RX10 IV bridge camera

This premium bridge camera outperforms its rivals, as it has a larger sensor than usually found on bridge cameras. It also has a great autofocus system, which is useful for shooting action & wildlife. Read more below

Nikon P1000

This is big, bulky bridge camera - but in return gives the biggest-ever built-in zoom range. It's telephoto range is so phenomenal it is used by security services for surveillance! Read more below

Kodak Pixpro AZ528

Kodak has a number of bridge cameras, which offer you a huge built-in lens range for a lower price than its Japanese rivals. With a 52x zoom, the price for this model is almost hard to believe. Read more below

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Bridge cameras are necessarily big compared to standard compact cameras. But this Canon is a good looking option that is smaller than many of its rivals, weighing 600g, and measuring 5 x 3.6 x 4.6in. Read more below

Nikon Coolpix P950

This is the predecessor to the monster record-setting P1000, but because of this has now been discounted to a bargain price. But still it boast a phenomenal 83x zoom (equivalent to a 24-2000mm). Read more below

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500

Sold as the FZ2500 in America, and as the FZ2000 in Europe, this is our pick if you want to use a bridge camera primarily to shoot video rather than stills. It offers full 4K shooting with the handy addition of a built-in variable ND filter .  Read more below

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Best bridge cameras in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best image quality

Sony RX10 IV on stone and moss surface

1. Sony RX10 IV

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

✅ You want big zoom AND great image quality:  The combination of 25x optical zoom and a relatively large 1-inch-type sensor makes the RX10 IV a superb all-round performer.

❌ Your budget is tight:  The RX10 IV is very expensive for a bridge camera - there are other options on this list that perform almost as well, but cost a lot less.

Even though the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is the most expensive camera on our list, it has a high price tag for a reason. The most exciting upgrade from the RX10 III is the 315-point phase-detect AF system, which makes it much better at tracking moving subjects. It's also the first RX10 with a touchscreen. 

Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity make it possible to share images to your smartphone on the move and, while the 24-600mm lens might not offer the biggest focal range, the fantastic 1-inch Sony sensor delivers arguably the best image quality of any camera here.

It's capable of 24fps continuous burst shooting as well as 4K video, making it a versatile and powerful all-round performer – even though you'll need to dig a little deeper into your funds. 

Read our full Sony RX10 IV review

Nikon P1000 camera held in hands

2. Nikon P1000

✅ You want ALL the zoom!  The P1000 is practically a telescope - its zoom range is unrivalled, and may never be beaten. The optical image stabilization therefore needs to be good, and thankfully it is.

❌ You're expecting the last word in image quality:  At the heart of this big beast is a tiny image sensor - smaller than in most current camera phones. Consequently image quality is mediocre at best.

I've never owned a bridge camera in my life, but as soon as I used the P1000 I knew that I wanted one! For me, the all-in-one zoom range is the most important thing on a bridge – and at its max zoom, the Nikon P1000 has an astonishing 3000mm focal length. Even if such a lens were available for a mirrorless camera (and even if it was affordable), the ability to go from shooting at 24mm all the way to 3000mm in a matter of seconds, without having to switch lenses, it simply incredible. 

When shooting at the telephoto end, you do lose 3 full stops – taking the aperture down from a solid f/2.8 to a less impressive f/8. And at longer focal lengths there is a noticeable softness in images, even with the best camera technique (aided by impressive image stabilization). This isn't helped by the sensor being a relatively small 1/2.3-inch affair, and just 16MP at that. 

Still, the P1000 boasts a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, 4K video capabilities and it shoots in RAW – and did I mention that its maximum zoom is three thousand millimeters ? Okay, it's a high price for not a lot of sensor, but if range is your top priority then there's nothing better out there. 

Read our full Nikon P1000 review

Cheapest option

Kodak PIXPRO AZ528 superzoom digital camera on wooden surface

3. Kodak Pixpro AZ528

✅ You want big zoom for a small outlay: The Pixpro AZ528 delivers a huge amount of optical zoom for a very reasonable price.

❌ Image quality is a high priority: Image quality is fine, but nothing special. Images get softer the more you zoom in, and that's if you can hold the camera steady enough in the first place!

Kodak continues to play to a niche but potentially still a sizeable audience of photographers who competing brands have moved on from, with the Pixpro AZ528 all-in-one ‘superzoom’ while others have abandoned the area. 

The huge 52x zoom still comes in very handy not just for budding wildlife photographers but also for casual sports photography fans, which makes this an incredibly versatile camera. However, it’s still saddled with a small-ish sensor and any camera like this means softer results when shooting handheld the further we creep towards its maximum zoom setting.

Read our full Kodak PIXPRO AZ528 review

Canon Powershot SX70 HS camera on a white background

4. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

✅ It's just got to be Canon: Canon no longer develops new bridge cameras, and the SX70 HS is its last bridge model standing. It's not a bad camera, but newer rivals have outclassed it.

❌ You want maximum bang per buck: Apart from its big 65x zoom range, the aging SX70 HS no longer excels in any one area - you'll get better value elsewhere.

On paper, the SX70 HS looks a close rival to the Panasonic FZ2500 (below), offering a slightly longer maximum zoom and nearly matching the Panasonic's wide-angle setting. But its f/3.4-6.5 maximum aperture range is on the low side and its 20MP resolution can't overcome the limitations of the small 1/2.3-inch sensor size.

The SX70 does handle well and it's not that big for a bridge camera, but the opposition has moved on, with bigger zoom ranges, bigger sensors, or lower price points. The SX70 HS offers solid enough specifications but at a price point that makes its rivals look more tempting.

Read our full Canon PowerShot SX70 HS review

Nikon P950

5. Nikon P950

✅ You want a competent all-rounder: The P950 offers a good blend of long zoom (83x), acceptable image quality, manageable bulk, and 4K video capability.

❌ You're expecting stellar image quality: Like most bridge cameras, the P950 uses a surprisingly small sensor. Image quality is no better than a camera phone's, and in many cases it'll be noticeably worse.

The Coolpix P950 was a successor to the P900, and showed Nikon's ambition to have the biggest zoom on a bridge camera – a record-breaking baton now held by its bigger brother the Coolpix P1000 (above). Nonetheless, the lens on the P950 remains impressive, boasting 83x optical zoom with an equivalent focal length range of 24-2000mm – and if this somehow isn't enough for you, it can be digitally extended to 4000mm. 

The P950 added a lot of features that people felt were missing or subpar on the P900: it improves the viewfinder, adds RAW capture and ups the maximum video resolution to 4K. The only reason it's not further up the list is its small sensor size – and that it now stands somewhat in the shadow of the P1000.

Read our full Nikon P950 review

Panasonic FZ2500 camera on a white background

6. Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 / FZ2000

✅ You want better than average stills and video quality: Like the Sony RX10 IV (above), the FZ2500 uses a relatively large 1-inch-type sensor, giving decent image quality for a bridge camera. DCI 4K video quality is another welcome bonus.

❌ You want mega zoom reach: 20x optical zoom should be plenty for most situations, but on paper it's massively outclassed by some rivals, though they can only achieve the extra zoom by using a smaller, inferior image sensor.

Panasonic won many people over with the FZ1000, with its 1-in sensor, 25-400mm (Equiv.) f/2.8-4 zoom lens, 4K video, and masses of control making it a fine DSLR alternative. The FZ2500 (sold as the FZ2000 in Europe) delivers plenty more, including a slightly longer lens, touch-screen control, and an electronic viewfinder with a slightly higher magnification than before, but it's in the video where Panasonic has made the most significant improvements.

So, here we get DCI 4K video and a variable ND filter, for example, although the latter can, of course, be used for stills too. The lack of weather sealing is a pity, but its falling price, together with the occasional cashback deal, makes it a brilliant-value competitor to models in Sony's RX10 series. 

See our full Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 / FZ2000 review

How to choose the best bridge cameras

Firstly, you need to decide on how to balance the size of the camera you want to carry to the range of the zoom. While a bigger sensor is advantageous, it does mean that often you'll have a smaller zoom range so you'll need to decide what's more important - image quality or the amount you can zoom. Depending on what you plan on shooting most will determine what should be more important. If you are investing in a bridge camera to take on Safari, for example, it might be a good idea to opt for something with the biggest zoom range possible but if you want a versatile, all-rounder and can forgo a 1000mm zoom I'd definitely opt for image quality.

You'll also need to think about how much you're willing to spend. The bigger sensors do come at a higher price tag but often have features that make it worth it. For this reason, we've split the guide into 1-inch sensor bridge cameras with a smaller zoom range and 1/2.3-inch sensor bridge cameras with a massive zoom range and average picture quality. 

Best bridge cameras: FAQs

What's the best bridge camera to buy.

There's no doubt that the 20.1MP, 1-inch sensor Sony RX10 IV is the "best" bridge camera right now in terms of image quality – but it has a much more limited zoom range than its rivals. Which isn't to belittle its still-amazing 24-600mm range, as that is definitely more than enough for most people! 

However, for me, the Nikon P1000 is definitely where I'd put my money. Yes it's only 16MP and yes it's only a 1/2.3-inch sensor, but its zoom range is an absolutely absurd 24-3000mm. After using this to photograph wild animals, trust me – you'll be sold (provided you don't need to print your images too big). If you want to save money, the older Nikon P950 with a slightly less zoom is better value, as it is now heavily discounted

For an all-round performer, you can't go far wrong with the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS . It still rocks a 1/2.3-inch sensor but packs 20.3MP of resolution, and a 21-1365mm zoom that offers good wide-angle and telephoto capabilities - but in a camera that is smaller than many of its bridge rivals.

What is a bridge camera?

The aptly named bridge camera bridges the gap between DSLRs and compact cameras. They have bigger bodies, non-interchangeable lenses with massive zoom ranges, and small(ish) sensors. When bridge cameras first came out, they had really small 1/2.3-inch sensors, like the kind you find in the best point-and-shoot cameras .

However, these days brands such as Sony, Panasonic, and Canon make bridge cameras that have a larger, 1-inch sensor. They offer better image quality and better low-light performance but these features come at a price. 

Is a bridge camera good for wildlife photography?

Bridge cameras can be some of the best cameras for wildlife photography . The incredible zoom range they offer means they are fantastic all-in-one tools that go from close-ups shots in one instant to telephoto shots the next – making them more flexible than any DSLR or mirrorless camera setup, even if you could afford the equivalent lenses. 

The only thing to be aware of is the sensor size of bridge cameras. Because they tend to top out at 1-inch, they simply can't offer the same resolution, fidelity or performance. If you want to blow your pictures up into huge prints, especially working in low light, a traditional camera will offer better quality. But for online use, social media sharing and photo books, bridge cameras are very formidable. 

What is the best bridge camera brand?

Most of the big brands make bridge cameras, and they all offer good performance – so it really depends on what you're looking for. The Sony RX10 IV is considered to boast the best image quality, Panasonic's bridge cameras possess all-around performance, while Nikon's P1000 and P950 are the best in terms of zoom range. 

How we test the best bridge cameras

We test bridge cameras in real-world conditions - using the camera to shoot images in a range of different lighting conditions to see how they perform. Our team of reviewers has collectively tested hundreds of different models - and benchmark performance against results from current rivals and previous models. We pay particular attention to overall image quality - and to the detail captured in particular throughout the zoom range. These cameras are designed to be easy to use, so we also pay special attention to the ergonomics and handling of each of the models we test.

See more on how we test products at Digital Camera World

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera Magazine ,  PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine ,  N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine ,  Digital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show . He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.

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The best ultra zoom camera in 2024

Want an all-in-one camera with a powerful zoom lens we run through some favourites.

travel bridge camera

In the review

Sony RX10 III

The best ultra-zoom cameras , also known as the best bridge cameras (this term is going out of fashion), let you shoot without needing to change lenses. With these impressive compact cameras , users can go from a wide perspective to a super telephoto in an instant. They’re designed for travel, for day-to-day photography, and for those who prioritise simplicity and versatility.

While these types of cameras are not as popular as they once were, there’s still a place for them. There are some fantastic ultra-zoom cameras from Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, Canon and Leica out there. The tricky part is picking between them – which is where we come in. For the purposes of this guide, we’ve classified ultra-zoom cameras as those with lenses that run from a significantly wide angle like 25mm to as long as 400mm at the telephoto end.

If you’re looking for more options, we also have a useful guide to the best cameras for wildlife photography , which features a few of these ultra-zoom beauties. And for more information on how to choose the best ultra-zoom camera, see our guide at the end of this article.

The best ultra-zoom cameras: our quicklist

Need to cut to the chase? Here are our recommendations for the best cameras for zoom, along with links to get the best prices: 

  • Best ultra zoom camera: Nikon Coolpix P950 – Buy now
  • Fastest shooting: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV – Buy now
  • Best cheap ultra-zoom: Panasonic Lumix FZ330 / FZ300 – Buy now
  • Best second-hand ultra-zoom: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III – Buy now
  • Widest lens: Canon PowerShot SX70 HS – Buy now
  • Best Panasonic Lumix: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II – Buy now
  • Longest optical zoom: Nikon Coolpix P1000 – Buy now
  • Best cheap ultra-zoom: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 – Buy now
  • Best ultra-zoom for video: Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 – Buy now
  • Best Leica ultra-zoom: Leica V-Lux 5 – Buy now

Read on to learn more about each of these cameras, with the recommendations of our review team…

Best ultra zoom camera: Nikon Coolpix P950

Nikon Coolpix P950. Image: NikonPR

Amateur Photographer verdict

  • Huge focal length
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • Fast burst rate
  • Smaller sensor
  • Aperture drops significantly at telel end

At a glance:

  • 16MP 1/2.3-in.type, CMOS sensor
  • 24-2000mm equivalent lens, f/2.8-6.5
  • Up to 15fps shooting
  • 4K UHD video recording
  • Weight: 1,005g (including battery and card)
  • Price: £849 / $797

Launched in January 2020 the P950 is built around a 16MP sensor and boasts an 83x optical zoom magnification. This gives a huge equivalent focal length of 24-2000mm – yes, you did read that correctly – from a lens that features a variable maximum aperture of f/2.8-6.5. This huge focal length range is obviously the headline features, but there’s a lot more to this camera too…

The P950 benefits from Optical Vibration Reduction to help keep shots steady – especially at longer focal lengths and those shooting stills will be pleased to hear you can capture RAWs as well as JPEGs, affording more potential when editing the files in software such as Lightroom.

Scenes can be lined up using the 3.2-inch LCD , which benefits from a vari-angle design and the P950 is fairly speedy, offering a maximum burst rate of 7fps. What’s more, those wanting to capture film as well as stills will be pleased to hear the P950 records videos in ultra high-quality 4K.

Fastest shooting: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV - Image: Andy Westlake / AP

  • High resolution
  • Impressive video functions
  • Expensive for a bridge camera
  • Screen not fully articulating
  • 20.1MP 1inch, Exmor RS CMOS sensor, aspect ratio 3:2
  • 24-600mm equivalent lens, f/2.4-4
  • Up to 24fps shooting
  • 4K video recording
  • Weight: 1,095g (including battery and card)
  • Price: from £1,499 / $1,698

Although it sits at the higher end of the price scale, the RX10 IV is the perfect example of how new technology can supercharge a bridge camera. At the heart of the RX10 IV is a 1.0inch-type sensor that delivers an impressive 20-megapixels of resolution, and up to 24fps continuous shooting . So not only do you get high-quality images, but you can capture fast moving subjects!

A 25x optical zoom results in an equivalent focal length of 24-600mm – more than enough to prove effective in the bird hide although not as long as Nikon’s P950 and P1000. That said, the fixed lens is fairly fast, with the fastest aperture on offer here, with a variable aperture of f/2.4 at the wide end and f/4 at the telephoto end.

Read our Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV Review

Best cheap ultra-zoom: Panasonic Lumix FZ330 / FZ300

Panasonic Lumix FZ330. Image: AP

  • Lots of zoom for your money
  • 4K Photo features
  • 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Low resolution
  • No stabilisation when shooting 4K
  • 12.8MP MOS, 1/2.3inch sensor
  • 25-600mm equivalent lens, f/2.8
  • Up to 30fps shooting (in 4K Photo Mode)
  • Weight: 691g (with battery and card)
  • Price: £479 / $498

Panasonic’s Lumix FZ330 is the one of the cheapest ultra-zoom bridge cameras still widely available. This means living with a few compromises – the most significant being that the smaller 1/2.3-inch sensor carries a modest 12MP of resolution . If you want to print big images in high quality this isn’t the camera for you. Then again, if that’s the case, ultra-zoom bridge cameras probably aren’t for you per se . Let’s talk about what we  do get.

The Lumix FZ330, which made its debut in 2015, is equipped with 4K 25p video recording , as well as Panasonic’s famous 4K Photo modes, which allow you to extract 8MP stills from 4K footage. This effectively gives you a 25fps burst rate, and in a camera where your top resolution is 12MP anyway, going down to 8MP is hardly a big loss. Then there’s also the zoom itself – at 25-600mm equivalent , it’s bigger than some of Panasonic’s pricier bridge cameras, and it boasts a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

Read our Panasonic Lumix FZ330 review .

Best second-hand ultra-zoom: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III. Image: AP

  • Price has come down significantly
  • Great image quality
  • Good for video, too
  • No touchscreen
  • Fiddly menus and UI
  • 20.1MP 1-inch sensor
  • 14fps shooting
  • Weight: 1,095g (with battery and card)
  • Price: around £740 / $849* (used, excellent condition)

* scarce in USA at time of publishing

Generally* available second-hand , the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III is a solid alternative if you liked the look of the RX10 IV but it was out of your budget. It was originally priced at £1,249 / $1,499, and these days can be pretty consistently picked up at around the £850 / $850 mark . That’s a pretty significant discount for a premium superzoom camera – with a 24-600mm equivalent lens , the RX10 III offers the same focal range as its more expensive successor.

The resolution is the same too – the main difference between the III and the IV is the stacked sensor on the IV, which enables fast readout speeds and all sorts of high-end features like 24fps with continuous autofocus. The III version can’t do that, though its burst tops out at a still-impressive 14fps . There’s also a 1/32,000sec shutter option , and the sensor captures an excellent level of detail. If you don’t need the super speeds of the RX10 IV, this is an excellent way to save yourself some cash.

Read our Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III review .

Widest lens: Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Canon Powershot SX70HS ultra-zoom camera. Image Canon

  • Good value for money
  • Zooms out to 21mm
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Struggles in low light
  • Out-zoomed by Nikon
  • 20.3MP, 1/2.3inch sensor
  • 21-1365mm equivalent lens, f/3.4-6.5
  • 10fps shooting
  • Weight: 610g (including battery and card)
  • Price: £579 / $699

If you’re on the lookout for a bridge camera that gives maximum bang for your buck, the Canon SX70 HS should definitely make your shortlist. This camera offers a decent 65x optical zoom , which results in an equivalent focal range of 21-1365mm from the f/3.4-6.5 fixed lens.

With a 20-megapixel sensor and Canon’s powerful DIGIC 8 processor, the SX70 HS is an impressive all-rounder and also features an ISO range of 100-3200 along with a fast burst rate of 10 frames per second (5.7fps with continuous AF).

What’s more, the SX70 HS is also a lot more portable than other bridge cameras, tipping the scales at just 608g and the design and shape of the SX70 HS is a lot more like a typical DSLR. Photographers can line up compositions using the 3-inch vari-angle LCD , which also comes in useful when capturing 4K video and users can quickly transfer content to smart devices thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi.

Best Panasonic Lumix: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II

  • Advanced stabilisation
  • Lightweight
  • On the pricey side
  • Shorter zoom than others
  • 20.1MP MOS, 1inch sensor
  • 25-400mm equivalent lens, f/2.8-4.0
  • Weight: 810g (with battery and card)
  • Price: £749 / $898

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II was launched back in early 2019 – yet this interesting bridge camera still has a lot to offer.

The 1-inch MOS Sensor delivers 20-megapixels of resolution while a 16x optical zoom offers an equivalent focal length of 25-400mm . This is at the lower end of what you would expect from a bridge camera’s focal length, but is still enough to help capture wildlife imagery without the need to get up close to subjects.

As you’d expect from Panasonic, with their rich pedigree in stabilising technology, the FZ1000 II benefits from a 5-axis In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) system that helps keep shots sharp, particularly at longer focal lengths where shake can be more prevalent.

Image can be lined up via the 3-inch touch-sensitive vari-angle LCD or by using the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), which features a 2360k-dot resolution . With 4K video specifications , the FZ1000 II is also fairly lightweight and portable, tipping the scales at only 810g.

Longest optical zoom: Nikon Coolpix P1000

Nikon Coolpix P1000. Image: Nikon

  • Incredible focal range
  • Big LCD screen
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Big and heavy
  • Comparatively low resolution
  • 16MP, 1/2.3inch sensor
  • 24-3000mm equivalent lens, f/2.8-8
  • Up to 7fps shooting
  • Weight: 1415g (including battery and card)
  • Price: £1,052 / $1,097

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 can rightly hold claim to the ‘king of focal lengths’ title as this impressive camera offers an incredible 125x optical zoom that delivers an equivalent focal length of 24-3000mm – that is a remarkable feat. It also opens up new creative possibilities as the P1000 can be used to excellent effect when capturing the moon , along with wildlife imagery, travel photography and pretty much everything in between.

Granted, the 16-megapixel sensor isn’t as high a resolution as other cameras in this round up, but this is a camera for somebody who prefers focal length over resolution. The P1000 benefits from a big, 3.2-inch LCD that employs a vari-angle design to aid low/high compositions and there’s also an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2.36m-dot resolution .

Vibration Reduction to help keep shots steady while movies can be captured in 4K quality . Stills can be captured in RAW and JPEG format and, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi , content can be quickly transferred to smart devices such as phones or tablets. It’s worth taking a look at the size and weight of this camera in person, as this camera is LARGE!

Read our Nikon Coolpix P1000 Field Test

Best cheap ultra-zoom: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

  • Excellent used prices
  • Does well in low light
  • 4K video options
  • 25-400mm f/2.8-4 lens
  • Up to 12fps shooting
  • Weight: 830g (with battery and card)
  • Price: around £350 / $545 (used, excellent condition)

The original Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 of the cheapest ultra-zoom cameras out there, thanks to its significant reductions on the second-hand market. It sports a familiar combination: a 20.1-million-pixel 1-inch MOS sensor and a 25-400 equivalent lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4. The lens achieves decent sharpness across the board – not as good as that of a Sony RX10 camera, but still respectable – and the sensor produces images full of detail even in low light.

This was actually the first bridge camera to offer 4K video capture , and it also included a feature that these days is ubiquitous on Panasonic cameras – 4K Photo, which allows for the extraction of high-quality stills from 4K footage . Of course, the 4K quality would go on to be much improved in another successor to this camera, the Lumix FZ2000 (see below), so if video is your priority, this is a better buy. For those working to a strict budget however, a second-hand Lumix FZ1000 is a fantastic choice.

Read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 review .

Best ultra-zoom for video: Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500

Best cameras for wildlife - Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ2000

  • High-quality sensor
  • Unlimited 4K recording
  • Excellent stabilisation
  • On the pricier end
  • Shorter zoom range than others
  • 24-480mm equivalent lens, f/2.8-4.5
  • Weight: 966g (with battery and card)
  • Price: £899 / $998

At the premium end of Panasonic’s ultra-zoom stable, we have the Lumix FZ2000. Equipped with a high-quality 1-inch MOS sensor , the FZ2000 is one of the most versatile cameras around. It sits alongside the FZ1000 cameras rather than being a direct replacement, and is more of a video/stills hybrid than other bridge cameras. Chief among its video specs is unlimited 4K video recording . With time limits of around 30 minutes common even on high-end cameras, this is a very interesting feature indeed.

You’ve got plenty of other impressive features to play with, including 5-axis optical image stabilisation , dial-based physical controls, a 9-bladed aperture for smooth bokeh, and lots more. Panasonic clearly set out to make a ‘do-everything’ camera here, and came about as close to succeeding as anyone has. We were very impressed by the FZ2000 in our first-look review, pegging it both as a potentially useful second camera for GH users, and a credible rival to Sony’s RX10 range.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 review

Best Leica ultra-zoom: Leica V-Lux 5

Leica V-Lux 5

  • Two-year warranty
  • Very expensive
  • The FZ1000 II is cheaper
  • 20MP, 1-inch sensor
  • 25-400mm equivalent lens, f/2.8-4
  • 30fps shooting (4K Burst Mode)
  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Weight: 812g (with battery)
  • Price: £1,549 / $1,116

Be honest, did you know Leica made a bridge camera? Well, they do and the V-Lux 5 not only benefits from that classic Leica design, but also offers a 1-inch sensor that delivers 20-megapixels of resolution . The fixed lens serves up a 16x optical zoom which results in an equivalent focal length of 25-400mm , with a variable maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/4.

The advanced autofocus system enables photographers to lock onto subjects in 0.1 seconds and images can be lined up via the 3-inch vari-angle screen or using the Electronic Viewfinder. The V-Lux 5 can be charged on the go, via a USB connection , which will appeal to photographers who are traveling and therefore away from mains power for lengthy periods.

Other noteworthy features include an impressive maximum burst rate 12 frames per second , which will help wildlife photographers capture split-second moments and the ability to shoot 4K video . You’ll need to search far and wide to find one though, as they’re getting rare now!

How to choose the best ultra-zoom camera

Ultra-zoom cameras are not perfect of course, otherwise everyone would be exclusively using them. One way these cameras pack so much optical zoom in is by using a smaller sensor than your typical DSLR or mirrorless camera. This can mean low-light performance isn’t the best, but if this is of concern, then look out for a zoom camera with a larger 1inch sensor, as these often offer better image quality (albeit without as much telephoto zoom).

Things to look for in an ultra-zoom camera:

Sensor – size and resolution , a smaller sensor means that the camera can often offer more zoom, but low-light performance may suffer. Most models offer between 16 and 20MP (or megapixels). A 1/2.3inch sensor is smaller than a 1inch-type sensor, and a smaller sensor often results in lower image quality in low-light conditions.

Optical zoom – How much optical zoom does the camera offer? Don’t just look at the telephoto reach on offer, which is obviously important, but also consider where the wide-angle starts, most start at 24mm equivalent, but some go even wider, which will help for vast landscape images.

Image stabilisation – When using a lot of optical zoom, image stabilisation becomes all-important. If you want a sharp shot, with a lot of zoom then a good image stabilisation system will definitely help here. Nikon’s image stabilisation system is known as VR, standing for Vibration Reduction.

Screen and viewfinder – As well as a large touch-screen, many cameras offer a screen that can be tilted up and down, with some letting you turn them to face forwards, which is great for selfies or group shots. If you prefer “DSLR” styling, then look for a model with an electronic viewfinder, as this can help get steadier shots, and help you compose shots when shooting in bright light.

Video recording – The majority of these cameras will record 4K video, but some only offer FullHD video, so this could be a deciding factor for you. You may also want to check if the screen can be turned to face forwards, particularly if you want something for vlogging.

After you’ve looked through all of this, you’ll be well informed to make a decision about what zoom camera to buy, and we’ve selected some of the best models available, featuring manual controls, DSLR-like styling, and lots of optical zoom.

The ultra zoom camera offers a whole lot of versatility in an all-in-one camera, and there should be something here to suit all budgets and shooting needs. For example, if you’re looking for a high-speed camera for shooting fast moving subjects, then look at some of the cameras here with a 1inch sensor, as some offer up to 24fps continuous shooting!

Text by Geoff Harris, with contributions from Jon Stapley.

Further reading

Check out more of our buying guides , as well as our latest reviews . Or why not have a look at the best DSLRs , or the best compact cameras  particularly if you’re looking to get better quality images than your smartphone.

Follow AP on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and YouTube .

Profile image of Geoff Harris

I am the deputy editor of Amateur Photographer, working closely with the team to make the website and magazine as good as possible. I've been working on magazines since 1995 and am also a keen travel and portrait photographer when time allows, reaching the finals of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year contest in 2015 and achieving my Licentiate from the Royal Photographic Society the year before. I also keep my wedding-photography hand in by shooting a few ceremonies a year. I am particularly interested in how photography can help people express their creativity more effectively, or deal with mental health issues and other challenges.

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  • Best Camera
  • Best Mid-Range
  • Best Entry-Level
  • Best Superzoom

Notable Mentions

Recent updates, all reviews, the 4 best bridge cameras - summer 2024 reviews.

Best Bridge Cameras

Generally speaking, the best camera with a zoom lens will be an interchangeable lens model paired with a compatible telephoto lens, but going that route can also be expensive and bulky. If you aren't a pro but still want a lot of zoom range in a convenient all-in-one package, a bridge camera (so-called because they're meant to "bridge" the gap between point-and-shoots and DSLRs ) can be a good solution. While their smaller sensors don't offer the same image quality as crop sensor and full-frame cameras, they combine the simple usability of point-and-shoot cameras with unparalleled zoom range for the size, making them a good fit for casual wildlife and sports photography or family and travel photos.

We've bought and tested over 100 cameras, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras with zoom lenses built in. If you're looking for a compact fixed-lens camera, check out our recommendations for the best compact cameras . If you're a beginner looking for your first camera, try the  best cameras for beginners instead. Or, if you're interested in a camera specifically for birding or nature photography, you can check out our picks for the  best cameras for wildlife photography .

Best Bridge Camera

Sony RX10 IV Design Photo

The Sony RX10 IV is undoubtedly the Rolls-Royce of bridge cameras. While it isn't cheap, it's one of the most impressive bridge cameras on the market. That's primarily because of its relatively large 1-inch stacked sensor, which keeps rolling shutter effect to a minimum and allows for very quick 24 fps burst shooting. Beyond that, it's a very well-built camera with weather-sealing, excellent ergonomics, and premium touches like a top display to check your settings and battery life at a glance.

Image quality is great straight out of the camera, with RAW shooting and manual controls for more advanced users. On top of that, you get Sony's typically reliable autofocus, with a highly effective tracking feature that makes it a great choice for birding and wildlife. The camera's built-in Zeiss zoom lens also covers a wide-ranging full-frame equivalent focal length of 24–600mm, meaning you can shoot everything from landscapes to far-off wildlife.

See our review

Best Mid-Range Bridge Camera

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II Design Photo

If the Sony RX10 IV is out of your price range, the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II is an excellent mid-range option. It's an especially good choice if you don't need more premium features like weather sealing. Like the Sony, it uses a 1-inch sensor, allowing for better image quality than most bridge cameras. It isn't a stacked sensor, though, so the camera doesn't have the same advantage with burst rates and rolling shutter as the Sony. That said, its 11 fps shooting speed is still very respectable and will suit most photographers just fine.

The FZ1000 II's 25-400mm equivalent focal length is quite versatile, giving you a fairly wide zoom range to work with. The camera's also packed with extra features, including a '4k PHOTO' mode that lets you pull stills out of 30 fps video clips, along with features like 'Focus Stacking' and 'Post-Focus,' which, respectively, allow you to expand an image's focal plane or adjust the focus point after the fact. However, the camera uses a slower contrast-detection autofocus system, so it isn't as quick or reliable for tracking fast-moving subjects. Despite that, the FZ1000 II offers a lot of value for its price, making it the best all-around option for most people.

Best Entry-Level Bridge Camera

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS Design Photo

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is one of the best entry-level bridge cameras we've tested. It's relatively small and lightweight for a bridge camera, and its simple controls and intuitive user interface make it a highly accessible option for casual or family photographers who want an all-in-one model without spending too much.

Unlike some cheaper bridge cameras, it has a viewfinder, which can help with framing and is nice to have on sunny days when it might be harder to see the screen. Its built-in lens also has a very long 21–1365mm equivalent focal length, so you can easily go from wide-angle shots and landscapes to close-ups of far-away subjects. That said, like most entry-level bridge cameras, it uses a 1/2.3-inch sensor, meaning that image quality is notably worse than pricier options like the Sony RX10 IV or the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II . Still, this is a solid bridge camera for the price, especially if you want something relatively cheap and simple.

Best Superzoom Bridge Camera

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 Design Photo

While every camera on this list has a zoom lens, the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is the bridge camera to buy if you're looking for the longest possible zoom range on the market. Its built-in lens has a remarkable 125x zoom, allowing you to zoom in to a max equivalent focal length of 3,000mm, blowing all other bridge cams out of the water. It's so long that it can capture details on the moon's surface, though it's also suitable for landscapes or everyday photos at shorter focal lengths.

The trade-off of having such a long zoom lens is that the camera is very heavy and bulky, so it isn't very portable or well-suited to travel. However, considering how much range you get, it isn't bad. While it has an electronic stabilization feature, you'll still need to use a tripod when shooting at the tail end of its zoom range to avoid camera shake. Its small sensor also means that image quality won't be as out-of-this-world as your potential subjects, but images taken in broad daylight still look decent, and you won't find this kind of zoom capability on other bridge cameras.

  • Nikon COOLPIX P950: The Nikon COOLPIX P950 is similar to the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 but has a shorter maximum full-frame equivalent focal length of 2,000mm. While this is still a substantial amount of zoom and may be enough for you, it falls considerably short of the P1000 and is only marginally more portable. In this case, go big or go home. See our review
  • Panasonic LUMIX FZ80: The Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 is a great budget bridge camera that offers plenty of value for its price. It's even cheaper than the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS, but it's been discontinued, so you may have to find one secondhand. See our review

Jul 04, 2024: We reviewed the picks in the article to ensure they're still available and represent the best options for user needs.

