Bridge camera

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 bridge digital camera
The Fujifilm FinePix S9000 bridge camera
The Konica Minolta DIMAGE A200 (2005), the most sophisticated digital camera made by Konica Minolta before its fusion with Sony
The Sony DSC-R1

Bridge cameras are cameras which fill the niche between the single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs) and the point-and-shoot camera.[1][2] They are often comparable in size and weight to the smallest digital SLRs (DSLR) and there are also superzoom DSLR-shape bridge camera with retractable lens to make it more compact,[3] but almost all digital bridge cameras lack an optical viewfinder system (film bridges generally had a lighter version of a reflex finder). In addition, SLRs normally feature interchangeable lenses, while current bridge cameras do not.[4][not in citation given] They are prominent in the prosumer market segment. The phrase has been in use at least since the 1980s,[1] and continues to be used with digital cameras.[2] The term "bridge camera" was originally used to refer to film cameras which "bridged the gap" between point-and-shoot cameras and SLRs.[5][6]

Like other cameras, most current bridge cameras are digital. These cameras typically feature full manual controls over shutter speed, aperture, ISO sensitivity, color balance and metering. Generally, their feature sets are similar to consumer DSLRs, except for a smaller range of ISO sensitivity because of their typically smaller image sensor (a DSLR has a 35mm, APS, or 4/3 size CCD or CMOS sensor). Many bridge cameras have long zoom lenses which some of it initial from super wide-angle 20 or 22mm (equivalent with 35mm film camera), so the term "bridge camera" is often used interchangeably with "megazoom", "superzoom", or "ultrazoom."[7] However, some bridge cameras have only moderate or short zooms (such as the Canon Powershot G9[8]), while many compact cameras have superzoom lenses but lack the advanced functions of a bridge camera. Compact cameras are always one step behind of Bridge cameras (except bigger sensor sizes in some high-end compact cameras), because its compact body of compact cameras make no sufficient spaces for additional of electronic and mechanical devices, mainly the compact cameras with retractable lenses, moreover make longer superzooms will make the lenses will unbalance with its small body and small diameters of the lenses make more possibility of more fall-off along the zoom ranges.

With zoom ranges and sales rapidly increasing in the early 21st century, every major camera manufacturer has at least one 'super zoom' in their lineup.[9]

One fixed but versatile lens[edit]

Bridge cameras typically have small image sensors, allowing their lenses also to be smaller than a 35mm or APS-C SLR lens covering the same zoom range. As a result, very large zoom ranges (from wide-angle to telephoto, including macro) are feasible with one lens. The typical bridge camera has a telephoto zoom limit of over 400mm (35mm equivalent), although some 21st-century cameras reach up to 1000mm like the Nikon Coolpix P510 For this reason, bridge cameras typically fall into the category of superzoom cameras.[10]

A typical example is the 24× Zoom Nikkor ED 4.6-110.4mm f2.8-5.0 on the Nikon Coolpix P90, which in 35 mm equivalent focal length terms is a 26-624mm.[11] To reduce aberration in a lens with such ambitious specifications, these have quite complex constructions, using multiple aspheric elements and often anomalous-dispersion glass. In this example pincushion- and barrel distortion can be corrected in the camera firmware as well. The ability to fit such a wide zoom range in one single small-diameter lens makes lens interchangeability for the purposes of focal length (as opposed to performance in low light or image quality) redundant for most photographers. Most bridge cameras allow the use of secondary lenses to improve wide-angle, telephoto or macro capabilities. These secondary lenses typically screw onto the front of the primary lens either directly or by use of an adapter tube.

Superzooms typically have a large f-number (aperture) especially at the long end, although several recent models offer apertures as wide as f/2.8 at the long end. The resulting depth of field prevents using shallow field methods, and prevent photography in low light without use of either flash or a tripod.

LCDs and EVFs as principal viewfinders[edit]

Bridge cameras employ two types of electronic screens as viewfinders: The LCD and the electronic viewfinder (EVF). All bridge cameras have an LCD with live-preview and usually in addition either an EVF or an optical viewfinder (OVF) (non-parallax-free, as opposed to the OVF of DSLRs, which is parallax-free). A high-quality EVF is one of the advanced features that distinguish bridge cameras from consumer compact cameras.

