10 Best Bridge Cameras in 2020

As a photographer, I seem to wage a constant battle between quality, and portability. On one hand, I want high-resolution RAW photos that I can use professionally. On the other hand, I don’t want to carry a trailer full of expensive gear each time I use my camera. I have found that a great compromise for these two issues is a bridge camera.

A bridge camera or a superzoom camera offers greater quality than a point-and-shoot camera and is easier to transport than a typical SLR set-up. If you want a no-fuss approach to photography, we have provided a list of the 10 best bridge cameras in 2020. Within this guide, I have picked out some fantastic models including the best options for travel photography, and the best affordable bridge cameras.

If you aren’t quite ready for a DSLR, or simply require a second camera for portability, these 10 best bridge cameras are excellent choices:  

What is a bridge camera?

A bridge camera is a niche model – it offers more than a simple point-and-shoot camera, but does not have the extended features of a DSLR camera. The following are features that differ from traditional DSLR cameras:

  • Smaller sensor size
  • Static lens
  • Lack of an optical viewfinder
  • Smaller size and weight

The main difference is smaller sensor size – this has a direct impact on image quality. Bridge cameras traditionally have a smaller sensor than a full-frame DSLR model. Some bridge cameras do have top-range sensors, but in most instances, the overall image quality cannot match a DSLR.

Secondly, lens flexibility is a key difference. Bridge cameras typically have a static lens that is fixed to the camera body – this lens cannot be changed. Obviously, DSLR cameras have interchangeable lenses – photographers can purchase lenses for specific purposes such as macro, and wide-angle photography.

This is not possible with a bridge camera. However, the standard lens provided usually covers a large zoom variance. The Nikon Coolpix P900, for example, has a zoom range of 24mm – 3000mm.

Essentially, bridge cameras are flexible, compact, and offer more than a basic point-and-shoot model. Historically, bridge cameras were viewed as the “steeping stone” – an ideal camera to use before jumping into the deep and purchasing a DSLR model.

1. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Ergonomic design with a powerful zoom and multi-shoot capabilities

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

The SX70 HS has a 1-inch CMOS sensor, aperture range of f/3.4 – f/6.5, and a max optical zoom of 65x. This provides brilliant image quality for wildlife photography, landscapes, and street photography. Moreover, the body features typical Canon ergonomics and a fantastic EVF – furthermore, the LCD screen provides accurate representations of photos.

In addition to the above, the PowerShot can take RAW photos, and the 4K video quality is magnificent. This device is the best well-rounded bridge camera – for general photographic use, travel, or street photography, the SX70 is a top option.  

Pros

  • 65x zoom level
  • 10fps for amazing action shots
  • Ergonomic body design

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 65x Zoom / f3.4 – f6.5
  • LCD: 3-inch, 920,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 10fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p, 4K
  • User Level: Beginner, Enthusiasts

2. Canon PowerShot G3 X

Fast autofocus system combined with high image quality

Canon PowerShot G3 X

With a top focal zoom of 600mm, the G3 X has an excellent lens together with the CMOS sensor, and an aperture range of f/2.8 – f/5.6. Furthermore, the touch-screen display can rotate and makes up for the lack of an EVF. We have to mention this as it is a drawback of the G3 X. It has no viewfinder, and this is an optional upgrade which is quite expensive. Furthermore, the burst rate of 5.9fps is not exactly groundbreaking.

The Canon PowerShot G3 X is a superb bridge camera for basic image quality and zoom range, but its drawback could make the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS a better choice.

Pros

  • Fast autofocus system
  • Tilting touch-screen display
  • Body is sealed against dust and moisture

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 25x Optical Zoom / f/2.8 – f/5.6 / 24mm – 600mm
  • LCD: 3.2-inch, 1,620,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: None (Optional EVF)
  • Max Frames per Second: 5.9fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p HD
  • User Level: Enthusiasts

3. Nikon Coolpix P900

Built-in image stabilization and fast autofocus for accurate shots

Nikon Coolpix P900

The Nikon Coolpix P900 offers exceptional zoom capabilities and image quality via a 1-inc CMOS sensor, 24-2000mm focal length, and aperture range of f/2.8 – f/6.5. In addition to this, the built-in image stabilization, quality EVF, and high-resolution LCD screen make this a superb well-rounded device.