May 08, 2024: The Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 is discontinued and harder to find, so we've moved it to Notable Mentions. We also renamed the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS to 'Best Entry-Level Bridge Camera' to fill the gap left by the Panasonic model and better capture its market position.

Mar 12, 2024: We've brushed up some of the article's text for better readability.

Jan 23, 2024: No changes to recommendations after reviewing that the picks were still the best choices for users.

Nov 24, 2023: Removed the Leica V-Lux 5 from the Notable Mentions because of price and lack of benefits over similar models.

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras with zoom lenses built in. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for bridge cameras. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.

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The Best Bridge Camera

Last updated: April 7, 2024 . Written by Laurence Norah - 53 Comments

Bridge cameras offer a number of useful features which appeal to users looking for an all in one camera. They are suitable in all sorts of scenarios, from wildlife photography to travel photography.

There are of course many different bridge cameras on the market, offering a  rang e of features across a variety of price points.

In this guide, I’m going to share everything you need to know about bridge cameras so that you can choose the best bridge camera for you. I’ll answer the questions you might have about bridge cameras and share what to look for when shopping for a bridge camera.

I’m also going to list and review the best bridge cameras on the market today, with options to suit all budgets. Whether you are looking for a bridge camera for wildlife, low light or travel photography, this post will help you decide.

All the content in this post is based on my experiences as a professional photographer. I’ve been taking photos for over thirty years and used a huge range of cameras in that time. I also teach photography at my online photography course . I’m happy to answer any questions you have – just pop them in the comments at the end of the post. Now, let’s get started by answering some questions you might have.

Common Questions about Bridge Cameras

Before I get into camera specifications and individual camera recommendations, I just want to go over some common questions I hear about bridge cameras.

Bridge Camera for Travel

What is a Bridge Camera?

A bridge camera is a type of camera which has more features than most compact cameras, also known as point-and-shoot cameras, but isn’t generally as feature filled and complex as an interchangeable lens camera like a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) or mirrorless camera .

It’s known as a bridge camera because it acts as a sort of bridge between a point and shoot camera and a more feature-rich camera like a DSLR.

Essentially, a bridge camera fills a gap in the market for those looking for a camera which offers the same kind of manual controls and zoom capability as you might expect from a DSLR with a telephoto lens, but in an all in one package that is easy to use, like a point-and-shoot camera. Bridge cameras are particularly popular for birding, general wildlife and as an all round travel camera, but are suited to all types of photography.

Bridge cameras are generally smaller than a full fledged DSLR camera with a lens attached, although they look quite similar. They are larger than point-and-shoot cameras.

A bridge camera may also be called a superzoom camera, in reference to the huge zooms that these cameras often have. In fact, the zoom on some bridge cameras is far more than what you could achieve even with a specialist telephoto lens on a high-end DSLR or mirrorless camera. More on this on the section below on zoom.

Whilst the term bridge camera is likely to stick around for a while, superzoom cameras are actually in a class of their own, rather than being a bridge to something else.

travel bridge camera

Is a Bridge Camera Right for Me?

A bridge camera is a great choice if you are looking for an all in one camera with a long zoom that will take good photos.

Bridge cameras are available at a range of prices, are easy to use, and offer a step up in shooting capabilities compared to smartphone cameras and most compact cameras.

You don’t need to worry about changing lenses like you do with a mirrorless or DSLR camera. The lens that is built in to a bridge camera is meant to be versatile, and ideal for all kinds of situations. This means you can get wide angle shots of a landscape or building, or zoom in to a far away detail or animal, without having to carry around a bag of lenses.

If you are looking for a camera that will fit in your pocket, then a bridge camera wouldn’t be the best option – instead check out our compact camera recommendations for some ideas.

Is a Bridge Camera Good for Travel Photography?

When it comes to travel photography specifically, a bridge camera is a great option as it is suitable for a range of different types of photography situations with just one lens. When we travel, weight is often an issue and packing a mirrorless or DSLR camera with a range of lenses isn’t always a practical choice.

A bridge camera is a particularly popular option for folks going on wildlife focused trips, such as a wildlife safari or birdwatching trip . The long zoom means you can get photos of far away subjects, without having the huge weight of a dedicated lens and DSLR setup.

As an example, my parents recently went on a bird watching trip to India, and for them a bridge camera was the perfect tool at a reasonable price point. The long zoom meant they could get great shots of wildlife and birds, whilst the wide angle meant that they could still capture the lovely landscapes and other scenes.

They also had their compact camera they could slip in their pocket, but the bridge camera allowed them to get more close-up shots and have more manual controls when they needed.

They didn’t want to fiddle with changing lenses whilst in dusty and often moving situations, and they needed a long zoom, so a bridge camera was a great choice for them. I used some of the photos in this post from trips overseas to give examples of what a bridge camera can do.

If you are heading out on safari, check out my guide to the best safari camera , and also my tips for getting great safari photos .

travel bridge camera

Bridge Camera vs Smartphone

Compared to a smartphone, a bridge camera is a lot larger. The shape of a bridge camera, as you can see from the photos, is more like how you might imagine a traditional camera to look, so it won’t fit into your pocket.

Most smartphone cameras either have no zoom, or very limited zoom capabilities. A bridge camera features a long zoom, as well as more manual controls that a smartphone. This means that getting clear photos of further away subjects will be a lot easier with a bridge camera.

A bridge camera will also have a larger sensor than a smartphone camera, so it will perform better in low light. As it’s a dedicated camera, the battery life will also usually be better than your smartphone, as you’ll use your smartphone for many other tasks over the day.

Bridge Camera

Bridge Camera vs Compact Camera

Bridge cameras and compact cameras have quite a lot in common, but also some key differences. There can also be a bit of a blurry line between a small bridge camera and a large compact camera, leading some bridge cameras to be labelled as compact cameras.

First, the similarities. The sensor size is usually similar in both bridge cameras and compact cameras. Lower priced compact cameras and bridge cameras come with a 1/2.3 inch sensor, whilst more premium bridge and compact cameras come with a larger 1 inch sensor. More on sensor size and how it impacts your images further on in this guide.

In addition, both compact and bridge cameras are all in one units, meaning you can’t change the lens.

In terms of differences, the main difference is the size. A bridge camera looks more like a small DSLR, with a protruding lens and hand grip, and is larger than a compact camera. Compact cameras are shaped more like a large pack of playing cards, meaning they can be kept in your pocket or easily slipped into a purse or bag.

Most bridge cameras come with a range of manual controls, whilst only more premium compact cameras have manual controls.

Most bridge cameras support the RAW file format for photography, whilst only premium compact cameras have manual controls.

The biggest difference between a compact camera and a bridge camera though is the zoom capability. Bridge cameras are physically larger, meaning they can fit a much larger zoom. Whilst some compact cameras do have longer zooms, a bridge camera can fit a higher quality long zoom, perfect for capturing far away subjects.

If you are interested in a compact camera, see our guide to the best compact cameras for travel , as well as our guide to using a compact camera .

Bridge Camera

Bridge Camera vs Mirrorless Camera

In many ways, bridge cameras were the precursors to mirrorless cameras. A bridge camera has no mirror inside as you find on a DSLR, meaning that like a mirrorless camera, there is no optical viewfinder.

Bridge cameras are also a similar size to mirrorless cameras, although both types of camera come in a range of sizes.

The main difference between a mirrorless camera and a bridge camera is that you can change out the lenses on a mirrorless camera. Since mirrorless cameras have interchangeable lenses, they allow you a great deal more flexibility and choice with your camera setup.

However, if you want a very long zoom, you will likely want to stick with a bridge camera as even high-end mirrorless cameras with long zoom lenses can’t match the zoom on some bridge cameras.

The other main difference is sensor size. Mirrorless cameras have larger sensors than bridge cameras. A bridge camera will have either a 1/2.3 inch sensor or a 1 inch sensor, whilst a consumer mirrorless camera will generally either have an APS-C sized sensor or a full frame sensor.

Mirrorless camera sensors are larger, offering better performance especially in lower light situations.

Other than these two differences however, bridge and mirrorless cameras are fairly similar in terms of controls and features, with both usually offering full manual controls and RAW support.

If you are interested in a mirrorless camera, see our guide to the best mirrorless cameras for travel , as well as our guide to using a mirrorless camera .

Bridge Camera vs DSLR

Bridge cameras were originally launched as a sort of stepping stone to DSLR cameras. The intention was to offer some of the same features that you would find in a DSLR camera, whilst still being easy to use like a compact camera.

There are therefore a number of similarities between a bridge camera and a DSLR, as well as some key differences.

The similarities are that most bridge cameras offer fairly similar controls to a DSLR, in that you have a range of shooting modes, from manual to fully automatic. You can adjust the key settings, like shutter speed, ISO, and aperture or you can set it to Auto and use it like a point-and-shoot if you wish.

The shape and size is also similar, with most bridge cameras being similar in shape to a small DSLR with a regular lens attached. On average, bridge cameras are smaller and less heavy that a DSLR with a lens attached, although of course there are always exceptions to this rule.

There are of course some differences. First, you can’t change the lens on a bridge camera, like you can on a DSLR. So you are limited to the capability of the attached lens.

A bridge camera also has no mirror inside, which means that there is no optical viewfinder. Instead, what you see when you hold your eye to the viewfinder is a small electronic display, the same as you will find on a mirrorless camera.

This electronic display will vary in quality depending on the specific bridge camera, and powering this display uses the battery. As a result, the battery life on a bridge camera is usually lower than that of a DSLR. DSLR cameras generally have the best battery life of any camera type.

Finally, DSLR cameras have larger sensors than bridge cameras. This is the same as with mirrorless cameras. A bridge camera will have either a 1/2.3″ sensor or a 1 inch sensor, whilst a consumer DSLR camera will either have an APS-C sized sensor or a full frame sensor.

If you are interested in a DSLR camera, see our guide to the best DSLR cameras for travel , as well as our guide to using a DSLR camera .

Advantages of a Bridge Camera

A bridge camera has a number of features that make it popular as a travel camera, which we’ll go through now.

First, most bridge cameras offer impressive zoom capabilities, usually at least a 40x optical zoom. Some go much higher – all the way up to over 120x optical zoom! To get an equivalent optical zoom on a DSLR or mirrorless camera you’d need a 3000mm lens!

Given that most DSLR and Mirrorless camera lenses top out at around 500 mm, with some options available at 800 mm, you can see straight away why many photographers prefer a bridge camera for shooting far away subjects. In particular, photographs of wildlife and shots of the moon are popular reasons to own a bridge camera.

In addition, lenses with longer focal lengths on DSLR or mirrorless cameras tend to be heavy and bulky affairs. A bridge camera in comparison is much lighter, more compact, and easier to travel with.

Let’s look at an example to see what I mean. The Sony RX10 IV which we feature below is a bridge camera with a 20-600mm lens. It weighs in at 1.1kg / 2.4lbs, which is on the heavy side for a bridge camera.

To get a similar magnification on a DSLR, you’d need to buy something like the Sigma 150-600mm, which weighs 2kg (4.4lbs) just by itself. It also doesn’t cover the entire range of the bridge camera, which also shoots wide. Plus you’ve still got to consider the weight of the DSLR camera body. Once you add in another wide angle lens and the camera body, you’re likely looking at a kit bag weighing over 4kg (9lbs).

The weight advantage of a bridge camera is pretty obvious I think.

Most bridge cameras also feature image stabilization, which isn’t yet always standard on other cameras. This is out of necessity because the super long zoom capability of bridge cameras are liable to exaggerate any minor movements.

To compensate for this, most bridge cameras come with some sort of image stabilization. Because the camera is an all in one unit, it is easier for the manufacturers to include this in the camera system.

Another advantages of a bridge camera are that they usually come with full manual controls, which means that you can take control over all the settings of the camera. This means you can adjust the camera to match the shot you want. This is a definite advantage over many point and shoot cameras, although more expensive point and shoot cameras do include manual features.

The majority of bridge cameras also let you shoot in RAW, so that when it comes to editing your photos, you have much greater control over the final image.

Finally, bridge cameras are for the most part more affordable than similarly specified DSLR or mirrorless cameras. However, as with all types of camera, bridge cameras come at a range of budgets depending on features and specifications.

travel bridge camera

Disadvantages of a Bridge Camera

Whilst bridge cameras have many advantages, they also have a number of disadvantages. Whether or not these matter to you will of course depend on what you are looking for in a camera.

The main disadvantage of a bridge camera is the size of the sensor. The sensor is the part of the camera which records the image as a digital file, and is the modern day equivalent of the roll of film on older cameras.

The physical size of the sensor directly impacts the capabilities of a camera. Larger sensors, such as those found in mirrorless and DSLR cameras, are able to capture more of the light in a scene, and so produce better images when there is less light available.

This means that in the evening, night time or indoors, generally a bridge camera will not produce images as good as a mirrorless camera or DSLR.

Smaller sensors allow manufacturers to put longer zooms into a camera, however they do not perform so well when there is less light available. Despite the larger physical size of a bridge camera compared to a point and shoot camera, the sensor sizes are the same.

Another issue with bridge cameras is that image quality usually falls off the more you zoom in. This is just a reality of physics, although for the price of a bridge camera compared to an equivalent DSLR setup, this is a compromise that most users are willing to make. The speed of the autofocus, which is linked to the quality of the image the sensor receives, can also slow down as you zoom in.

Overall, every camera system has some sort of compromise, be that weight, price, image quality, or features. The main thing is to decide what is important to you as a photographer, and find the camera system that works for you.

What to Look for when buying a Bridge Camera for Travel

Before we get into individual bridge camera recommendations, I wanted to share some key specifications and features to look out for when buying a bridge camera.

The goal with this section is to enable you to choose the right bridge camera for you based on your requirements, which may or may not end up being one of the options we recommend.

Sensor Size

As mentioned above, the sensor in a camera is one of the most important components. The sensor reacts to the light that enters the camera, saving it as an image file that you can view later.

The size of the sensor inside a camera directly affects how the camera performs. Larger sensors can capture more light, and so allow for higher quality images when there is less light available.

It’s worth bearing in mind that a number of factors can affect how much light hits the camera sensor, including the width of the aperture in the lens and the speed of the shutter. You can read more about these two variables and how they affect the image in my guide to the exposure triangle .

Longer zoom lengths also tend to reduce the amount of light that hits the sensor.

There are of course advantages to a smaller sensor. A smaller sensor doesn’t need such a large lens, which is one reason why bridge cameras are able to fit such impressive zoom lenses into a relatively compact body. In addition, a smaller sensor will result in a smaller camera body in general.

When it comes to bridge cameras, you have two choices of sensor size, 1/2.3″, and 1″. These sizes relate to the area of the sensor. A 1/2.3″ sensor is around 6mm wide and 5mm high, while a 1″ sensor is around 13mm wide and 9mm high.

This means that the 1″ sensor actually has an area of around four times that of a 1/2.3″ sensor, meaning it will have better performance in lower light. However, it will also need a physically larger lens and camera body to accommodate it. So there are pros and cons to both sensor sizes, depending on your needs.

When it comes to buying a bridge camera, the larger sensor sizes are generally found in the more premium and expensive models, whilst the smaller sensor size is found in the lower priced models. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the really long zoom options are only possible with the smaller sensor sizes—more on this in the section on zoom lengths below.

Here’s an image of various sensor sizes to compare. From this you’ll see that the full frame sensor is much larger, and in fact offers an area 30 times that of a 1/2.3″ sensor!

travel bridge camera

A camera sensor is made up of light sensitive pixels, and each sensor has a fixed number of pixels. This number of pixels is usually denoted as megapixels, with “mega” meaning million.

A 12 megapixel camera sensor, for example, has 12 million pixels. Assuming a 4:3 aspect ratio, this means that image files will be 4000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels high. If you multiply the height and width, you get the total number, meaning that image files produced by the camera will have 12 million pixels.

For most social media or website use, any file size over 12 megapixels will do. For print sizes up to A3, 20 megapixels will suffice. It’s only when you want to start printing much larger images or if you plan to crop your images a lot that you need larger megapixel counts. With most bridge cameras, the zoom should be sufficient that cropping won’t be too necessary.

The number of megapixels in a camera sensor also affects its performance. For the equivalent sized sensor, a lower number of megapixels actually means that each pixel is larger, and therefore can capture more light. This is why in recent years many smartphone manufacturers have settled on 12MP as a good amount – it offers large enough images for most uses, whilst still offering reasonable low light performance.

Much higher megapixel counts are generally unnecessary in anything but high-end full frame cameras, where professionals need them for large format printing or extreme cropping. When purchasing a bridge camera, I would suggest looking for a megapixel range between 12 and 20.

Optical Zoom / Focal Length

Now for the really interesting feature of bridge cameras—the zoom capabilities they provide.

In photography terms a lens has a specification which is known as a focal length. This is measured in mm. The bigger the focal length in mm, the greater the magnification. The smaller the focal length, the lower the magnification.

If a lens is a “zoom” lens, this means that you can change the magnification from one focal length to another. For example, a 24mm – 70mm zoom lens can shoot at a relatively wide angle 24mm through to slightly magnified 70mm.

For reference, on a camera with a full frame sensor, a 50mm focal length is approximately equal to human vision. If you look through a DSLR full frame camera with a 50mm lens, the scene would appear the same as if you were not using the camera. If you “zoom out” to less than 50mm, the scene would seem further away, whilst if you “zoom in” to great than 50mm, the scene would appear closer.

Because focal lengths are not necessarily obvious to everyone, cameras with fixed lenses often use what is known as an optical zoom specification instead.

It is very important to understand this system, because it can be confusing and lead to incorrect assumptions about optical zoom when comparing cameras.

The optical zoom is the difference between the widest focal length and the narrowest focal length.

For example, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 has a 24mm – 3000mm lens. If you divide 3000 by 24, you get 125. So this lens has a 125x optical zoom.

It’s important to realise that this doesn’t mean that the lens makes objects 125x larger than your eye sees them. Instead, it means that the difference between the smallest focal length and the longest focal length is a multiplication of 125.

If you are interested in comparing the maximum magnification on different cameras, look at the maximum focal length equivalent of the lens. I have this listed for every camera I recommend.

As an example, the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 has a focal length of 20mm-1200mm (60x optical zoom), whilst the Sony Cybershot HX400V has a focal length of 24mm – 1200mm (50x optical zoom).

As you can see, both cameras actually offer the same magnification at the 1200mm end, so if you fully zoomed in on both, it would produce the same results in terms of magnification.

However, if you simply compared the optical zoom number of 60x vs 50x, you might think that the FZ80 has better magnification.

Instead, it just offers a slightly wider angle when zoomed out, so you can get more in the shot at the wide angle end.

If you want to convert focal length to actual magnification, 1x magnification is equivalent to approximately 50mm. So 100mm is 2x magnification, 150mm is 3x magnification and so on. Simply divide the maximum focal length by 50 to get the magnification. As a point of reference, a good pair of binoculars will usually have a magnification in the range of 8x – 12x.

One of the reasons people choose to invest in a bridge camera is for the impressive zoom capabilities in a relatively small and portable package. This makes a bridge camera great for wildlife photography in particular.

My recommendation would be to invest in a camera that offers at least a 600mm focal length, equivalent to a 12x magnification, although you can go much higher these days. Just be aware that there are always compromises, and image sharpness tends to drop off at the more extreme focal lengths.

In addition, the really long zoom lengths tend to only be available in cameras with a smaller sensor size.

If you are thinking in terms of optical zoom, this will vary depending on the focal length range, but a 25x optical zoom is a good starting point. However, always check the actual focal length range rather than the optical zoom when making a purchasing decision.

travel bridge camera

Maximum Aperture

The aperture is the opening inside the lens which lets the light pass through onto the sensor. You can think of it like the pupil in your eye. When there is less light available, the pupil in your eye gets bigger, and when there is more light available the pupil gets smaller.

This is the same with a lens—the aperture increases and decreases in size depending on available light, and is one of the three main controls you have to adjust how bright your image is. You can read more about these three controls in my guide to the exposure triangle .

Aperture is measured with an “f” rating, which is denoted as the letter “f” followed by a number. For example, f/2.8, f/4.0. The smaller the number after the “f”, the larger the aperture goes.

Many lenses have what is known as a variable aperture. This means that as the camera zooms in on a subject, the maximum aperture decreases. For example, a lens might have an aperture of f/2.8-6.3. This means that at the widest angle, the maximum aperture will be f/2.8, whilst when zoomed in the maximum aperture will be f/6.3.

As the aperture gets smaller, less light will pass through the lens onto the sensor. As such, larger apertures are generally better, although of course there is always a trade-off between the size and weight of the lens and the maximum aperture.

As a general rule, the longer the available zoom on a lens, the narrower the maximum aperture.

Lenses also have a minimum aperture, which is the smallest the hole goes, however this is less important as a specification and not something to worry about too much in most cases.

When choosing a bridge camera, we’d suggest picking a camera with at least an f/2.8 maximum aperture at the wide angle.

Do also pay attention to the maximum aperture when fully zoomed in, especially when comparing cameras with otherwise similar specifications. The wider the aperture throughout the focal length, the more light will get to the sensor, and the better the final results.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is a technology whereby the camera compensates for the micromovements in your hand to ensure a clean and sharp image.

Image stabilization technologies work in a variety of ways, from floating lens elements with motors to compensate for movement through to gyroscopically mounted sensors.

When shooting in lower light conditions, it is common for the shutter speed of the camera to reduce so enough light can come in. However, if you are hand holding your camera and the shutter speed is too low, then you might find that the images come out blurry because we can’t hold our hands perfectly still.

You might be wondering at what shutter speeds you can hand hold a camera without getting blurry images. As a general rule of thumb, the shutter speed needs to be at least as fast as the inverse of the focal length.

If that sounds complicated, don’t worry, it isn’t. All it means is that if you are shooting at say a 60mm focal length, then you need a shutter speed no slower than 1/60th of a second. If you are shooting at a 2000mm focal length, you need a shutter speed no slower than 1/2000th of a second.

If a camera has image stabilization capabilities, then you can reduce these numbers. For example, a camera may claim to have 4 stops of image stabilization. This means you can lower the shutter speed four times. For example, you could go from 1/2000th of a second to 1/125th of a second. Essentially you cut 2000 in half four times to get to 125.

Most camera manufacturers will provide information on how many stops of stabilization their image stabilization provides. For a bridge camera, we would suggest at least 4 stops as a minimum. Otherwise you will struggle to get sharp images at longer focal lengths unless you use a tripod .

Bridge Camera

When it comes down to it, your budget is likely to be one of the major factors when it comes to choosing the right camera for you. Like other types of camera, there are a range of bridge cameras on the market, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to well in excess of a thousand.

The primary factors that influence the price are the size of the sensor inside the lens, the maximum aperture of the lens, and the maximum zoom.

In general, a budget model can be picked up for around $250 – $400, a mid-range model will be $500 – $900, whilst a high end model will be in excess of $1000. We’d suggest the sweet spot of $500 – $900 will get you a great camera that will meet most users needs.

If you are looking for a cheaper model, then a good idea is to shop around for older versions. Bridge cameras have been on the market since 2005, and any camera released in the last three to five years is still likely to be a reasonable option.

You can also save money by shopping for second hand cameras. See our guide to buying used cameras for some of our favourite places to get a bargain.

Size and Weight

Whilst bridge cameras are of a fairly similar size and shape, they are certainly not all identical. The cameras with the larger 1″ sensors and wider apertures are usually larger and heavier than those without.

In some cases, these larger bridges cameras are larger than a small mirrorless camera or DSLR. However, if you compare a large bridge camera with a DSLR or mirrorless camera equipped with a large telephoto zoom lens, then the bridge camera will invariably be smaller and lighter.

Weight varies, but expect it to be from around 600g (1.3lb) through to 1100g (2.4lbs). Obviously, a lighter camera will be easier to carry around and slip into a bag, whilst a heavier camera is going to be bulkier and more weighty to carry around all day.

RAW / Manual Controls

One of the nice features about bridge cameras is that they usually come with more manual controls than most point and shoot cameras, with the exception of some high end point and shoot cameras.

This means you get more control over the camera, and can control settings like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. This gives you a lot more creative options, and as you learn more about photography, means you’ll be more likely to get the shots you really want to get.

In addition, most bridge cameras that we are aware of also allow you to shoot in RAW. This is a file format where all the image information is saved to the memory card, and which gives you lots of more options for editing your photos compared to JPG.

You can see more about why you should shoot in RAW here . We’d definitely recommend a camera with manual controls and the ability to shoot in RAW.

travel bridge camera

Video Features

Whilst this guide is focused on bridge cameras for photography, we can’t ignore the fact that pretty much every camera on the market today also offers support for shooting video.

If you think you will also be using your camera for video, then you will want to check what video features it offers. These will include support for different resolutions and frame rates, as well as support for things like external microphones.

You will also want to check what sort of focus features are available when shooting video. It is usually important for example that the camera can automatically track a moving subject when shooting video, so as to avoid out of focus moments.

We’d generally recommend the camera supports shooting at a resolution of 1080p where possible, which is the high definition standard. Newer more powerful cameras may also support 4K resolutions, although if this is something you want then a more video focused camera like the mirrorless Lumix GH5 might be a better option.

Connectivity Features

Most cameras these days offer a range of connectivity options, usually including WiFi and/or Bluetooth.

These wireless protocols allow you to do a number of things with your camera, such as control it remotely via an app and transfer files without needing to worry about wires or memory card readers.

This isn’t necessarily a make or break feature, but I love being able to wirelessly control my cameras from my smartphone, so this is a feature I do look for in a camera.

Battery Life

Every camera on the market requires power to make it work, which means there’s a removable and rechargeable battery which makes the magic happen.

Cameras are all given what is known as a CIPA rating for battery life, which will tell you how many photographs the camera will be able to take on a full battery. The CIPA rating tests the battery life of different cameras in the same conditions, which makes it easier to compare cameras against each other.

A bridge camera usually has quite a large rear screen as well as a electronic viewfinder. Both of these require a fair amount of energy to power, as do other features like the image stabilization.

We would say that a poor battery life for a bridge camera would be less than 200 shots per charge, average would be 200 – 400, whilst any camera that lasts for more than 400 shots on one battery is doing well.

Of course, different setups and situations will result in different real world performance, but as a general rule we’d suggest trying to get a camera that can shoot more than 300 shots on a single battery. We’d also always recommend traveling with at least one spare battery.

Weather / Dust Sealing

We’re coming towards the end of the features to look out for when purchasing a bridge camera. One feature that you may or may not find useful, depending on your needs, is weather and dust sealing.

A weather sealed camera will provide some measure of protection from water and dust. This latter is particularly important in a bridge camera, as you can’t easily take it apart to clean it as you can with a mirrorless or DSLR camera.

It should be noted that weather sealing is not the same as a camera being waterproof. You still won’t be able to submerge your camera in the water without a special waterproof housing. If you are looking for a camera that works underwater, see our guide to the best action cameras .

Instead, weather sealing just provides some piece of mind that you don’t have to worry too much if your camera gets a bit wet during a rain shower. It’s a good idea if you are buying a camera for hiking and backpacking for example.

We’d generally advise buying a camera with some weather-sealing if possible, although this is usually a feature that is only available on more premium models.

travel bridge camera

Image Burst Speed

The burst speed of a camera tells you how many pictures the camera can take in quick succession. This is important particularly for action photography, where the exact moment you want to capture might happen in a split second.

Burst speed is measured in the number of images that the camera can capture per second, and will usually vary from a slower number like three frames per second, up to a much faster ten or even twenty frames per second.

Even if you don’t plan on taking a lot of action photos, the burst speed of a camera is a useful number to be aware of because it also indicates how powerful the technology inside the camera is. A higher burst rate indicates a more powerful camera, whilst a lower burst rate suggests a less powerful camera.

We’d generally recommend aiming for a camera that can do at least 5 images per second if possible.

The Best Bridge Camera for Travel Photography

Now we’ve covered everything you need to look for in a bridge camera, let’s go through some of our favourite bridge cameras on the market today. This list is approximately ordered by price from low to high.

However, do be aware that camera prices vary over time, and there are often promotions, so we always recommend checking prices at a few retailers before making a purchase decision.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 / FZ82

When you think of a bridge camera, a Panasonic may come to mind. This is hardly surprising, as Panasonic have been launching large zoom cameras under the Lumix FZ brand since the DMC-FZ18 in 2007.

travel bridge camera

The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 (FZ82 in Europe) was launched in March 2017. It’s also the lowest priced option in our bridge camera round-up, although there’s still lots here to impress.

You get an image-stabilized 20-1200mm (60x) lens which offers around five stops of stabilization. That’s paired with an 18.1 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor which also supports 4K video.

The screen on the back is unfortunately fixed, but it is touch enabled. The camera is also WiFi enabled, and is a lightweight 616g (21.7oz). There’s no weather sealing, although that isn’t a surprise at this price point.

Key Specifications : 20-1200mm (60x) focal length, f/2.8-5.9 aperture, 10 images / second, 18.1 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor Weight : 616g / 21.7oz Battery life : 330 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 / FZ330

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 (FZ330 in Europe) was launched in 2015, so it is obviously getting on a bit now. However, its age means you can pick it up for a bargain, which is why we’ve included it in this round up.

travel bridge camera

For your money, you still get a lot of camera. It comes with a 25-600mm (24x) optical zoom lens which is stabilized and offers around 3 stops of stabilization. It also offers a fast f/2.8 aperture at all focal lengths, which is excellent.

Speed wise the camera can shoot at 6 images per second with autofocus enabled, or 12 frames per second when the focus is locked.

There’s a 3-inch tilting touch enabled LCD display as well as an OLED powered viewfinder. You also get 4K video support which is impressive given the age of the camera, and it’s both splash and dustproof. There’s also WiFi connectivity and a companion app.

The main drawback of this camera is that the 1/2.3″ sensor is only 12 megapixels. Whilst this will be fine for social media and small prints, it’s not large enough for larger prints.

Still, overall this is still a great bridge camera option, especially for the price.

Key Specifications : 25-600mm (24x) focal length, fixed f/2.8 aperture, 12 images / second, 12 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor Weight : 724 g / 25.5 oz Battery life : 380 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Canon Powershot SX70 HS

Canon might not have the huge range of bridge cameras that some of its competitors on this list have, but what it lacks in quantity it doesn’t lose in quality.

travel bridge camera

The Canon Powershot SX70 HS is the latest bridge camera in Canon’s SX range. It features an impressive 21-1365mm (65x optical) zoom lens, which has a variable f/3.4-6.5 maximum aperture.

That’s not the widest aperture we’ve seen in a bridge camera, but it’s reasonable for this price, and this is also one of the lightest bridge cameras in our round up at only 610 grams (21.5 ounces).

The lens is optically stabilized, providing up to five stops of stability. The 1/2.3″ sensor offers 20 megapixels, which will be enough for most users.

It has full manual controls as well as RAW support, and you get both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity as well as 4K video support.

There are some drawbacks. Image quality at the zoom and wide angles is a little soft, and there’s no touch screen or weather sealing, although the screen does flip out and tilt at least.

Key Specifications : 21-1365mm (65x) focal length, f/3.4-6.5 aperture, 10 images / second, 20 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor Weight : 610 g / 21.5 oz Battery life : 325 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Nikon Coolpix P950

Like Panasonic, Nikon is well known for their bridge cameras, and they are particularly known for pushing the envelope when it comes to maximum zoom. In fact, it’s largely down to Nikon that the term “superzoom” has started to be used to describe these cameras instead of bridge camera.

travel bridge camera

The Nikon Coolpix P950, released in 2020, has a lot going for it. First, you get an impressive 24-2000mm lens, which is an 83x optical zoom. This is one of the longest lenses in our round-up. The maximum aperture starts at a wide f/2.8, and narrows down to f/6.5 when zoomed in. Given the length of the lens, this is to be expected.

The lens is stabilized, and the stabilization offers an impressive 5.5 stops of improvement. Sensor wise, you’re looking at a 1/2.3″ 16MP sensor, which offers a good balance between size and low light performance, and image quality is good although softens as you zoom further in.

The P950 has support for RAW photography as well as manual modes that let you set shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. There’s also 4K video support as well as WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity options.

There are a few downsides. Battery life is not fantastic at 290 shots, and the huge lens means this camera is heavier, weighing just over 1 kg (2.2 lb). There’s also no touchscreen, which is a glaring omission in a camera at this price point released in 2020. It’s also lacking weather / dust sealing.

It’s also worth pointing out that the predecessor to this camera, the P900 , is very similar, featuring the same sensor and lens. It is missing RAW file support and 4K video, but otherwise is very similar in terms of image quality, and is also available at a much lower price.

Key Specifications : 24-2000mm (83x) focal length, f/2.8-6.5 aperture, 7 images / second, 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor Weight : 1005 g / 35.4 oz Battery life : 290 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II

I appreciate there are a few Panasonic cameras in this list. This is for good reason though—Panasonic have really committed to the bridge camera category, and they’ve released a lot of great options.

travel bridge camera

The FZ1000 II, released in 2019, is definitely worth including because it features a 1 inch sensor. This means you get better low light performance than cameras with smaller sensors, as well as higher image quality.

Unfortunately, a larger sensor comes with some trade offs, namely the zoom. The FZ1000II features a 25-400mm lens, equivalent to a 16x optical zoom. This is definitely on the low end, but if you’re not too worried about shooting very distant subjects, 400mm is still on par with high-end DSLR or mirrorless zoom lenses.

The lens features a wide f/2.8 aperture which drops to f/4 when zoomed in, which is still very respectable. It’s also image stabilized, offering 3-5 stops of stabilization.

