Bridge cameras remain hugely popular with the prosumer market in 2013, with their ease of use and excellent zoom ability. There’s a great range available at the moment, with several manufacturers fighting for a slice of this lucrative niche.
Bridge cameras are basically better than a point and shoot but not quite as good as a DSLR. This is great for those that don’t want to deal with all the settings that you need to work with to get great pictures from a DSLR and want the simplicity of the point and shoot cameras. Check out these bridge cameras to see if they suit your needs.
Best Bridge Camera under $400
If portability is a factor, you might want to look at the Nikon Coolpix P520, one of the smaller bridge cameras available on the market right now. The lens has a range from 24mm to 1000mm and the built-in lens-shift VR will help you reduce wobble on those longer range shots. It’s got an 18mp CMOS sensor to assist in quick focusing and includes some additional features such as GPS to allow automatic geotagging of images.
Some users have reported that the build quality of this camera feels a little cheap, which doesn’t affect functionality in any way but means you’ll need to be slightly more careful with it (and you’ll not have that feeling of a sturdy, professional camera in your hands). It means though that the Coolpix P520 is priced a lot lower than its competitors, and the balance of budget and functionality makes this a perfect entry point into this school of photography.
Best Super Zoom Camera
Higher up on the quality scale is the Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR. Fuji have earned a lot of praise for their EXR sensor which is included in the Finepix HS50, and makes the camera capable of adapting to most shooting conditions, even in low light.
The 16mp chip has a super-fast phase detect – Fuji claims that it’s the fastest in the world of bridge cameras – which makes it great if you want to shoot on the fly and not spend a lot of time setting up each image. Again, the aperture ranges from 24mm to 1000mm and there are numerous additional features, such as filters and film simulation.
Best Bridge Camera under $500
The first thing you’ll notice about the Sony Cyber-shot HX300 is the size. It’s a big beast, bigger than the average DSLR, and certainly feels like a real camera in a way that the Coolpix doesn’t. A lot of this is the high-qualty Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T zoom lens, with 50x zoom.
Inside, you’ll find a pretty ferocious 20.4mp Exmor R CMOS sensor with back illumination, beefed up with a high-performing Bionz processor. It makes for terrific high-speed processing which allows some of Sony’s excellent advanced image handling functionality. This really is a camera for tech geeks who like a fancy piece of kit that with advanced settings. You won’t be disappointed.
Best Bridge Camera for the Money
If you want to enter the world of bridge cameras but you’re really on a budget (and even the Nikon Coolpix is too expensive), the very cheapest model available is the Pentax X-5. It’s got a 256x zoom and an LCD screen, with 16mp res, and will be more than suitable for anyone looking to step up from their basic compact camera.
The least appealing aspect of this model is the fact that it runs on replaceable batteries, which may end up costing you more than splashing out on a more advanced model. But if you just want to try out a bridge camera, this is probably a great place to start.
When you are looking for a bridge camera, these are a decent group to choose from. They will give you quality images and make you feel like you are doing expert pics.
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