Despite the superb zoom range, the Coolpix P900 does not have the ISO range of some of the other models. Furthermore, it does not support RAW photos which means post-processing options are limited. The P900 is one of the best bridge cameras with zoom capabilities, however. 

Pros

  • 180-degree rotatable LCD screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • 83x Optical Zoom

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 24mm – 2000mm / f/2.8 – f/6.5
  • LCD: 3.2-inch, 921,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 7fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Enthusiasts

4. Nikon Coolpix P1000

Upgraded lens from the P900 and superior image quality

Nikon Coolpix P1000

The Coolpix P1000 represents the next model up from the P900. The basic features remain the same, but the P1000 has an increased maximum focal length of 3000mm. This makes it the best bridge camera with zoom capabilities. In addition to this, the 3.2-inch LCD screen provides excellent viewing, and the EVF offers comfort when shooting.

Whilst the P1000 is a little bulky, it is still transportable, and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Moreover, it can record full 4K video which is complemented by the zoom lens. If you want a super zoom camera, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 is the very definition of this type of model.

Pros

  • Huge optical zoom lens at max focal length of 3000mm
  • Creative shooting modes
  • Enhanced I/S and ISO range for low-light shooting

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 24mm – 3000mm / f/2.8 – f/8.0
  • LCD: 3.2-inch, 921,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 7fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Enthusiasts

5. Sony Cybershot DSC RX10-IV

High-quality Zeiss lens combined with fantastic fps for action shots

Sony Cybershot DSC RX10-IV

The Cybershot DSC RX10-IV offers several improvements from the III model including a higher quality LCD screen and 24fps RAW capture with tracking. Moreover, the body is weather protected from dust and liquid splashes. In terms of image quality, the RX10-IV has a 24mm-600mm focal length, with a moderate aperture of f/2.4 – f/4.0. Furthermore, this is complemented with the high-quality EVF, and aforementioned 24fps shooting.

This camera is great for both enthusiasts and professionals, but also is a great choice for those who want to record video. Capable of shooting slow-motion footage, the 4K quality and tracking features create fantastic videos.

Pros

  • 24fps for stunning action shots
  • High-quality batteries with greater usage
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 24mm – 600mm / f/2.4 – f/4.0
  • LCD: 3-inch, 1,440,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 24fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Enthusiasts, Professionals

6. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Superior image quality even in low-light situations

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

The Lumix range of cameras from Panasonic are some of the best bridge cameras available. In addition to this, the FZ1000 has excellent autofocus, a superb ISO range, a high-quality CMOS sensor, and a respectable max zoom of 400mm. Furthermore, the burst shooting rate of 12fps is fantastic for action photos.

Some may find the physical controls a little fiddly, but overall, the design is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Moreover, this camera also offers great video recording features – it is 4K ready and is capable of recording at 120fps for slow-motion footage.

Pros

  • Post focus feature  
  • Exceptional quality 4K video
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / MOS Sensor
  • Lens: 25mm – 400mm / f/2.8 – f/4.0
  • LCD: 3-inch, 921,600 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 12fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Beginners, Enthusiasts

7. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II

Upgraded model of the original Lumix FZ1000

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II

If you want the latest model of the Lumix FZ1000, the FZ1000 II offers additional features. The downside is that it has an increased price tag too. The FZ1000 II has a large screen (with touch screen functionality) and offers 34% more screen size. Furthermore, it provides advanced features such as Bluetooth connectivity, focus bracketing, and focus stacking.

The sensor and lens remain the same as the previous model, but the device is lighter and has a more efficient battery. If you are looking for that little bit extra, the additional cost of the FZ1000 II is worth it.

Pros

  • Improved image sensors compared to FZ1000
  • Addition of a touch screen display
  • Higher quality LCD screen

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 25mm – 400mm / f/2.8 – f/4.0
  • LCD: 3-inch, 921,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 12fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Beginner, Enthusiasts

8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

Simple but effective super zoom camera with built-in WiFi

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

The Panasonic Lumiz DMC-FZ300 is a robust device with a waterproof casing and a comfortable design. Moreover, the 25mm – 600mm optical zoom gives users great flexibility. This is complemented by the 1-inch CMOS sensor, and the ability to shoot continuous at 12fps.

This is a superb beginner model and offers both auto and manual shooting modes. Furthermore, it has excellent video capabilities with 4K quality, made easier by the high-quality 3-inch LCD screen. Compared to the FZ80 which is featured below, the FZ300 has a smaller zoom lens, but similar image quality and functionality.