The display tilts and swivels out from the camera and is touch enabled. You also get WiFi and Bluetooth support, as well as good battery life of 440 shots. Video wise, you get 4K video support. Despite having a larger sensor, the camera is a reasonable weight at 810 g (1.79 lbs).

There’s no dust or water protection, which is a shame in a camera at this price point. Otherwise though, if you are happy with the zoom range, this is a solid option.

If the price is a little high, consider instead its predecessor, the FZ1000 . This also has a 1″ sensor and 25-400mm lens, and despite being a few years older actually offers very similar performance. You do lose the touchscreen and some of the control dials, although for the price difference this might be a sacrifice you are willing to make.

Key Specifications : 25-400mm (16x) focal length, f/2.8-4 aperture, 10 images / second, 20.1 megapixel 1″ sensor Weight : 810 g / 28.5 oz Battery life : 440 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Nikon Coolpix P1000

Another Nikon on our list, and I’ve included this one because it currently holds the title for the camera with the world’s longest zoom.

travel bridge camera

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 has a staggering 25-3000mm zoom range, which is a 125x zoom. That blows pretty much everything else on the market out of the water. Naturally the lens is image stabilized, offering up to five stops of stabilization.

In terms of aperture, it starts at a wide f/2.8, but stops all the way down to f/8 when zoomed all the way in. So that superzoom is going to need bright conditions for the best performance.

The sensor is a 1/2.3″ 16MP sensor, which is to be expected for a camera with a zoom this big.

Of course, a big zoom isn’t everything. You also get 4K video, RAW support, manual controls, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There’s also a flip out screen. However, the screen isn’t touch enabled, which is a huge oversight in my opinion. There’s also no weather sealing, and that lens makes it heavy, at 1415g (50oz).

Honestly, this camera is really only worth considering at this price if you absolutely need the crazy zoom. If a 3000mm equivalent lens is something you think your photography would benefit from, then go for it. Otherwise, I’d suggest that you might do better with one of the other options on our list, because you are definitely paying for the privilege of the world’s longest zoom lens.

Key Specifications : 25-3000mm (125x) focal length, f/2.8-8 aperture, 7images / second, 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor Weight : 1415g / 50oz Battery life : 250 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

If image quality and performance are your key criteria, then look no further than the stunning Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV. Sony has been leading the way with high performance camera sensors for a number of years, and the RX10 IV is the current pinnacle of their bridge camera offerings.

travel bridge camera

This is definitely a premium offering, costing much more than the other cameras in our round-up. However, you get a lot for your money.

To start with, this is a 1″ sensor camera, with 20.1 megapixels of resolution. That means you do have to compromise a little on zoom, but with a 24-600mm (25x optical) lens, we think this will be enough for most consumers.

The lens starts out at a very wide f/2.4, meaning lots of light can reach the sensor. At 600mm the lens stops down to f/4. This is still very impressive, when you consider that a 600mm f/4 lens for a DSLR will set you back five figures! The lens is stabilized, offering around 4.5 stops of improvement.

You also get one of the fastest autofocus systems in the world, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 4K video, superb image quality, a touch-enabled screen, a weather sealed body, and a truly impressive 24 frames per second shooting speed. Naturally there are full manual controls and RAW support.

With all that tech onboard, combined with the large sensor and large lens, this camera does weigh quite a bit. In fact, at 1095g (2.4lbs) it’s heavier than some DSLRs. It’s also expensive. However, if quality and performance are your key goals, then this camera still offers excellent value for money. Overall, I would say that this is one of the best bridge cameras for low light situations.

If the price is a bit much, then consider the earlier model RX10 III , which offers similar features at a lower price point. You will lose the touchscreen, and the autofocus and shooting speeds are a little slower.

Key Specifications : 24-600mm (24x) focal length, f2.4/4 aperture, 24 images / second, 20.1megapixel 1″ sensor Weight : 1095 g / 38.6 oz Battery life : 400 shots Price : Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

Which Bridge Camera To Choose?

I’ve provided you with what we think are the best options on the market. Of course, you might still be wondering which one to go for. Here’s a quick summary of what we’d pick for different scenarios and budgets.

  • If you’re on a really tight budget, then your best option is the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 / FZ82 , You get a great 60x zoom and solid performance, with only a few compromises
  • If zoom is everything, then either the Nikon Coolpix P950 or the P1000 are your best options.
  • If image quality is more important to you than massive zooms, you’ll want a 1″ sensor camera like the Panasonic FZ1000 II or Sony RX10 IV . These have less wild zoom options, but your image quality and performance in low light will be better.

Further Reading

Well, that’s it for our guide to our favourite bridge cameras on the market today! I hope you found it useful.

Before you head off, I wanted to share some more photography tips and advice that I’ve put together in the years of running this site.

  • We have a guide to  how to use a compact camera ,  how to use a DSLR camera , and  how to use a mirrorless camera . We also have a guide to  how a DSLR works
  • Knowing how to compose a great photo is a key photography skill. See our guide to  composition in photography  for lots of tips on this subject
  • We have a guide to what  depth of field is and when you would want to use it, as well as a guide to bokeh in photography
  • We are big fans of getting the most out of your digital photo files, and do to that you will need to shoot in RAW. See our guide to  RAW in photography  to understand what RAW is, and why you should switch to RAW as soon as you can if your camera supports it.
  • We have a guide to the  best photo editing software , as well as a guide to the best  laptops for photo editing  for some tips on what to look for.
  • If you’re looking for more advice on specific tips for different scenarios, we also have you covered. See our guide to  Northern Lights photography ,  long exposure photography ,  fireworks photography ,  tips for taking photos of stars , and  cold weather photography .
  • If you’re looking for a great gift for a photography loving friend or family member (or yourself!), take a look at our  photography gift guide ,
  • If you’re in the market for a new camera, we have a detailed guide to the  best travel cameras , as well as specific guides for the  best cameras for hiking and backpacking , the  best compact camera ,  best mirrorless camera  and  best DSLR camera . We also have a guide to the  best camera lenses .
  • If you want a camera or lens, but the prices are a bit high, see our guide to  where to buy used cameras and camera gear  for some budget savings options.
  • We have a guide to  why you need a tripod , a guide to  choosing a travel tripod , and a round-up of the  best travel tripods .

Looking to Improve Your Photography?

If you found this post helpful, and you want to improve your photography overall, you might want to check out my  online travel photography course .

Since launching the course in 2016, I’ve already helped over 2,000 students learn how to take better photos. The course covers pretty much everything you need to know, from the basics of how a camera works, through to composition, light, and photo editing.

It also covers more advanced topics, including astrophotography, long exposure photography, flash photography, and HDR photography.

You get feedback from me as you progress through assignments, access to webinars, interviews and videos, as well as exclusive membership to a Facebook group where you can get feedback on your work and take part in regular fun photo challenges.

It’s available for an amazing one-off price for lifetime access, and I think you should check it out. Which you can do by  clicking here .

And that’s it for our guide to the best bridge cameras for travel photography! If you have any questions or feedback, I’m here to listen and do my best to answer. Just pop them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A complete guide to the best bridge camera for photography. Details of all the specifications to look for as well as the top bridge cameras available today.

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Mike Cheesman says

6th January 2024 at 9:42 pm

Hi Lawrence – I’ve been following your travels and have found your articles really interesting and the information you provide excellent. I’ve been a user of Sony RX M4 for nature (mainly wildlife) photography for some years and my camera is showing signs of wear and tear which leaves me in a dilemma. Do I buy another M4 or wait for Sony to announce a model M5? Since the M4 was announced in 2017, and previous models were typically replaced every 2 years or so, I’m beginning to doubt that Sony have any plans for further development of this superb range of cameras. What are your views? Mike

Laurence Norah says

7th January 2024 at 1:52 pm

This is a great question. I had previously advised readers to hold off on purchasing the M4 as there were rumours that the M5 was due to be released at the end of 2022. Obviously that rolled around with no news, and all of 2023 has subsequently passed. Sony certainly hasn’t been resting on their laurels with their other camera line ups, but their focus has definitely been on mirrorless. At this point it definitely seems like most brands have almost given up on the bridge camera and compact camera segments, which I think is a real shame as they are both very useful. At this point it is definitely looking unlikely that a Sony RX10 Mark V is ever going to be released. Of course, there is no official update from Sony and there’s always a chance that they will. A new camera could definitely offer improvements, especially with the leaps and bounds in autofocus capabilities the new Sony cameras have. A new sensor and processing chip would also be welcome. But I am not optimistic at the moment. Here’s hoping Sony prove me wrong.

7th January 2024 at 2:52 pm

Hi Laurence – thank you for your very prompt reply which confirms my suspicions. I too think it’s a great shame. As you point out in your article, high quality bridge cameras such at the M4 are a boon when photographing nature and especially for fast moving subjects such birds in flight! I’m so happy with my M4 that I will continue to use it and, at the age of 80, it will hopefully last me out! Best wishes, Mike

7th January 2024 at 3:17 pm

My pleasure Mike, and happy shooting!

Maggie says

2nd December 2023 at 8:45 am

Thank you again for your help and support. I thought that might be the case but needed some guidance before making a purchase. Budget is a consideration but will research those recommended cameras. Kind regards Maggie

1st December 2023 at 10:44 pm

An absolutely superb article Laurence and very informative. However, I am struggling with a decision. Although an amateur, and now reliant on a smart phone, I am very keen to pursue photography as a hobby. I would like to have a bridge camera that can take a range of photographs from close-up (animals/flora etc) to landscape. Two factors that are really important to me is the weight of the camera, not too heavy, and one that is capable of capturing images in the semi-dark light. Any feedback would be very much appreciated. Many thanks. Maggie

1st December 2023 at 11:07 pm

Thanks very much! So if low light performance is important, then the sensor size and maximum aperture are two of the key specifications to look for. The wider the maximum aperture (a smaller number is a bigger aperture, don’t ask me who invented this system), the more light will come in. So ideally f/2.8 is what you are looking for. The next thing is sensor size, and again, the larger the better. With bridge cameras, they tend to top out at the 1 inch sensor size. So that really narrows it down to the Panasonic FZ1000 II or the Sony RX10 IV (or it’s predecessor). Now, a larger sensor will require a slightly larger camera body and lens setup, but I think that is not going to be that noticeable.

If you did have a budget in mind then that will also definitely narrow your choices down as well, although it’s also worth checking used camera stores to see what is available.

I hope this helps, let me know if I can offer any more advice!

26th October 2023 at 1:51 am

Great article! So much helpful information. I’m still struggling on my decision. Thinking I’m between the Lumix fz80 and fz1000. I’m an amateur (although will definitely take advantage of your tips from your other articles & potentially take the online class)…don’t often take photos & when I do, it’s with my smartphone. However, I’m going to South Africa in a month and would love great memory pics from Cape Town & Krueger. I want to invest in a nice camera, but don’t want to break the bank as I’m not sure how often I’ll use it as I’m just an amateur. Any insight? (Open to other options as well.)

26th October 2023 at 1:31 pm

Thanks very much! So the FZ1000 is definitely the better camera in my opinion. The larger sensor is going to give you better image quality, especally in low light, plus the articulating screen is nice. It doesn’t have as long of a zoom as the FZ80, but unless you are photographing far away birds I don’t think this will matter too much.

Of course, the cost is quite a big difference, and with anything photographic, there’s diminishing returns. The FZ1000ii is listed at twice the price of the FZ80 and I would say it is defiitely better but perhaps not twice as good. It will get you better results, but only you can decide if that is worth the additional cost.

I did want to mention another option, which would be a used Sony RX10 III (see prices on MPB here and KEH here ). The Sony will give you faster autofocus and a longer zoom than the FZ1000, at a slight price bump. You can also check out used deals on the other cameras on your wishlist to see if you can save some money 🙂

Have an amazing safari and let me know if you have any more questions!

9th November 2023 at 12:45 pm

Very much appreciate the advice. I ended up with the Lumix FZ1000 – found one for $300! I leave for my safari in two weeks. Feeling a little overwhelmed as I’m used to a point and shoot. Is there an online course you recommend that would help me review the basics prior to my trip as I only have a short amount of time? Something a day or less in time perhaps.

10th November 2023 at 11:09 pm

So obviously I do run my own course which you can check out here ! It’s very comprehensive but the basics are covered in the first couple of modules. I’m also available on e-mail as part of the course to help out if you have any questions.

I also have a lot of guides on this site that are free, if you look at my photography tips page here and read the guide to using a mirrorless camera that should give you some starting points. A bridge camera is sort of a crossover between a point and shoot and a mirrorless camera, but leaning more towards the mirrorless camera, so I recommend checking that out first.

Let me know if you have any more questions I will do my best to help! The main things you are going to want to figure out are how to adjust shutter speed, ISO and aperture, and how to handle the focus. The focus is probably the most important thing to get right first 🙂

4th September 2023 at 4:07 am

Laurence, I will be taking an African safari and I’m interested in a bridge camera. I’m told that the road conditions can often be dusty. Would I be OK using a non-weather sealed camera? Any specific recommendations for a “safari” camera? Thank you for your informative article. Ken

4th September 2023 at 4:59 pm

Sure thing. Yes indeed, the roads can be very dusty. However, if you have a reasonable camera bag that you can keep the camera in between use, then you should be ok. My father traveled with me on a safari recently with his Canon bridge camera and didn’t have any issues with dust. In terms of recommendations, honestly, a lot comes down to budget. All the cameras in this list would work for sure, with those in the mid-range prices generally offering the best balance between price and performance.

I have some more suggestions and things to think about in my guide to safari cameras , and I also have some tips for safari photography you might find helpful 🙂

I’ve also just published a guide to what to pack for safari which you might appreciate.

Have a great trip and do reach out if you have any more questions!

Have a great time and let me know if you have any questions!

Michael Spino says

26th June 2023 at 6:43 pm

Laurence, First Thank You for this article on Bridge Cameras it is very informative. Of course I would love the Sony but I have a much more modest budget. I have been looking at cameras in the sub $500 range. My wife and I are traveling on a Med Cruise for the first time in our lives with 10 ports of call. My wife loves to take selfies and is an amature birder, I on the other hand like to take landscapes and general photography of our surroundings. The Panasonic Lumix DMC – FZ300 looks to be a good fit but I have also been looking at a Minolta MND 67Z. we both like the articlating rear LCD feature for selfies and Vlogging. I’m just concerned that the older tech of the Panasonic will leave me with what I am currently dealing with. Currently all I have is an old Olmpus TG610 -12MP and an even older Sony Mavica CD250. Niether really produce the kind of photo either of us are thrilled with. After paying for this cruise we are looking for Good Quaility, Long Lasting, and Inexpensive. I know, I can only choose 2 but we need some professional advice here. Thanks in advance

27th June 2023 at 3:39 pm

Hi Michael,

It’s my pleasure, glad you found the article helpful!

So I am not very familiar with the Minolta camera you are talking about. I also can’t find any reviews on it. I do know that the Minolta brand which makes cameras these days is not the original one – a third-party company bought the rights to use it for camera branding, so that is who is making them. There are some user reviews online which seem to vary greatly.

One big difference between the Minolta and the Lumix is the aperture range. On the Lumix the aperture is fixed at f/2.8 even when zoomed in, whereas on the Minolta it goes from f/2.9 – f/6.7. What that means in practice is that as you zoom in it will let less light in, and so it will have to increase the ISO or reduce the shutter speed to make up for that, which will result in either noisier or blurrier images.

I think that personally I would go with the Lumix as it’s from a known brand and gets good reviews. I know it is a bit older but I think it still stands up pretty well.

Of course it is up to you. Some user reviews of the Minolta are positive.

Sorry not to be of more help, but I hope you have a great cruise!

Akash Mech says

24th September 2022 at 10:55 am

This was so helpful. I never came across a blog that was so informative.

25th September 2022 at 12:51 pm

Thanks Akash!

26th July 2022 at 4:55 pm

I got a Lumix tz95 currently and was thinking about getting a bridge camera for wildlife, walking around historic towns and also some macro shots. The tz95 is 30x zoom so want better than that. Which bridge camera would you recommend. There so many around that it’s confusing. Pictures mostly for my own use so don’t need a professional look but want them fairly crisp.

28th July 2022 at 10:56 am

So the Lumix TZ95 is a very capable compact camera. Switching to a bridge camera might not yield a large jump in performance as the majority of bridge cameras have a similar sized sensor, the main difference is the lenses can be bigger and so let in a bit more light or offer a longer zoom. If zoom is the key criteria, then I’d recommend the Nikon P950 . It has a big zoom, image stabilization and a wide aperture when zoomed out. So that would be my pick as a replacement, especially for further away wildlife.

Let me know if you have any follow up questions!

Alex Benson-Wilson says

28th July 2022 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for the info Might just hold fire until the right one comes along Tz95 really good but full zoom it’s not amazing and I try shots from hides in nature reserves so a lot of the time they come out slightly off. That being said it has served me very well so far and is handy for what I use it for. It’s a minefield is camera buying. As I said I ideally want a bridge with better specs and better zoom as the tz95

Thank you for replying and giving advice

29th July 2022 at 2:22 pm

My pleasure!

24th July 2022 at 5:34 pm

I was wondering if you could help me out. I loved reading this article on bridge cameras and I’m really trying to decide what to buy. I stopped using cameras years ago when smartphone cameras became good enough for the snapshots I generally take. My wife, on the other hand, uses a Nikon DSLR.

Recently, even though I use an iPhone and love it’s camera, I’ve come to notice that I might like something a little better. I’ll continue to use the iPhone to take shots, but I need something else as well I think.

The primary needs I’ve addressed are: – A zoom good enough to take shots of animals and birds – Ability to take pictures in poor lighting and at night – Also ability to handle the elements, I live in Alaska and we spend time walking in both the snow and rain

I’ve looked at the weatherproofed cameras on this page, especially the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV. I also looked at the Olympus TOUGH when it showed up in a search about winter and the elements (though I’m not sure if it has enough zoom?)

I was wondering what you would recommend for me? My primary activities will be hiking, in Alaska, in all seasons and all weather conditions. I like taking pictures of vegetation and fungi as well as birds and wildlife. I often take shots of animals and trees at night or in very dim lighting, and that would be a primary duty of this camera as its something the iPhone can’t do so well.

I know a lot of my needs would be well answered by getting a DSLR, but I’m not interested in that level of commitment. I need to be fair for how I will use my camera. I’m going to keep it in AUTO 99% of the time and will hardly ever touch special settings, unless maybe it has a night mode that works well. I have no interest in a DSLR and a collection of lenses.

Thanks! Your pages have been a great help.

24th July 2022 at 7:30 pm

Great to hear from you! So this is a great question. First, the Olympus is certainly a tough camera but it only have a 3x optical zoom which is not going to be enough for most wildlife encounters. So I would discount that. If your budget stretches to it I would definitely recommend the Sony RX10. It is heads and shoulders above the rest, with a combination of a super fast autofocus speed, relatively large sensor and a good balance of zoom and portability.

It is also the most expensive, but I personally think it is worth it. One thing I should mention is that rumours have started to swirl that Sony might be releasing a version V later this year. I am not sure if you are in a rush, but it might be worth waiting to see if those solidfy as it will likely either be an option to consider, or it will cause the price of the RX10 IV to come down. The IV is still a great camera, so if you were looking to buy in the near term then it’s still a great investment, however I didn’t want you to buy something only for something possibly better to come along in a few months!

Let me know if you have any further questions, happy to help!

30th August 2022 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for the reply Laurence. I’ve started watching Sony news to see if the fifth edition is going to come out or if I should grab a four while they are still available. It’s tricky, hard to tell if a five is coming at all 😉

Thanks for your help!

31st August 2022 at 7:08 pm

My pleasure Chad! Yes, it’s definitely not clear yet. I would hope they do make one because it’s a great camera, but Sony have definitely slowed development on their compact and bridge cameras recently.

Elsie Fagan says

26th April 2022 at 10:32 pm

I am going on Safari this summer and really want a camera that has more zoom than my old point and shoot camera or my cell phone. I will also be trekking gorillas in the jungle so light may be low but should be plenty bright during my Safari drives. I am most definitely a beginner so I probably would not be using manual features. What would be your suggestion for a simple easy to learn bridge camera? $300 -$1000

Also this article was so informative.

27th April 2022 at 9:46 am

Sounds like an awesome trip 🙂 So the good news is that other than the Sony RX10, all the cameras in this list should be within your budget. I would probably recommend the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II because it has a larger sensor, so you’ll get better results with the gorilla trekking. The zoom is equivalent to a 400mm, which is what I take on safari with me and it works great. You would only need a longer zoom if you were planning on photographing a lot of smaller birds.

You might also be interested in some of our other articles. We recently returned from gorilla trekking ourselves in Uganda and it was amazing. So I have a guide to gorilla trekking , and also some tips for getting great photos on safari . We also have a post all about safari cameras specifically which you might find useful too 🙂

Let me know if you have any more questions, I’m happy to help!

19th February 2022 at 6:51 pm

Thank you for this great info! I’m a total novice with just an old iPhone. Because of where I live – with views of Mt Rainier over Puget Sound, spectacular sunrises, birdlife from hummingbirds to eagles, all kinds of interesting plant life and full moon rising over the water – I occasionally get lucky. That said, definitely time to step up to a “real” camera. I want to capture craters – on both the mountain and the moon. I want to see the the yellow beak and talons of the eagle and the rainbow throat feathers of the hummingbird. I want to capture dewdrops on roses as well as the wide expanse of the horizon at sunrise. You have provided some great advice and consideration for selecting a camera – any further recommendations for my aim would be greatly appreciated! Budget = $800-1200 Thanks again!

22nd February 2022 at 7:40 am

Hey Lisa! My pleasure 🙂 So it sounds that you are interested particularly in getting closer up, so a longer zoom is going to be necessary. At your budget I’d recommend either the Nikon CoolPix P950 or a used Sony RX10 III (see prices on MPB here and KEH here ). The Sony will give you better image quality and faster autofocus, but doesn’t have quite the same zoom range as the Nikon. I think for your needs it will give better results, but if you want to get really close up to specific elements of a subject, the Nikon is a better option.

I hope this helps with your decision – let me know if I can be of any further help!

18th January 2022 at 3:53 pm

As far as 1/2.3′ sensor is concerned, the best is Lumix FZ300 hands down. As for 1″ sensor, that would be Sony RX10 M4.

21st January 2022 at 10:53 am

Thanks for your input Adam!

10th January 2022 at 3:27 pm

Hopefully you still read these comments. I read this article thoroughly and found the information very helpful, but I still might need some help.

I currently have a Sony DSC HX400V, that’s over five years old. It has worked quite well (once it was in warranty repair), but now it’s starting to break down. The image stabilizer has stopped working and there’s also loads of other minor faults. Now I would take it to a repair shop, but there isn’t a single store in Finland (where I live) that would fix Sony cameras. I’ve already asked this, and apparently all Sony cameras that need repairing would have to be sent to Sweden or Germany, and that would cost so much, that it’s probably wiser to just purchase a completely new bridge camera ( because all the hassle of changing lenses just doesn’t suit me)

My “wish list” includes:

– image stabilizer – tilting screen that tilts up and down (doesn’t have to tilt sideways) so that I can basically film an object in front of me while looking down at the screen (if that makes sense, similar screen that the DSC HX400V has). – as inexpensive as possible (I can’t even consider anything over 1000€) – would like to have decent zoom capabilities, but doesn’t have to be anything crazy, something like 30x optical zoom would be fine – weather protection would be nice, but with my budget, probably not necessary.

I film a lot of moving objects but also landscapes etc., so if the autofocus is slow then that’s probably a problem.

From your list, the Lumix FZ82 looked nice, but the screen doesn’t tilt. The Canon Powershot is a good option, but there’s no weather protection and the screen looked like a “vlogger type” screen that tilts out sideways but I’m not sure if it tilts vertically. I’ve tried to look for bridge cameras in different online stores, but the selection doesn’t seem very big! Do you think there’s any other cameras worth considering that aren’t in this list?

And one question about megapixels. The DSC HX400V that I have has 20.1 mp. If I’d take a photo of a same landscape with two different cameras (same settings also), the other camera has 20 megapixels and the other one 14 or 16. Is the image quality noticeably worse in the other camera, or is it barely visible? I’m not sure how much attention I should pay to the megapixel amount, you say 12-20 MP is fine, but my mom has a 10 MP camera, and compared to my 20 MP, her pictures don’t look sharp at all.

I appreciate your reply (if you see this)!

PS. About Sony cameras: I have nothing against them, and I might consider to purchase one, but it really is a problem if the camera breaks down right after the warranty has expired, and then I’d have to pay hundreds of euros to get it fixed in another country. I’m not sure if Panasonic cameras can be repaired in Finland either, I have to look into that

10th January 2022 at 4:49 pm

Great to hear from you! You’ll be pleased to hear I read and always try to respond to every comment 🙂

So I’m sorry to hear that your camera has started to fail, that is unfortunate. It definitely sounds like a new camera is going to be your best option.

As you have already noted, there is not a massive range of bridge cameras to choose from. They are a slightly niche product and manufacturers don’t seem to make them as much as they used to. However, based on your requirements for price / zoom, they are probably going to be your best bet. If you switch down to a point and shoot you might not get all the features, and especially the zoom you are after with sufficient image quality. If you go up to a mirrorless or DSLR camera then you are looking at a higher outlay for a range of lenses, plus more gear to carry around. So let’s try to focus on bridge camera options.

Based on your requirements, the FZ300 / FZ330 might be the best option. It is a bit older but it meets most of your requirements, with the exception being the zoom isn’t quite so big as you might want.

I can also confirm that the screen on the Canon SX70 flips out and tilts forwards and backwards, so it should meet your requirements in that regard, although it’s not weather proofed.

Another option if you can find it is to see if you can find a Sony RX10 III second hand. I appreciate you would prefer not to go down the Sony route again, but the RX10 is definitely the flagship bridge camera on the market today, and if you can find a good deal on the version 3 that is worth considering.

Regarding megapixels, I would say that the difference between 12MP and 20MP is not as big as you might think. In terms of physical dimensions, 12MP is 4000 x 3000 pixels, while 20MP is 5000 x 4000 pixels. So there will be a difference, especially if you start to crop or zoom to 100%, but unless you are printing your images regularly that shouldn’t be an issue. I suspect your mom might be using quite an old camera perhaps, and the sharpness is likely due to it being an older camera with not a very sharp lens, rather than the megapixel count.

I hope this starts to answer your question, but I am happy to discuss further if I can of course!

11th January 2022 at 1:47 pm

Thank you so much for your reply! You’ve been very helpful! Looks like I have a decision to make now, but I’ll comment here if I have any further questions. Thanks!

13th January 2022 at 5:34 pm

New question immediately. I’ve found a few compact cameras, that seem to match all my requirements (except weather protection) and still they’re considerably cheaper than most of the bridge cameras. Panasonic DC-TZ95EP and Canon Powershot SX 730HS are good examples. Both have 20.3 MP, 30-40x optical zoom, image stabilizer, tilting screen and the Panasonic even has 4K video.

So I’d like to ask, what is it that makes these so much cheaper than the cheapest bridge cameras? Am I missing something, because to me, apart from the size difference, the specs don’t look that much different? (okay, the Canon SX70 HS has bigger optical zoom but it’s still over 200€ more expensive than the SX730 HS compact camera).

I know I’d feel weird if I’d buy a compact camera like that, especially after having a bigger and heavier camera for 6 years. But they meet most of my requirements for much less money, unless there’s something I’m not taking into account?

13th January 2022 at 6:50 pm

So whilst the compact cameras you link (which are great compact cameras by the way) have the same size sensor as most bridge cameras (1/2.3″), the main difference is that the lens itself is not as physically big. That means that the aperture is usually narrower, especially when you zoom.

For example, looking at the FZ330, it has a fixed aperture of f/2.8 even when zoomed all the way in to the 600mm equivalent.

The Panasonic DC-TZ95EP has a variable aperture of f/3.3 – f/6.4. That means that when you are zoomed out you can set an aperture of f/3.3, and when you zoom in, the minimum aperture will increase to f/6.4. The downside of this is that less light will come in. So you have to either use a slower shutter speed or a higher ISO.

As an example, zoomed all the way in on the FZ330 you might set f/2.8, ISO 100 and shutter speed 1/400th.

With the DC-TZ95EP in exactly the same lighting conditions, you would have to set f/6.3 because that is the minimum. You could then set either shutter speed 1/80th and ISO 100 or, f/6.3, shutter speed 1/400th and ISO 500. I explain this more in my guide to the exposure triangle 🙂

I’d also encourage you not to look at the optical zoom number too much as that is mostly good marketing. What that number actually means is the difference between the widest equivalent focal length and the most zoomed in equivalent focal length. That’s why I list all the focal lengths in this post, because it makes it easier to actually compare.

To compare, the FZ330 has a 25mm – 600mm focal length. 600 divided by 25 is 24, so this camera has a 24x optical zoom.

The DC-TZ95EP you shared has a 26-780mm focal length. 780 divided by 26 is 30, hence the 30x optical zoom.

The Canon SX730HS has a 24mm – 960mm focal length, which works out to a 40x optical zoom. That one has an aperture range of f/3.3-6.9, so when zoomed in it’s even smaller.

Now, all the above said, these are both good cameras. It’s just good to know that when shooting at higher shutter speed zoomed in, you are going to have to use a higher ISO on a compact camera compared to a bridge camera because the aperture will be narrower.

I hope this makes sense!

David Williams says

13th November 2021 at 11:54 pm

I’ve been struggling to choose among all the bridge cameras. I’d read multiple reviews, and found that my head was spinning! Each reviewer would highlight several good points and some drawbacks, but when I tried to compare cameras I found it difficult to work out the trade-offs. Eventually I set up a spreadsheet featuring a column of reviewers, and a row of cameras. This certainly helped, but then I found your review, which I think is unsurpassed (that means REALLY good! 🙂 ). Reading your description of trade-offs (the big one being sensor size vs zoom capacity), it all fell into place, On top of this, your summary of each camera gave a comprehensive description of the features with comments concerning important trade-offs as well. Brilliant! My head’s stopped spinning now, and I find I can easily justify the cost of the Sony RX10 IV to my wife – how good is that?! I’ll certainly be reading more of your articles to improve my photography knowledge. Thank you so much.

14th November 2021 at 11:13 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. It is hugely appreciated. I think it is so important that instead of just providing a list, that readers are given the tools to make their own choices. The right camera is always based on individual circumstances, and my goal is to ideally help people out with figuring out what that is. Even if it’s not one on my list! In your case though, the RX10 IV is truly a superb option and I have no doubt you will put it to good use! Enjoy it, and if you have any more questions, feel free to reach out! I also have lots more photography content across the site and also my photography course 🙂

Happy photographing!

Julia Bishop says

20th May 2021 at 5:59 pm

Hi!! I absolutely loved this info. It really helped me a lot. Perhaps you can help me find the right camera? I’m looking for EASY automatic, with 1” sensor, good zoom, touch screen, tilting screen, WiFi/Bluetooth, image stabilizer, video capability. What am I missing? Besides money lol. I’m looking to make an investment here. I’ll be shooting at zoos for starters and I want to capture the eyelashes on a giraffe! Having the camera weather protected sounds important too. Thoughts??? Thank you so much and again, GREAT INFORMATION.

20th May 2021 at 6:23 pm

It’s my pleasure! So with those specs I’d probably recommend the Canon G3 X as mentioned by a previous commenter. That has everything you are looking for in a relatively compact body. It is missing an electronic viewfinder, although you can pick one up as an optional accessory.

The other two main contenders are the Panasonic FZ1000 and the Sony RX10 , but I’m not sure what your budget is. The RX10 is by far the “best” in class when it comes to sheer speed and performance, but it’s also heavier and significantly more expensive. I have a compact Sony and the auto mode definitely works really well, so I would say the RX10 would be the same. The FZ1000 doesn’t have quite the same maximum zoom at the Canon or Sony, so you might feel limited by that.

I hope this helps – let me know if I can be of any further help!

19th March 2021 at 3:16 pm

This is an outstanding article. I am looking at trading my Leica v-Lux 114. I notice you don’t review the Leica v-Lux 5. I’m torn between the Sony DSC-RX10 IV and the Leica. Your thoughts would be much appreciated!

19th March 2021 at 4:23 pm

So I didn’t review the Leica v-Lux 5 as it’s basically just a rebranded Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II, which is in the round-up. So if you prefer the Leica version, that’s personal preference, but the performance should be similar to the Panasonic and the specs are essentially identical 🙂

Of the two you mention I would personally go for the Sony – you get a better autofocus, longer zoom and much faster burst rates. The only downside is that it is a tiny bit heavier.

17th February 2021 at 3:25 pm

You should really add the Canon PowerShot G3 X to your list. I have found it phenomenal for birding photography and a nice balance between long lens and decent sensor.

6th February 2021 at 2:45 pm

i want to purchase camera which have 1′ sensor and atleast 60X zoom with touchscreen lcd and veiwfinder..which camera will fulfil my requirement.My budget is between 50,000-75,000-00

6th February 2021 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately there aren’t any bridge cameras with a 1″ sensor and a 60x optical zoom. Those zoom lengths are only physically possible in a camera with a smaller sensor. As the sensors get larger, the lenses have to get larger too, and it’s just not possible to fit a 60x zoom onto a 1″ sensor camera. It’s also worth realising that a 60x zoom refers to the difference between the largest and smallest zoom, rather than magnification. A better number to look at when evaluating cameras is the equivalent focal length in mm.

