Long-zoom bridge cameras feature built-in, noninterchangeable, long-range optical zoom lenses. These models “bridge” the gap between entry-level point-and-shoot cameras and interchangeable-lens mirrorless and DSLR cameras.
They also bridge the zoom gap, providing focal lengths from wide angle to extreme telephoto. In short, they deliver exceptional versatility in convenient, compact, all-in-one packages. As a result, they appeal to travelers, family shooters and vacationers—even serious shooters who own a mirrorless or DSLR system.
The advanced models on our short list also qualify as crossover or multimedia cameras; they can capture impressive video footage as well as crisp, detailed high-res stills.
It’s also notable that four out of the nine cameras covered here incorporate large, 1-inch, high-res CMOS sensors. Consequently, these cameras can give APS-C-format and full-frame mirrorless cameras and DSLRs a run for the money in terms of still image and video quality.
The majority provide 4K UHD, 30p video recording as well as elevated sensitivity settings of ISO 12,800 and above. Moreover, all deliver sizzling full-burst rates of at least 7 frames per sec (fps) and up to an incredible 90 fps for one model! In addition, many provide enticing special capabilities and full feature sets that rival those in the dominant mirrorless and DSLR categories.
In perusing the descriptions of the cameras listed here, one thing becomes crystal clear; considerable thought and technical development went into creating these innovative long-zoom bridge cameras. Of course, they’re a great choice for a broad spectrum of consumers—and vibrant and profitable niches for savvy retailers.
Nine Versatile Long-Zoom Bridge Cameras
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV
This versatile Sony camera is a great choice for serious multimedia image makers. It provides extended reach, fast operating speeds and high performance in a very portable package. Its 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch Exmor BSI (backside-illuminated) sensor links to a Bionz X image processor and front-end LSI. Subsequently, it achieves a 24-fps, full-res framing rate and extended sensitivity settings to ISO 25,600.
Its crowning glory is its 18-element, 13-group, 24–600mm-equivalent f/2.4–4 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. The 25x optical zoom lens works with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization (IS) to provide a 4.5-stop advantage in minimizing shake effects. In addition, the lens focuses from 1.2 inches to infinity at the wide end. Zeiss T* coatings also combat flare and ghosting. Plus, triple lens rings for aperture, zoom and focus are provided, with a quiet option for the aperture ring suited for video.
The camera records 4K/30p and 1080/120p video with XAVC S format options for high bit rates up to 100Mbps. What’s more, a superfast hybrid AF system has 315 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detection points that focus in 0.03 sec.
Rounding out its features are a 2.35M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF); a 3-inch, 1.44M-dot, tilting, touch LCD; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; S-Log2/S-Log3 Gamma profiles for expanded dynamic range; HFR mode to boost the frame rate to 960 fps; a top panel for quick setting checks; a step zoom feature that cycles the zoom ring through popular fixed settings; dual rec mode for capturing 17MP stills while shooting video; eye-recognition AF; and scene, picture effect and style modes. The RX10 IV measures 5.2×3.7×5.7 inches and weighs 2.4 pounds with battery and memory card. $1,699.99.
Nikon Coolpix P1000
Nikon’s ultra-zoom classic is acclaimed for its class-leading 17-element, 12-group, 24–3000mm-equivalent f/2.8–8, 125x optical zoom Nikkor lens. Moreover, the focal length extends to an incredible 250x (6000mm) with the camera’s dynamic fine digital zoom feature. In addition, it focuses from 1 foot to infinity at the wide end. Plus, a snapback button returns the lens to its previous position so users can find the subject at long tele settings, even when shooting moonscapes!
The P1000 employs a 16MP, 1/2.3-inch, BSI CMOS sensor that’s coupled to an Expeed processor. The combo enables 7-fps, full-res bursts for up to 7 frames (JPEG) as well as sensitivity settings of ISO 100–6400. In addition, the P&S records 4K UHD video at 25 and 30 fps, along with Full HD 1080p video at 25, 30, 50 and 60 fps. Plus, manual mode allows the adjustment of focus, exposure and more during recording. A superlapse function captures video at speeds from 2x to 30x.
What enables this all to work seamlessly is Nikon’s dual-detect optical vibration reduction (VR) image stabilization system; it provides a 5-stop advantage in minimizing the effects of handheld camera shake when shooting stills or video. Also, its contrast-detection AF system provides multi-area, center and selective single-point options; single, continuous and tracking modes; face detection; and live view.
Other features comprise a big, 3.2-inch, vari-angle, 921K-dot LCD; a 100% view, 2.36M-dot, eye-level EVF; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; various shooting modes, including moon and bird; a handy control ring that provides access to frequently used settings; and a pop-up auto flash. The P1000 measures 5.8×4.7×7.2 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds with battery and memory card. $999.95.
Canon PowerShot Elph 360 HS
This pocket-sized, long-range Canon P&S incorporates a 20.2MP, 1/2.3-inch sensor mated to a Digic 4+ processor. The combo achieves a 7.2-fps burst rate at 5MP and a full-res burst rate of 2.5 fps. Its sensitivity settings range from ISO 80 to 3200. It also records Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps.