All DSLRs, by definition, have a through-the-lens OVF. Newer DSLR models typically also allow 'live view' on the LCD screen as an alternative to the OVF, although frequently without autofocus or with very slow autofocus. Mirrorless cameras and dSLTs use LCD or electronic viewfinders.

Electronic viewfinder (EVF) vs DSLR optical viewfinder (OVF) comparison[edit]

Live-preview EVF advantages[edit]

The EVF of bridge cameras, and the LCD of bridge cameras and DSLRs in 'live view' mode; continuously show the image generated by the sensor. The continuous digitally-generated live view has some advantages and disadvantages compared to the optically-generated view through the OVF of DSLRs. One advantage is that the digital preview is affected by all shooting settings and thus the image is seen as it will be recorded (in terms of things like exposure, white balance, etc.) which the OVF of DSLRs is incapable of showing.[12] Another advantage is facilitating the framing from difficult angles by making the LCD movable (vari-angle). The LCD and EVF normally show 100% of the image while previewing (WYSIWYG). The OVF of professional DSLRs normally shows 100% of the image, but the OVF of consumer DSLRs may show slightly less than 100%. In addition, automatic modes tend to work better. The camera has a view of the full image, rather than the very limited information from an autofocus sensor, and can be much smarter about picking exposure, objects to focus on, and other settings. Finally, EVFs allow the viewfinder to show a range of information beyond the photo being taken. In particular, they allow for accurate image review, particularly in bright sunlight when the image would be washed out on a dSLR LCD. They can overlay a much richer array of focusing aids, levels, camera settings, and other information than a conventional dSLR viewfinder.

Live-preview EVF disadvantages[edit]

The electronic screens of some bridge cameras do not work as well as the OVF of DSLRs in situations of low light (although some work better, allowing high gain and slow refresh). For bridge cameras with EVFs, the LCD screen might be difficult to see and use for framing in bright daylight. Also, especially with older or lower-end cameras, the screen resolution and refresh rate may be limiting compared to the very high resolution and instantaneous refresh provided by an optical path in the OVF of DSLRs. Low resolution impedes some forms of manual focusing, but most modern bridge cameras implement a method called focus zoom which automatically magnifies a central frame within the screen (manual focus point) to allow easier manual focusing. A slow refresh rate means that the image seen on the screen will have a fraction of a second lag or delay from the real scene being photographed. The electronic screens used in modern bridge cameras are gradually improving in their size, resolution, visibility, magnification and refresh rate.

Continuous operation of the sensor shortens battery life and raises temperature. A DSLR's sensor (when not in live view mode) only operates when the shutter is open, and the electronic screen is typically off more, causing less battery drain.

Examples of bridge cameras[edit]

40x Up Optical Zoom Bridge Camera
BrandModelOptical ZoomRange, eq 35mm film (mm)Digital ZoomSensorf-number (aperture)VideoMethod of StabilizationMethod of ZoomingBurst SpeedRAWHot ShoeLens ThreadsConspicuous RemarksDxoMark Overall Score
CanonPowerShot SX50 HS50x24-12004x12 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/3.4-6.5Full HD at 24p stereoOptical ImageUltra Sonic Motor (USM)13fps, Autofocus only for the first shot or 4.1fps with Autofocus[13]YesYesYes47
FujiFilmFinePix S150x24-12002x Intelligent Digital Zoom16 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.9-5.6Full HD up to 60p stereoOptical (Lens Shift) Image 5-axis (horizontal, vertical and 3 rotation axis)Motorized10fpsYesYesYesThe world's first superzoom bridge camera with sealed weather-resistant, 0.14seconds AF, timelapse up to 10 minutes for 6 hours maximum, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 120/240/480 fps high speed movie, Motion Panorama 360 degrees[14]Not yet listed
FujiFilmFinePix S9400W50x24-12002x Intelligent Digital Zoom16 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.9-6.5Full HD up to 60i stereoOptical (Lens Shift) ImageMotorized10fps (maximum 10 frames)NoNoNo0.3seconds AF, Motion Panorama 360 degrees, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n[15]Not Applicable
FujiFilmFinePix S920050x24-12002x Intelligent Digital Zoom16 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.9-6.5Full HD up to 60i stereoOptical (Lens Shift) ImageMotorized10fps (maximum 10 frames)NoNoNoSame with FinePix S9400W, but without Wi-Fi, 0.3seconds AF, Motion Panorama 360 degrees[15]Not Applicable
FujiFilmFinePix SL 100050x24-12002x16 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.9-5.6Full HD up to 60i stereoOptical (Lens Shift) Image


