When i was just starting out in photography and I first heard about bridge cameras, I immediately went out and bought one for myself. I haven’t gone back since then. The best bridge cameras I am about to list have amazing zooming capabilities (Up to 125x!), and I listed them based on their price, quality, photo quality and more. Let’s not waste any more time because I am very excited to share this list with you!
1. Nikon COOLPIX P1000
It would be a shame to make a best bridge cameras list and not include the P1000 by Nikon. The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 may be a niche machine with interesting capabilities, however, I think with patience and perseverance you can get shots that you can’t get in any other camera. It takes telephoto to another dimension with its 3000mm f/2.8 to f/8.0 lens, and now you even get 4K video and RAW format support. On top of that, the camera may be a little larger, but it has a larger screen as well with full quality, it may have a high cost but it is a beautiful camera to shoot with.
The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is a hefty machine built with polycarbonate that weighs 1415grams with battery and memory card. Besides it feels really big and premium item too, it is not the perfect camera for a casual day’s shooting, it demands respect. I was surprised by the ease of use and convenient controls of the camera despite being such a large one. The majority of the weight of the camera is on its optic, which creates some imbalance, Nikon has included a deep rubberized grip to counter this effect, and I could say that it is perfect.
The vari-angle LCD screen rotates and tilts with ease and giver you maximum flexibility for different kinds of shooting, and it offers great quality and plenty of brightness for use under the bright sun. The electronic viewfinder performed pretty well in every condition, and it has a nice resolution to back up the quality.
Despite having a contrast-detect autofocus system, the AF worked amazingly, there are tons of settings which you can choose from face detecting to Target Finding AF option, and you even have Manual Focus which will please the professionals and enthusiasts.
The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 features Raw shooting and 4K video, but the camera limited the pixel count to 16MP. Yes, this has softened most of the details in the images, but the results were vibrant and natural, even at the 3000mm extreme zoom thanks to its Vibration Reduction system the results were remarkable.
This camera is definitely an achievement and will be role model for other bridge cameras as to what can be achieved, amazing design by Nikon.
2. Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV
The Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV, put together simply is the best all-in-one bridge camera that has a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor and an amazing range of 24-600mm zoom, all packaged like a mid-range DSLR camera, and priced like a high-end one. It has a stacked CMOS sensor and Bionz X processor, and it has the fastest lens you can find in any camera, with its ability to shoot 24fps in continuous autofocus.
When it comes to design the Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV has not updated much from its predecessor, with a large and chunky body that is needed to house the 600mm lens, it feels like a mid-range DSLR with its big grip that is pretty ergonomic and provides the most secure grip that you can find. But it is not a camera that you can use with one hand, because of its weight and size, however, most of the controls on the camera are very intuitively placed and easy to use. It doesn’t take a long learning curve to get the hang of it.
The Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV has a 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS sensor utilizes a stacked architecture, combined with on-chip memory and image processing that allows amazingly high readout speeds. Also, it is worth stating that the electronic shutter is very silent at high-speeds, and nearly eliminates the distortion from rolling shutter artifacts.
The Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV sports a 315 point autofocus technology which covers 65% of the area, while high-density AF tracking, developed by Sony, offers the camera to cluster groups of small focus points around the subject, and does a particularly accurate job doing it.
I tested the autofocus in various scenarios and ambients, and during shooting still subjects it focuses instantly, regardless of the zoom or where the focus point is placed, also it does it accurately and silently. It offers similar performance in low-light ambients, but at slightly lower speeds, its biggest selling point the continuous AF works very well with moving subjects, such as wildlife or in sports, works perfectly, you really can’t expect better.
I have to mention the perfect image quality with vibrant colors and great detail, amazing shadows, and highlights couldn’t find any caveats in the Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV.
3. Nikon COOLPIX P900
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 is an amazing digital bridge camera, that opens new horizons for photographers with its amazing ultrazoom abilities and overall image qualities. It has a mind-bending zoom range of 83x, amazing image stabilization, great performance in low-light conditions and an electronic viewfinder that is ultra clear to name a few. It may soften details a little in some conditions and may not be the most portable of the bridge cameras, but overall it is a great buy.
Design wise it is shaped like a traditional DSLR camera, and it is a big camera overall, that weighs 2-pounds and measures at 5.5×5.5×4.1-inches. The electronic viewfinder is colorful and bright with a sharp resolution of 640×480, making it pretty helpful in various situations, such as when it was really bright to use the LCD screen, I also found it particularly useful in high zoom ranges for stability.