You will have to decide if sensor size or maximum zoom is most important to you and then make a decision. There should be a few options at your price point that then suit.

Jennifer says

2nd February 2021 at 3:22 pm

I’m looking for a camera that is going to be very versatile. I have a granddaughter that I like to take pictures of and I thought my Canon SX740 HS would work. However with a little one any hand or foot movements cause a lot of blurring and I can’t seem to find the right settings to eliminate it. What would you recommend as a good all around camera that is quick and easy to setup? Budget wise I’m willing to go as high as the $1,700 dollar range. I just want an easy “all purpose” camera that will capture special moments with my granddaughter.

3rd February 2021 at 12:04 pm

Hi Jennifer!

So at that price point if you are looking for a bridge camera then the Sony RX10 IV is going to be the best option. It’s a bit heavier but it has a very fast autofocus and performs great in a variety of situations. Sony cameras are also great in automatic mode so whilst it has a lot of features, it should work well with minimal input.

However, before spending a lot of money, you could try adjusting the settings of your current camera to see if that helps. When taking shots of your granddaughter, my tip is to set a high shutter speed which will freeze the action, so even if she moves a bit you won’t get a blurry shot. With the SX740, I’d suggest trying either sports mode (which should set a high shutter speed automatically), or shutter AE where you can manually set the shutter speed yourself.

The Canon won’t be as good as the Sony as it has a smaller sensor and a narrower lens, so less light is going to be captured. But if you are shooting outdoors in a well lit environment it should be fine.

Happy to help if you have any more questions!

Sharon Bennett says

16th January 2021 at 5:36 am

Wish there a camara with at least a 1” sensor and 40-50 X zoom.I am leaning toward a mirrorless camara with maybe purchase a Len 70-200 mm for my zoom need ? I am a amateur photographer ,not going to spend to much for a camara ..maybe a cannon M50 ?

16th January 2021 at 10:52 am

Ah, that would be wonderful. Unfortunately, the laws of physics make it quite difficult – a larger sensor needs wider lenses, and so it becomes rather a challenge to make a camera that has everything which is also relatively light and portable. The Sony 1″ RX10 camera is already pushing the limits of acceptable weight as it is!

The Canon M50 is a good camera, but you should be aware that a 70-200mm lens will be quite far from a 40-50x zoom. If you are looking for that sort of zoom, a bridge camera is going to be a better option. The Panasonic FZ1000 for example, has a 25-400mm lens, which is equivalent to a 16x zoom.

Another thing to be aware of is that this is the last year Canon are making the “M” range of cameras, so there won’t be many new lenses being released. If you are able to find lenses now that work, this won’t be a problem, but it’s worth keeping in mind for the future that your options might be limited should you want to upgrade a lens.

If you let me know your budget I am happy to provide some more options. You might for example consider the Panasonic range of MFT cameras – the sensor is larger than a 1″ sensor but smaller than that found in the Canon M50, and there is an excellent selection of lenses to choose from.

Kevin knox says

1st October 2020 at 9:11 pm

How far away from the subject would the sony reach at 600mm

2nd October 2020 at 11:13 am

For real magnification, you need to divide the focal length in mm by 50. So 600/50 is equivalent to 12x. This is similar to a pair of high powered binoculars – hopefully this gives you an idea of the sort of magnification. In addition, there is some room to crop the image as well, for further zoom.

1st October 2020 at 11:55 am

Hi,thanks for the info,I like photographing birds and wildlife,im torn between the nikon p1000 and the sony rx1v, i like the zoom you get from the nikon,but the sonys pics are clear and crisp,can you point me in the right direction,thankyou kev

1st October 2020 at 3:36 pm

So this is a tricky decision. The P1000 will definitely give you more zoom, but at the expense of image quality. So unless you are regularly photographing very small or very far away birds, you will likely find that the Sony will work better. It has much better image quality, and the 25x zoom (600mm equivalent) will work in the majority of situations. Personally if it was me I would go for the Sony as it’s an all round better camera in my opinion, but of course everyone’s needs vary!

Let me know if I can help any more 🙂

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8 Best Bridge Cameras in 2024 (And How to Choose Yours!)

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Bridge cameras (superzooms) are great for people who don’t want to spend so much on DSLRs. Or it’s for those who want more control and features than a compact camera can offer.

With smartphone cameras improving constantly, there are fewer bridge cameras out there. But we’ve found eight great choices for you.

Our top pick is the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 . It offers great value for your money, a telephoto lens beyond anything a smartphone can do, and 4K video!

Panasonic Lumix FZ80 / FZ82

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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

What Is the Best Bridge Camera?

My first camera was a bridge camera—the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V . I bought it for my very first African safari in 2013. It was much cheaper than a DSLR and the best bridge camera on the market.

It had the highest-resolution sensor of 18 MP (megapixels). And it has one of the most powerful zoom lenses (27-810mm). Now this camera doesn’t even make it on our list…

We’ll look at our choices in some detail. But first, here’s a summary of our recommendations and why we like them. And if you have questions about bridge cameras, go to our FAQ section at the end.

  • Huge 60x zoom
  • Max 1200 mm focal length
  • Touchscreen
  • 24-600 mm zoom
  • 315 autofocus points
  • Max 24 fps burst shooting
  • Super quality Leica lens
  • Fast constant f/2.8 lens
  • Lens stabilization

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

  • Large 20.3 MP sensor
  • Light and compact body shape
  • Webcam capability
  • 4K video and time-lapse

Product

  • Extraordinary 125x zoom
  • Minimum focus distance of 1 cm
  • In-body image stabilization

Product

  • Highs-peed burst mode up to 50 fps
  • Built-in 5-axis image stabilization

Product

  • Great ergonomics with a chunky grip

Product

  • Great value
  • Huge 40x zoom
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Works with Nikon SnapBridge app

Product

8 Best Bridge Cameras In Detail

Now let’s dive in and see what’s so good about these cameras. Let’s start with our top pick!

1. Lumix FZ80 (FZ82)

You can’t beat the zoom range of the Nikon Coolpix P1000 or P950. But the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 (FZ82 outside the US) is a good value alternative.

It has the same one-cm focus distance but a higher-resolution sensor (18.1 MP). And it has a wider starting point to the zoom range (20 mm) if you’re shooting landscapes or indoors.

It also offers TouchPad AF ( autofocus ) and a Depth From Defocus system with rapid focusing speeds of 0.09 seconds!

Plus, it features 4K video with a Live Cropping mode. This allows you to produce 20-second or 40-second Full HD 1080p clips using pan and zoom.

All you set is your start and end points using the rectangle that appears on the screen. And the camera does the rest!

Another cool feature of the Lumix FZ80 is the 4K Photo mode. Normally, the max frame rate is only 10 fps (frames per second).

But you can choose the best frame from a 4K video clip using the joystick or four-way controller. The image will only be 8.3 MP. But that’s still enough to create a print 11 x 8.3 inches at 300 dpi .

2. Cyber-shot RX10 IV

Are you looking for the best overall wildlife , sports , or action camera and have a little more money to spend? Consider the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV .

The new version has a touchscreen and a new 315-point phase-detection AF system. It halves the focus acquisition time and makes for excellent subject tracking.

The RX10 IV can also shoot in RAW and take 4K video clips (3840 x 2160 pixels) at 30 fps. You can also capture 8 MP stills from these, a feature similar to Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode.

The 24-600mm (25x) zoom range is not the biggest of these cameras. But the variable aperture of f/2.4 to f/4 gives it the fastest lens. And the 24 fps continuous shooting speed is the best in class!

3. Lumix FZ300 (FZ330)

The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 is the update to the popular FZ500 (FZ200) . But it keeps the same 12 MP sensor and 25-600mm (24x) f/2.8 lens—which is very fast for a superzoom.

The resolution might seem low, but the advantage of limiting the megapixels is a marked reduction in image noise. Photo quality also doesn’t deteriorate much, even when fully zoomed in.

This version has some differences. Some of the main improvements are a new image processor, five-axis image stabilization , and weather sealing.

But it also boasts a new high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) and a tilting touchscreen. And built-in Wi-Fi is another welcome addition.

It also offers excellent 4K video. And this comes with a 4K Photo mode for grabbing 8 MP stills.

The only difference between the European FZ330 and the American FZ300 is the video frame rates, which are 25 vs 50 fps and 30 vs 60 fps, respectively.

4. PowerShot SX70 HS

The Canon Powershot SX70 HS is a compact, affordable bridge camera with a 21-1365mm (65x) zoom range. It has a 20.3 MP sensor, a three-inch vari-angle screen, and simple menus and controls.

The image quality is pretty good, with an impressive dynamic range for a bridge camera. The AF system deals well with moving objects. And it also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.

But the f/3.4 to f/6.5 lens doesn’t cope well in the dark. And the 10 fps max continuous shooting rate drops to 5.7 fps with continuous autofocus.

The SX70 HS also has no built-in GPS, 4K video is only possible with a crop, and the screen isn’t touch-sensitive.

5. Coolpix P1000

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 and the very similar P950 take the idea of the superzoom to the very limit. You can take your pick when it comes to these two.

If you want a massive zoom range, go for the P1000. But if that’s too bulky, the P950 still has a 24-2000mm optical zoom lens. With the 166x Dynamic Fine Zoom, you can extend it digitally to 4000mm!

Both cameras indeed lose sharpness when fully zoomed in. That’s partly because of their small sensors and camera shake at such long focal lengths.

It’s also true that the widest aperture on the P950 drops from f/2.8 to f/6.5 when fully zoomed in. But you get 16 MP RAW images with a frame rate of 7 fps (up to 10 frames).

You also have a one-centimeter focus distance for macro work and a 2.36M-dot EVF. Plus, you can also shoot 4K videos with the Coolpix P1000 . And that’s not at all bad at this price!

6. Lumix FZ1000 II

This Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II might be for you if you’re not worried about having a long focal length. The zoom range is only 25-400mm (16x).

But the 20.1 MP sensor provides great RAW photos. And the fast aperture of f/2.8 to f/4 helps in low-light situations.

It also has five-axis Power OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), Wi-Fi, and NFC. And it has a three-inch vari-angle LCD screen.

The FZ1000 II is capable of shooting 4K video. And there are three burst modes . You can shoot at 7 fps (continuous AF), 12 fps (single AF), and 30 fps (in 4K Photo mode).

7. Lumix FZ2500 (FZ2000)

The Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 (or FZ2000 in Europe) is more expensive than the FZ1000 II . Yet it also offers a step up in performance.

You get the same 20.1 MP sensor with RAW file capture but slightly more reach with the 24-480mm (20x) zoom. This comes at the cost of a slightly narrower aperture of f/2.8-4.5.

You also have a variable neutral density filter and effective subject tracking. And it has touchscreen control and an EVF with slightly higher magnification.

The only problems are that it’s not weather-sealed. And JPEG images suffer from too much noise reduction and clipped highlights .

In terms of video recording, you get DCI (cinema quality) 4K video (4096 x 2160 px) at 60 fps. Plus, the FZ2500 comes with various sound level settings and even a wind noise filter!

8. Coolpix B500

This Nikon Coolpix B500 is the best option if you’re looking for the best budget bridge camera. Nikon has discontinued the B600 and B700. But the B500 has the same 16 MP sensor.

II only has a 22.5-900 mm f/3 to f/6.5 lens. So you’ll miss out on the 1440 mm max focal length of the other two models.

But a 40x zoom range is still pretty good. Plus, the B500’s list of features means it offers excellent value. On the other hand, it doesn’t support RAW files , and you can’t shoot 4K video.

Plus, there’s no electronic viewfinder (EVF). And the image quality is no better than expected at this bargain bridge camera price.

Bridge Camera Buying Guide (FAQs)

These are frequently asked questions about bridge cameras (superzooms). We hope our answers help you in your buying decisions.

What Is a Bridge Camera?

A bridge camera “bridges the gap” between compact cameras and DSLRs (or mirrorless cameras ). And that was what I was trying to do with my first camera.

A superzoom is often a staging point for buying an interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C or full frame sensor. The other point about bridge cameras is that they occupy a particular niche.

Is It Worth Getting a Bridge Camera?

Yes, they offer good value and an exceptional zoom range. So they’re perfect for those looking for a budget camera with a powerful zoom.

And it’s nice to have a fixed-lens camera that does the job of a DSLR and two or three different lenses . So it’s perfect for those who don’t want to carry a heavy bag of lenses!

Close-up product shot of a Panasonic Lumix FZ80 bridge camera zoom lens

What Are the Limitations of a Bridge Camera?

The basic trade-off in finding the best bridge camera is between zoom range and high-quality images.

So you must ask yourself what you want to do with your photos. Their small sensor size is unimportant if you only want to publish them on Instagram . But it might be an issue if you want to print them out .

They’re also bulkier than compact cameras. And they can’t match the image quality of low-light cameras , APS-C, or full frame cameras  because of their smaller sensors .

What Are the Sensor Area Sizes of Bridge Cameras?

A superzoom has two sensor sizes:

  • 1/2.3-inch sensors (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • One-inch sensors (13.2 x 8.8 mm)

But this is a bit confusing. How can a fraction have 2.3 on the bottom? And why isn’t a one-inch sensor one-inch wide or long?

The answer is that those measurements refer to the external diameter of the cathode-ray tubes used in broadcast cameras.

The “sensitive area” of the tube is usually around two-thirds of the diameter. This gives us the diagonal of the one-inch sensor. It is 0.63 inches (15.9 mm)—or roughly two-thirds of an inch.

Technology has changed now. And what matters is the area size of the sensors .

The greater the sensor area is, the greater its light-collecting power. This means better image quality, dynamic range, and low-light capability.

How Do Bridge Camera Sensors and Full Frame Sensors Compare?

You might be in for a bit of a shock when we compare bridge camera sensors to full frame ones that are 24 x 36 mm:

  • A one-inch sensor is only around one-eighth the size of a full frame sensor (116 mm² v 864 mm²).
  • A 1/2.3-inch sensor is only around one-thirtieth the size (28mm² v 864mm²)!

The small sensor size might completely put you off bridge cameras. After all, what good is a VW Beetle compared to a Rolls-Royce?

But a bridge camera’s zoom lens is the big selling point. As long as you do not intend to put your pictures up on the walls of a gallery, there’s still plenty to appreciate.

Most bridge cameras, for example, can shoot 4K video. And a couple of Sony bridge cameras even offer eye detection. That’s not bad for the money you spend!

Comparison of sensor area sizes

Conclusion: Best Bridge Cameras

If you’re looking for the best bridge camera, your first job is to decide how important image quality is to you. That’s largely dependent on sensor size.

If you’re more worried about posting images to social media than printing them out, a small-sensor superzoom with a massive zoom range will suit your needs perfectly.

Try the Nikon Coolpix P1000 or P950 . On the other hand, if you want to make the most of a long zoom lens and prefer sharper images, try one of the Panasonic bridge cameras.

If you don’t mind spending more, the best superzoom camera may be the Sony RX10 IV . But our top pick is the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 . It blends affordability with features your phone can’t match!

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The Best Bridge Cameras in 2024 (Top 7 Picks)

Paul Skidmore

Editor’s Key Takeaways: Top 7 Bridge Cameras to Buy

Sony RX10 - one of the best bridge cameras.

Bridge cameras offer an excellent intermediary step between point-and-shoot cameras and more advanced DSLR or mirrorless models. These cameras are user-friendly, feature high-resolution sensors, and versatile zoom lenses, perfect for beginners looking to learn photography basics without feeling overwhelmed. Here is a summary of the seven best bridge cameras available in 2024:

  • Sony RX10 IV : Offers a 20.1 MP sensor and a 24-600mm lens with ZEISS Vario-Sonnar glass for excellent sharpness. Ideal for wildlife and sports photography, it boasts an impressive autofocus system and in-body image stabilization.
  • Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000M2 : Known for its high-resolution 20.1 MP sensor and 16x optical zoom. It comes with a 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S. and 4K photo/video features, making it a versatile choice.
  • Nikon COOLPIX P950 : Features an 83x optical zoom with Dual Detect Optical Vibration Reduction. It’s great for long-distance shots and offers substantial manual control options.
  • Canon PowerShot SX70 HS : Equipped with a 65x optical zoom and a 20.3 MP sensor. It supports 4K video recording and comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options.
  • Panasonic LUMIX FZ80K : Offers an 18.1 MP sensor and 60x optical zoom. It’s budget-friendly and supports 4K photo and video features.
  • Leica V-Lux 5 : Combines a 20 MP sensor with a 16x optical zoom. Renowned for its image quality, it also features 4K video and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder.
  • Nikon COOLPIX P1000 : Provides an unparalleled 125x optical zoom and a 16 MP sensor. It’s perfect for extreme telephoto shots and comes with Dual Detect Optical VR.

Each of these bridge cameras caters to various needs and budgets, offering users a good mix of easy operation and advanced features.

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Introduction

If you want to upgrade from a point-and-shoot camera but aren’t quite ready for a DSLR or mirrorless model, then a bridge camera is an excellent choice. These cameras are usually easier to operate than advanced models but still have great features such as high-resolution sensors and versatile zoom lenses.

With a bridge camera on hand, you can learn the basics of photography and eventually progress to more advanced techniques, but you’ll never feel overwhelmed. You won’t have to spend money on interchangeable lenses, either.

To help you get started, we’ve selected seven of the best bridge cameras available in 2024, including models that fit a variety of purposes and budgets.

Sony RX10 - one of the best bridge cameras.

7 Great Bridge Cameras to Buy in 2024:

1. Sony RX10 IV

Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV with 0.03 Second Auto-Focus & 25x Optical Zoom (DSC-RX10M4), Black

The Sony RX10 IV has fast autofocus so you can easily track moving subjects, and it also boasts image stabilization for low-light shooting.

Our favorite bridge camera is the Sony RX10 IV . It’s on the expensive side, but for the price, you gain a fantastic camera with a wealth of features. To start, the RX10 IV has a 20.1 MP sensor, which will allow you to capture high-quality images.

It also has great zoom capabilities thanks to the 24-600mm lens. The ZEISS Vario-Sonnar glass means you can expect outstanding sharpness, and the focal length is great if you want to pursue wildlife and sports photography.

Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV with 0.03 Second Auto-Focus & 25x Optical Zoom (DSC-RX10M4), Black

Don’t worry about tracking moving subjects, either; this bridge camera has a superb autofocus system. The 315 phase-detection points give you great accuracy, and you can focus on subjects in as little as 0.030 seconds. You should be able to photograph moving wildlife and people with relative ease.

The camera also boasts in-body image stabilization. As a result, even if you have unsteady hands or don’t have access to a tripod, you can capture sharp shots in low light. The RX10 IV is definitely a step up from previous models and offers plenty of versatility!

2. Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000M2

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II 20.1MP Digital Camera, 16x 25-400mm LEICA DC Lens, 4K Video, Optical Image Stabilizer and 3.0-inch Display – Point and Shoot Camera - DC-FZ1000M2 (Black)

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000M2 has an ergonomic design and a fully rotatable touchscreen so you can easily view photos and change settings.

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000M2 is one of the top bridge cameras on the market and is reasonably priced, too. If you want a cheaper alternative to the Sony RX10 IV that doesn’t sacrifice much, it’s a great option.

In terms of image quality, the FZ1000M2 has a 20.1 MP sensor that allows you to take beautiful RAW photos in every scenario. The optical image stabilization also means you can still use this camera handheld even if you’re unsteady.

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II 20.1MP Digital Camera, 16x 25-400mm LEICA DC Lens, 4K Video, Optical Image Stabilizer and 3.0-inch Display – Point and Shoot Camera - DC-FZ1000M2 (Black)

Regardless of the type of photography you want to specialize in, the 25-400mm Leica lens is perfect. At 25mm, you can take epic landscape shots; at 50mm, you can shoot portraits; and at 400mm, you should be able to capture gorgeous images of animals and distant objects.

The camera body is very ergonomic due to the textured grip on the right-hand side. The ease of use is enhanced by an LCD touchscreen display, which helps if you need to make quick settings changes or preview your photos in the field.

3. Nikon COOLPIX P950

Nikon VQA100EA COOLPIX P950, Black

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 has a 24-2000mm zoom lens so you can photograph distant animals in all their glory.

The Nikon COOLPIX range of cameras includes some excellent models, such as the superb Nikon COOLPIX P950 . This bridge camera sits in the midrange price bracket and offers one of the best zoom lenses available.

The lens’s effective focal length range is 24-2000mm, which means it’s ideal if you’re a wildlife enthusiast. At 2000mm, you can capture amazing fur and eye detail of various animals, so I certainly recommend the P950 for safaris and any other scenarios where you can’t get physically close to the wildlife.

Nikon VQA100EA COOLPIX P950, Black

It’s also a top option if you are unfamiliar with DSLR controls as it gives you a simple set of options and a rotatable LCD screen. Additionally, the textured grip and ergonomic shape make the camera easier to hold during those long hours spent shooting wildlife.

4. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen (Black)

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS gives you the chance to try out different photographic genres so you can really identify what interests you.

If you want an affordable camera to try before (potentially) upgrading to a mirrorless or DSLR model, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is a great choice.

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It’s an amazing PowerShot option and has a 21.1 MP CMOS sensor that gives you DSLR-quality files without the price tag. Combine this with the DIGIC 8 processor, and your photos will look consistently sharp and feature both superb contrast and gorgeous colors.

Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen (Black)

If you don’t know what type of photography you want to specialize in, the 21-1365mm optical zoom lens will give you plenty of creative freedom. You can try your hand at pretty much anything, from street photography and close-up portraits to wide-angle shots and abstract work.

5. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80K

Panasonic LUMIX 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, F2.8-5.9 Aperture, Power O.I.S. Stabilization, Touch Enabled 3-Inch LCD, Wi-Fi, DC-FZ80K (Black)

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ80K is a compact and lightweight bridge camera perfect for travel by plane or train.

If you want to upgrade from your basic point-and-shoot camera but aren’t quite ready to commit to something especially expensive, the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80K is certainly worth a look.

Panasonic LUMIX 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, F2.8-5.9 Aperture, Power O.I.S. Stabilization, Touch Enabled 3-Inch LCD, Wi-Fi, DC-FZ80K (Black)

The DC VARIO lens offers great optical quality, so you won’t have to use photo editing software to handle sharpness and distortion issues. The 20-1220mm focal length also gives you the flexibility to explore multiple photographic genres.

If you need to travel light and don’t have much room for a bulky camera and a handful of lenses, the lightweight body and compact design of this model will make a huge difference. You should easily be able to store the camera in your backpack or carry it at your side with a camera strap.

6. Leica V-Lux 5

Leica V-Lux 5 20MP Superzoom Digital Camera with 9.1-146mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Lens (Black)

The 12 FPS continuous shooting makes the V-Lux 5 a great choice for action and other fast-paced photography.

Leica is renowned for creating high-quality cameras, and the Leica V-Lux 5 is no exception. If you want something that will last for many years and can stand up to vigorous travel, the V-Lux 5 is a perfect pick.

The f/2.8 constant maximum aperture of the DC Vario-Elmarit lens gives you lots of creative freedom, and you should be able to produce professional bokeh effects . The wide aperture also makes it easy to capture sharp low-light photos, which will come in handy if you want to take stunning night street shots.

Leica V-Lux 5 20MP Superzoom Digital Camera with 9.1-146mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Lens (Black)

To make sure you don’t miss any action, this bridge camera has a continuous shooting rate of 12 FPS. You can set it to its continuous shooting mode, fire away, and confidently capture once-in-a-lifetime moments. This makes the V-Lux 5 a great camera for sports photography beginners (though you’ll also appreciate the fast shooting if you like to photograph events or wildlife).

7. Nikon COOLPIX P1000

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2

The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 has built-in image stabilization and can record beautiful 4K video, so it’s the perfect option for a budding content creator.

The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 has the longest focal length of any bridge camera, which makes it an amazing option for telephoto photography . There is some softening at the extreme focal lengths, but the detail you can capture is amazing. You can photograph animals and people from a safe and respectful distance due to the 3000mm of reach.

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera with 3.2

You can also work with video as the P1000 records in 4K and has built-in image stabilization. As a result, you can track actors and objects and still keep your framing steady as you capture high-quality footage.

Plus, this camera boasts outstanding ergonomics. You get a very nice grip so your hand doesn’t get tired after shooting for hours on end, and the shutter button is perfectly placed. The P1000 also includes a fully articulating screen, so you can keep track of your framing even as you record vlogs!

Use a New Bridge Camera to Improve Your Photography

As you can see, there are some superb bridge cameras that’ll give you a gentle introduction to photography while allowing you to develop your skills and eventually use advanced techniques. But which model is best for you?

If you want to specialize in wildlife or action photography, bridge cameras with a large zoom lens like the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 and the Nikon COOLPIX P950 are fantastic options.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer a midrange zoom lens for more conventional shooting, models like the Sony RX10 IV , the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000M2 , and the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS are all excellent picks.

Best Bridge Camera FAQ

Are bridge cameras good for beginners.

Yes! If you only have a small amount of experience with photography, a bridge camera can be a great way to learn more.

What is a bridge camera good for?

That depends on the model. However, the best bridge cameras are usually versatile and can be used for various types of photography, including wildlife, portrait, and landscape shooting.

Which is better, DSLRs or bridge cameras?

That depends on your needs! Bridge cameras are easier to use, while DSLRs usually offer better image quality and more advanced features.

Disclosure/Disclaimer : As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Certain content was provided "as is" from Amazon and is subject to change or removal at any time. Product prices and availability: Amazon prices are updated daily or are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

A seasoned content creator at PhotoWorkout, Paul merges his love for traveling and photography to craft insightful articles. With a solid grasp of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, he enjoys testing new photo software, apps, and gear. His background in web development further enriches his photography endeavors. Connect with him on LinkedIn .

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The best travel camera for 2024: the finest choices for your adventures

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  • Best small full-frame
  • Best hybrid vlogger

Best for moving subjects

  • Best superzoom

How to choose

  • How we test

Sony A6700 on an orange background

1. The list in brief 2. Best for most people 3. Best compact 4. Best-looking 5. Best action 6. Best tough 7. Best premium compact 8. Best small full-frame 9. Best hybrid travel vlogger 10. Best for moving subjects 11. Best superzoom bridge 12. How to choose 13. How we test

We’re often asked about the best travel camera, but the answer depends on what you plan to do with it. Adventurous travellers might want a rugged action camera; a city break will demand a discreet device that shoots sharp and steady handheld. There's no one size fits all and that’s why we’ve tested a wide range of travel cameras. In our round-up below, you’ll find everything from premium compacts to mirrorless hybrids – all ranked by our expert team.

After countless hours on the road, we think the best option for most people is the OM System OM-5. Thanks to a Micro Four Thirds sensor, it’s usefully portable. It’s also weatherproof and shoots better images than a smartphone, while offering the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. That said, we know it might not be the right choice for every traveller.

We recommend reading through our whole guide, to get a full picture of the best travel cameras you can buy right now. We’ve reviewed each model in the real world, to see how well it stacks up when shooting on the move. We assess factors such as handling, image stabilization and battery life, as well as image quality and autofocus performance. By listing the positives and negatives of each option, as well as who we think it’s best for, we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible to find your ideal travel camera. If compact size is your number one criteria, it's also worth checking out our best compact cameras guide. 

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor, with over 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related. Tim notes: "There's no one-size fits all travel camera, but all of the options recommended here share a few key traits: each is relatively portable, handles well while on the move and is capable of producing impressive holiday photos."

The quick list

If you don’t have time to read our full list of the best travel cameras, use the summary for a quick overview of to the top options for your needs and budget. If you find one that takes your fancy, use the links to jump to our full write-up.

OM System OM-5 mirrorless camera on a white background

The best travel camera overall

Squeezing a host of features into a compact, weatherproof body that’s compatible with a range of lenses, the OM-5 is the ideal travel camera.

Read more below

Ricoh GR III

The best compact travel camera

If you want a camera that slips in your pocket but has smartphone-beating image quality, then the GR IIIx is well worth a look.

Nikon Z fc camera on a white background

The best-looking travel camera

Don’t be fooled by its lovely retro looks: the Nikon Z fc is every bit the modern travel camera, with a useful touchscreen and top image quality.

GoPro Hero 12 Black

The best action camera for travel

With superlative stabilization and a useful 8:9 sensor for sharing videos to social, this is the best action camera for capturing intrepid travels.

OM System Tough TG-7

The best tough travel camera

When travels get tough, you need a camera that can keep up – which is where the rugged TG-7 comes into its own, with a hardcore build and simple interface.

Fujifilm X100VI compact camera on a white background

The best premium compact

With a large sensor, 23mm focal length and small form factor, the X100VI is a powerful tool for street photography on your travels.

Load the next 4 products...

Sony A7C R on a white background

The best small full-frame camera

Combining a small form factor with a high-res 61MP sensor and fantastic autofocus, the Sony A7C R is the best full-frame camera for travel photography.

Fujifilm X-S20 camera on a white background

The best hybrid for travel vlogging

A capable sensor and automated settings, including a Vlogging mode, make the Fujifilm X-S20 an accessible tool for stills and video on the go.

Sony A6700 mirrorless camera on a white background

The best for moving subjects

The compact A6700 uses AI-powered autofocus to reliably snap on to animals, insects, cars and more. The Fuji X-S20 is better for video, though.

Sony RX10 IV camera on a white background

The best superzoom camera

Even with a 1-inch sensor, the Sony RX10 IV delivers sharp stills and video, with the added versatility of a generous 24-600mm zoom range.

The best travel cameras in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best travel cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The OM System OM-5 camera sitting on a tree branch

1. OM System OM-5

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

✅ You want a robust travel camera: Light enough to travel with but tough enough to deal with bad weather, the OM-5 is a ruggedly dependable camera.

✅ You shoot handheld a lot: The OM-5 has excellent image stabilization for stills, meaning you can cross a tripod off your packing list.

❌ You want the best image quality: Its Micro Four Thirds sensor is decent enough, but some rivals offer more pixels and better low light performance.

❌ You have large hands: Handling is surprisingly good for a small camera, but the grip is not very deep, especially for those with bigger hands.

The OM-5 is only a relatively minor update of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III , but its combination of talents make it an ideal travel camera in our book – particularly if you want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. It shoehorns a lot of features into a compact, weatherproof body that's compatible with a wealth of equally small lenses. Most of its skills, including excellent in-body image stabilization and computational photography modes, are also designed with travelers and adventurers in mind.

Our tests found that the OM-5 delivers excellent video and stills quality for its size, helped by a stabilization system (good for 6.5-stops of compensation) that gives you a high hit-rate of keepers. We also enjoyed the high-quality feel of the camera's dials, as well as in-camera software tricks, like Live ND and in-camera focus stacking, which are ideal for macro shots or blurring skies for an ethereal effect. Less good are the fairly average EVF resolution, 4K /30p limit for video and relative limitations of its smaller sensor, but these are all acceptable trade-offs considering this camera's size and price.

Read our in-depth OM System OM-5 review

  • ^ Back to the top

A hand holding the Ricoh GR IIIx camera

2. Ricoh GR IIIx

✅ You go on city breaks: It's small and discreet for city photography, where its poor battery life and less than desirable build quality aren't so much of an issue.

✅ You want smartphone-beating picture quality: Being a niche camera is the GR IIIx's strength: its large sensor and sharp lens, together with gorgeous color profiles, make picture taking a joyful experience.

❌ You want a powerful zoom: The GR IIIx's lens is fixed, which means it's sharp but it can't zoom in on distant action and landmarks.

❌ You shoot video a lot: With a basic video spec of just FHD video and mono audio, the GR IIIx is a photography first camera way behind today's smartphones for video recording.

If you'd rather a truly pocketable camera with excellent image quality for city breaks over a rugged shooter for outdoorsy adventures, then the Ricoh GR IIIx is one of our top picks. It packs a larger APS-C sensor, the kind you get on much bigger cameras like DSLRs, and a fixed 40mm f/2.8 lens capable of pin sharp photos. It's a particularly popular camera with street photographers, and one of the few true compact cameras still being manufactured in 2024, thanks to some smartphone-beating features. 

You get a handy macro photography mode, clever snap focus setting for preset focus distances, and some lovely color profiles and in-camera photo editing – you might just discover a love for black and white photography with the GR IIIx. The 40mm lens is a versatile focal length for every day photography offering a similar perspective to the portrait lens on your phone, while the Ricoh GR III alternative has a wider 28mm lens and a similar field of view to your smartphone's main camera. 

The GR IIIx isn't perfect: there's no built-in flash, battery life is poor, the touchscreen is fixed and it won't stand up to rigorous treatment. However, you're making those compromizes to obtain what is the best image quality of any camera this small, and for city breaks its weaknesses aren't so much of an issue.  

Read our in-depth Ricoh GR IIIx review

The Nikon Z fc, one of the best travel cameras, camera on a park bench

3. Nikon Z fc

✅ You care about camera design: From the retro dials to the circular viewfinder, the Nikon Z fc channels classic style to fantastic effect.

✅ You like manual exposure control: Dedicated dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, complemented by a lens control ring, give excellent manual control.

❌ You need a wide choice of lenses: There are only a handful of Z-series kit lenses designed for the APS-C format, limiting your options for expansion.

❌ You want a rugged camera: Although it looks like the sturdy FM2, the Z fc isn’t weather-sealed, so it’s not one to take on rainy adventures.