10fpsYesYesYesPreview (ongoing test)

FinePix S8500

46x24-11042x16.2 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.9-6.5Full HD up to 60i stereoOptical (Lens Shift) ImageManual10fpsNoNoNoS8500, S8400 (44x), S8300 (42x) and S8200 (40x) has same features and all use AA Alkaline batteryNot Applicable
FujiFilmFinePix S8400W44x24-10562x16.2 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.9-6.5Full HD up to 60i stereoOptical (Lens Shift) ImageManual10fpsNoNoNoHas 3D(MPO), Dual zoom control lever, WiFi Image Transfer and use AA battery size[17]Not Applicable
FujiFilmFinePix HS50 EXR42x24-10002x16 MegaPixels 1/2" EXR CMOS IIf/2.8-5.6Full HD up to 60p stereoOptical (Lens Shift) ImageManual11fpsYesYesYesFast Phase Detection AF (0.04 seconds) or Accurate Contrast AF in low light. Has no 3D (MPO), while HS30 EXR hasPreview (ongoing test)
KodakPixpro AZ52152x24-12484x16.38 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.8-5.6Full HD up to 30p stereoOptical ImageManual10fpsNoNoNoHas 360 degree panorama, but has no view finder. The cheapeast superzoom bridge camera among 50x.[18]Not applicable
NikonP52042x24-10002x18.1 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/3-5.9Full HD at 60i with stereo soundOptical (Vibration Reduction) ImageMotorized7fpsNoNoNoSlightly different with P510, both has GPS and can take 3D photosNot Applicable
NikonP51042x24-10002x16.1 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/3.3-5.9Full HD at 30p with stereo soundOptical (Vibration Reduction) ImageMotorized7fpsNoNoNoNot Applicable
OlympusStylus SP10050x24-12002x Super Resolution Zoom or 4x Usual Digital Zoom16 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS with TruePic VII processor as Olympus OM-D E-M1f/2.9-6.5Full HD Stereo at 60p/30p, HD Stereo at 60p, VGA Stereo at 30p, 120fps in VGA 640x480 or 240fps in QVGA 320x240Optical Lens Shift Multi-Motion Movie image stabilization for taking video while walking or panningMotorized and Manual zoom lever on the left side of the lens7fps for 6 images, 2.5fps for 200 images, and 20fps or 60fps for 60 images in 3MPNoNoNoThe world’s first-ever camera with a built-in 'Eagle Eye' Red dot sight in a semi-transparent mirror as uses in firearms for easy moving object tracking without zoom-out and just place the object in the reflective LED red dot, has 360 degress Panorama, focus limiter with lock, Super Macro 1 cm at 50x, Interval Shooting, Backlight HDR[19][20]Not Applicable
PanasonicLumix DMC-FZ70/7260x20-1200 photo or 22-1320 video2x intelligent zoom which is not affecting the image quality or 5x usual digital zoom with 2 speed zoom16.1 MegaPixels 1/2.3" Live MOSf/2.8-5.9Full HD at 60i, 30p with dolby digital stereo sound zoom and mono speaker in AVCHD or MP4 with capabilities of zoom in, cut animation and video divideOptical Image, Power OIS can handle nearly twice of hand-shake than Mega OIS and useful for slow shutter speeds, Mega OIS has better image quality and Power/Mega OIS with Active Mode is useful for shooting while walking, reduce jitter[21]Motorized, manual or combination of both9fps, limited in 3 shots only or 5fps with first one-shot AF or unlimited 2fps with continuous AF,[22] 10fps in 3M flash burst shootingYes, noise appears since ISO 200 uses RAW, but appears since ISO 320 uses JPEG, since ISO 800 both RAW and JPEG are too much noises[23]Yes, with 1st or 2nd flash slow synchronationYesThe first superzoom bridge camera with 20mm wide angle, 140 percent wider than 24mm (should use fill-in flash to reduce vignetting),[24] panorama and 3D image.[25] As Nokia does on the high-end smartphone, FZ72 can produce digital zoom with quality of optical zoom with reduce MP: 10MP at 75x, 7MP at 90x, 5MP at 108x and 3MP at 135x,[26] Single Color make the object with color and the surrounding in BW, 200MB built-in memory,[27] shutter speed up to 1/2,000 seconds photo or 1/20,000 seconds video, Resize, Cropping, Leveling, Copy, Title Edit, Text Stamp, DPOF[28]Preview (ongoing test)
PanasonicLumix DMC-LZ4042x22-9242x20 MegaPixels 1/2.3" CCDf/3.0-6.5HD at 30p with monoaural soundOptical ImageMotorized1.1fps at Full Resolution, 3fps at 3MP[29]NoNoNoNo viewfinder, no PSAM dial (only P&M), has Creative Panorama with 13 filter effects[30][31]Not Applicable
SamsungWB2200F60x20-1200 ?16 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.8-5.9Full HD at 30p stereo without speaker, HD at 30p, VGA at 30 p, 384x288 at 240fps and 176x128 at 360fps[32]Optical ImageMotorized, single or double speed ? ?NoNoDual-grip design with Wi-Fi and NFC, Photo Beam directly view on smartphone, AutoShare directly save on smartphone, Remote Viewfinder control the camera from the smartphone[33]Not yet listed
SonyCyberShot DSC-HX30050x24-1200Still:2x, Video:4x20.4 MegaPixels 1/2.3" BSI-CMOSf/2.8-6.3Full HD up to 50p with stereo soundOptical (Lens Shift) ImageMotorized10fpsNoNoNoHX100V and HX200V can take 3D Sweep Panorama, but HX300 can only take 2D Sweep PanoramaNot Applicable
BrandModelOptical ZoomRange, eq 35mm film (mm)Digital ZoomSensorf-number (aperture)VideoMethod of StabilizationMethod of ZoomingBurst SpeedRAWHot ShoeLens ThreadsConspicuous RemarksDxoMark Overall Score