The vari-angle LCD can be flipped and rotated through 270 degrees, giving you access to different and interesting shooting opportunities such as selfies. There are two zoom levers in the camera, the second extra one was very convenient and a nice addition, it is located on the side of the lens barrel. I have even found the other controls very intuitive and easy to use, and I could easily recommend this camera even for beginners.
I tested the Nikon COOLPIX P900 in different ambients and conditions and it delivered amazing quality. The colors were very accurate and natural, and the detail was pretty good but not as sharp as I expected, the edges were a little smoother, but the overall picture was very good. Despite having a small sensor, the long lens of the camera delivered great shadows and highlights, which will please even the most experienced photographers.
The camera outputs the photos in just the JPEG format, not giving you any freedom in that aspect, as most photographers like Raw format. The extreme zoom was excellent as it retained amazing quality even at max zoom and you could take remarkable photos.
An amazing mid-range option, priced like an entry-level DSLR, this bridge camera will provide amazing ultrazoom, that will reveal great photographing opportunities.
4. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
As expected from Panasonic, the Lumix FZ1000 is a great bridge camera that provides high-quality images and videos for its class and gives you an amazing DSLR feel with a versatile 16x optical zoom without spending thousands of dollars. It may not be the cheapest option on this list but every cent of this camera is justified, thanks to its 20megapixel 1-inch sensor that provides great image quality, and it offers 4K video and one of the first to do so in the bridge camera market.
In terms of looks, I can say that it gives the entry-level DSLR vibe, it is a little bulky and ergonomic, and it is not the most portable camera if you are looking for that. However, I do like its handling and ergonomics, the big and bubbly grip provided tons of security while shooting even in more difficult scenarios. Despite being made out of plastic all over, the device feels sturdy and durable, and it weighs about 830grams, but again thanks to the grip and ergonomic design you will not feel that.
Just like in a DSLR camera the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, offers a good amount of manual controls, although you will not locate dials for all core shooting parameters, there are function buttons which you can set to control various things depending on your preference, it will take some time in the beginning but after some time you will be shooting like a pro.
The major selling point of the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is the 20megapixel sensor, which is 1-inch in size that means it is larger than most bridge cameras that sport 1/2.3-inch sensors. The camera has a vari-angle screen that is 3-inches in size and has a resolution of the 921k-dot resolution, although it is not touch screen, and the electronic viewfinder is remarkable.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is very fast, faster then its predecessor which was considered amazingly fast, It has a 49-point contrast-detection system, which utilizes the defocus DFD technology. The images shot with this camera are amazing and you will be pleased with the results, even at higher ISO settings.
With its reliable autofocus, great sensor, and 4K shooting to name a few this camera provides amazing value for its price.
5. Fujifilm FinePix S1
We are goign to start our best bridge cameras list with a great product by FujiFilm. Bridge cameras may not be very popular, however, they are great choices for people who want to get into photography, or want to get a nice camera to add to their arsenal. The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is one such camera and it is the first one to be weather-resistant and has the looks and handles of a DSLR. It features a 50x zoom lens that covers 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-1200mm, a great image stabilization technology, and manual zoom controls.
The Fujifilm FinePix S1 looks exactly like a DSLR camera, just without the interchangeable lenses, in this camera you get a fixed lens with a great range. It has an all-black design, it is very sturdy and ergonomic with its deep textured grip, that will help you through shooting. Combined with the battery and SD card, the Fujifilm FinePix S1 weighs just 24-ounces and measures 5.2×3.6×4.3-inches when it is off, enough to fit in every bag, a pretty compact package.
A major selling point for the Fujifilm FinePix S1 is its Super EBC Fujinon lens with its wide aperture of f/2.8-5.6. This aperture is one of the best that you can find on any bridge cameral, absolutely top class from Fujifilm. The AF Assist lamp also provides faster and more precise autofocus, you can also find the second zoom switch as well as the Zoom Out button, which helps with refocusing the subject.
Interestingly, the Fujifilm FinePix S1 also features a 0.2-inch electronic viewfinder, a feature not so characteristic for bridge cameras, but the Fujifilm FinePix S1 is really an exceptional camera. The camera has a 1/2.3-inch 16.4-megapixel sensor, it is great for beginner users, and even the seasoned veterans will find that it is very pleasing. Overall, the image quality was amazing, the accuracy and depth of the color were very vibrant. It has a maximum resolution for stills and videos of 4608×3456 pixels and 1080p with 60 frames per second, respectively. It really provided amazing images and videos, despite being a bridge camera.
With its super-zoom, good sensor, and weather-resistant features it is a great entry-level camera for those considering a bridge-camera.