Travel photography is all about capturing memories and Nikon’s Z fc fully embraces the concept of nostalgia: it’s a stunning homage to the 30-year-old Nikon FM2 – complete with retro styling, dimensions and dials. Despite the throwback design, it’s a very modern camera inside, sharing many of its specs with the capable Nikon Z50. While some photographers might wish for a full-frame sensor, the Z fc’s APS-C number does a stellar job of capturing stills and 4K video, aided by reliable tracking autofocus. Our tests found that its 20.9MP sensor had an excellent handle on noise, especially under ISO 800, while dynamic range was impressive.

Its vari-angle touchscreen is also a brilliant addition, making it easy to frame travel selfies – or folding away completely for a leather-back look that lets you pretend it's the Eighties. The Nikon Z fc isn’t as sturdy as the camera that inspired it (there’s no weatherproofing, for example), but it’s still a beautifully unique camera for casual use. And with dedicated dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, plus a customizable lens ring, it’s also an easy one to control on the go.

Read our in-depth Nikon Z fc review

A photo of the GoPro Hero 12 Black

4. GoPro Hero 12 Black

✅ You want a rugged travel camera: Waterproof down to 10m, the GoPro Hero 12 Black is a great choice for capturing action-packed travels.

✅ You plan to share on social: The 8:7 aspect ratio of its sensor gives you lots of flexibility to crop footage for social, including vertical videos.

❌ You plan to shoot in low light: Its 1/1.9in sensor shoots sharp footage, but it still struggles with noise handling in lower lighting conditions.

❌ You want a hybrid for stills: While the sensor can shoot 27MP stills, you’ll get a better photography experience from a standard alternative.

If you're looking for a high resolution action camera for your travels that's as comfortable shooting smooth videos as it is crisp photos, then the GoPro Hero 12 Black tops the bill. It was an underwhelming update of the Hero 11 Black, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because that camera was already highly capable. There's the same 1/1.9in sensor with versatile 8:9 aspect ratio – you can reframe footage for different social channels without sacrificing quality, and its max resolution of 5.3K/60p beats the DJI Osmo Action 4. You can capture dramatic TimeWarps at the full 5.3K resolution, shoot photo sequences as a rapid 30fps, and pull 24.7MP stills from 5.3K video.

Design-wise, there's no change to the Hero 11 Black, the two rugged models are physically identical and come with a large Enduro battery as standard, giving more time between recharges on the road. The same interface lets you tweak the user experience, with ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ modes to suit your skill level. Superior Horizon Lock and HyperSmooth 5.0 smarts do a remarkable job of stabilizing handheld video. Minor updates from the Hero 11 Black are mainly for pros, including flat Log color profiles, 10-bit video, and multi-channel audio capabilities. For most people however, there's little reason to upgrade or to pick the Hero 12 Black over its predecessor which could save you a little money. 

Read our in-depth hands-on GoPro Hero 12 Black review

A guide light accessory on the OM System Tough TG-7 camera

5. OM System Tough TG-7

✅ You want a hardcore camera: With a case that’s waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, the OM System Tough TG-7 is built to take a beating.

✅ You like a simple interface: Premium features include RAW shooting and 4K video, but the camera itself is easy to operate, even in tricky conditions.

❌ You want the best image quality: Results from the 1/2.3in sensor are fine, but the TG-7 tends to overexpose, and detail is lost at the telephoto end.

❌ You like using a viewfinder: The Tough TG-7 doesn’t have a viewfinder, and the 3-inch LCD screen has limited visibility in bright sunlight.

Tough cameras like the TG-6 are freeze-proof, shockproof and waterproof and can therefore be used in scenarios that you simply wouldn't consider with your phone or expensive camera, and for that reason the TG-7 is still one of the best travel cameras you can buy. Its industrial design feels reassuringly rugged, while large buttons make it convenient to operate beneath the waves or while wearing gloves, plus its 3-inch LCD display offers decent visibility in most conditions. 

We found image quality to be reasonable for a camera with a 1/2.3-inch sensor, with nice, rich colors – although there was a tendency to overexpose and blow out highlights. An equivalent zoom range of 25-100mm is fair, plus the inclusion of 4K video and raw shooting enhance flexibility. Its image quality might not match your phone for regular photos, but the TG-7 will allow you to be capturing extreme travel memories when you otherwise couldn't, plus there's a range of useful accessories such as a ring light for close up photography. 

Read our in-depth OM System Tough TG-7 review

Front of the Fujifilm X100VI reflected in glass table

6. Fujifilm X100VI

✅ You're exploring the city: With a fixed 23mm f/2 lens, Fujifilm's best autofocus, tilt screen and hybrid viewfinder, the X100V is a fantastic choice for street photography.

✅ You want a premium camera: From its retro design to its metal body, the X100V feels well-made and looks the business.

❌ You don’t want a fixed focal length: The 23mm lens is fantastic, but some users will find it limiting, especially if you value the ability to zoom.

❌ You’re on a tight budget: The X100VI is a popular but niche premium camera, and its increased price will put it out of budget for many.

We'd class the Fujifilm X100VI as a niche premium compact camera, but the range is more popular than ever. The sixth-generation model keeps all that users have grown to love about the X100 series: sharp fixed lens, large sensor, retro design, and unique hybrid viewfinder. But it also builds on the X100V with a higher-resolution 40MP sensor and in-body image stabilization. The result is a significantly more versatile camera, for example the digital teleconverter can crop into the full image for 50mm (at 20MP) and 70mm (at 10MP) focal length looks, while stablization lets you shoot slower shutter speeds in low light.  

Other key improvements over the X100V include more detailed 6K video and Fujifilm's best-ever autofocus that includes advanced subject detection for photo and video. You can rely on the X100VI as a discreet everyday camera to document the world around, especially your travels, and it comes with 20 film simulation color profiles inspired by actual Fujifilm 35mm film that you can customize with recipes to develop your own style. 

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X100VI review

Sony A7C R camera outside on a wooden table

7. Sony A7C R

✅ You want the sharpest stills: With a 61MP full-frame sensor, you won’t get sharper travel snaps from any other camera in this list.

✅ You want a small, powerful camera: Despite the full-frame sensor inside, the A7C R is very compact and fits neatly in the hand.

❌ You value good handling: The small design has drawbacks, including a compromised viewfinder and absent AF joystick.

❌ You plan to use big lenses: Its compact proportions mean the Sony A7C R is mismatched with larger telephoto lenses.

By combining a small, travel-friendly form factor with a 61MP full frame sensor and fantastic autofocus, Sony has created arguably the ultimate travel camera. Successor to the Sony A7C – already one of our favorite travel photography tools – and announced alongside the A7C II , the A7C R fits nicely in the hand, while a flip screen and new dials offer welcome control.

Equipped with Sony’s top-grade autofocus and AI-powered subject tracking, the A7C R can cleverly and reliably track a broad range of subjects. You won’t find a better full frame sensor, either: borrowed from the A7R V , it captures stunning, pin-sharp stills in all conditions. Cropping potential is vast, and video footage is decent too.

There are trade-offs, though. In testing, we found that the A7C R’s compact proportions come with handling compromises, especially compared to the traditional design of the A7R V. The viewfinder feels small and fiddly, and we wish Sony had included an AF joystick. It’s also not a camera to pair with large telephoto lenses. But the real kicker is the cost: it’s significantly more expensive than the A7C II. That premium means it’s only a camera to consider if you need absolutely the best possible image quality on your travels.

Read our in-depth Sony A7C R review

Fujifilm X-S20 camera in hand

8. Fujifilm X-S20

✅ You value longevity: The X-S20 has double the battery life of the X-S10, making it a great choice for long days of travel photography.

✅ You shoot video, too: Capturing sharp 26MP stills and 6K/30p open gate video, the Fujifilm X-S20 is a true mirrorless hybrid.

❌ You need weather proofing: Build quality of the X-S20 is good, but you’re better off with the Sony A6700 if you need a weatherproof camera.

❌ You have a limited budget: Its additional features come at the cost of a steep price hike compared to the Fujifilm X-S10, which makes it a harder sell.

Channelling everything we liked about the X-S10 – including a compact, well-balanced body – the Fujifilm X-S20 cements its position as a fantastic mirrorless cameras for travel. It handles comfortably, with simplified dials making it accessible for beginners. In testing, we found new novice-friendly features – such as a dedicated Vlogging mode – also make the X-S20 a forgiving camera for touring first-timers.

The X-S20 is blessed with a proven shooting system, utilising the same 26.1MP sensor as the X-S10 and X-T4 to produce quality stills. It also eases the way for beginners with an automatic scene detection mode, which harnesses the power of Fuji’s latest X-Processor 5 to reliably choose the correct settings. From our first impressions, it works better than the automatic subject tracking, which was a little hit and miss.

With 6K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal video recording also on offer, plus in-body image stabilization that worked well in testing, the Fujifilm X-S20 is a solid option for content creators on the move. The lack of weather-sealing will discourage adventurous travellers, while the price tag means it isn’t one to leave in an unattended bag. But at just 26g heavier than its predecessor, the X-S20 is a very capable all-rounder for travel.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-S20 review

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

9. Sony A6700

✅ You want a capable travel hybrid: A sharp APS-C sensor, five-axis stabilization and AI autofocus make the A6700 a great all-rounder to take on the road.

✅ You like to get hands-on: A more ergonomic grip and lots of direct-access buttons make the A6700 a nice camera to handle and use.

❌ You shoot mostly video: The A6700 can record sharp video, but there’s a heavy 1.6x crop on 4K/120p slow-mo and Active SteadyShot stabilization isn’t the best.

❌ You like simple menus: The interface on the A6700 has quite a learning curve, and it can be tricky to navigate when shooting out and about.

It's a close-run thing between the Sony A6700 and the Fujifilm X-S20 above, but if you shoot a lot of moving subjects then the Sony should be your choice. Like the Fuji, it has a 26MP APS-C sensor and comes in a compact, travel-friendly form. And like the Fuji, it's a genuine hybrid, offering decent video options to go with its stills prowess. But there are some key differences.

First, the good: the A6700 has the same AI-powered chipset as the far more expensive Sony A7R V , and this helps it deliver incredible subject tracking; seriously, this camera will lock on to humans, animals, insects, cars, trains, aircraft and more, then follow them unerringly around the frame. However, its video chops aren't as impressive as those of the Fuji. 4K 120p slow-mo footage is subjected to a heavy 1.6x crop, while the five-axis stabilization doesn't work as well when filming as it does when shooting stills. The complex menu system also leaves something to be desired.

Still, it handles well, has a great battery and would make an excellent all-rounder for your next trip - so long as you're slightly more focused on images than video.

Read our in-depth Sony A6700 review

Sony RX10 IV, one of the best travel cameras, being used by someone

10. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

✅ You like to zoom in: With a sharp, fast 24-600mm, the RX100 IV offers fantastic versatility to capture a range of subjects on your travels.

✅ You want an all-in-one option: The RX100 IV is a high-end bridge camera with a big zoom range, high-quality EVF and capable AF system.

❌ You want a small camera: While it ticks most of the boxes for travel photography, the RX100 IV is bigger and heavier than many rivals.

❌ You like a slick touchscreen: Its tilting touchscreen is a useful addition, but you can’t use it to navigate menus or swipe through images.

In terms of offering something for everybody, the RX10 IV ticks a lot of boxes. It's like having a bag full of lenses, but with the benefit of never having to change them. There's a very long zoom (going all the way from 24-600mm), while the maximum aperture is pretty wide throughout the lens. 

The RX10 IV's sensor might not be as a large as the ones you'll find on a mirrorless camera or DSLR, but Sony's 20.1MP one-inch chip proved itself to be very capable in our tests. Noise was well-controlled, and you'd have no problem making an A3 print from one of its files (particularly if you shoot at under ISO 800). 

You also get 24fps shooting, cracking 4K video quality and handling to rival a DSLR. The major downside? The high price – if your budget is tighter, don't forget about this camera's predecessor, the RX10 III .

Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review

How to choose the best travel camera for you

Picking the right travel camera can be trickier than finding affordable flights. You’ll want a shooting tool that’s compact enough to conveniently carry on your travels, yet still capable of capturing sharp stills and stable video of your jet-setting adventures.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing your ideal travel camera. Among the most important is size. While pocketable compacts offer convenience, the quality of your travel snaps will be boosted by the bigger sensors of larger mirrorless models.

If your adventures are likely to involve going off the beaten track, it’s worth considering a travel camera with rugged credentials. This could be one of the best action cameras , such as the GoPro Hero 11 Black – perfect if you plan to shoot quick, slick travel clips. Or it could be a sturdy compact such as the Olympic TG-6, which is one of the best waterproof cameras .

It’s also worth thinking about what subjects you might be shooting on your trip. A long zoom range will be handy on safari , while something light and fast is better for capturing street snaps on a city break. Travel compacts, such as the Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200, usually use a zoom lens to cover a range of shooting scenarios. Interchangeable lens cameras like the Fujifilm X-T30 II can similarly offer the flexibility of both worlds, but only if you’re happy to travel with extra barrels in your backpack.

Fujifilm X-S20 camera in hand

Which type of camera is best for traveling?

Travel cameras come in a range of shapes and sizes. Which style is best for you will depend on how you like to travel, what you like to shoot and how much gear you’re willing to cart around.

Travel zoom compacts such as the Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 are pocket friendly, yet offer a broad scope for capturing a range of subjects. Thanks to generous zoom ranges, they give you the opportunity to get close to the action, or to shoot wide. The trade-off for having all of this flexibility in a compact body is generally a smaller sensor, which is less useful for shooting in low light.

If you’d like neat proportions but don’t need the versatility of a zoom lens, premium compact cameras could be worth considering. Models such as the Fujifilm X100V sacrifice zoom range in favour of larger sensors that are better at gathering light – usually a one-inch or, in the case of the X100V, an APS-C chip.

Between compacts and mirrorless cameras is where you’ll find bridge cameras. Bulkier than a standard compact, they offer more comfortable handling and a large zoom range, but without the need to carry different lenses. New bridge cameras are increasingly rare, but the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV remains a great example.

If you don’t mind traveling with multiple lenses, many of the best mirrorless cameras have been specifically designed with travel in mind. In the case of models like the OM System OM-5 , that means a portable, weatherproof body, useful image stabilization for shooting on the move, plus a versatile Micro Four Thirds sensor that balances size and performance. And with lots of different lenses to choose from, you can pack different optics depending on the type of trip you’re taking – or opt for a reliable all-round option.

Is a DSLR or mirrorless camera better for travel photography?

When it comes to travel photography, most photographers look for a balance between portability and performance. If this is the combination you’re after, mirrorless cameras will almost aways have the edge over their DSLR rivals. Mirrorless models are generally smaller and lighter than DSLRs, making them easier to wield and travel with.

Despite their more compact proportions, many of the best mirrorless travel cameras can also match or outclass DSLR cameras when it comes to image quality, as well as autofocus abilities and video features. This makes them versatile tools for shooting on the move, especially if you choose a model with in-body image stabilization for sharp handheld results. If you pick a mirrorless camera with an established lens mount system, you’ll also find no shortage of glass to pack for your trip.

That said, there are reasons why you might still want to consider a DSLR camera for travel. Some photographers prefer the chunkier ergonomic grip for which the DSLR format is famous, especially if they plan on shooting for hours on end. The best DSLR cameras also offer superlative battery life, which can be useful if your travel plans include days away from electricity.

Budget might also be a factor, especially if you’re concerned about taking an expensive camera on your travels. Older DSLR cameras can offer great value, as can second-hand mirrorless models. It’s also worth looking at our round-up of the best cheap cameras , which includes some options that are a good fit for travel photography.

  • Read our in-depth DSLR vs Mirrorless comparison

OM System OM-5

How we test travel cameras

Buying a camera these days is a big investment, and travel cameras are no different – so every camera in this guide has been tested extensively by us. For travel cameras in particular, real-world tests are the most revealing way to understand a camera's performance and character, so we focus heavily on those, along with standardized tests for factors like ISO performance.

To start with, we look at the camera's design, handling and controls to get a sense of how suitable it is for life on the road, and any particular features that might be particularly useful for globe-trotters. When we take it out on a shoot, we'll use it both handheld and on a tripod to get a sense of where its strengths lie, and test its startup speed.

When it comes to performance, we use a formatted SD card and shoot in both raw and JPEG (if available). For burst shooting tests, we dial in our regular test settings (1/250 sec, ISO 200, continuous AF) and shoot a series of frames in front of a stopwatch to see if it lives up to its claimed speeds. We'll also look at how quickly the buffers clears and repeat the test for both raw and JPEG files.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

In various lighting conditions, we also test the camera's different autofocus modes (including Face and Eye AF) in single point, area and continuous modes. We also shoot a range of photos of different styles (portrait, landscape, low light, macro/close-up) in raw and JPEG to get a sense of metering and its sensor's ability to handle noise and resolve fine detail.

If the camera's raw files are supported by Adobe Camera Raw, we'll also process some test images to see how we can push areas like shadow recovery. And we'll also test its ISO performance across the whole range to get a sense of the levels we'd be happy to push the camera to.

Battery life is tested in a real-world fashion, as we use the camera over the course of the day with the screen set to the default settings. Once the battery has reached zero, we'll then count the number of shots to see how it compares to the camera's CIPA rating. Finally, we test the camera's video skills by shooting some test footage at different frame-rates and resolutions, along with its companion app.

We then take everything we've learned about the camera and factor in its price to get a sense of the value-for-money it offers, before reaching our final verdict.

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Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other. 

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travel bridge camera

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The Best Bridge Cameras for 2024

Bridge cameras look like slrs, but feature fixed, long zoom lenses. they're a worthy choice for photographers who want a zoom range that would otherwise require carrying several lenses along with an slr. these are the best bridge cameras we've reviewed..

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

Leica V-Lux 5

Leica V-Lux 5

Nikon Coolpix P950

Nikon Coolpix P950

Many people still refer to big superzoom  cameras  as  bridge  models. It's a vestigial term from the days when companies marketed them to people who wanted to upgrade from a pocket-friendly point-and-shoot (which, at the time, had limited zoom ranges) but weren't ready to invest in interchangeable lenses. The idea was that these cameras would bridge that gap, and perhaps encourage those same photographers to eventually move up to a pricier SLR.

Nowadays, the term makes less sense, but like many nicknames, it has stuck around. And although there are fewer options available than in the heyday of digital compacts—you can thank smartphone cameras for that—there are still quality options from trusted brands on sale.

Bridge cameras with smaller image sensors boast incredibly long zoom ranges, getting you closer to the action than phones with 5x power (around 120mm equivalent) lenses like the iPhone 15 Pro Max , Pixel 8 Pro , and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra . Meanwhile, bridge cams with Type 1 sensors limit zoom power but run circles around smartphones and ultra-zoom cams when it comes to picture quality.

Below are our top picks for the category, along with everything you need to know before you buy.

You Can Trust Our Reviews

Deeper dive: our top tested picks, why we picked it.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is our favorite bridge camera available today. Its lens covers a wide range and we like both the automatic and manual control options. This reasonably priced camera also boasts snappy autofocus, sharp photo quality, and a 4K recording option. Our major complaint is that the camera is hard to find at retail as of this writing—Canon has struggled to keep it in stock, so you may have to wait to buy it.

Who It's For

This is a good pick for family photographers, backyard wildlife watchers, naturalists, and others who want to snap everything from a view of Horseshoe Bend to a close-up of a bird snacking away at a feeder. It's a worthwhile upgrade in zoom power over a smartphone and isn't nearly as expensive or complicated to use as a swappable-lens model.

  • 65x zoom lens.
  • Vari-angle LCD.
  • Excellent EVF.
  • 10fps bursts.
  • Raw image capture.
  • 4K video with mic input.
  • Strong ergonomics.
  • Not great in dim light.
  • Omits accessory shoe and 24fps video.
  • 4K not available in all modes.
  • Not a good choice for fast action.

Sony invented the Type 1 bridge camera with the original RX10. The fourth-generation model emphasizes performance with a 24-600mm F2.4-4 zoom lens, a 20MP Type 1 sensor, and phase detection focus for 24fps subject tracking. A dust- and splash-resistant build, sharp EVF, and a decent number of physical controls help support its premium price.

The RX10 IV makes a lot of sense for nature and wildlife photogs who value a light kit or who simply don't want to spend a fortune on telephoto lenses. If you want a travel camera with picture quality that keeps up with the computational wizardry of the latest smartphones, this won't disappoint.

  • 25x zoom lens.
  • Large 1-inch sensor.
  • Phase detect autofocus.
  • 24fps Raw capture with tracking.
  • Dust- and splash-resistant design.
  • Touch LCD and EVF.
  • Top info LCD.
  • 4K video and 1080p slow-motion.
  • Very expensive.
  • No in-lens neutral density filter.
  • Hood blocks flash at wide angles.
  • Can't start a video when still buffer is in use.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II costs a bit more than entry-level models, but its 20MP Type 1 image sensor outputs much better images. The 25-400mm F2.8-4 zoom lens offers enough range for most subjects short of songbirds, too. Raw format imaging, 4K video support, and a sharp EVF round out the features.

Creators who can't stomach the price of the Sony RX10 IV should appreciate that this Panasonic model offers similar image quality from the same type of image sensor. That said, outdoor photographers are still better off with the weather-protected Sony or the FZ300 (for less).

  • 16x zoom lens.
  • 1-inch image sensor.
  • Vari-angle touch LCD.
  • Large, crisp EVF.
  • Quick autofocus.
  • Omits dust and splash protection.
  • Not as well built as some competitors.

The mid-level Panasonic FZ300 has a bright F2.8 zoom lens, an ample 25-600mm range, and a weather-resistant build. It's one of the few weather-ready compacts available and should appeal to creators who often work outdoors in nature. Picture quality is at the smartphone level and doesn't benefit from computational assists, but the low maximum aperture enables strong image quality in dim light.

We recommend this camera to outdoor photographers who want a more affordable (but still weather-protected) alternative to the Sony RX10 IV with just as much zoom range. The Type 1/2.3 sensor stacks up well with many other fixed-lens bridge models, while the F2.8 optics helps in overcast conditions. We also like the FZ300 for family photographers and some enthusiasts who need something with better build quality than the FZ80.

  • 24x zoom lens with f/2.8 aperture.
  • All-weather build.
  • Vari-angle touch-screen display.
  • Very fast autofocus.
  • 12.4fps burst shooting.
  • Strong high ISO images for its class.
  • Large-sensor superzooms offer better image quality.
  • Zoom range isn't as ambitious as others.

The V-Lux 5 is simply an upscale version of the Panasonic FZ1000 II with Leica's red dot logo and slightly different menus. Style-conscious buyers simply get the right to say they own a Leica.

Leicaphiles who want a bridge camera should look to the V-Lux 5. It takes sharp photos, offers a 25-400mm zoom range, and rolls 4K video, too. At around $1,600, it costs twice as much as the FZ1000 II, however, so most people should pick the Panasonic instead.

  • Articulating touch LCD.
  • Big, sharp EVF.
  • Fast 4K video and mic input.
  • Premium price.
  • Omits weather protection.

Nikon's second-generation 83x zoom camera, the Coolpix P950, is a refinement of the P900. This model is more responsive, adds Raw photo and 4K video support, and boasts a better burst mode. The lens, which covers a staggering 24-2,000mm range, is the real star; it zooms in further than almost every other camera, a plus if you're trying to get pictures of distant subjects, while still offering wide angle coverage in line with standard zoom lenses and the main lens on many smartphones.

Wildlife specialists who need more zoom power than most swappable lens models offer are sure to see the appeal of the P950. It's not much bigger than a consumer SLR, but it gets tight views without an arm-sized lens. You won't get the same type of picture quality as you can with an interchangeable lens camera and dedicated telezoom, but you'll won't have to carry as much weight or spend as much money to get there. Even so, the P950 is more of a niche camera for enthusiasts than a family camera, If you're after the latter, don't forget about the Canon SX70 HS.

  • 83x zoom lens
  • Strong image stabilization
  • Manual controls
  • Raw imaging and 4K video
  • EVF and vari-angle LCD
  • Mic input and accessory shoe
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Autofocus struggles with small and fast-moving subjects
  • LCD doesn't support touch
  • Larger and heavier than competitors

Buying Guide: The Best Bridge Cameras for 2024

Small sensor, big zoom.

Some bridge cameras pack the same size sensor as pocket  point-and-shoots  and premium smartphones. You won't see a significant jump in image quality compared with a pocket model, but you can still enjoy zoom ratios above 50x. Our favorite model, the Canon SX70 HS, sports a 65x lens that covers an ultra-wide (21mm) to an extremely narrow telephoto (1,365mm) angle. It also sets itself apart from many pocket models and smartphones by offering Raw capture, a reliable optical stabilization system, and an electronic viewfinder. Just note that many of Canon's compact cameras, including the SX70 HS, sporadically go out of stock, a lingering reminder of supply chain challenges. It might not be available when you check the link, but we recommend waiting for it.

travel bridge camera

You can go longer when it comes to zoom—the Nikon P950's 83x zoom lens covers a 24-2,000mm range—but image quality at the extreme telephoto isn't as good as it is at wider angles, and the autofocus system struggles with tiny, quick subjects (like athletes on a far-away sports field).

Nikon also sells the P1000 , with a one-of-a-kind 24-3,000mm (125x) lens, Raw image capture, and 4K video recording. It's huge, heavy, and pricey, so it's not a camera for everyone. It's also hard to find at retail. Some rumor sites have reported it as discontinued, but a Nikon representative tells us that it's just on back order. If you really want a P1000, you need to put in an order and wait patiently.

Going in the other direction in terms of zoom power, the Panasonic FZ300's lens offers a mere 24x lens (25-600mm), but it maintains an f/2.8 aperture throughout the entire range, and features one of the best EVFs in its class, along with a weatherproof design and 4K video capture. It's also one of the more affordable bridge options, you can get it new for around $500.

Big Sensor, Shorter Zoom

Sony started putting Type 1 sensors into cameras in 2012 with the pocketable  RX100 . It didn't take long for it to follow with the RX10. Sony has streamlined the family down to one model, the high-end RX10 IV. Its 24-600mm F2.4-4 zoom lens is one of the best we've seen in any bridge model, and it sports dust and splash protection. It's expensive, but it backs the price up with speedy autofocus and 20MP Raw capture at a decent 24fps pace. It also beats smaller sensor models for low light. If you're after a camera you can take into concerts that don't allow swappable lens cams , it's a good one to get.

travel bridge camera

Other Type 1 models to consider include the FZ1000 II and Leica V-Lux 5. They're the same camera inside, but the V-Lux matches other Leicas in design and comes with a longer warranty. Both have lenses that cover a 25-400mm range; that's a little short for some wildlife, but great for an outing at the zoo and trips to the ballpark.

Choosing the Right Bridge Camera

The bridge camera that's best for you depends on your budget, your image quality demands, and just how much zoom range you want. Our top pick for backyard wildlife spotters and family vacationers is the Canon SX70 HS. It has an ultra-wide lens that's ideal for landscapes and snapshots in front of famous landmarks, as well as enough zoom power to snap a shot of a songbird dining at your feeder. But it has limitations—it's not the best tool for working in dim light, doesn't offer weather protection, and can't reliably focus on fast-moving subjects.

travel bridge camera

More serious photographers—or families that don't mind spending a bit more for better image quality—should opt for a Type 1 sensor model. The lenses don't wow us with a big zoom factor, but the larger sensor area means you can crop as necessary. The Sony RX10 IV is our top pick here. It has a phenomenal lens that reaches 600mm at a relatively bright F4 aperture, offers 4K video, records in slow motion, and shoots at a speedy 24fps.

And for the edge cases—photographers who just want as much zoom power as possible—the aforementioned P950, or a P1000 if you can find one, respectively reach 2,000mm and 3,000mm (albeit with a smaller Type 1/2.3 sensor).

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About Jim Fisher

Images, and the devices that capture them, are my focus. I've covered cameras at PCMag for the past 10 years, which has given me a front row seat for the DSLR to mirrorless transition, the smartphone camera revolution, and the mainstream adoption of drones for aerial imaging. You can find me on Instagram @jamespfisher .

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The best bridge cameras

A bridge camera is an intermediate step between an interchangeable lens model (either mirrorless or DSLR) and a smaller point-and-shoot. While bridge cameras often resemble an interchangeable-lens camera in appearance, their insides are much more like point-and-shoots. You won’t find a bridge camera with anything larger than a 1-inch-type sensor, for example, and sensor size plays an important role in image quality.

At a glance:

Best overall: sony cyber-shot rx10 iv, best bridge camera for video: panasonic lumix fz2500, best extreme superzoom: nikon coolpix p1000, best superzoom on a budget: canon powershot sx70 hs, best for low light on a budget: panasonic lumix fz300.

The use of smaller sensors, however, allows bridge cameras to fit incredibly long zoom lenses in much less space than what would be required for a DSLR or mirrorless camera . For this reason, bridge cameras are often called “superzooms.” Since zoom range and sensor size form a balancing act, you won’t find the longest zoom on the bridge camera with the largest sensor, so you’ll have to decide which feature matters most to you before deciding.

  • Best overall: Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV
  • Best for video: Panasonic Lumix FZ2500
  • Best extreme superzoom: Nikon P1000
  • Best budget superzoom: Canon SX70 HS

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is the best bridge camera — if you can afford it. Built around a relatively large 1-inch sensor and relatively long 25X zoom lens, it’s a luxury camera that comes as close as possible to giving you the best of both worlds, sensor size and zoom.

The sensor is the same one found in Sony’s popular RX100 line, which — no surprise here — also took top spot in our roundup of the best point-and-shoot cameras . While the physical size of the sensor gives the RX10 great low light capability for this class, it also boasts a resolution of 20 megapixels for excellent detail, even if you want to make large prints.

With a zoom range equivalent to 24-600mm, the lens spans everything from a decent wide-angle to a full-on super telephoto. It’s a big improvement over previous RX10 cameras that topped out at just 200mm, and means you can shoot everything from landscapes to sports with ease. The maximum aperture remains decently bright across the zoom range, going from f/2.4 to f/4. That means you only lose just over a stop of light as you zoom in. Combined with the larger sensor, the RX10 will easily beat most other cameras on this list when it comes to taking pictures in less-than-perfect light.

The RX10 IV is also a faster camera than previous versions. It focuses in as little as 0.03 seconds and shoots continuously as high as 24 frames per second.

Even with all of its features and performance, the RX10 IV remains an expensive investment. It is also a rather large camera that weighs 2.4 pounds, putting it in the same weight class as many DSLRs. To put things in perspective, no DSLR lens offers that much zoom range, and the telephoto zooms that reach 600mm do not come cheap.

The Lumix FZ2500 also uses a 20MP, 1-inch-type sensor that delivers outstanding image quality for the class. Its lens is shorter than the RX10 IV’s, however, with an equivalent focal length of 24-480mm. Maximum aperture is f/2.8 to f/4 which, like the RX10 IV, allows for reasonably good low light performance, especially compared to the smaller-sensor competition below.

Where the FZ2500 stands out is video. Despite being released in 2016, it still offers best-in-class features for the videographer. It can shoot two flavors of 4K , both Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) and wider DCI (4,096 x 2,160), at up to 30 frames per second. True 24 fps is also supported for the cinematic look. Video enthusiasts will also benefit from features like V-Log L, a flat color profile that preserves more dynamic range, as well as 10-bit 4:2:2 output over HDMI suitable for an external recorder. These are very impressive features on a bridge camera, or really any camera at this price.

On the downside, Lumix FZ2500’s 4K is recorded from a 1.4X crop, meaning you lose some of the wide-angle and ultimately sacrifice some low light quality by effectively reducing the size of the sensor. Still, serious video shooters in need of a portable camera with an integrated long zoom could do much worse.

The Nikon Coolpix P1000  is a bit of a show-off. The mother of all superzooms, it takes the concept to a whole new level with a 125x lens.  That’s an equivalent focal length range of 24-3000mm, a telephoto length that is simply unheard of on interchangeable lens cameras. It’s enough to take pictures of the craters in the moon. Even with its powerful optical stabilizer, getting sharp shots at 3,000mm will be tricky without a tripod.

At the 24mm end, the P1000 has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which isn’t bad, but it drops severely as you zoom in, shrinking to f/8 by the time you hit 3000mm. That means your light gathering ability at the telephoto end is just 1/8 what it is at the wide end. No, we don’t expect anyone will need 3000mm indoors, but it could still lead to noisier shots when shooting outdoors in less than ideal light.

Light sensitivity is also limited by the small sensor. Behind the monstrous lens is standard 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor, a run-of-the-mill size for point-and-shoots. It is backside illuminated (BSI), which should help slightly with light sensitivity, but it will be no match for the FX2500 and RX10 IV above.

On the video front, you do get 4K at 30fps, although without the advanced features of the FZ2500.

Overall, while the P1000 is certainly an exciting camera, you should consider just how much zoom you really need before deciding on it.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS extends your reach with an impressive 65x zoom — that’s an equivalent focal length of 21-1,365mm! With both a wider wide-angle and a narrower telephoto, it can achieve perspectives the RX10 IV and FZ2500 simply can’t. However, the downside is that it makes use of a much smaller sensor, and image quality will likewise be worse, particularly in lower light.

While the SX70 HS carries over the same basic design as its predecessor, one new feature is 4K video. It doesn’t offer the advanced video settings of the FZ2500, but for casual use it should be just fine.

But what really makes the SX70 attractive is the price. At around a third the cost of the RX10 IV, it’s much easier on the bank account. If your primarily goal is getting a long optical zoom and you don’t care as much about raw image quality, this is a solid choice.