DxOMark by DxO Labs tests the image quality based on RAW (not JPEG). DxoMark Overall Sensor Score is from 1 to 100 and differences up to 5 points are difficult to see, except in the lab.[34]


In late of 2012 Techradar says that when the general compact camera market is on a downturn, the DSLR-like bridge camera market is continuing well.[35] At the end of January 2014, all major camera manufacturers have at least bridge DSLR-shape superzoom camera with 40x up magnification, except LG and Pentax which both have bridge DSLR-shape superzoom camera with smaller magnification, although all makes most DSLR users maybe only dream to use or perhaps look to achieve at huge expense.

Low-end mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras offer an alternative to bridge cameras. They feature a large sensor, as on a dSLR, and an interchangeable lens, but no mirror. These share compact size, live view, and electronic viewfinder only with bridge cameras, but offer image quality as good as or superior to dSLR cameras, and an upgrade path to professional-level mirrorless models. As with dSLRs, zoom range is more limited than on a bridge superzoom camera.


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  10. ^ See, for example, and
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  17. ^ "Fujifilm announces Wi-Fi-enabled Finepix S8400W 44x superzoom". March 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Kodak PIXPRO AZ521 Bridge Camera Review". Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Olympus announces Stylus SP-100 superzoom with dot-sight". January 29, 2014. 
  20. ^ Mike Tomkins (January 29, 2014). "Olympus SP-100 Review -- First Impressions". 
  21. ^ "Why does your compact camera need the O.I.S.?". Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
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  35. ^ "Verdict Canon's superzoom bridge packs a whopping 50x zoom". October 15, 2012.