One of the most popular types of cameras on the market today falls into the category referred to as “bridge” cameras. These are basically compact cameras that have a greater optical zoom range, larger sensors, and more manual controls than your average pocket-sized digital camera.
Bridge cameras can be an excellent choice for the travel photographer if you’re looking for something easier to carry around with you while capturing high-quality images. In this guide, we’ll
- explain some of the features, benefits, and limitations of a bridge camera,
- take a look at some of the best bridge cameras available in 2021 and what you can expect from them.
- What makes a great travel camera?
- What is a bridge camera?
- What is the best bridge camera for travel photography?
- What is better – Bridge cameras or DSLRs?
- Do bridge cameras have interchangeable lenses?
- Best bridge cameras for travel photography 2021
- Bridge Camera Frequently Asked Questions.
What makes a great travel camera?
For serious travel photographers, a compact bridge camera offers many advantages. When buying here a few things to consider.
- Small & lightweight
- Good image quality – a superior quality lens and high megapixel count
- Good optical zoom range – wide angle for close shots and a good telephoto zoom to get close to the action.
- Easy to use – easily accessible control buttons
- Sturdy, rugged construction and weatherproof
- Unobtrusive – think of a piece of black tape over flashy names or logos. Make it a black camera, not silver or any bright colors.
What is a bridge camera?
A bridge digital camera is exactly what it says on the box; they sit somewhere between an entry-level DSLR and your everyday pocket compact camera. Like DSLRs, these types of cameras offer greater manual control over your shots (hence them being favored by more experienced photographers). However, they are still much smaller and easier to carry around with you than your average DSLR.
As well as this, bridge cameras also usually feature optical zoom lenses that offer greater magnification than your standard point-and-shoot compact camera. The reason is quite simple; the larger you make a sensor, in terms of its physical size, the more light it’s able to capture, which in turn creates better images.
However, bridge cameras generally feature smaller sensors than their DSLR equivalents, so this is something you should keep in mind if you’re looking for top-quality images. Larger sensors = higher quality images, so always bear that in mind when choosing a bridge camera for travel photography.
But do bear in mind that if you’re taking photos for a travel blog, sharing travel photos on your social media, or even printing postcards, the average bridge camera quality will be more than good enough in most situations.
What is the best bridge camera for travel photography?
There are many different factors to consider when choosing a bridge digital camera. You need to think about what type of subjects you’ll be photographing with it. If you’re looking to take wildlife pictures, then a long optical zoom lens and image stabilization features will be key.
If you’re looking to shoot landscapes on your travels, be sure to get a camera with good image quality so you can capture the most detail possible in your shots. You should also think about how important it is to have manual control over your camera settings so you can experiment with various different types of photos during your trip.
One of the best bridge cameras for travel photography is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330, which offers 20x optical zoom, image stabilization to help reduce camera shake, and 4K photo mode. This will be a great choice if you want to take shots of wildlife while on your travels.
What is better – Bridge cameras or DSLRs?
If you’re unsure whether a bridge camera would be the right choice for you, then perhaps comparing it to an entry-level DSLR will help. The key difference between the two is that DSLRs offer much larger sensors than bridge cameras, meaning they can capture more detail in your photographs.
Just like with bridge cameras, DSLRs also usually offer greater manual control over your shots, allowing you to experiment with shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings. However, the downside is that DSLRs are much larger and heavier than bridge cameras which can be a problem if you’re looking for something compact and lightweight to travel with.
If portability is key for you when choosing a camera, then a bridge camera is the way to go. You can still capture high-quality images on a bridge camera, but you’ll need to compromise with the size of the sensor, some lack of manual controls, and a shorter optical zoom range.
Do bridge cameras have interchangeable lenses?
All of the current digital bridge cameras come with an internal lens that cannot be removed. This is because those bridge cameras can offer much higher optical zooms than their DSLR counterparts because they come with a built-in lens.
Just like your average point and shoot camera, a built-in lens cannot be removed as it’s part of the camera unit itself. As a result, if you want to take photos at a different focal length, you’ll need to zoom in and out using the controls on your camera.
Having said that, there is a way to take pictures at different focal lengths with a bridge digital camera. Most of them feature what’s known as “digital zoom,” which basically means you can digitally stretch the angle of view if you feel your current optical zoom is a bit limited.
However, bear in mind that digital zoom will not give you the best quality photos, so if you’re looking to take high-quality images while on your travels, you should avoid using it unless absolutely necessary.
Best bridge cameras for travel photography 2021
If you’re looking to buy a bridge camera for travel photography in 2021, check out our list below. These are some of the best options available on the market, and you shouldn’t be disappointed with any of them. If price is a concern, these cameras range from a few hundred dollars to well over $1,000.
I still regularly use an older Panasonic Lumix FZ300, but all of these brands offer good quality build and reliability.
- Leica V-Lux 5
- Panasonic Lumix FZ82
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II
- Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 / FZ2000
- Panasonic Lumix FZ330
- Sony RX10 III
- Nikon P1000
- Nikon Coolpix B500
- Canon PowerShot SX70 HS
Bridge cameras for travel photography are a popular purchase for people looking for a lightweight and compact camera to take on their travels. No need to worry about switching lenses or carrying heavy equipment with you – bridge cameras typically feature a fixed lens that cannot be detached, but this helps keep them lightweight and slim.
You will need good lighting if you want a top-quality shot, especially if you’re going to take photos of fast-moving subjects such as wildlife or sports, so bear this in mind when on your travels. Having said that, bridge cameras can still offer excellent quality images, and there are some on the market right now that will be perfect for you.
Thanks for reading our article – we hope it helps with your buying decision.
Bridge Camera Frequently Asked Questions.
Is a bridge camera better than a compact camera?
Bridge cameras are a good option for those who want better quality than a compact camera but don’t feel the need for the features of a full DSLR. Typically, they give you more control than a compact camera and usually come with a better zoom range and higher pixel count.
What is the difference between a bridge camera and a DSLR?
Bridge cameras are more advanced than compact cameras but not as expensive or advanced as DSLRs. They offer features like manual controls to change ISO, shutter speed, and aperture but not the option for interchangeable lenses and other advanced features found on more expensive DSLRs.
Why invest in a bridge camera when I already have a camera on my phone?
Smartphones are great, but they often don’t offer the best image quality, and their batteries quickly drain. The other problem is that your phone’s camera will struggle as you take photos in low-light conditions as it lacks a flash. Investing in a bridge camera eliminates these problems and gives you much better images at a fraction of the price. Just keep your smartphone handy as a backup.
Are there any important bridge camera accessories I should buy?
Here are a few accessories that make sense if you are traveling and taking lots of photos.
- Lens cleaning kit.
- Spare battery.
- Good quality, sturdy and stable tripod.
- Monopod can be helpful if you plan to travel light.
- Off-camera flash.
- Extra SD cards – get the best and fastest digital memory cards you can afford.
- Neutral Density (ND) filters – important in very bright light conditions.
- Polaroid and other selection filters – in rugged conditions, a skylight filter works to protect your lens without degrading the image too much.
- Waterproof camera case that also floats – essential for anyone planning a kayak or canoe trip