The Lumix FZ300 trades outright zoom power for a faster constant aperture. Its 25-400mm lens is the shortest on this list, but its paired with an f/2.8 maximum aperture that is maintained throughout that entire zoom range. This is the only camera on this list that doesn’t reduce light sensitivity as you zoom in.

However, because this uses a 12.1MP 1/2.3-inch sensor, actual low light performance will still be inferior to the likes of the Sony RX10 IV and Lumix FX2500, both of which use larger 1-inch sensors. Given the price difference, however, that’s forgivable.

Panasonic also tosses in a few other big features to make the Lumix FZ300 really enticing. There’s 4K video, five-axis image stabilization, and a 12 frames-per-second (fps) burst speed – all wrapped up in a splash-proof body with both an electronic viewfinder and a tilting touchscreen.

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Whether you want to run Lightroom or Capture One, you need the equipment that's fit for purpose. As such, we've done our best to pick a selection of laptops for various budgets and needs to help save you the trouble of weeding through the currently saturated laptop market. So, be sure to check out all the options and take a look at our quick guide on how we made these picks to get a better sense of what to look for. The Best Laptops for Photo Editing

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Photographertouch

Best Bridge Cameras in 2024 [Top Superzoom Camera]

best bridge camera

Have you ever wondered if a single camera can bridge the gap between the ease of a point-and-shoot and the power of a DSLR?

Read this article because it demystifies the complex world of bridge cameras, offering you practical advice to make an informed choice.

Whether you’re a budding photographer or a seasoned pro, bridge cameras offer a unique blend of versatility and quality that can elevate your shots to the next level.

As a trusted guide in the world of photography, we’ve scoured the market to bring you the cream of the crop in bridge cameras. From zoom capabilities that will astound you to sensors that capture every detail, this article is a treasure trove of insights and tips.

Prepare to uncover the secrets of the best bridge cameras that can transform your photography journey, all while ensuring that you’re making a sound investment in your passion.

Best Overall

Sony RX10 IV

Sony RX10 IV

25x Optical Zoom

Excellent Image Quality

4K Video Capability

Durable Design

Best Value for Money

PowerShot SX70 HS

Canon Powershot SX70

65x Optical Zoom

High-Res Image Sensor

Portable and Lightweight

Best Budget Entry-Level

Panasonic LUMIX FZ300

Panasonic LUMIX FZ300

24X Zoom Range

Great Value for Money

4K Video Proficiency

Best Bridge Camera

COOLPIX P1000

Best Ultra-Zoom Cameras

COOLPIX P1000

Panasonic LUMIX FZ300

Best Budget Bridge Camera

Best Canon Bridge Camera

PowerShot SX70 HS

Leica V-Lux 5

Most Versatile High-End Compact Cameras

Leica V-Lux 5

Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500

Best Bridge Camera for Video Recording

Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500

Sony RX10 IV: A Top Contender in Bridge Cameras

Price Point: High-End ($$$)

Key Specifications:

  • Sensor:  20.1 MP 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS
  • Zoom:  25x Optical (24-600mm Lens Equivalent)
  • Video:  4K at 30fps
  • Weight:  1095g (with accessories)

Why Opt for the Sony RX 10 IV?

  • Expansive Zoom Range:  From wide landscapes to detailed close-ups, the 25x optical zoom covers it all.
  • Excellent Image Quality:  The 20.1 MP sensor ensures your photos are crisp and full of detail.
  • 4K Video Capability:  Ideal for both amateur and avid videographers.
  • Rapid Autofocus:  Perfect for capturing action shots with clarity.
  • Durable Design:  Built to withstand the demands of frequent use.

Ideal for:  Wildlife, sports photography, and travel enthusiasts.

Standout Feature:  A perfect blend of DSLR features with the convenience of a single lens.

Introduction to the Sony RX10 IV

The Sony RX10 IV isn’t just another bridge camera; it’s a comprehensive solution for serious photographers who value DSLR-like quality in a more compact form.

Beyond a Typical Bridge Camera

This camera isn’t limited to just taking great photos. Its 4K video capabilities and versatile features make it an excellent tool for creative video work.

User Experience Highlights

Autofocus efficiency.

Users appreciate the camera’s swift and accurate autofocus, essential for capturing sharp images of fast-moving subjects.

Zooming Capabilities

The 25x optical zoom is a standout feature, allowing photographers to capture distant subjects without compromising image quality.

Points to Consider

Size and weight.

Some users might find it slightly bulkier than standard compact cameras, which could be a factor for those who prioritize portability.

Investment Level

Being a premium bridge camera, it comes with a higher price tag, which might not fit everyone’s budget.

Target Audience

Advanced amateurs seeking a versatile, all-in-one camera that delivers high quality results without the complexity of interchangeable lenses.

Less Ideal For

Casual photographers or those looking for a more compact, pocket-friendly camera.

Overall Impression

The Sony RX10 IV is a standout in the bridge camera market, offering an impressive combination of versatility, image quality, and performance. It’s a worthy investment for serious photographers.

Alternatives

For those looking for more budget-friendly options, consider the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II or the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS for a lighter alternative.

Final Thoughts

The Sony RX 10 IV is more than just a camera; it’s a tool that complements your creative vision. Whether capturing distant wildlife or fast-paced sports action, this camera is equipped to handle it. Ready to elevate your photography with the Sony RX10 IV?

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Nikon COOLPIX P1000 Review: A Superzoom Bridge Camera Like No Other

Price Point: $$$

  • Weight : 1.4 kg
  • Dimensions : 5.8 x 7.1 x 4.7 inches
  • Optical Zoom : 125x (24-3000mm Equivalent)
  • Sensor : 16 MP BSI CMOS
  • Video Quality : 4K UHD

Why Should You Consider the Nikon COOLPIX P1000?

  • Incredible Zoom Range : Its 125x optical zoom is unmatched, perfect for capturing distant subjects.
  • 4K Video Recording : High-quality video capabilities for diverse shooting needs.
  • Superior Low-Light Performance : Thanks to its 16 MP BSI CMOS sensor.
  • User-Friendly Design : Intuitive and accessible for various skill levels.
  • Portable Despite Power : It strikes a balance between zoom power and manageable size.

Ideal Usage:

The P1000 excels in scenarios demanding extreme zoom, like wildlife, sports photography, and astrophotography.

Unique Selling Point:

What sets the P1000 apart is its extraordinary zoom capability combined with 4K video, all in a bridge camera that’s more portable and affordable than comparable DSLR setups.

Dive Into the Nikon COOLPIX P 1000:

The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 stands out in the superzoom bridge camera market, offering features that appeal to both serious photography enthusiasts.

More Than Just a Camera:

It’s not just about taking pictures; the P1000 is about capturing stories and details that are usually out of reach, with clarity and precision.

User Experience Highlights:

Major benefit #1:.

The 125x optical zoom is a standout feature, enabling photographers to capture detailed images from great distances – a boon for lunar photography or wildlife shots.

Major Benefit #2:

Its ability to record in 4K makes it a versatile tool for videographers who need to capture high-quality photos from afar.

Points to Consider:

Potential limitation #1:.

The camera’s size and weight, while manageable, might be a bit much for casual users or those accustomed to more compact cameras.

Potential Limitation #2:

Intensive use of the zoom or 4K video recording can lead to quicker battery depletion.

Target Audience:

Photography enthusiasts and avid photographers who need extreme zoom, such as in wildlife, sports, or astrophotography.

Less Ideal For:

Not the best fit for those seeking a simple, compact camera for casual use.

Final Thoughts:

Overall impression:.

The Nikon COOLPIX P 1000 is a standout in its category, offering an unrivaled zoom range and excellent video quality. It’s a specialized camera that delivers exceptional results in its niche.

Alternatives:

Consider the Sony RX10 IV for a more compact option, or the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS for a more budget-friendly choice with a smaller zoom range.

Conclusion:

The P1000 is a niche camera, but within its niche, it’s nearly unparalleled. It’s about choosing the right tool for your specific photography needs. Happy shooting!

  • Best Nikon Cameras

Panasonic LUMIX FZ300: Most Compact Bridge Camera

Price Affordability:  $$

  • Sensor Quality:  12MP, 1/2.3 inch size
  • Zoom Lens:  Equivalent to 25-600mm Lens, f/2.8
  • Weight Profile:  24 ½ ounces
  • Video Capabilities:  4K resolution
  • Shooting Speed:  12 frames per second
  • ISO Flexibility:  Range from 100 to 6400

Why Opt for the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300?

  • Expansive Zoom:  24X range, catering to diverse photography needs.
  • 4K Video Proficiency:  High-resolution video for quality content creation.
  • Robust Build:  Weather-sealed for durability in various environments.
  • Rapid Shot Capability:  Ideal for capturing fast-moving subjects.
  • Ease of Use:  Intuitive design, accessible to photographers at all levels.

Ideal Usage:  A go-to camera for photographers seeking a versatile tool for different photography styles, particularly effective in outdoor and action settings.

Standout Feature:  Merges DSLR-like features into a compact, cost-effective package.

Introducing the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300:

Product snapshot:.

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ 300 stands out in the bridge camera segment, blending versatility, performance, and cost-effectiveness. It’s a camera that defies expectations, offering high-end features at a more accessible price point.

Beyond a Typical Bridge Camera:

The FZ300 is not just a bridge camera; it’s a reliable partner for photographers who love to explore. It offers a sturdy build and capabilities that support both photography and videography.

User Appreciation Highlights:

Versatile Zoom:  The 25-600mm equivalent lens offers a range that allows for capturing vast landscapes and detailed distant subjects.

Superior Video Quality:  The 4K video feature enables users to produce professional-grade, cinematic footage, a significant advantage in this price category.

Sensor Size:  The smaller sensor may affect performance in low-light scenarios, which could be a factor for some users.

Model’s Age:  As an older model, it may lack some newer features available in recent releases.

Ideal User Profile:

Suited for photography enthusiasts seeking a multi-faceted, user-friendly camera. It’s particularly beneficial for those starting in wildlife, sports, or action photography on a budget.

Not the best fit for professional photographers needing larger sensors or the latest camera technology.

Concluding Perspective:

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-performance, versatile camera without a significant investment. It exemplifies the advancements in bridge camera technology, offering quality and versatility at an affordable price.

Alternative Options:

For those seeking different features, consider the Sony RX10 IV for a higher-end experience or the Nikon COOLPIX B600 for a more budget-conscious choice.

Reviewer’s Note:

This review aims to provide a balanced and comprehensive overview of the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300, blending technical details with insights into user experience. The review is crafted in a conversational tone, incorporating questions and humor to engage readers, while also being mindful of SEO considerations. Remember, the best camera is the one that aligns with your specific photography needs and aspirations. Happy exploring with your camera choice!

PowerShot SX70 HS: A Top Contender in Canon’s Bridge Camera Lineup

Price Indicator:  $$$

  • Optical Zoom:  65x
  • Sensor:  20.3 Megapixel CMOS
  • Video Quality:  4K
  • Weight:  1.3 lbs
  • Dimensions:  3.6 x 4.6 x 5.0 inches

Why Opt for the PowerShot SX70 HS?

  • Extensive Zoom Range:  Capture everything from wide landscapes to distant subjects with ease.
  • High-Resolution Video:  Record in 4K for crystal-clear footage.
  • Portable and Lightweight:  Ideal for travel and on-the-go photography.
  • Enhanced Viewfinder:  Enjoy a clear and immersive view.
  • Connectivity Features:  Effortless sharing with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Unique Feature:  Merges DSLR-like features with the convenience of a compact camera.

Introducing the PowerShot SX70 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS stands out in the bridge camera market, offering a blend of DSLR capabilities and the ease of point-and-shoot cameras. It’s tailored for photographers who seek flexibility and quality in a compact form.

More Than Just a Camera

This model goes beyond photography with its 4K video feature and easy sharing options, making it a versatile tool for storytellers.

User-Favorite Features

Major benefit: the zoom.

The 65x optical zoom is a standout feature, allowing for detailed shots of distant subjects without compromising image quality.

Design and Usability

Its DSLR-like design offers comfort and familiarity, while the advanced viewfinder enhances outdoor shooting experiences.

Touch Screen Absence

The lack of a touchscreen might be a downside for users accustomed to touchscreen interfaces.

Low-Light Performance

Its low-light capabilities may not satisfy professionals or those who frequently shoot in dim conditions.

Travelers, wildlife photography enthusiasts, and those who value a versatile, all-in-one camera solution.

Professional photographers seeking top-tier low-light performance or a touchscreen interface.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is a standout bridge camera, balancing zoom, image quality, and portability, making it a great choice for most photography enthusiasts.

Consider the Nikon P1000 for a longer zoom range or the Sony RX10 IV for better performance in low light.

The PowerShot SX70 HS is a compelling choice in the bridge camera market, suitable for a wide range of photography needs. Whether you’re a traveler, wildlife enthusiast, or just love photography, this camera deserves consideration. Share your experiences or questions about bridge cameras below! 📸🌟

  • Best Canon Cameras

Leica V-Lux 5: Excellence in Versatile High-End Compact Cameras

Price Point : $$$

Key Specifications :

  • Sensor : 20MP 1-inch CMOS
  • Zoom : 16x Optical
  • Video : 4K Recording
  • Weight : 812g
  • Dimensions : 136.9 x 98.1 x 130.7 mm

Why Consider the Leica V-Lux 5?

The Leica V-Lux 5 is an outstanding choice for photography enthusiasts. It stands out in the high-end compact camera segment for its versatility and quality.

Top Features :

  • Versatile Zoom Lens : The 16x optical zoom is perfect for various photography styles.
  • 4K Video Capability : Offers high-quality videography options.
  • Rapid Autofocus : Ensures sharp images of fast-moving subjects.
  • Durable and Elegant Design : Combines robustness with Leica’s classic aesthetic.
  • User-Friendly Interface : Easy to navigate for both beginners and professionals.

Ideal Usage : This camera excels in travel, street, and wildlife photography, appealing to photographers who demand high quality and flexibility.

Unique Selling Point : The Leica V-Lux 5 is more than a camera; it’s a blend of high-end technology and Leica’s renowned craftsmanship.

Product Introduction

The Leica V-Lux 5 is a top-tier bridge camera, blending exceptional still photography and videography capabilities. It’s a symbol of style and quality in the world of photography.

Beyond Basic Photography : The camera transcends traditional bridge camera capabilities, offering additional benefits like exceptional image and video quality.

Major Benefit : The 16x optical zoom lens is a standout feature, providing immense flexibility in capturing diverse subjects and scenes.

Video Quality : Users appreciate the 4K video feature for its professional-grade output, suitable for various multimedia projects.

Considerations

Price : The Leica V-Lux 5 is a premium product and is priced accordingly. It’s an investment in quality for serious photographers.

Size and Weight : Slightly larger and heavier than standard compact cameras, which might be a consideration for those preferring ultra-portable options.

Best Suited For : Photography enthusiasts who value high-quality imagery, versatility, and brand prestige will find the Leica V-Lux 5 ideal.

Less Ideal For : Beginners or those seeking a lightweight, easy-to-carry camera might find it less suitable.

Concluding Overview

Summary : The Leica V-Lux 5 is an exceptional camera that combines versatility, quality, and the prestige of the Leica brand. It’s a bridge camera that excels in bringing the photographer’s vision to life.

Alternatives : The Sony RX10 IV and Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II are viable alternatives, offering similar features with different price points and specifications.

The Leica V-Lux 5 is not just a tool for photography; it’s a partner in your creative journey, enabling the capture of compelling visual stories and memorable moments. It’s a choice for those who see photography not just as a hobby but as a passion and an art.

Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500: A Top Contender in Bridge Cameras for Video

  • Zoom Capability : 24-480mm range.
  • Sensor Details : 1-inch, 20MP.
  • Video Quality : 4K, with variable frame rates.
  • Physical Attributes : Weighs 2.1 pounds, dimensions of 4.0 x 5.4 x 5.3 inches.

Reasons to Consider the Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500:

  • Broad Zoom Range : Adaptable for various photography needs.
  • Advanced Video Features : Offers professional-grade 4K video recording.
  • Fast Autofocus : Efficient for both stills and video.
  • High-Quality Viewfinder and Display : Ensures a clear viewing experience.
  • Strong Connectivity : Wi-Fi enabled for convenient transfer and control.

This camera is a great fit for videographers and photographers seeking a versatile tool for both high-quality video and photography.

The FZ2500 uniquely combines professional video features with the ease of a bridge camera, offering exceptional versatility and performance.

Introduction to the Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500:

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ 2500 stands out in the bridge camera segment, blending high-end video capabilities with powerful photography features.

Beyond Just Photography:

The FZ2500 excels in video production, rivaling dedicated video cameras in quality and flexibility.

Outstanding Video Quality : Users appreciate its 4K video capabilities, making it a preferred choice for serious video work.

Reliable Autofocus : Its autofocus is praised for its speed and accuracy, beneficial in various shooting conditions.

Variable Lens Quality : Some users have noted that lens performance can be inconsistent, especially when fully zoomed.

Size and Weight : The camera’s larger build may not appeal to those seeking a compact camera.

Videographers and advanced photographers need a versatile, high-performance camera for diverse shooting scenarios.

Less Ideal for:

Not the best option for those who prefer a lightweight camera or prioritize still image quality over video capabilities.

Concluding Thoughts:

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500 is a standout in the bridge camera market, especially for video-focused users. It offers a compelling mix of features for both videographers and photographers.

  • Sony RX10 III : Offers a longer zoom and slightly better lens performance.
  • Canon G3 X : A good alternative for those focusing more on photography.

Final Note:

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500 bridges the gap between photography and videography, offering a versatile tool for creative enthusiasts and avid photographers. Ready to elevate your creative pursuits?

Key Takeaways:

  • Bridge Camera Versatility:  Perfect for various photography styles, from wildlife to travel.
  • Zoom Capabilities:  Essential for getting close to distant subjects.
  • Sensor Size Matters: Larger sensors generally mean better image quality.
  • Budget-Friendly Options:  Quality doesn’t always have to come at a high price.
  • Sony RX10 IV:  A standout model for its balance of features and performance.

What is a Bridge Camera?

Bridge cameras, nestled between point-and-shoot compacts and DSLRs/mirrorless models, offer a unique blend of versatility and quality. They are known for their massive zoom capabilities and smaller, more manageable sizes compared to DSLRs. In 2023, these cameras have evolved to offer even better image quality and features.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV: A Leader in the Field

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV stands out with its remarkable 1-inch sensor and superb image quality. Its 25x optical zoom lens covers a vast range of focal lengths, making it ideal for everything from landscapes to wildlife photography. The camera’s fast autofocus and high-speed shooting capabilities set it apart in the bridge camera market.

Choosing the Best Bridge Camera: Key Factors

When selecting a bridge camera, consider the zoom range, sensor size, and image quality. A larger sensor typically offers better performance in low light, while a long zoom range is crucial for versatility. The balance between these key features determines the camera’s suitability for different types of photography.

Leica V-Lux 5: The Premium Choice

For those seeking luxury in a bridge camera, the Leica V-Lux 5 is a top contender. Renowned for its exceptional build quality and image sharpness, this camera also boasts a versatile zoom lens and a large sensor. It’s a great choice for both travel and macro photography.

Superzoom Bridge Cameras: Zooming into 2023

Superzoom bridge cameras are all about, ZOOM. In 2023, models like the Sony RX10 IV and COOLPIX P1000 offer zoom ranges that rival or surpass many interchangeable lens cameras. This makes them excellent for wildlife photography and other scenarios where getting close to the subject is key.

Best Budget Bridge Cameras: Quality at a Lower Cost

For those on a budget, there are still great options. Look for cameras with a smaller sensor but still decent zoom capabilities. These models often provide a good balance between cost and performance, making them ideal as a first camera or for those who want an all-in-one travel camera.

Sensor Size and Image Quality: A Crucial Relationship

The sensor size in a bridge camera plays a pivotal role in image quality. Larger sensors generally provide better low light performance and greater depth of field control. In 2023, the trend is towards 1-inch sensors, offering a good compromise between image quality and camera size.

Optical Zoom vs. Digital Zoom: Understanding the Difference

Optical zoom maintains image quality across the zoom range, while digital zoom can lead to a loss in quality. Bridge cameras excel in offering extensive optical zoom ranges, making them superior to smartphones and many compact cameras in this aspect.

Wildlife Photography with Bridge Cameras

For wildlife enthusiasts, bridge cameras are a boon. Their long zoom lenses allow for close-up shots of distant subjects, and features like fast autofocus and high-speed shooting are essential for capturing fleeting moments in nature.

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV: A Closer Look

Delving deeper into the Sony RX10 IV, this camera is a standout for its 24-600mm equivalent zoom lens and fast, accurate autofocus system. It’s a top pick for those who need a versatile camera that excels in both image quality and zoom range.

Questions About Bridge Cameras: Answered

Addressing common queries, bridge cameras are ideal for those who want a step up from a smartphone or compact camera but aren’t ready for the complexity and expense of a DSLR or mirrorless cameras system. They offer a great mix of features in a more user-friendly package.

The Best Budget Bridge Camera: Finding Value

When it comes to finding the best budget bridge camera, look for models that offer a good zoom range and decent image quality without breaking the bank. Cameras like the Sony RX10 IV , while on the higher end, provide excellent value for their features.

Bridge cameras in 2023 continue to bridge the gap between compact convenience and DSLR-like quality, making them an excellent choice for photographers of all levels.

In conclusion, the Sony RX10 IV emerges as the undeniable champion in our bridge camera roundup. Its blend of high-speed performance, remarkable autofocus capabilities, and unmatched versatility outshines its worthy contenders, the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 and Panasonic LUMIX FZ2500 .

While the Nikon impresses with its superzoom and the Panasonic offers great value, the RX10 IV excels in delivering a superior all-around experience.

Reflecting back on our detailed reviews, it’s clear that this Sony model not only meets but exceeds the expectations for a bridge camera.

It adeptly balances the needs for both high-quality imaging and user-friendly functionality, making it an ideal choice for photographers at any skill level.

This camera is a testament to Sony’s commitment to excellence, offering a perfect fusion of features that cater to every aspect of bridge camera photography.

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Best Bridge Camera for Simplified Photography

The performance of a DSLR meets the portability of a point-and-shoot… Win-win! Check out this guide to find the best bridge camera for you.

Camera Gear Guides | Camera Guides | By Yatharth Gupta

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If you’re in the market for a camera that offers the performance of a DSLR and the form factor of a point and shoot, a bridge camera is for you.

Be it for holidays, family portraits or weddings, these nifty little cameras come in handy without much compromise on image quality and shooting experience.

Good photography is all about taking control of the exposure. With the best bridge cameras, you can adjust a variety of settings including aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

sonyRX10

Fast, sharp and with impressive zoom capabilities, this is one camera that can do it all.

Quality images, advanced DSLR-like features, and versatility sets these cameras apart from smartphones and digital point-and-shoots.

If you’re tired of carrying multiple heavy lenses ranging from a wide-angle to telephoto, a bridge camera can lighten up your bag considerably. Be it sweeping landscapes or candid portraits, it can do it all.

If you’re not sure which one to buy, don’t worry: we’ve tested multiple options and come up with the best five bridge cameras you can buy in 2024.

Table of Contents

Top Bridge Cameras in 2024

1. sony cyber-shot rx10 iv.

best bridge camera with zoom lens for top quality image and video shooting

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  • Super-sturdy build
  • 3-inch tilting touch screen
  • 24 fps shooting
  • SteadyShot Optical Image Stabilization
  • Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Touchscreen can’t be used to navigate function menu
  • Slightly bulky

The early bridge cameras were developed around point-and-shoot technology with added manual controls. While they provided a DSLR-like experience with fixed zoom lenses, the image quality wasn’t much of an improvement.

That was the case until Sony released its RX10 bridge camera series. The RX10 featured a larger 1-inch sensor and a robust weather-sealed body that was seen only in professional DSLRs. (See our article on the types of camera sensor to learn more about why the size here is important.)

The fourth generation of the series, the RX10 IV is the latest bridge camera from Sony.

The design of the RX10 IV looks similar to the previous generation; however, it packs a lot of new features.

The body is shaped similar to a DSLR, but the lens is a fixed 25x zoom. There’s no need to change lenses whether you’re shooting vast landscapes or zeroing in on the supermoon.

Like the older generations of bridge cameras, the RX10 IV has a fully weather-sealed body that can withstand light rain, snow, and dusty environments.

One of the areas where the RX10 IV shines is the build quality: it’s built around a magnesium alloy chassis that makes it sturdy. The exteriors are made with metal, but a bit of rubber and polycarbonate is used for better ergonomics.

The body weighs 2.4 lbs (1.08 kg), which is lightweight for the impressive zoom range it covers – see the best super zoom cameras.

The RX10 IV supports fast UHS 1 memory cards up to 64 GB. However, if you prefer to not spend too much on storage, the standard speed SD cards are also supported.

The sensor on the RX10 IV is Sony’s 20.1 MP Exmor RS, a 1-inch stacked sensor that produces high-quality images.

It comes with an ultra-sharp Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens that covers the focal range of 24mm to 600mm in 35mm equivalence.

Despite covering an extended zoom range, there’s no compromise on image quality. The lens on the RX10 IV produces a significant level of detail, sharpness, and vivid color throughout.

On the wide end, the maximum aperture is a large f/2.4; however, it reduces to an f/4 on the tele end. The f/4 aperture at 600 mm is a great deal considering it is found on some of the expensive super-telephoto lenses.

When shooting at low shutter speeds, even the slightest movement can introduce blur in your images. However, with the RX100 IV, the SteadyShot optical image stabilization enables you to retain sharpness by stabilizing up to 4.5 stops.

If shooting sports or fast-moving subjects is your thing, the RX10 IV is the best bridge camera for you. You can shoot images at a fast speed of 24 frames per second, with auto-focus on. On top of that, it can lock focus on a subject in just 0.03 seconds.

The RX10 IV has the upgraded Bionz X image processor, which is also found in Sony’s flagship full-frame camera, the Alpha a9. Combined with the stacked EXMOR RS sensor, this image processor gives the performance a significant boost.

The ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable to 64-25,600) makes it possible to shoot in very low-light conditions.

The video capabilities of the RX10 IV have been upgraded considerably from the previous generation. It features support for shooting 4K videos at a maximum of 30fps.

At 1080p, it can shoot videos at a maximum of 120fps. It also supports the Sony log formats, which provide great flexibility during editing and color-grading.

The extreme focal length coverage and the pro-grade video features make the RX10 IV one of the best travel video cameras on the market.

It offers a mechanical shutter that can shoot at a max speed of 1/2000, and a silent electronic shutter that can shoot at a maximum of 1/32000 of a second. With Sony’s implementation of anti-distortion technology, the rolling shutter effect is significantly reduced.

The 2.35-million-dot electronic viewfinder is the same used in the previous generation. However, with the new image processor, display lag has been eliminated.

It features a 3-inch tilt touch screen display on the rear that supports focus by touch. The resolution has been slightly upgraded from the predecessor to 1.44 million dots.

Thanks to plenty of connectivity options – from Bluetooth to NFC and Wi-Fi – your pictures are easily accessible on a smartphone, PC, or other devices.

With these impressive specs and the ability to achieve great results, the RX10 IV is our number one pick for the best bridge camera 2024 has to offer.

2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100

lumix best bridge camera with zoom lens and great image quality

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Viewfinder included
  • Good in low light
  • RAW file support
  • Some edge softness at the wide end

The ZS100 is a lightweight bridge camera from Panasonic. It’s a step ahead of the previous generation of bridge cameras in terms of features and performance.

Starting with the physical appearance of the camera, it has a slim body that can fit in any handbag or a big pocket when turned off. However, the lens protrudes when you turn the camera on.

While many 1-inch digital bridge cameras in this range have opted for screen-only shooting, it’s a relief to see a viewfinder on the ZS100.

Another good thing is that this option on the best bridge camera list weighs only 0.68 pounds (311 grams), and is a joy for long duration shoots.

There are plenty of physical buttons on the camera, which lets you adjust critical settings without digging deep in the menu.

The 20.1 Megapixel 1-inch sensor on the Panasonic ZS100 is a welcome addition compared to the 1/2.3-inch sized sensor that the previous generation in the series used. The relatively bigger sensor has considerably improved images and low light performance.

The cherry on the cake is the support for RAW files, which gives you a lot of flexibility in post-processing. The RAW + JPEG shooting option provides the best of both worlds: easy shareability and intensive processing.

The camera has a full manual mode where you can control aperture, shutter, and ISO as per your liking as well as the Program, Aperture, and Shutter priority modes.

The JPEGs out of the Panasonic ZS100  look impressive and are rendered with beautiful colors. The built-in noise reduction cleans images without losing out on the details.

Unlike the RX10 IV detailed above, it doesn’t have a hot-shoe connector for external flash. However, it comes with a pop-up flash which has excellent illumination and range for its size.

The 1160k-dot electronic viewfinder on the Panasonic ZS100 is sharp and has vibrant colors. Just note that the magnification is limited to 0.46x.

The 1040k-dot 3-inch display is sharp, and touch support makes it very quick to set up the camera.

The maximum ISO is 12800. Given the size of the sensor, high-ISO images do produce a little grain. However, if you choose to shoot JPEGs, the internal noise reduction results in clean images.

The RAW files offer a high dynamic range in low light situations.

The 10x Leica DC VARIO-ELMAR lens on the ZS100 provides a focal range of 25mm to 250mm (35mm equivalent). The extended focal range beats other cameras in this price range.

The max aperture is a large f/2.8 at 25mm, and it closes down to an f/5.8 when it reaches 250mm.

RAW files and 4k videos are usually massive files that require ample storage. Thankfully, with the ZS100 you can use memory cards of up to 128 GB in SDHC and high-speed SDXC formats.

The hybrid Optical Image Stabilization on the ZS100 uses 5-axis to correct blurring in the handheld photos. The photos shot with OIS on are sharp and usable even at shutter speeds as low as 1/10. The AF system provides 49 AF points and can also detect and track eye and face.

Also, the shutter speed with the mechanical shutter can be set from 60 seconds to 1/2000 second and from 1 second to 1/16000 second when using the electronic shutter.

As per the CIPA rating, the battery on the ZS100 lasts 260 shots when EVF is used and 300 when the rear display is used. The camera charges via a USB port; no external charger is provided.

With Panasonic pushing 4K shooting in all its cameras, the ZS100 gets ultra-HD support. The videos can be recorded at 4K resolution with 24 or 30 frames. However, if you use 1080p, it can go up to 60 frames.

Photos get the 4K boost as well as video with this camera, which enables you to save 8.3 MP photos from your 4K videos. Note though that this feature is available only with videos shot at 4k.

The ZS100 also provides Panasonic’s Post Focus functionality, which lets you choose the pictures to keep as per the focus.

The ports on the camera are limited to a micro-USB and a micro-HDMI. However, there is in-built Wi-Fi, which enables you to transfer images directly to your iOS and Android smartphones via the free Panasonic Image app.

You can also use your phone as a remote to shoot with your camera: you can zoom, adjust settings, and use the phone screen for touch focus.

The high-end features of the ZS100 and the extended zoom range make it a perfect choice for most shooting scenarios and the best bridge camera in its price range.

3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500

best bridge cameras with impressive image quality continuous shooting and 20.1 MP sensor

  • Sturdy build
  • Fast autofocus
  • Highly customizable
  • No weather sealing
  • Some inconsistent lens performance

The Lumix FZ2500 is a well-made superzoom camera by Panasonic. The impressive feature list includes ultra-high-resolution video and stills capabilities and many advanced DSLR-like features. Overall, it leaves nothing left to be desired when it comes to bridge cameras.

In terms of appearance, this camera closely resembles a DSLR. The main difference is the sensor size and lack of lens interchangeability.

The body is made with polycarbonate with the use of metal and rubber in some places. Unlike the RX10 IV, it doesn’t come with weather sealing – but light rain or a few drops of water won’t necessarily harm it.

The build is sturdy, and the camera feels solid in your hands.

It covers the focal range of 25mm to 480mm (35mm equivalent), which isn’t as long as 25 to 600mm on the RX10 IV. However, it weighs slightly less at 996 grams.

Another impressive thing is the number of customizable buttons on the camera – the functions buttons are even present on the lens.

Despite the long lens on it, the Panasonic FZ2500 gets ready to shoot very quickly in only 1.3 seconds.

The 20.1 MP 1-inch sensor comes with backside illumination, which makes it more sensitive in low-light situations. The images are sharp and vibrant and pack a significant amount of details.

This camera also supports RAW capture, which gives you ample post-processing flexibility.

On burst shooting mode with a single point of focus, it can capture RAW images at 10 fps and JPEGs at 11 fps. With continuous focus, the frame rate drops to 7 fps.

The images out of the FZ2500 are tack sharp with accurate color reproduction.

The overall performance is impressive throughout the extended zoom range, and to call it the best bridge camera for professional shooters isn’t a stretch at all.

It also provides a hotshoe mount for external flash and also an in-built flash. The inbuilt flash is useful for backlighting scenarios and indoors.

The ISO range is 80-25600. The pictures are mostly grain-free until ISO 3200; from ISO 640, the grain becomes noticeable in the image. That said, the overall low-light performance is pretty reliable.

The EVF is one of the best of any bridge cameras. It’s based on an OLED display that offers 2.36 million dots, is sharp and provides 0.74x magnification. The colors are vivid, and it maintains a good contrast even when shooting in low-light conditions.

The rear LCD is a 1040k-dot 3-inch tilt and swivel display that can rotate to face the user. It also features touch functions, including focus, pinch-zoom, and other settings.

