The “market” and reception of bridge cameras?The market for bridge cameras is gradually
being squeezed from both ends of the range. Inexpensive DSLRs often overlap
with bridge cameras, and manufacturers give priority to DSLRs since they can
enjoy further profits from the sale of aftermarket lenses and accessories.
Compact cameras are also released with
advanced functionality and large zoom ranges, features that could previously
only be found in bridge cameras. However, compacts generally reply on
automation and the menu system, lacking the multiple dials, rings, pushbuttons
or other direct controls that allow efficient manual operations for users who
study their bridge camera.
cameras are also released with advanced functionality and large zoom ranges
Third-party manuals are available for
particular popular models, as they are for DLSRs, but they are scarce for
classic compacts a recent category is the mirrorless interchangeable lens
camera, which features a large sensor and an interchangeable lens, but no
These occupy a niche at the top end of the
bridge camera range, and in many respects (such as live view or electronic
viewfinder only) are similar to smaller ones. They differ in that the larger
sensor provides advantages (as noted above), but makes super-zoom lenses more
difficult, hence the interchangeable.
Guiding a buyer.
As we wrote earlier, a bridge is a bit like
a compact camera disguised as an SLR. They have the same bulky lenses, chunky
grip handles and, more often than not, electronic viewfinders. The main
advantage of a bridge is usually its lens, as these can be faster and more
powerful at zooming than regular compact camera lenses
As bridges are technically similar to
compact cameras, you should use the same basic criteria to pick a model. The
only difference is that there’s no such thing as a good entry-level bridge – a
good lens with a wide focal range never comes cheap.
Here are a few things to look out for when shopping for a
to choose a good bridge camera?
Look for a BSI CMOS rather than a CCD
sensor, as pictures taken in low light will come out better and look less
grainy. The number of Megapixels doesn’t have much importance these days.
Bridges usually have wide-angle settings of
25mm or under and telephoto settings of 700mm or over. A good bridge should be
a versatile camera, suitable for everything from landscape photography to
snapping far-off subjects. Look at the aperture too (f/) – the lower this
number, the faster the lens.
and viewing your images is accomplished with the high-quality
The onscreen image shouldn’t look black
when you look at the screen from below ( a common problem with TN screens) and
the LCD should have a resolution of at least 460,000 dots for pictures to look
sharp and precise.
To be honest, these are all pretty bad.
It’s been a good few years since we’ve seen a decent electronic viewfinder in
bridge camera (it was in the Minolta A3, as it happens).
We’d love to see a bridge start up in under
two seconds but unfortunately these cameras tend to be rather slow! The
autofocus should work in well under a second too, otherwise you’ll be hanging
around waiting for the camera to catch up.