Best Bridge Cameras 2015

So, you're an in-betweener — a photographer who has outgrown the limitations of point-and-shoot cameras but isn't ready for the expense and inconvenience of hauling around the interchangeable lenses of a DSLR or mirrorless camera. This makes you a candidate for bridge cameras, devices that provide more advanced functions and features, superior optics, faster shooting and, ultimately, the ability to produce higher-quality images.

Bridge cameras come in a variety of sizes and shapes (including ultracompact) and offer a range of capabilities, such as mega-zoom. They all give you the option to manually select everything from f-stops (aperture) and shutter speeds to ISO (light sensitivity) and white balance, or to switch over to fully automatic. Some bridge cameras feature high-speed lenses (f2.0 or faster), which are great for taking available-light pictures in low-light shooting situations. Most also offer a range of program, focus and metering modes that greatly extend bridge cameras' versatility.

The bottom line is that bridge cameras are smaller, lighter, simpler to use and generally less expensive than DSLRs and mirrorless options.

MORE: New Fixed-lens Cameras Challenge DSLRs and Mirrorless (featuring LX100)

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  • Bridge cameras are usually some of the worst values. They are at a size and price that is not pocket friendly (thus similar transportation arrangements will be made with a compact DSLR such as a Sony A6000)

    They often lack easy access to many of the manual controls commonly found on proper DSLR's. The smaller sensors, will often make for poor low light performance compared to similarly priced (and sometimes, even cheaper) DSLR's.
  • Wanted to also add, do not spend more than $150 on a camera with a 1/2.3 inch sensor, and it is usually not worth the extra cost for the ultra zooms as the images are pretty much always soft. For example, the DSC-H400 has a 20.1 megapixel 1/2.3 inch sensor. the pixel density is so high that the camera is using heavy noise reductions even on the base ISO. On top of that, at all of the zoom levels, there is very little fine detail, thus you are really only getting a small fraction of the advertised resolution, as effective resolution.
  • I don't see the point of recommending the G1x mark 2. You either want small size (RX100 triplets) or you are just looking for fixed lens quality. A better choice in the category would be the FZ1000. It's not as small as the G1x m2 but it's the same price and has a lot more features like 400mm reach and 4k video. The G1x's sensor is large but doesn't produce much better than 1" sensors despite it's size.