The Leica Vario-Elmart f/2.8-4.5 20X optical zoom lens that comes with the FZ2500 is a versatile optic. The max aperture on the wide end is f/2.8 and f/4.5 when zoomed out.

It produces maximum sharpness in the middle of the image which diminishes a bit on the corners. Chromatic Aberrations are minimal even on the tele end of the lens.

The FZ2500 also features a built-in ND filter that can cut exposure in variations of 1/4, 1/16, 1/64.

It supports SD card of UHS speed class 3 of up to 128 GBs. Though it supports lower speed cards, the high-speed storage is recommended for 4K video recordings.

The focus stacking feature is an excellent tool for macro photography and also allows you to choose the focus after the capture.

The battery life on the Panasonic FZ2500 is rated for 270 shots with EVF and 350 shots with LCD by CIPA.

The mechanical shutter goes as fast as 1/4000 and electronic shutter at 1/16000.

The sensor allows shooting in 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) as well as 4K DCI (4096×2160) videos. You have the option to shoot videos at 24fps or 30fps in 4K; however, with 1080p, you can go as high as 60 frames.

The FZ2500 comes with a microphone jack for high-quality audio. It also features in-camera cinema-style color gradation with CINELIKE D and CINELIKE V features.

Additionally, this camera offers live HDMI out to an external recorder with 4:2:2 in 8-bit or 10-bit with a 100 or 200 MBPS bitrate. Also, you get the creative flexibility with support for ND filter in video mode.

This bridge camera comes with plenty of ports: shutter release port, micro USB, Micro HDMI, and a 3.5mm jack for headphones and mic. The battery can only be charged externally with the supplied charger.

If you’re keen to transfer your photos to your smartphone quickly and easily, you can do so using the inbuilt Wi-Fi. As an added bonus, you can download the Panasonic Image app, which enables you to use your phone to operate the camera.

Is the Panasonic FZ2500 the very best bridge camera out there? That depends a little on your requirements – but with excellent features and impressive image quality, it’s definitely high on the list.

4. Sony RX100 VII

fast continuous shooting and crisp image quality make this one of the best bridge cameras

  • Easy to use
  • Light and pocketable
  • Excellent sharpness
  • 20 fps with subject tracking
  • No rubber grip
  • A little pricey

The RX100 VII is the latest offering from Sony – a feature-rich compact camera that packs a lot of punch for its small size.

The body of the RX100 VII Sony bridge camera isn’t the smallest we’ve seen during this search for the best bridge camera, but it’s compact enough to fit in your jacket pocket. It also weighs a slight 0.66 pounds (303 grams), which makes it very easy to carry with you at all times.

When you turn the camera on, the lens protrudes out and zooming in does make it a bit longer. The construction is mostly metal with the use of a reasonable amount of plastic.

How about ergonomics? Well, there’s no rubber grip, but considering the small weight of the camera, that’s hardly a big deal.

The sensor on the Sony RX100 VII is a 20.1 MP 1-inch EXMOR RS, the same we’ve seen in the much more expensive RX10 IV. It produces excellent picture quality with vivid colors and details.

The images are very sharp throughout the zoom range of the 24mm to 200mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens.

It features full manual controls as well as aperture, shutter priority, and program modes. The auto and scenes modes are also available if you prefer a point-and-shoot style shooting.

The new BIONZ X image processor, coupled with Sony’s stacked sensor, works well to provide the camera its outstanding focusing capabilities. The AF system features a total of 425 contrast-detect AF points and 357 phase-detection AF points.

The focus is snappy, even in low-light conditions. Another plus is that the RX100 VII supports Sony’s newly developed real-time Eye-AF and tracking.

It also comes with an in-built flash; however, there’s no hot-shoe mount to add external flash as we’ve seen in the RX10 series.

The ISO range is 100 to 12800 and is expandable to ISO 64 on the lower side. The high-ISO images are mostly grain-free until ISO 6400.

The viewfinder on the RX100 VII is not visible on the outside – it’s revealed with a pop-up mechanism. It’s built around an OLED display and provides a 0.59X Magnification.

The rear display, meanwhile, is a sharp 921k-dot tilting LCD with touch support. You can tilt the screen up and down as well make it face front for vlogs.

The RX100 VII supports high-speed UHS 1 memory cards and is also compatible with SD and SDHC cards.

When shooting with a single locked focus point, you can get continuous shooting at 30, 60 or a mind-blowing 90 fps. Even with full auto-focus and auto-exposure on, the speed stays at an impressive 20fps with the electronic shutter.

When it comes to video, the stabilization is one of the most sought-after features. With the Sony RX100 VII, you get electronic stabilization as opposed to the OIS we saw in the RX10 series. You might notice a minor crop of the frame while shooting stabilized videos.

In terms of video resolution, the camera offers 4K video recording with an option to shoot at 30p or 24p. It also offers a 4K HDR option. If you want to shoot at a lower FHD resolution, the frame rate can be raised to a maximum of 120p. You can record impressive 960p super slow-motion videos.

On a full charge, the battery provides 240 frames with EVF and 260 if you use the LCD. It’s not a high number of photos, but for this small-sized camera, it is decent.

Also, USB charging is available for conveniently charging on the go.

For the ports, it has micro-USB and a 3.5mm Microphone Jack. The wireless connectivity options are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.

For smartphone connectivity, the RX100 VII supports Sony’s Play Memories smartphone app.

All in all, this tiny package offers a lot to be desired. If you’re after something portable but powerful, this is the best bridge camera for you.

5. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

best bridge cameras sony cyber-shot camera bridge with extended zoom range

  • Super fast autofocus
  • Dust and splash resistant
  • 960-1000 fps slow motion
  • Excellent optics
  • No touch controls

The release of the RX10 IV had brought many enhancements; however, the RX10 III is still a strong contender among the best bridge cameras on the market.

This camera is made for serious photographers who seek an all-in-one camera with excellent image quality.

It’s designed to look like a DSLR; however, like other bridge cameras, this too has a fixed zoom lens. It offers an extended zoom range of 24mm to 600mm, which is 400mm longer than the RX10 II.

The camera weighs a massive 2.4 pounds (1.08 Kilograms), which is a lot heavier than the entry-level DSLRs. However, much of the weight is because of the excellent quality zoom lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths.

The 20.1 Megapixel 1-inch sensor on this camera is acquired from its predecessor, the RX10 II. Coupled with the Zeiss optics, the sensor outperforms many of the newer bridge cameras.

The lens offers a variable fast aperture of f/2.8 on the wide end and f/4.4 on the tele.

Like other bridge cameras, the RX10 Mark III also supports a full manual mode where you can choose the aperture, shutter, and ISO as per your creative choice. It also offers the aperture and shutter priority modes as well as Auto mode.

The RX10 III is capable of capturing RAW files, which gives you more light data to work with during post-production.

The built-in pop-up flash on the camera comes in handy in low-light shooting conditions such as evenings and indoors.

It features a decent AF System that provides 25 focus points, which is low by the current market standard. That said, it’s very speedy to focus the camera.

When you have focus locked, you can do a burst shooting at 14fps with JPEGs and can shoot RAW files at 8fps. However, the speed slows down to 5fps with continuous focus.

The native ISO range on the RX10 III is 100 to 12800 and can be extended to ISO 64 and 80 on the lower end. The image remains mostly grainless up to ISO 6400; after that, the appearance of grain increases.

The electronic viewfinder on the camera is built around an XGA OLED screen and boasts a resolution of 2.36-million dots. It’s responsive and bright and offers a 0.7x magnification. An eye sensor is also incorporated that allows the seamless switch between LCD and Viewfinder.

The rear display is a 3-inch tilting LCD that’s sharp and vivid and has an impressive 1.23 million dot resolution. The luminance of the screen is high, which makes it visible even on bright sunny days. The only downside is that it doesn’t support touch controls.

Shutter speeds can go as high as 1/32000 sec with the electronic shutter and 1/4000 with the mechanical.

In terms of video capabilities, the RX10 III supports 4K recording at 24p/30p, while full HD videos can be recorded at 24, 30, 60 or 120P.

The video quality on this camera is simply superb. The details are sharp, and the autofocus works flawlessly during recording.

There is also support for slow-motion videos, and HFR (high frame rate) functions enable recording of motion at 240,480 till 960fps.

As per the CIPA rating, this camera can shoot 420 images using the LCD and 370 pictures with the viewfinder per full charge.

The battery charges in-camera as there’s no external charge supplied in the box. We recommend buying an external charger and an extra battery if you’re planning to use the video feature extensively.

The RX10 Mark III comes with various ports: a micro HDMI, a micro USB, and standard 3.5mm mic and headphones jack.

It also includes NFC and Wi-Fi and works with Sony’s PlayMemories smartphone app to quickly transfer photos.

While connected with the app, you can use your smartphone to control exposure and other settings and use the screen for touch focus.

All in all, this is a nifty camera that offers fast shooting and a long reach, allowing your images to shine in a wide range of situations.

Though Sony has featured heavily in our search for the best bridge camera, it’s with good reason. These bridge cameras offer great image quality and give you plenty of bang for your buck.

Final Words

While the number of smartphone camera users has grown considerably, bridge cameras really do offer a unique proposition.

They offer a combination of fantastic picture quality, creative freedom, and affordability that can easily take your images to the next level.

What separates these compact mirrorless cameras from DSLRs and smartphones is the fixed zoom lenses with incredible focal range and a much larger sensor than a smartphone.

If you’re looking for the best bridge camera for you, we’re confident you’ll find it on this list. Happy shooting!

Yatharth Gupta

Yatharth Gupta is a seasoned portrait and travel photographer based in India. He is also a writer and a blogger and loves to explore new places.

I got the Panasonic FZ2500 some time ago as I only rarely needed a long zoom lens and it was way cheaper than buying a 400mm lens for my Fuji. It is so versatile, with great macro and decent video as well. Worth every cent.

They’re definitely great value for money, Greg!

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7 Best Bridge Cameras in 2024: New Models & Current Prices

By Tati Taylor 22 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

Top-rated bridge cameras for far off subjects.

Bridge cameras are a combination of DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras , offering more image quality, dynamic range, and low-light capabilities than compact cameras. They are ideal for beginners who want to try different photographic genres and settings without spending a lot of money on new lenses.

Top 7 Bridge Cameras to Buy

  • Nikon P1000 - The best bridge camera
  • Sony RX10 IV - With Wi-Fi
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II - 4K video
  • Leica V-Lux 5 - High continuous shooting rate
  • Canon PowerShot SX70 - Versatile and portable
  • Nikon Coolpix B500 - Affordable
  • Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 - Optical stabilization

All ultra-zoom cameras from this list have excellent zoom capabilities, making them ideal for travel photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. They can zoom up to 40x, allowing you to capture far-off subjects.

If you're looking for a camera for photography that offers high-quality images and videos, good zoom capabilities, and a compact design, then a bridge camera might just be the perfect choice for you.

1. Nikon P1000 – Our Choice

Sensor : 16MP CMOS | Lens : 24–3000 mm f/2.8-8 | Zoom : 125x | Video : 4K Ultra HD

  • ✚ Huge 125x zoom
  • ✚ Swiveling 3.2-inch LCD display
  • ✚ Compatibility with SnapBridge app
  • ✚ Good image quality and build quality
  • — Heavy and bulky design
  • — Poor contrast-based autofocus

Firstly, I have to say that this bridge camera is an excellent choice if you're looking for a device that can capture far-off subjects. Its huge 125x telephoto lens is perfect for photographing distant objects, and the maximum aperture of f2.8-8 at the telephoto end makes it ideal for taking close-ups of small objects.

One of the most impressive features of the Nikon P1000 is its swiveling 3.2-inch LCD display, which can accommodate spectacle wearers with a diopter correction of -3 to 1.

Additionally, it has optical and electronic image stabilization that helps keep the camera steady, and a sensitivity range that allows you to use it in a variety of lighting conditions.

However, the camera's contrast-based autofocus can struggle to track moving subjects, but it does a decent job of tracking static ones, even when shooting at very long focal lengths.

2. Sony RX10 IV

Sensor : 20MP CMOS | Lens : 24–600 mm f/2.4-4 | Zoom : 25x | Video : 4K

  • ✚ 24fps continuous shooting
  • ✚ Fast electronic shutter
  • ✚ Excellent dynamic range
  • ✚ Accurate autofocus system
  • — Detail loss noticeable above ISO 3,200
  • — Too expensive
  • — Slightly bulky and heavy

Sony RX10 IV delivers excellent image quality and performance. The camera is perfect for a range of uses, including wildlife and portrait photography . It has a lot of interesting design details that can help you take great pictures, and it offers many features for photographers, video shooters, and those who like to be creative with their images.

Moreover, the RX10 IV has a very good dynamic range, and it can capture images with minimal noise suppression up to ISO 12,800. As one of the best bridge cameras, it also has a very wide and shallow depth of field, which is useful for achieving smooth movement and action shots when capturing moving objects.

One of the main problems of usage is the price. The Sony RX10 IV is quite expensive, and it might not be affordable for everyone. Additionally, the camera is quite heavy, which might be an issue for photographers who need a lightweight camera for long shooting sessions.

3. Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II

Sensor : 18MP CMOS | Lens : 25–400 mm f/2.4-4 | Zoom : 16x | Video : 4K

  • ✚ Good image quality
  • ✚ Articulating touch-sensitive screen
  • ✚ Great grip and easy-to-use buttons
  • ✚ Built-in electronic viewfinder
  • — Can't track eye and face detection
  • — Autofocus can sometimes wobble in and out of focus
  • — Automatic white balance system issues

First off, let me say that this long-distance camera is a great choice for anyone who wants a versatile tool for traveling and sports, with a good photo and video quality at an affordable price. It boasts a long built-in zoom lens, an improved touchscreen, and an electronic viewfinder, along with more customization options, Bluetooth, and more robust battery life.

The image quality is also very good, with little visual noise at lower ISO levels and no reduction in sharpness as you raise the sensitivity. The metering system is fairly accurate, and the automatic white balance system works well.

However, there are a few downsides to this Panasonic camera . It can't track eye and face detection, and it can sometimes wobble in and out of focus. The focus peaking and variable focus magnifier functions are helpful, but the camera can struggle in low-light conditions.

4. Leica V-Lux 5

Sensor : 20MP CMOS | Lens : 9.1–146 mm f/2.8-4 | Zoom : 2x | Video : 4K

  • ✚ Flexible LCD screen
  • ✚ Ability to shoot RAW files
  • ✚ Variety of shooting modes
  • ✚ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with Leica FOTOS
  • — Higher price point due to Leica branding
  • — Only 2x zoom
  • — Minimum shutter speed of 1/16000th sec

The first thing that stands out is the high-resolution sensor, which produces excellent and detailed images. The wide-angle lens is also a big plus, allowing you to capture more of the scene in your shots. The fast autofocus system is another advantage, making it easy to capture fast-moving subjects with ease.

Being one of the best bridge cameras, Leica V-Lux 5 also offers fully manual controls and the ability to shoot RAW files, which is ideal for those who prefer to have more control over their images. The built-in microphone for recording stereo sound is also a big plus, as is the ability to shoot 4K video.

However, there are also some disadvantages to this Leica camera . The first thing that comes to mind is the price. It is a premium camera, and not everyone can afford it.

The minimum shutter speed of 1/16000thsec may also be limiting for some photographers, especially if you're shooting in low light.

5. Canon PowerShot SX70

Sensor : 20MP CMOS | Lens : 3.8–247 mm f/3.4-6.5 | Zoom : 65x | Video : 4K

  • ✚ Budget-friendly
  • ✚ Impressive image stabilization
  • ✚ RAW image capture
  • ✚ 4K video recording
  • — Limited manual control compared to DSLRs
  • — Small sensor size
  • — Limited depth-of-field capabilities

Canon PowerShot SX70 is a great example of a camera for long distance, offering a 65x optical zoom which is perfect for anything from landscape photography to close-up family photos. It comes with an automatic mode and a user-friendly interface, making them a good choice for beginners.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 offers a relatively high megapixel count compared to other digital compacts, allowing for more precision and control in your shots. It also has image stabilization, which is incredibly helpful for low-light and nighttime photos.

However, one of the downsides of using this Canon camera is that it doesn't usually have very good depth-of-field capabilities, making it difficult to achieve the 'bokeh' effect. This is particularly true when taking pictures at the very long end of the zoom range.

7. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80

Sensor : 18MP CMOS | Lens : 3.58 - 215 mm f/2.8-5.9 | Zoom : 60x | Video : 4K Ultra HD

  • ✚ 4K video recording and 4K photo modes
  • ✚ Electronic viewfinder
  • ✚ Wi-Fi connectivity
  • ✚ Lightweight design
  • — Image quality is not exceptional
  • — Dynamic range issues
  • — Autofocus can be slow

Being one of the best cameras for long distance, Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 has a 60x zoom lens, which is pretty impressive for a camera in this price range. It's perfect for capturing distant subjects, and the optical stabilization helps to avoid blurry pictures when taking photographs in bright or noisy conditions.

Another advantage is the camera's ability to shoot 4K video at 24-30fps, which is pretty impressive for a travel camera in this category. The FZ80 also supports Panasonic's clever '4K Photo' modes that capture 8 Megapixel stills from 30 frames per second videos, allowing you to capture every moment in detail.

However, there are some disadvantages to the FZ80 as well. Firstly, the image quality isn't spectacular, although it does produce very good results for a superzoom. Also, the camera's autofocus can be a bit slow and inaccurate at times, especially in low light conditions.

How to Choose the Best Bridge Camera?

Lenses . Zooming features make a bridge camera truly the best zoom camera, since extra lenses are not required. Being equipped with wide-angle lenses (24 mm or 28 mm), it extends to nearly 1200 mm when zooming the lens to the maximum limit.

Moreover, the focal length is equivalent to 500 mm and 1000 mm. I can’t agree more that you won’t find such an impressive lens among entry-level DSLRs at cheap prices.

Viewfinder . Owners of superzoom bridge cameras for wildlife photography take pictures with the assistance of the LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder since the optical viewfinder is not available. Sometimes, the most compact bridge cameras lack the EVF as well.

In other words, you should use the optical viewfinder, if anything, and count on the LCD screen to settle the bridge camera lens. Users snap the picture based on the image preview seen on the screen.

Nonetheless, the EVF can’t compete with the optical viewfinder, as snapping pictures with ultra-zoom cameras is rather slow. Moreover, image distortion may appear when we make a fast move.

Sensor size . Bridge cameras are usually equipped with a sensor almost identical in size to the ones in the highest megapixel cameras . 15 mm or less is a common diagonal for a conventional bridge camera. Accordingly, if you print your photographs in A3 format, images may be slightly distorted.

Size and weight . In spite of the fact that cameras for long distance are rather lightweight and small, they are improved with the best mirrorless and DSLR features. In fact, cheap models are made of plastic, which decreases their weight. On the other side, such bridge cameras are not durable and may be easily disrupted.

Accessories . As a rule, modern bridge cameras are equipped with an external ‘hot shoe’ flash, suitable for the attachment of extra flash units and EVFs, if they are not available in a standard kit. You may also fit filters or close-up lenses with the help of a bayonet fitting for lenses present in many bridge cameras. Moreover, remote shutter release may be added to some cameras.

Image stabilization . Similar to the best cameras for macro photography , bridge cameras are modernized with an optical or sensor-shift stabilizer. In such a manner, it keeps the camera steady and reduces blurring.

4K support . Although most vloggers record videos in Full HD format, if you are filming a clip to further upload, it to YouTube and want to surprise your audience with a high-quality picture, 4K 60fps support should be your priority. 4K offers more options for editing and trimming your video later, but this feature is suitable for advanced bloggers, not beginners.

  • Popular bridge cameras
  • Nikon P1000
  • Sony RX10 IV
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II
  • Leica V-Lux 5
  • Canon PowerShot SX70
  • Nikon Coolpix B500
  • Panasonic LUMIX FZ80
  • Buyer’s guide

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Best bridge cameras

The best bridge cameras in 2023

Bridge cameras offer the high-end features of a DSLR or mirrorless camera without some of the fuss.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

The best bridge cameras offer the flexibility and power of a system camera with the simplicity of an attached lens. They are called bridge cameras because they bridge the gap between simple point-and-shoot cameras with minimal control and interchangeable lens cameras (like mirrorless and DSLR options). Bridge cameras typically offer complete manual control of settings and a built-in lens with an extremely wide zoom range.

Bridge cameras provide an excellent option for those wanting to control exposure and image style without worrying about how to pack multiple lenses. The wide zoom range typically found in these cameras makes them terrific choices for all sorts of photography, from travel and wildlife to family snapshots. In addition, new versions are getting even more powerful with larger sensors and more megapixels, resulting in high-quality photos and videos coming from a relatively compact package.

  • Best overall: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV  
  • Best overall runner up: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
  • Best for wildlife: Canon PowerShot SX70 HS
  • Best superzoom: Nikon COOLPIX P950
  • Best superzoom runner up: Nikon COOLPIX P1000
  • Best 4k camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ2500
  • Best budget: Panasonic Lumix FZ80

How we chose the best bridge cameras

The editors and writers at Popular Photography have decades of photography experience in just about every genre and have covered and reviewed just about every major camera on the market. When selecting the best bridge cameras, we looked at various features. For example, because bridge cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses, we prioritized options with wide zoom ranges. We also looked at standard image quality metrics, such as megapixel count, sensor size, and lens quality. Since many users like the option of recording video, video capabilities also were factored in. Lastly, performance-related features like frames per second and the ergonomics of the camera were also part of the considerations.

The best bridge cameras: Reviews & Recommendations

Best overall: sony cyber-shot dsc-rx10 iv.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

Why it made the cut: Sony’s RX10 IV is a powerful camera with 4K and slow-motion video, 24fsp continuous shooting while tracking subjects, and fast autofocus. The small DSLR-like body makes it easy to hold, while the wide zoom range makes this camera an excellent fit for all sorts of situations.

  • Sensor size: 1 inch 
  • Megapixels: 20.1 megapixels
  • Lens: 8.8 to 220mm (35mm equivalent focal length: 24 to 600mm) ​​f/2.4 to f/4
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 24fps
  • Dust and splash resistant
  • 4K video and 1080p slow-motion
  • Fast autofocus with tracking
  • Good handgrip for holding for long periods of time
  • Fast lens with useful zoom range 

The RX10 IV is a powerhouse choice for the best bridge camera. The large 1 inch, stacked design sensor supports an ISO of up to 12800, aiding in lowlight situations. The sensor also allows for phase detect AF, which is a more reliable and faster autofocus system. It can shoot 24 fps with autofocus tracking, helpful for capturing action and nailing the shot at critical moments. The weather-sealing on this camera means you can worry less when taking it out and about.

The lens in the RX10 IV has a versatile 25x zoom with a max focal length of 600mm (35mm equivalent). The in-lens stabilization helps support the long zoom and offers 4.5 stops of stabilization. In addition, it has a fast maximum aperture of f/2.4 when zoomed out, making it easier to achieve that shallow depth of field and helping with dark conditions. And this lens isn’t just good for capturing things at a distance. It is capable of macro shots and can focus as close as 1.2 inches when zoomed out and 2.4 feet when zoomed in. This versatility in a lens will allow you to capture a full spectrum of subject matter.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII

Why it made the cut: The RX100 VII offers a redesigned 20.1MP 1-inch sensor and an upgraded image processor for fast shooting. The quick autofocus and 4K video make this a well-rounded choice.

  • Sensor size: 1-inch 
  • Lens: 9-72mm (35mm equivalent: 24-200mm) ​​f/2.8 to f/4.5
  • Lightweight and pocketable
  • Fast lens with useful zoom range

Chances are you’ve recently seen the RX100 VII at the top of many camera lists, and for many good reasons. This camera is a heavy hitter in terms of features and quality, thanks to the new sensor and BIONZ X image processor similar to the chip found in more advanced mirrorless cameras. In addition, it has double the maximum continuous shooting of its competitors at  24fps and paired with fast autofocus this camera is excellent for documenting action. And it’s capable of 4K video and 1080p slow-motion 240 fps so that you can capture both quality photos and video. 

This newest iteration of the RX100 has a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar lens with a useful 24-200mm  zoom range. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/4.5 helps in lowlight conditions and creates a nice shallow depth of field when you want to. In addition, it has ISO sensitivity up to 12800, helping even more with those dark conditions. All of these features and tech are packed into one of the lightest bodies (10.65 oz) available for a bridge camera, making this a great option for those on the go who still want excellent quality. 

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Why it made the cut: With 65x zoom, 20.3 megapixels, and the ability to shoot raw in a lightweight, easy-to-hold body, the PowerShot SX70 is ready for wildlife expeditions. 

  • Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
  • Megapixels: 20.3 megapixels
  • Lens: 3.8 to 247.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 21 to 1365 mm) f/3.4 to f/6.5
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps
  • 65x zoom range
  • Vari-angle screen
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Not great in low light

Canon’s Powershot SX70 HS is more of a traditional bridge camera with its 1/2.3-inch sensor. However, despite the small sensor size, you still get 20.3 megapixels, resulting in high-quality images. The built-in image stabilization helps get sharp photos, especially when utilizing the 65x zoom, which provides a full-frame equivalent range of 21 to 1365 mm. In addition, the SX70 HS can shoot 4K video, which will come in handy for producing footage of your birding trips. 

The SX70 HS is limited in low light capabilities due to a max ISO of 3200 and a max aperture when zoomed-in of f/6.5. But, the small size and nice handgrip on the body make for better ergonomics so that you can hold the camera comfortably for extended periods. If you’re shooting wildlife during the day, that slow aperture shouldn’t prove much of a hindrance anyway.

Nikon COOLPIX P950

Why it made the cut: The Coolpix 950 has one of the most impressive zoom lenses in the category, coming in at 83x. In addition, the ability to shoot raw images and shoot 4K makes this the best bridge camera if you are looking for a big telephoto range.

  • Megapixels: 16 megapixels
  • Lens: 4.3 to 357mm (35 mm equivalent: 24 to 2000mm) f/2.8 to f/6.5
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 7fps
  • Raw format shooting
  • Heavier than other options

The Coolpix 950 is an updated version of the P900, and with the update came some excellent additions. You now get full raw capture abilities and 4K video. Nikon also upgraded and improved the electronic viewfinder on the P950, doubling the size and bringing the resolution up significantly to a 2,359,000-dot OLED. The larger size and higher resolution make it easier to compose and expose your images.

The P950 has 83x zoom, but if that isn’t enough, it also has 166x Dynamic Fine Zoom, bringing up the focal length to 4000mm equivalent. When fully zoomed in, you can fill up the frame with the moon; it’s almost like having a telescope. Luckily the camera also has excellent image stabilization to help prevent blur when utilizing the extreme zoom. Even with that vibration reduction, however, you’re going to want a tripod to take full advantage of the reach.

Nikon COOLPIX P1000

Why it made the cut: If the zoom of the Coolpix P950 somehow isn’t enough for you, the P1000 has a 125x zoom, resulting in a staggering 24-3000mm range.

  • Lens: 4.3 to 539mm (35mm equivalent: 24 to 3000mm) f/2.8 to f/8
  • Massive 125x zoom
  • Raw captures
  • Five-stop VR system
  • Very large compared to other bridge cameras
  • Small maximum aperture when zoomed in

The Coolpix P1000 brings a whole new meaning to superzoom. It has a 35mm equivalent lens of 24-3000mm, and a digital zoom that can bring that to an absurd 6000mm. Luckily, this camera has Nikon’s Dual Detect VR, which can reduce shake by up to five stops, which is extremely helpful when shooting at the high zoom range. 

Unfortunately, as you zoom in on the P1000, you lose three full aperture stops, with f/8 being the maximum aperture when fully zoomed. The image quality also fades as you zoom in, which is a downside. But, it can take raw images and 4K videos. If being able to zoom in extreme amounts is your primary focus, this camera model will be your best bet. For most people, the P950 is plenty, but if you really need the reach, you can step up to this model.

Best 4K camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ2500

Panasonic Lumix FZ2500

Why it made the cut: This camera is capable of 4k video at 30fps and boasts an HDMI port for 10-bit, 4:2:2 output, making it an excellent compact for vloggers and videographers. 

  • Sensor size: 1 inch
  • Megapixels: 20.9 megapixels
  • Lens: 8.8 to 176mm (35mm equivalent: 24 to 480mm) f/2.8 to f/4.5
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 12fps
  • 1 inch sensor
  • Quick autofocus
  • Built-in variable ND filter
  • Less than impressive lens

When Panasonic released the FZ2500, it was clear that they designed this camera for video enthusiasts. It is capable of 4K video recording at 30 fps and 1080p up to 60 fps. The camera also offers a built-in variable density neutral density filter. The ND filter will allow you to use proper shutter speeds while recording without having to bring along separate filters. It can also come in handy with stills if you want to shoot longer exposures in brighter settings

The FZ2500 has a solid zoom range of 60x; although it isn’t as large as other bridge cameras, it is plenty for most situations. The larger 1-inch sensor in this camera and megapixel count of 20.9 help to produce excellent image quality. It has a minimum focusing distance of just 3cm, making it useful for those macro shots. To help even more with macro images, the FZ2500 comes with Focus Stacking mode. This mode allows you to adjust the focus after the fact by taking multiple photos at slightly different focus points. That’s very helpful in macro settings where depth of field gets extremely shallow.

Panasonic Lumix FZ80

Why it made the cut: For those wanting a good all-around bridge camera with full manual controls at a budget price, the Lumix FZ80 delivers. It has 4k video recording, raw capture, and Panasonic’s 4K photo mode that allows for high-speed image capture. 

  • Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch 
  • Megapixels: 18.9 megapixels
  • Lens: 3.6 to 215mm (35mm equivalent: 20 to 1200mm) f/2.8 to f/5.9
  • 60x zoom range
  • Fast autofocus
  • Highly affordable
  • No eye sensor on the electronic viewfinder
  • Fixed LCD display

The Lumix FZ80 comes in at an affordable price but retains plenty of features and quality. For example, you still get 4K video recording for those interested in video creation. Plus, you can take advantage of the 4K photo mode, which produces 8MP images at 30fps. In addition, the autofocus in the FZ80 is speedy, especially in bright lighting conditions, helping to capture the action.

The lens on the FZ80 is slightly wider than other bridge cameras and still has an excellent zoom of 60x. Unfortunately, this camera doesn’t perform the best at higher ISOs, with noticeable noise cropping up, in part due to the smaller 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor. Shooting in raw can help with the noise, however. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity to easily transfer your captures from the camera to your phone for quick sharing.

Things to consider before buying the best bridge cameras

Bridge cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses, so you’ll need to think more about the focal lengths you want to use before purchasing. Your photographic needs will dictate how much zoom you really need. Some offer massive zoom ranges that push into telescope territory. Those models typically rely on smaller sensors or bigger form factors to achieve those feats. Opting for a smaller zoom allows the camera to employ a bigger sensor that can improve overall image quality and allow for larger maximum apertures. . Certain types of photography, such as wildlife, may require more telephoto range than other subjects, like family photos.

Manual controls

Some advanced bridge cameras offer nearly everything you’d find on a mirrorless camera or DSLR. That includes manual exposure modes and customizable controls on the camera body itself. Even if you’re not ready to take advantage of these options now, they may come in handy as you improve your photography skills. 

Weather sealing

Bridge cameras make great travel companions because of their compact nature, whether a casual family vacation or a bigger adventure. Because of that, weather sealing could be an essential factor. Therefore, if you plan on taking your camera in rough conditions, you will want a camera with excellent weatherproofing. However, if you intend to use it for shorter trips and everyday situations, you can skip the weatherproofing and perhaps save yourself some money. 

Image quality

As with any camera purchase, you need to consider how high quality you want your images. If your camera will be for casual use documenting memories and you will not be printing much, you can save a bit of money and go with a smaller sensor size and fewer megapixels. However, if you want to get the most quality out of your bridge camera, go with the 1-inch sensor and higher megapixel count. 

Q: Do bridge cameras have interchangeable lenses?

Bridge cameras do not have interchangeable lenses. However, they typically are outfitted with a lens with an impressive zoom range, making them versatile despite the inability to swap out lenses.

Q: Which is the best bridge camera to buy?

We’ve found the Sony RX100 VII to be the best bridge camera available. The combination of quality and features for a reasonable price makes it well-rounded for all sorts of photography.

Q: Are bridge cameras good for photography?

Bridge cameras are an excellent option for photography. While they won’t have the large sensor found in interchangeable lens cameras, the quality is still fantastic in most, and they are more compact and portable. 

Final thoughts on the best bridge cameras

  • Best overall: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV  

The best bridge camera will be a flexible piece of camera equipment to help you capture great images in a wide range of situations. They are great for travel due to their compact size and integrated lens, and many offer advanced features for complete control. Deciding which is best for you will depend on your budget, the types of photography you are likely to focus on, and how you intend to use the final images or video.

Why trust us

PopPhoto has a long history of delivering the opinions of some of the sharpest and most prolific camera dorks the world has to offer. Since 1937, we’ve been reviewing cameras, providing wisdom from well-known photographers, and generally just nerding out about all that goes into making great pictures. Our current crop of writers and editors have decades of professional photography and camera writing experience among them. Collectively, we’ve probably shot with just about every camera and lens combo you can imagine—as well as some obscure stuff you may not even know about. Remember the Casio Tryx folding camera? PopPhoto does.

