The Best Bridge Camera of 2015 - We select some of the best bridge cameras currently on the market
The bridge camera remains one of the most popular types of digital camera, owing to its huge zoom lens, DSLR-esque handling and relatively compact proportions.
There are several factors to consider before buying a bridge camera, including whether in fact a bridge is right choice for your needs. If you’re uncertain we highly recommend you read our in-depth Guide to Bridge Cameras first, just to be sure.
But if you’ve done that, or you’re already confident that a bridge camera is for you, then read our round up of the best bridge cameras of 2015…
Street price: £520
Panasonic has build a tradition in the bridge camera market of delivering some pioneering features in compact bodies, and the FZ1000 is no different.
Not only does the camera feature a 16x optical zoom with a f/2.8 – 4 maximum aperture, the model also boasts the new Ultra-HD 4K video capture previously only seen in the manufacturer’s CSC range
Best Bridge Camera for: The best in video capture
Street price: £645
If you’re looking for the very best in bridge cameras, it’s difficult to look any further than the Sony RX10, even now a year on from its launch
The camera features the same 1in sensor as that in the acclaimed RX100 II, while also featuring an impressive Carl Zeiss zoom covering an equivalent focal range of 24-200mm and with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture.
The result? An amazing shooting experience and one of the best bridge cameras ever made. However, at its current price it does represent a serious investment, although if you can afford it you won’t be disappointed.
Best Bridge Camera for: High-end imaging
Street price: £350
With a 65x optical zoom, there are few bridge cameras on the market which can compete with the SX60 HS when it comes to zoom functionality.
The model also benefits from Canon’s DIGIC 6 processing chip, an EVF and full HD video capture, as well as both Wi-fi and NFC connectivity. It also retains the hot-shoe seen on its predecessor which is great if you’ve already got a Canon flash in your kitbag.
Best Bridge Camera for: Huge optical zoom capabilities
Street price: £280
Despite being relatively old now, the Fujifilm HS50 EXR remains highly regarded thanks to its DSLR styling and good sensor technology.
In this case it’s a 16MP chip that also incorporates an array of phase detect pixels to provide what Fujifilm claims was the fastest AF of any bridge camera in the world at time of release.
The manually operated 42x zoom lens goes from 24mm to 1000mm with a twist of the lens barrel. Additional features include a high resolution articulated LCD screen, a 1.44 million dot EVF, an impressive 11fps burst rate, full 1080p HD video, raw capture and a range of creative filters and film simulation modes.
Best Bridge Camera for: DSLR styling and operation
Street price: £275
The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 was the world’s first bridge camera to offer a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range.
This is a huge benefit, enabling lower ISOs and/or faster shutter speeds to be used that other bridge cameras in the same conditions, and also affording potentially narrower depth of field. It’s a Leica lens too.
The only downside is that its zoom range is a relatively modest 24x, extending from 24mm to 600mm. The FZ200 also features Lightspeed AF for superfast focusing, 12fps burst shooting, a vari-angle LCD screen and high speed video shooting at 100fps.
Best Bridge Camera for: Wildlife and nature photography
Street price: £150
Although the X-5 offers a much more stripped down feature set by comparison to its rivals it still has everything you need, including a 26x, 22.3-580mm equivalent zoom lens, a tiltable LCD screen and an EVF.
Uniquely the X-5 is powered by AA batteries which could be handy for those travelling to remote places, though they’re less efficient than Lithium-Ions. Full manual control is possible but there’s no raw option.
Best Bridge Camera for: Those on a tight budget