We regularly tests the latest bridge cameras. In this list of the best you can find all tested products.
- Our place 1: Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II
- Our 2nd place: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000
- Our 3rd place: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Mark III
- Bridge camera leaderboard: easy picture enjoyment
- The best bridge cameras: characteristics of the test winners
- External characteristics of bridge cameras: housing, display and Co.
- Bridge camera or system camera?
- Ask Before You Buy: How To Find The Perfect Bridge Camera
- The best bridge cameras in comparison
Our place 1: Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II
The Lumix FZ1000 II is a chunk that has it all: the superzoom camera reacts in a flash and its 16x zoom also displays distant subjects in full format. The comparatively large 1-inch sensor delivers really good photos and videos, and the viewfinder is nice and large and bright.
Our 2nd place: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000
The Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 is a chunk that has it all: the superzoom camera reacts in a flash, brings in distant subjects and delivers top quality recordings, regardless of whether they are photos or videos. The equipment is lavish. Well deserved reward: The FZ2000 conquered the top spot in the list of the best in the compact class.
Our 3rd place: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Mark III
For a compact camera, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III is pretty big and expensive. But the big chunk has it all: The equipment leaves little to be desired. The highlights include the bright 25x zoom and a large sensor that ensures high image quality – when taking photos and filming.
Bridge camera leaderboard: easy picture enjoyment
Live up to their name: Bridge cameras build a bridge between light and small compact cameras and high-performance SLR or system cameras. In a compact but handy housing, the top models on the best list have an excellent 1 inch sensor, a long-lasting battery and numerous programs and setting options for the perfect photo. However, there are big differences in price for bridge cameras: The best models cost between a few hundred and well over 1,000 euros.
The best bridge cameras: characteristics of the test winners
Both beginners and professionals will appreciate a good bridge camera. Due to the permanently installed lens, the test winners remain light and compact, at the same time they enable excellent recordings in a wide variety of situations. When comparing the bridge cameras on the leaderboard, you should pay attention to the following “inner values”:
- Zoom: For a long time, zoom was the measure of all things when testing bridge cameras. The best models easily get 50 or 60 times zoom, the front runner even over 125 times zoom. However: the image quality or the maximum resolution often suffers from the extreme zoom and good results are only achieved in very good lighting conditions.
- Image sensor: The size of the image sensor determines how much light a camera collects – translated this roughly means: the larger the sensor, the more light is captured and the more brilliant the images are. Many of the bridge cameras in the test use a 1 / 2.3 inch sensor, as is also used in most compact cameras. The top models on the best list, however, come with a powerful 1 inch sensor, which pays off especially in poor lighting conditions, for example at dusk. However, with these bridge cameras the zoom is usually limited to 16 to 25 times – in most cases this magnification is completely sufficient.
- Resolution: Bridge cameras with 1 inch or smaller sensors have a resolution of a maximum of 20 megapixels. Newer bridge cameras can usually also record videos in 4K. Cheap models in the test are often limited to Full HD videos.
- Autofocus: The autofocus describes the time between pressing the shutter release and the actual picture. The best bridge cameras in the test achieved times of 0.1 seconds – so even fast-moving subjects are recorded extremely sharply. The cameras usually only achieve these top values with shorter focal lengths. With a very large zoom, the cameras need more time to focus and release.
- Programs and functions: Numerous image programs , in which exposure time and other values are automatically adapted to the situation, are particularly useful for beginners. The manual setting options of a bridge camera are interesting for advanced users.
- Connectivity: The best bridge cameras not only have a USB port, but can usually also be connected to a smartphone or tablet via WiFi or Bluetooth.
- Battery: Most of the models on the leaderboard come with an extra battery that can be charged either directly via the camera or in a separate charger. Some models are powered by conventional AA batteries. The maximum possible recordings with one battery charge are given as a comparison value in tests.
External characteristics of bridge cameras: housing, display and Co.
It is not only the inner values that are decisive for a top position on the best list of bridge cameras. The housing, controls and display are also taken into account in the test:
- Viewfinder: Many of the test winners come with an electronic viewfinder so that you can check the subject before taking the picture, even in demanding light situations where the display is reflective.
- Display: Most bridge camera displays are 3 inches in size and can be operated using extra buttons. The option of tilting the display at an angle is particularly convenient, so that you can still look comfortably at the screen when taking pictures close to the ground, for example.
- Housing: The housing of the best bridge cameras is particularly easy to grip. Various controls are attached so that they can be easily reached with one hand. Ideally, you will have the bridge camera of your choice in your hand before you buy it to see how good it actually feels. If you are looking for a splash-proof model, you have to look for something among the test winners.
- Weight: Bridge cameras are usually significantly lighter than SLR or system cameras, which is mainly due to the integrated zoom lens. Nevertheless, the heaviest models can weigh more than a kilogram, the lightest cameras on the list of the best weigh around 500 – 600 grams.
Bridge camera or system camera?
Those who have reached their photographic limits with compact cameras often ask themselves whether a bridge or system camera makes sense in the next step. However, there is no clear answer to this question. System cameras offer almost unlimited design options for photography, but are often relatively heavy and bulky to transport due to the additional lenses. Bridge cameras are comparatively light and compact, but at some point they reach their limits when it comes to individual image design in the professional sector. In addition, many models on the leaderboard come with a rather small image sensor, which is particularly limited in poor lighting conditions.
Ask Before You Buy: How To Find The Perfect Bridge Camera
Not only when it comes to the question of “bridge or system camera?” But in general when comparing the test winners, there are various factors that determine which is the best model for you. If you answer a few questions in advance, it can not only help you to find the optimal bridge camera for your purposes, but also save costs:
How well do you know photography?
The better you know about the effects of focal length, aperture, etc., the more it is worth investing in a bridge or perhaps even system camera that allows many manual settings.
What and where do you want to photograph?
The subject and location determine, for example, the maximum zoom and the image sensor. If you want to photograph a lot of landscapes in the evening light, a camera with a 1 inch sensor is definitely recommended. Depending on where you are, the case should also be dust and / or waterproof. It may be worth buying a special outdoor camera.
How do you want to transfer the pictures from the camera?
WLAN is comfortable, but requires an internet connection. A wireless alternative is data transfer via Bluetooth or NFC.
How important is video quality to you?
If you also want to use the bridge camera as a video camera, choose one of the test winners that records videos in 4K.
How do you want to transport the camera?
If you have an extra photo backpack or shoulder bag with you anyway, the exact dimensions and weight are not so important. If you want to always have the camera to hand, a particularly small and light model is probably more practical.
Tip at the end:
Take the bridge camera in your hand before buying it and test how 500 or 600 grams actually feel in your hand or over your shoulder. Also important for the live test: How are the buttons arranged? Is the display clearly structured and easy to use? Can it be adjusted in angle? And is the shape of the case comfortable to hold?
The best bridge cameras in comparison