It really does come down to what you want you want to get out of your photography and what compromises you’re prepared to make.
Bridge cameras are great if you want a neat, all-in-one solution with a single wide-ranging zoom lens that’s suitable for a range of subjects, from landscapes to sports.
The downsides are performance and image quality aren’t as strong as a DSLR or Compact System Camera. This is because the physical size of the sensor is smaller, so the pixels aren’t as big, which reduces their light gathering capabilities.
AF is fine for static subjects, but Bridge cameras (and some CSCs) will struggle when your subjects moving around – they just haven’t got the speed and the accuracy of a DSLR’s phase-detect AF system.
The best Bridge camera we’ve tested is the Fujifilm X-S1 at £585 – it sports an impressive zoom range (with a more traditional manual zoom ring), high-quality electronic viewfinder and a larger than average sensor for a compact, so images are good quality too.
As an alternative, we’d suggest you take a look at the excellent Panasonic G3, which can be picked up with a 14-42mm and 45-200mm lens for £679. The 2x crop factor of the G3, means the 45-200mm lens has a 35mm focal length equivalent of 90-400mm, so it offers more than enough reach for most subjects.