What’s more, its 4.5–54mm f/3.6–7 optical zoom lens provides a 12x-equivalent focal length range of 25–300mm. The lens also focuses down to 1.97 inches at the wide setting and to 1.64 feet in macro mode. Moreover, a built-in intelligent IS optical image stabilization system provides normal IS, panning IS, macro (hybrid) IS, and active tripod IS modes to minimizes the effects of handheld camera shake in stills and movies.
In addition, a unique hybrid auto mode records up to 4 seconds of video prior to taking a still photo and combines them to create a video recap. The little Elph 360 HS also has a 3-inch, 461K-dot LCD; built-in NFC connectivity; a dedicated Wi-Fi-connect button; and a creative shot mode that creates alternative images with a distinctive artistic flair.
Other features include shutter speeds of 1–1/2000 sec and 1–15 sec in bulb mode; a flash with auto and slow-sync modes; and center-weighted averaging, evaluative and spot metering modes. The camera measures 3.9×2.3×0.9 inches and weighs only 5.2 ounces. In purple, silver or black, $239.99.
Kodak PixPro AZ401
Kodak’s perky little ultra-zoom P&S is part of the company’s Astro Zoom collection. Its 15-element, 11-group, 4.3–172mmn f/3–6.8 zoom lens provides an expansive 40x range. The 24–960mm-equivalent lens also uses a 4x digital zoom option to extend its effective reach even farther.
The AZ401 employs a 1/2.3-inch, 16.15-megapixel CCD sensor. In addition, its normal sensitivity range of ISO 80–1600 can be extended to ISO 3200 for shooting 4MP images in low light.
The camera also features built-in optical image stabilization to minimize the effects of camera shake. Additional features include a 3-inch, 460K-dot LCD; single and multi, 9-point AF modes with face, smile, blink, cat and dog detection; HD 720p video capture at 15 and 29.97 fps; various creative scene modes; and a built-in flash that provides about 280 flashes on a fresh set of four AA batteries.
Impressive in terms of features per dollar, the Kodak PixPro AZ401 measures a chunky but compact 4.5×3.2×3.3 inches and weighs in at a portable 15.4 ounces. In red, $169.99.
Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200
With minimalist styling, this is a large-sensor, long-zoom compact aimed at still and video shooters on the go. Billed a “travel zoom” by Panasonic, one of its key features is a superlative 15x optical zoom lens. It boasts a 13-element, 11-group, 24–360mm-equivalent f/3.3–6.4 Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens. The ultrawide-angle lens incorporates three ED and five aspheric, plus one aspheric ED element to deliver outstanding image quality. It focuses down to 20 inches at the wide setting and 1.2 inches in macro mode.
Furthermore, a 1-inch, 20.1MP High-Sensitivity MOS sensor works with an advanced Venus Engine processor. They enable the P&S to capture full-res, 10-fps bursts in AF-S mode; 6 fps in AF-C mode; and 30 fps at 8 MP, thanks in part to its 49-area depth-from-defocus (DFD) AF system.
The P&S records 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps and Full HD video at 120 fps. Its sensitivity range is extendable from ISO 80 to 25,600. In addition, a built-in 5-axis Hybrid OIS system (except in 4K and high-speed video modes) minimizes the shake effects. A 0.21-inch, 2.33M-dot EVF allows comfortable eye-level viewing; while a 3-inch, 1.24M-dot, 100% view touch screen permits review, menu navigation and live view shooting.
Other notables are a post-focus function that lets users choose the focus point after capture with a screen tap; L.monochrome mode that simulates B&W film; 4K pre-burst that records 8MP images at 30 fps; face and eye detection; RAW processing; a host of scene and creative modes; as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The camera measures a svelte 4.4×2.6×1.8 inches and weighs 11.9 ounces with card and battery. In black or silver, $799.99.
Nikon Coolpix A1000
This popular Nikon long-zoom compact packs a full complement of desirable features into an elegantly slim package. Complementing its full-featured specs is a high-performance, 13-element, 11-group 35x Zoom-Nikkor ED f/3.4–6.9 lens. What’s more, it covers an impressive equivalent focal length range of 24–840mm; it focuses down to 1.64 feet at the wide end and to 6.7 inches in macro mode.
The lens works with a customizable snap-back zoom button for recomposing the scene or accessing camera settings, as well as target-finding AF that recognizes intended subjects. Built-in lens-shift VR image stabilization provides a 3 stop advantage in minimizing the effects of handheld camera shake.
A 16.8MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor is mated to an advanced Expeed image processor. Consequently, the A1000 is capable of full res bursts at up to 10 fps and a sensitivity setting range of ISO 100–6400. It also offers 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps, Full HD 1080p recording at 60 fps and frame grabs from 4K footage.
