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.
Daniel Grotta has been covering digital photography since its infancy. You can follow him at the DigitalBenchmarks Lab Notes Blog on Grotta.net, on Twitter @TeamGrotta, on Google+ and on Facebook. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.
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