Pros

  • Waterproof casing
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Face detection focusing

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / MOS Sensor
  • Lens: 25mm – 600mm
  • LCD: 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 12fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Beginner

9. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ80

Solid Bridge camera with excellent photo quality and video capabilities

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ80

Compared to other Lumix models, the FZ80 is cheaper and is one of the best affordable bridge cameras available. Moreover, the 18mp sensor, and 20mm – 1200mm optical zoom offer great image quality and versatility – especially as a street photography camera.

The autofocus is complemented by built-in image stabilization, and the patented Panasonic face detection focus feature. Taking portrait shots at events is simple with this effective setup. Furthermore, the camera looks fantastic and has an ergonomic design complete with a traditional hand grip.

Pros

  • Advanced zoom with a max focal length of 1200mm
  • High-quality LCD touch screen
  • Compact and lightweight body

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / MOS
  • Lens: 20mm – 1200mm / f/2.8 – f/5.9
  • LCD: 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 10fps
  • Video Quality: 1080p / 4K
  • User Level: Beginner / Enthusiast

10. Kodak Pixpro Astro Zoom AZ651

Affordable super zoom camera with stylish design

Kodak Pixpro Astro Zoom AZ651

This camera often goes under the radar, but it offers the best photo resolution with a CMOS sensor, and 21.0mp resolution. Furthermore, combine this with a maximum focal length of 1560mm, and a max aperture of f/2.8 and you have a versatile device capable of creating high-quality images.

In addition to this, the sizeable LCD display screen, and electronic viewfinder make shooting and reviewing photos a breeze. However, the only area the Kodak Pixpro Astro AZ651 lacks is video – it has a maximum recording resolution of 1920×1080 and does not offer 4K quality.

Pros

  • Highest quality image sensor
  • Image stabilization
  • 65x optical zoom lens

Camera Specifications

  • Sensor: 1-inch / CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 24mm – 1560mm / f/2.9 – f/6.5
  • LCD: 3-inch, 920,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Max Frames per Second: 9fps
  • Video Quality: 1920 x 1080 HD
  • User Level: Beginner / Enthusiasts

How to choose the best bridge camera?

To choose a bridge camera it is important to consider the following:

  • Sensor size
  • Lens
  • Purpose

Compared to DSLR cameras, Bridge cameras have smaller sensors. Some DSLR models such as the EOS 70D do have 1-inch sensors, but this is generally the lower-spec models. If you want ultimate photo quality, there is no substitute for a high-end DSLR.

Consideration must also be given to what lens functionality you require. The best bridge camera for lens functionality, for example, is the Nikon Coolpix P1000 – this camera has a max effective focal length of 3000mm which is far greater than conventional DSLR cameras. The drawback is the mid-range quality – bridge cameras have super zoom lengths, but the quality is not as sharp as a DSLR telephoto lens, for example. You must consider if you need a variety of high-quality lenses, or if the single multi-focal length lens of a superzoom camera will suffice.

Finally, you must consider the primary purpose of your camera. What do you intend to use it for? Portraits? Travel photography? A bridge camera is an excellent choice if you need a general “walking around” model. Furthermore, it is an ideal choice if you need versatility and can’t carry a range of specialty lenses. Moreover, the best versatile bridge camera is undoubtedly the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS due to its fantastic lens, low-light capabilities, and wide aperture range.

Take the plunge and purchase a Bridge Camera today!

As we’ve seen, there are a plethora of fantastic bridge cameras to choose from in 2020. The 10 models listed provide an excellent variety, but I will add new models as I continue my research. Furthermore, be sure to check back in future months and find out what other gems we have found. Furthermore, if you have experience with a superzoom camera I haven’t listed, please share your findings!

Bridge cameras offer versatility and allow would-be photographers to progress from point and shoot devices into professional realms.

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About the author

Ramesh Yahathugoda

My love for photography started when I went on a hiking trip to Alberta's Banff national park. I have more than 10 years of experience shooting nature and landscape photography and I am a member of Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC).

My passion is to help others become better photographers. I share photography knowledge and review camera gear on PhotoBlog's official blog to achieve that goal. In my spare time, I love to read, run, and go on hikes! To see my latest adventures, visit my travel photography blog here on PhotoBlog.com

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