We also get that buying a camera is a big decision, which is why we’re dedicated to helping folks choose the right one (or, in our case “ones”) for their needs. Case in point: Handing over top dollar for an expensive rig may leave you unsatisfied if it doesn’t fit your preferred shooting style. Sure, a $6,000 sports-oriented DSLR can capture landscapes, but do you really need to do it at 30 frames-per-second? No, you don’t.

Abby Ferguson

Abby Ferguson is the Associate Editor for Gear and Reviews at PopPhoto, joining the team in 2022. She has been involved with the photography industry in various capacities since her undergraduate training at the University of Kentucky, with work ranging from client photography to program development and management of the photo department at Evolve, a vacation rental company.

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travel bridge camera

What Digital Camera

Essential guide: bridge cameras and pocket travel zooms.

  • Audley Jarvis
  • June 13, 2016

If you’re looking for something with plenty of zoom power, then a bridge camera or a travel compact could be ideal. Here’s everything you need to know to make an informed choice...

Bridge-and-pocket-zoom

With the arrival of compact system cameras and high-end advanced compacts in recent years, the idea of a bridge camera beinga ‘halfway house’ is somewhat misleading. Not least because they generally employ small 1/2.3-inch compact-sized sensors rather than the larger APS-C sensors found inside most consumer-level DSLRs and many CSCs. In other words, while bridge cameras look remarkably similar to a small DSLR, their image quality has more in common with regular compacts.

Given this, bridge cameras are often referred to as ‘superzooms’ these days, as this better describes the extended telephoto zoom that has come to be their defining characteristic. That said, the term ‘bridge camera’ has been around for many years and for this reason the name has stuck. Ultimately, though, bridge cameras and superzooms are one and the same thing and both terms are routinely used to describe the same type of camera.

Regardless of what they’recalled, bridge cameras/superzooms remain popular with casual photographers looking for an easy-to-use camera with plenty of zoom power. In recent years, they have been joined by a new type of compact – the pocket travel zoom. These offer the extended zoom range found on superzooms, but in a smaller package. Travel compacts have also proved hugely popular, primarily because they offer a great deal of flexibility and are much easier to carry.

Over the next few pages, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of superzooms and travel compacts in more detail, and explore what you need to look for when deciding upon a model that’s right for you.

Long zoom shot

With a long zoom you increase your chances of being able to fill the frame with your subject and increase impact

Affordable zoom power

The big draw with bridge cameras and their travel compact cousins is the powerful zoom lenses they are equipped with. Unlike DSLRs, these lenses are fixed to the body and cannot be removed or swapped around. And while they are unable to compete with a DSLR lens of the same focal length in terms of pure image quality, they do offer a huge degree of flexibility at a fraction of the cost.

So, how much can you expect to save? Well, by way of comparison, Sigma currently makes a 300-800mm f/5.6 zoom lens for Nikon and Canon DSLRs that’s generally considered to be an excellent lens. The only drawback is that it’s half a metre long, weighs nearly six kilos and will set you back the best part of £5,500. In stark contrast, there are plenty of bridge cameras that will give you well in excess of 800mm for under £400. Put that way, it’s easy to understand their appeal.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the maximum telephoto reach of bridge cameras and travel compacts does vary quite a bit; while most travel compacts are able to reach 700mm, some bridge cameras extend right up to 2000mm. Travel compacts are physically smaller than bridge cameras, though, and for many people, especially those wanting to travel as light as possible, this is a trade-off worth making.

While the maximum telephoto setting is generally what manufacturers shout loudest about, it also pays to take note of the maximum wideangle setting, as this also varies (albeit to a lesser extent) between competing models. While most bridge cameras and travel compacts offer a maximum wideangle setting of around 24-25mm, a select few such as the Canon SX60HS open up to 21mm, which could make a difference if you enjoy photographing landscapes or architecture on a regular basis.

Sensor size and image quality

While bridge cameras are designed to have the look and feel of a DSLR, they are generally equipped with small, compact-sized sensors of the 1/2.3in variety. This has important consequences for image quality, because smaller sensors mean smaller individual light-capturing diodes, which in turn results in a lower dynamic range and increased image noise when the camera is used at higher sensitivity settings in low light.

This issue with small sensors is exacerbated when manufacturers choose to overpopulate their sensors in a bid to try to impress consumers with an eye-catching headline resolution. While these densely populated, compact-sized sensors are certainly capable of producing good results in bright even light, it doesn’t take much before they begin to struggle. Happily, as consumers have wised up to this, some manufacturers have chosen to deliberately lower the pixel count to a more sensible level in a bid to improve the low-light, high-sensitivity performance of their cameras. Panasonic’s latest TZ70 travel compact is a prime example of this trend.

Another emerging trend, especially for high-end bridge cameras, is the use of larger 1in sensors. These have approximately four times the surface area of regular 1/2.3in sensors, which in turn allows the individual light-capturing diodes populating its surface to be larger. Two examples of this include the Sony RX10 and the Lumix FZ1000. While both cameras offer better image quality over their 1/2.3in equipped rivals they are significantly more expensive.

Handling issues

One reason bridge cameras have proved popular is their handling. While most travel compacts have a small finger grip, bridge cameras come with a more pronounced handgrip that allows you to get a better hold of the camera. The addition of an electronic viewfinder also allows you to hold bridge cameras at eye-level, as you would a DSLR. Not only does this help out in bright sunshine when the rear LCD display might be hard to see, it also helps you to concentrate on framing your subject without any peripheral distractions. That said, the quality of EVFs does differ quite markedly between individual models, with high-end ones noticeably sharper than their cheaper counterparts. While modern EVFs have come a long way in recent years they are still prone to flickering when used in low light, which can be frustrating. At present, very few travel compacts offer an EVF, the notable exception being the Lumix TZ70.

Given the extended telephoto reach of bridge cameras and travel compacts, it’s reassuring to know that they all come with some form of image-stabilisation technology. This typically offers between three and five stops of shutter speed compensation, enabling you to get sharper images at higher shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible. A word of caution, however; even the most sophisticated IS technology can’t help out with framing images at extreme telephoto settings. For this reason, many models now sport a frame assist function that temporarily pulls the focal length back so that you can centre your subject. However, given that many bridge cameras now extend to well over 1000mm, you may well want to consider investing in a tripod as it’s all but impossible to hold a camera steady at this kind of focal length.

City break

There’s a lot to be said for owning a portable travel zoom compact that you can pull from your pocket when on a city break

Feature sets and conclusion

Bridge and travel compacts are available at a range of points, from basic to high-end. Basic models will generally be limited to fully automatic shooting modes and JPEG-only capture, while more advanced models offer full manual control alongside raw capture. Similarly, advanced features such as exposure bracketing are only found on more expensive models. That said, HD movie recording has traditionally been a strong selling point of bridge cameras, and many offer a range of slow-motion recording options in addition to standard HD movie recording.

In conclusion, with bridge cameras and travel compacts – as with all digital cameras – you get what you pay for. Whether you decide to opt for the handling benefits of a bridge camera or the portability of a travel compact, there are lots of models competing for your cash. Over the page we’ve recommended 11 of them, each offering something unique.

Pocket travel zoom – pros & cons

Lumix-zoom

It’s quite remarkable given their long zoom ranges, that the zoom is able to retract into such a small, portable body

  • Lightweight
  • Super portable
  • Some models offer EVFs
  • Wi-fi connectivity helps to share images
  • Small sensors
  • Build can be quite plasticky
  • Image quality can’t compete with CSCs or DSLRs

Bridge cameras – pros & cons

Panasonic-Lumix-FZ1000

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is an excellent example of a bridge compact that excels in three key criteria: image quality, build quality and performance

  • Large handgrip
  • Superb handling
  • Some are now available with large 1in sensors
  • Won’t fit a pocket
  • Some have a plasticky construction
  • Can be more expensive

travel bridge camera

Bridge cameras are not dead! Panasonic brings Lumix FZ80D & FZ82D back to life

P anasonic has unexpectedly launched a new bridge camera - updating the seven-year-old Panasonic Lumix FZ80 (sold as the FZ82 in Europe). The new version will be called the Lumix FZ80D in North America, and as the Lumix FZ82D in the UK and Europe.

Many of the key specifications of the newer version are the same as those of the 2017-vintage original - including the design, the 60x built-in zoom, and the 1/2.3-inch 18-megapixel sensor. However, some new features are being added to the mix.

For starters, there is now a USB-C socket for simpler charging - and the eyelevel electronic viewfinder has been upgraded. The new EVF uses a 2,360k-dot OLED with 0.74 magnification - doubling the resolution of the existing model.

The rear 3-inch LCD display also gets an image quality boost, upping its resolution to 1,840k dots, compared with the 1040k-dot screen on its predecessor.

A completely new feature is the Zoom Compose Assist button on the top plate, which "lets you quickly zoom out with a single press of a button when you've lost your subject while telephoto shooting". This could prove handy if as the lens gives you an effective focal length range of 20-1200mm.

Panasonic has been one of the few companies to continue making bridge cameras, which offer a big built-in zoom lens in a camera with similar handling characteristics to a traditional DSLR. However, many of its bridge cameras have been in short supply in the last few years, so they have often been hard to find in stock. Hopefully, the new model will ensure better availability.

Other key features of the new model include 4K video recording, optical image stabilization, 10fps burst mode, and a full range of exposure modes (including manual, program and aperture priority).

The Panasonic Lumix FZ80D/FZ82D will go on sale in July for $479/ £429.

Check out our guide to the best bridge cameras

This article may contain affiliate links that Microsoft and/or the publisher may receive a commission from if you buy a product or service through those links.

 Bridge cameras are not dead! Panasonic brings Lumix FZ80D & FZ82D back to life

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New pedestrian bridge travels to Buffalo through Erie Canal

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A 266-foot pedestrian bridge is making its way to Buffalo down the Erie Canal after a trek from Italy on two 195-foot barges.

It is the new Ralph Wilson Park Bridge that will cross Interstate 190. It left Italy after being manufactured by a company called Cimolai, which has a newly established presence in Olean.

What You Need To Know

 the bridge was manufactured in italy.  it is traveling through the erie canal toward buffalo.  it has to travel through 34 locks. the bridge is expected to arrive in buffalo by july 16 or sooner..

Once installed, the bridge will connect the Lower West Side of Buffalo to the newly renovated park. 

Josh Kowalski, the vice president of sales and business development at the Port of Coeymans, said this is the most cost effective way to transport the infrastructure.

“By truck, you’d have to bring it in pieces," he said. "Whether it’s width, whether it’s height, we have a lot of overpasses that are 14-feet. You have bridges that you want to protect on the road. So you can do that but to do that you’d have to shut down traffic. You’d have to have specific times where you can go. So the cost would be extravagant.”

Crews are using a tug-and-barge system to get the bridge across 34 locks. Tight turns will require a tricky single-tow maneuver, while the rest of the trip will need a four-person tandem-tow, all while navigating clearance hazards and low water depths.

“It’s a great feature of New York state," Kowalski said. "It’s historic. It’s something that we strive to use more and more. We’re just looking for reasons."

The bridge is expected to arrive in Buffalo by July 16 or sooner.

travel bridge camera

Color Scheme

  • Use system setting
  • Light theme

Wall Street bets against airlines even as summer travel booms

Americans are flying in record numbers as summer travel season kicks into gear, but traders are betting that airlines won’t be able to capitalize.

Short interest in the $1.1 billion aviation industry exchange-traded fund US Global Jets (ticker JETS) accounts for over 27% of the ETF’s free float after touching 30% earlier this month, the highest in data going back to 2019, according to S3 Partners LLC.

The lack of faith makes sense based on the performance of airline stocks. JETS is down 12% over the past 12 months and the nine-member S&P Supercomposite Airlines Index has plunged 19%, compared with a 28% surge in the S&P 500 Index.

Meanwhile, air travel is booming. US carriers are projected to transport a record 271 million passengers from June 1 to Aug. 31, representing a 6.3% jump from the same period last year, according to industry trade group Airlines for America. And globally, airline profits are expected to rise to $30.5 billion in 2024, based on projections from the International Air Transport Association, which recently lifted its outlook from the $25.7 billion it estimated back in December.

So what’s the problem for airlines? In a word: margins.

Shortages of pilots and cabin crew have forced carriers to increase wages to attract talent. Air traffic control constraints have led to costly disruptions. And airlines are finding that their growth plans were overly ambitious, leading to an abundant supply of available seats and cut-rate promotions to fill planes. Meaning, many of the passengers flooding airports right now are boarding at cheaper prices.

“Just because TSA says there’s a heck of a lot of people going through security, that doesn’t mean that we’ve got an industry that’s killing it,” said George Ferguson, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. “If I were an investor, I would want record profits, too - and from a margin perspective, we don’t have that.”

Delta Airlines Inc. kicked off airline earnings on Thursday, delivering a warning that profit in the third quarter will fall short of expectations as heavy competition in the domestic market drives airfares down. Shares of the Atlanta-based carrier fell as much as 9% at the open. The stock has climbed more than 16% this year through Wednesday, becoming the second best performer in the S&P airline index after SkyWest Inc.

Delta’s weak outlook adds more uncertainty to a sector that’s already been sounding alarms on corporate guidance. Southwest Airlines Co. dialed back its revenue outlook for the second quarter late last month amid pressure from activist Elliott Investment Management to overhaul its leadership, and American Airlines Group Inc. cut its profit forecast in May.

The pain is most intense for low-cost carriers. Shares of Frontier Group Holdings Inc. are down 24% this year, while Spirit Airlines Inc.’s stock has lost 81% in 2024 and is trading at an all-time low. In just the past few days, two of the 13 Wall Street analysts who cover Spirit - Raymond James’ Savanthi Syth and Deutsche Bank’s Michael Linenberg - cut the stock to sell-equivalent ratings.

As a result, investors are fleeing JETS, withdrawing over $589 million from the ETF this year and dragging its assets down to the lowest level in four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Many airlines are now taking steps to curb supply by dropping underperforming routes and putting off delivery of new plane as Boeing Co. continues to struggle production and manufacturing issues. Airbus SE cited persistent supply-chain issues when it cut a slew of longer-term goals last month, adding to a shortfall in new jets. Many US airlines are expected to end the year with smaller fleets, suggesting much more balanced supply in the coming quarters.

In the meantime, carriers are expected to continue to struggle.

“Multiples for the airlines have been really, really depressed,” said Sheila Kahyaoglu, a research analyst at Jefferies. “What we’re seeing is that a lot of long-only investors still don’t have much appetite to return to the space.”

Recent close calls make the case for supporting hydropower

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All lanes reopen on I-295 SB at San Jose Blvd after major crash with injuries

3 southbound lanes were closed tuesday due to a serious accident.

Jonathan Lundy , Digital Producer , Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All lanes of I-295 southbound at San Jose Boulevard have reopened after a major crash with injuries blocked three lanes and caused traffic backups on Tuesday.

The crash was first reported Tuesday around 1:15 p.m.

News4JAX is working to learn more information on the person injured in the crash.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jonathan lundy.

Hailing from Detroit, Jonathan is excited to start his media career at News4JAX in November 2023. He is passionate about telling stories that matter to the community and he is honored to serve Jacksonville.

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CA's new traffic cameras help nab Bay Bridge road rage shooting suspect, CHP says

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Highway Patrol said Friday the state's investment in new, high-tech Flock cameras is already paying off with an arrest connected to a road rage shooting on the Bay Bridge earlier this week.

The CHP said Friday that officers arrested a San Pablo man and recovered a firearm, after the shooting Monday. The suspect was identified through one of the newly installed high-tech Flock cameras, which provide law enforcement with real-time information and alerts to identify and locate vehicles associated with criminal activity.

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom announces installation of 480 traffic cameras in parts of East Bay

Gov. Gavin Newsom in March announced the installation of 480 "high-tech" surveillance cameras in Oakland and other East Bay communities as part of the state's effort to help combat crime in the region.

The cameras allow investigators to identify vehicles by searching for crime-linked vehicles by vehicle type, make, color, license plate state, missing/covered plates, and other unique features like bumper stickers, decals, and roof racks, the governor's office said in March.

CHP received a report at 6:40 a.m., Monday about a freeway shooting on westbound Interstate Highway 80 just west of the Treasure Island on-ramp.

The victim wasn't struck by the bullet but received lacerations from flying glass inside the vehicle. The victim was able to safely exit the freeway into the city of San Francisco, where he was met by officers and paramedics.

RELATED: Statewide numbers show fewer CA highway shootings in 2023, but some still concerned

The victim told investigators the shooting took place following a merging conflict on the Treasure Island on-ramp and gave a description of the shooter's vehicle.

CHP officials said Friday that using Flock camera data, detectives quickly identified the suspect vehicle and obtained a license plate number, which allowed them to issue a "Be on the lookout" broadcast to Bay Area law enforcement agencies.

At 10:20 a.m., Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies located the vehicle traveling on Seventh Street near Pennsylvania Avenue in Richmond and conducted an enforcement stop.

The 42-year-old driver was detained and a search of his 2016 Honda Accord resulted in the recovery of a pistol believed to have been used in the shooting.

The driver was subsequently booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

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The Best Bridge Cameras for 2024

Bridge cameras look like slrs, but feature fixed, long zoom lenses. they're a worthy choice for photographers who want a zoom range that would otherwise require carrying several lenses along with an slr. these are the best bridge cameras we've reviewed..

Jim Fisher

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

Leica V-Lux 5

Leica V-Lux 5

Nikon Coolpix P950

Nikon Coolpix P950

Many people still refer to big superzoom  cameras  as  bridge  models. It's a vestigial term from the days when companies marketed them to people who wanted to upgrade from a pocket-friendly point-and-shoot (which, at the time, had limited zoom ranges) but weren't ready to invest in interchangeable lenses. The idea was that these cameras would bridge that gap, and perhaps encourage those same photographers to eventually move up to a pricier SLR.

Nowadays, the term makes less sense, but like many nicknames, it has stuck around. And although there are fewer options available than in the heyday of digital compacts—you can thank smartphone cameras for that—there are still quality options from trusted brands on sale.

Bridge cameras with smaller image sensors boast incredibly long zoom ranges, getting you closer to the action than phones with 5x power (around 120mm equivalent) lenses like the iPhone 15 Pro Max , Pixel 8 Pro , and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra . Meanwhile, bridge cams with Type 1 sensors limit zoom power but run circles around smartphones and ultra-zoom cams when it comes to picture quality.

Below are our top picks for the category, along with everything you need to know before you buy.

You Can Trust Our Reviews

Deeper dive: our top tested picks, why we picked it.

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is our favorite bridge camera available today. Its lens covers a wide range and we like both the automatic and manual control options. This reasonably priced camera also boasts snappy autofocus, sharp photo quality, and a 4K recording option. Our major complaint is that the camera is hard to find at retail as of this writing—Canon has struggled to keep it in stock, so you may have to wait to buy it.

Who It's For

This is a good pick for family photographers, backyard wildlife watchers, naturalists, and others who want to snap everything from a view of Horseshoe Bend to a close-up of a bird snacking away at a feeder. It's a worthwhile upgrade in zoom power over a smartphone and isn't nearly as expensive or complicated to use as a swappable-lens model.

  • 65x zoom lens.
  • Vari-angle LCD.
  • Excellent EVF.
  • 10fps bursts.
  • Raw image capture.
  • 4K video with mic input.
  • Strong ergonomics.
  • Not great in dim light.
  • Omits accessory shoe and 24fps video.
  • 4K not available in all modes.
  • Not a good choice for fast action.

Sony invented the Type 1 bridge camera with the original RX10. The fourth-generation model emphasizes performance with a 24-600mm F2.4-4 zoom lens, a 20MP Type 1 sensor, and phase detection focus for 24fps subject tracking. A dust- and splash-resistant build, sharp EVF, and a decent number of physical controls help support its premium price.

The RX10 IV makes a lot of sense for nature and wildlife photogs who value a light kit or who simply don't want to spend a fortune on telephoto lenses. If you want a travel camera with picture quality that keeps up with the computational wizardry of the latest smartphones, this won't disappoint.

  • 25x zoom lens.
  • Large 1-inch sensor.
  • Phase detect autofocus.
  • 24fps Raw capture with tracking.
  • Dust- and splash-resistant design.
  • Touch LCD and EVF.
  • Top info LCD.
  • 4K video and 1080p slow-motion.
  • Very expensive.
  • No in-lens neutral density filter.
  • Hood blocks flash at wide angles.
  • Can't start a video when still buffer is in use.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II costs a bit more than entry-level models, but its 20MP Type 1 image sensor outputs much better images. The 25-400mm F2.8-4 zoom lens offers enough range for most subjects short of songbirds, too. Raw format imaging, 4K video support, and a sharp EVF round out the features.

Creators who can't stomach the price of the Sony RX10 IV should appreciate that this Panasonic model offers similar image quality from the same type of image sensor. That said, outdoor photographers are still better off with the weather-protected Sony or the FZ300 (for less).

  • 16x zoom lens.
  • 1-inch image sensor.
  • Vari-angle touch LCD.
  • Large, crisp EVF.
  • Quick autofocus.
  • Omits dust and splash protection.
  • Not as well built as some competitors.

The mid-level Panasonic FZ300 has a bright F2.8 zoom lens, an ample 25-600mm range, and a weather-resistant build. It's one of the few weather-ready compacts available and should appeal to creators who often work outdoors in nature. Picture quality is at the smartphone level and doesn't benefit from computational assists, but the low maximum aperture enables strong image quality in dim light.

We recommend this camera to outdoor photographers who want a more affordable (but still weather-protected) alternative to the Sony RX10 IV with just as much zoom range. The Type 1/2.3 sensor stacks up well with many other fixed-lens bridge models, while the F2.8 optics helps in overcast conditions. We also like the FZ300 for family photographers and some enthusiasts who need something with better build quality than the FZ80.

  • 24x zoom lens with f/2.8 aperture.
  • All-weather build.
  • Vari-angle touch-screen display.
  • Very fast autofocus.
  • 12.4fps burst shooting.
  • Strong high ISO images for its class.
  • Large-sensor superzooms offer better image quality.
  • Zoom range isn't as ambitious as others.

The V-Lux 5 is simply an upscale version of the Panasonic FZ1000 II with Leica's red dot logo and slightly different menus. Style-conscious buyers simply get the right to say they own a Leica.

Leicaphiles who want a bridge camera should look to the V-Lux 5. It takes sharp photos, offers a 25-400mm zoom range, and rolls 4K video, too. At around $1,600, it costs twice as much as the FZ1000 II, however, so most people should pick the Panasonic instead.

  • Articulating touch LCD.
  • Big, sharp EVF.
  • Fast 4K video and mic input.
  • Premium price.
  • Omits weather protection.

Nikon's second-generation 83x zoom camera, the Coolpix P950, is a refinement of the P900. This model is more responsive, adds Raw photo and 4K video support, and boasts a better burst mode. The lens, which covers a staggering 24-2,000mm range, is the real star; it zooms in further than almost every other camera, a plus if you're trying to get pictures of distant subjects, while still offering wide angle coverage in line with standard zoom lenses and the main lens on many smartphones.

Wildlife specialists who need more zoom power than most swappable lens models offer are sure to see the appeal of the P950. It's not much bigger than a consumer SLR, but it gets tight views without an arm-sized lens. You won't get the same type of picture quality as you can with an interchangeable lens camera and dedicated telezoom, but you'll won't have to carry as much weight or spend as much money to get there. Even so, the P950 is more of a niche camera for enthusiasts than a family camera, If you're after the latter, don't forget about the Canon SX70 HS.

  • 83x zoom lens
  • Strong image stabilization
  • Manual controls
  • Raw imaging and 4K video
  • EVF and vari-angle LCD
  • Mic input and accessory shoe
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Autofocus struggles with small and fast-moving subjects
  • LCD doesn't support touch
  • Larger and heavier than competitors

Buying Guide: The Best Bridge Cameras for 2024

Small sensor, big zoom.

Some bridge cameras pack the same size sensor as pocket  point-and-shoots  and premium smartphones. You won't see a significant jump in image quality compared with a pocket model, but you can still enjoy zoom ratios above 50x. Our favorite model, the Canon SX70 HS, sports a 65x lens that covers an ultra-wide (21mm) to an extremely narrow telephoto (1,365mm) angle. It also sets itself apart from many pocket models and smartphones by offering Raw capture, a reliable optical stabilization system, and an electronic viewfinder. Just note that many of Canon's compact cameras, including the SX70 HS, sporadically go out of stock, a lingering reminder of supply chain challenges. It might not be available when you check the link, but we recommend waiting for it.

travel bridge camera

You can go longer when it comes to zoom—the Nikon P950's 83x zoom lens covers a 24-2,000mm range—but image quality at the extreme telephoto isn't as good as it is at wider angles, and the autofocus system struggles with tiny, quick subjects (like athletes on a far-away sports field).

Nikon also sells the P1000 , with a one-of-a-kind 24-3,000mm (125x) lens, Raw image capture, and 4K video recording. It's huge, heavy, and pricey, so it's not a camera for everyone. It's also hard to find at retail. Some rumor sites have reported it as discontinued, but a Nikon representative tells us that it's just on back order. If you really want a P1000, you need to put in an order and wait patiently.

Going in the other direction in terms of zoom power, the Panasonic FZ300's lens offers a mere 24x lens (25-600mm), but it maintains an f/2.8 aperture throughout the entire range, and features one of the best EVFs in its class, along with a weatherproof design and 4K video capture. It's also one of the more affordable bridge options, you can get it new for around $500.

Big Sensor, Shorter Zoom

Sony started putting Type 1 sensors into cameras in 2012 with the pocketable  RX100 . It didn't take long for it to follow with the RX10. Sony has streamlined the family down to one model, the high-end RX10 IV. Its 24-600mm F2.4-4 zoom lens is one of the best we've seen in any bridge model, and it sports dust and splash protection. It's expensive, but it backs the price up with speedy autofocus and 20MP Raw capture at a decent 24fps pace. It also beats smaller sensor models for low light. If you're after a camera you can take into concerts that don't allow swappable lens cams , it's a good one to get.

travel bridge camera

Other Type 1 models to consider include the FZ1000 II and Leica V-Lux 5. They're the same camera inside, but the V-Lux matches other Leicas in design and comes with a longer warranty. Both have lenses that cover a 25-400mm range; that's a little short for some wildlife, but great for an outing at the zoo and trips to the ballpark.

Choosing the Right Bridge Camera

The bridge camera that's best for you depends on your budget, your image quality demands, and just how much zoom range you want. Our top pick for backyard wildlife spotters and family vacationers is the Canon SX70 HS. It has an ultra-wide lens that's ideal for landscapes and snapshots in front of famous landmarks, as well as enough zoom power to snap a shot of a songbird dining at your feeder. But it has limitations—it's not the best tool for working in dim light, doesn't offer weather protection, and can't reliably focus on fast-moving subjects.

travel bridge camera

More serious photographers—or families that don't mind spending a bit more for better image quality—should opt for a Type 1 sensor model. The lenses don't wow us with a big zoom factor, but the larger sensor area means you can crop as necessary. The Sony RX10 IV is our top pick here. It has a phenomenal lens that reaches 600mm at a relatively bright F4 aperture, offers 4K video, records in slow motion, and shoots at a speedy 24fps.

And for the edge cases—photographers who just want as much zoom power as possible—the aforementioned P950, or a P1000 if you can find one, respectively reach 2,000mm and 3,000mm (albeit with a smaller Type 1/2.3 sensor).

More Inside PCMag.com

  • The Best Digital Cameras for 2024
  • The Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras for 2024
  • The Best DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras for 2024
  • The Best Mirrorless and SLR Cameras for Beginners in 2024

About Jim Fisher

Images, and the devices that capture them, are my focus. I've covered cameras at PCMag for the past 10 years, which has given me a front row seat for the DSLR to mirrorless transition, the smartphone camera revolution, and the mainstream adoption of drones for aerial imaging. You can find me on Instagram @jamespfisher .

More From Jim Fisher

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travel bridge camera

The Virginian-Pilot

Crime and Public Safety | 1 dead after vehicle goes off Monitor-Merrimac…

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Crime and Public Safety

Crime and public safety | 1 dead after vehicle goes off monitor-merrimac bridge in crash.

Suffolk Fire Rescue Fire Boat 1, with The Port of Virginia and the U.S. Coast Guard, Chesapeake Fire Department, Newport News Fire Department and Suffolk Police Department respond to a car in the water after a crash on the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Courtesy of Suffolk Fire Rescue)

The call came in at 6:58 a.m. and Suffolk Fire & Rescue said one vehicle was in the James River on the south side of the tunnel.

State police said a preliminary investigation has determined a 55-year-old man from Orlando was traveling south in a 2011 Chevy Traverse in the right lane at the time of the crash. Police say the driver changed lanes and hit a 2005 Dodge Durango. The Traverse “spun and went over the bridge wall and into the water,” police said. The driver was not identified. The Durango’s condition was not known.

No structural damage has been reported to the bridge.

A dive team with Suffolk police found the vehicle but crews were initially unable to recover it due to the wind and current, according to state police. By the afternoon, state police said crews made a second attempt.

According to the Newport News Fire Department, crews dove to the vehicle and tethered it to a tow truck on the bridge at about 2:30 p.m.

All lanes of I-664 were closed at the bridge-tunnel for several hours. All lanes were reopened just after 3 p.m.

Rescue crews from Norfolk , Newport News and Suffolk, along with the state police were involved in the search for the vehicle.

Gavin Stone, 757-712-4806, [email protected]

Eliza Noe, [email protected]

More in Crime and Public Safety

Both violent and property crimes are down in Hampton in the first six months of this year compared to the prior two years. Police recorded 173 violent crimes and 2,010 property crimes between Jan. 1 and July 8 this year.

City Politics | Violent and property crime down in Hampton, police chief says

The Hampton Fire Department is still searching for a man they say fell overboard just after 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Crime and Public Safety | Search ongoing for man who fell overboard near Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel

Hampton officially joined the Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority. The move is expected to cost the city about $2.5 million less a year than its previous arrangement and cut travel time for transport as some inmates were being held at far away facilities across the state.

City Politics | Hampton finds new location for most inmates while future of city jail uncertain

Trying to sell a home turned surreal for a Virginia property owner when a family of five showed up and refused to leave, even under threat of arrest, according to investigators.

Virginia News | Dad tours home for sale, then returns with 4 kids and refuses to leave, Stafford police say

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IMAGES

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  2. The 8 Best Bridge Cameras In 2021 [$200, $300 & $500 Budgets]

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  3. The Best Bridge Camera 2021 + What To Look For

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  5. The Best Bridge Camera 2021 + What To Look For

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COMMENTS

  1. The best bridge camera in 2024

    Most of the big brands make bridge cameras, and they all offer good performance - so it really depends on what you're looking for. The Sony RX10 IV is considered to boast the best image quality, Panasonic's bridge cameras possess all-around performance, while Nikon's P1000 and P950 are the best in terms of zoom range.

  2. The best ultra zoom camera in 2024

    The best ultra-zoom cameras, also known as the best bridge cameras (this term is going out of fashion), let you shoot without needing to change lenses. With these impressive compact cameras, users can go from a wide perspective to a super telephoto in an instant. They're designed for travel, for day-to-day photography, and for those who prioritise simplicity and versatility.

  3. The 4 Best Bridge Cameras

    The Sony RX10 IV is undoubtedly the Rolls-Royce of bridge cameras. While it isn't cheap, it's one of the best cameras with zoom on the market.

  4. The Best Bridge Cameras for 2024

    Bridge cameras look like SLRs, but feature fixed, long zoom lenses. They're a worthy choice for photographers who want a zoom range that would otherwise require carrying several lenses along with ...

  5. Best bridge camera 2024: the finest options with huge zoom lenses

    View at Walmart. The best bridge camera for zoom. An unbelievable 125x optical zoom range gives the equivalent of 24-3000mm in 35mm terms. An ideal candidate for wildlife photography. Read more ...

  6. The Best Bridge Camera + What To Look For

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  7. 8 Best Bridge Cameras in 2024 (And How to Choose Yours!)

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  8. The Best Bridge Cameras in 2024 (Top 7 Picks)

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  9. Best travel camera for 2024: top choices for your adventures

    In our best travel camera guide, we look at the top travel cameras available to buy right now.

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    Bridge cameras look like SLRs, but feature fixed, long zoom lenses. They're a worthy choice for photographers who want a zoom range that would otherwise require carrying several lenses along with ...

  11. The Best Bridge Cameras

    Bridging the gap between point-and-shoots and interchangeable lens cameras, these long-zoom compacts offer manual control and other advanced features.

  12. Best Bridge Cameras in 2024 [Top Superzoom Camera]

    Discover the top superzoom bridge cameras in 2023, including the best options for zoom and image quality. Find the best bridge camera for your photography needs.

  13. The Best Bridge Cameras in 2024

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  14. 5 Best Bridge Cameras in 2024

    The performance of a DSLR meets the portability of a point-and-shoot… Win-win! Check out this guide to find the best bridge camera for you.

  15. 7 Best Bridge Cameras in 2024: New Models & Current Prices

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  16. The best bridge cameras in 2023

    Bridge cameras provide an excellent option for those wanting to control exposure and image style without worrying about how to pack multiple lenses. The wide zoom range typically found in these cameras makes them terrific choices for all sorts of photography, from travel and wildlife to family snapshots.

  17. Essential guide: Bridge cameras and pocket travel zooms

    In conclusion, with bridge cameras and travel compacts - as with all digital cameras - you get what you pay for. Whether you decide to opt for the handling benefits of a bridge camera or the portability of a travel compact, there are lots of models competing for your cash.

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