The P&S also provides a high-res, 1.17M-dot electronic viewfinder for eye-level viewing and a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, 180° tilting touch screen LCD. Other key features are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity that work in conjunction with Nikon’s SnapBridge; a scene auto-selector and a wide variety of scene modes; and in-camera image editing and effect modes. In addition, the Coolpix A1000 provides center-weighted averaging, matrix and spot metering modes. The camera measures 4.5×2.9×1.6 inches and weighs in at 11.7 ounces with battery and memory card. $479.95.
Canon PowerShot SX620 HS
This classic PowerShot long-range model features a 25x optical zoom, 25–625mm-equivalent f/3.2–6.6 lens. Notably, it focuses from 0.4 inch to infinity in auto and macro modes, as well as to 2 inches in normal mode, all at the wide setting. Moreover, with its 4x digital zoom engaged, it provides a combined zoom range of 100x! Plus, the SX620’s auto zoom feature makes it automatically zoom in on distance subjects and keep them in focus.
This extended reach is complemented by built-in intelligent image stabilization that includes normal IS, panning IS and macro (hybrid) IS, as well as dynamic IS for video. In addition, an active tripod IS option minimizes the appearance of camera shake under a wide variety of shooting situations.
At its core is a 20.2MP, 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that works with a powerful Digic 4+ processor. As a result, the cool-looking, pocket-sized beauty delivers Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps and a full-res burst rate up to 7.1 fps. It also offers sensitivity settings from ISO 80 to ISO 3200 for shooting in practically any light.
The PowerShot SX 620 HS has a 3-inch, 922K-dot LCD; NFC tech that provides remote operation via a free Camera Connect app; a dedicated Wi-Fi button; a hybrid auto function that records short HD video clips to produce a highlight reel; creative shot mode; smart auto that chooses the right scene mode based on the shooting situation; and a built-in flash with auto and slow-sync functions. The camera measures 3.8×2.2×1.1 inches and weighs in at a mere 6.4 ounces. In black, red or silver, $319.99.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
This minimalist Sony compact provides a robust feature set for serious still and video shooters. To begin with, its acclaimed 15-element, 12-group Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens provides a 24–200mm-equivalent f/2.8–4.5, 8x optical zoom range. It incorporates eight aspheric elements, including four advanced aspheric elements to minimize aberrations and enhance sharpness. Its Zeiss T* coating also suppresses reflections and increases light transmission. The lens focuses from 3.3 inches to infinity. Moreover, its zoom range can extend to 32x (maximum combined zoom). There’s also a manual control ring around the lens to access frequently used settings.
A 1-inch, 20.1MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor is mated to a Bionz X processor and front-end LSI. They achieve sensitivity settings of ISO 100–12,800, which extend to ISO 25,600. The P&S also boasts a maximum 20-fps, full-res burst rate (up to an incredible 90 fps for 7 frames). In addition, it records 4K UHD video at 24, 25 and 30 fps, as well as Full HD 1080p video at up to 120 fps.
Its advanced hybrid AF system provides 357 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points for precise AF in as little as 0.02 sec. There is also subject tracking for stills and video, along with S-Log3/HLG Gamma settings and a high frame rate of 960 fps for slow motion playback.
A 0.39-inch, 2.36M-dot EVF provides eye-level 100% viewing. It’s complemented by a 3-inch, 922K-dot, 180º tilting LCD with touch focus and touch shutter options. Other features include Wi-Fi/NFC/Bluetooth connectivity; smart remote control of shutter release; a pop-up auto flash with rear and slow sync; custom buttons; a step zoom control; and creative style and picture effect modes. The camera measures 4×2.2×1.7 inches and weighs a portable 10.7 ounces. $1,299.99.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100
Aimed at folks on the go, this Panasonic P&S boasts a high-performance, 12-element, 10-group Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens. It employs five double-sided aspheric elements to minimize spherical aberrations and enhance sharpness. In addition, the 10x optical zoom lens covers a 25–250mm-equivalent f/2.8–5.9 range. Additionally, it extends to 20x using the optimized 2x digital zoom feature. The lens focuses down to 1.6 feet in normal mode and 1.97 inches in macro, both at the wide setting. Plus, a programmable control ring around the lens accesses frequently used settings.
What’s more, its Light Speed 49-zone contrast-detection AF system uses DFD technology to achieve quick, quiet, precise autofocusing. To minimize the effects of handheld shake, there’s a 5-axis hybrid OIS optical sensor-shift IS system.
The camera also employs a 1-inch, 20.1MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor coupled to an advanced Venus processor. The combination delivers an impressive full-resolution, 50-fps burst with its electronic shutter and 10 fps with its mechanical shutter. Sensitivity settings expand from ISO 80 to 25,600. In addition, it records 4K UHD video at 24 and 30 fps, as well as Full HD 1080p video at 24, 30 and 60 fps.
The ZS100’s live viewfinder is a 1.17M-dot EVF that provides a 100% view of the image and eye-level viewing. It’s joined by a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, touch-screen LCD for review and control. Other key features are 4K burst mode for recording videos for 15 minutes at 30 fps; post-focusing; Wi-Fi and QR code connectivity; an auto flash with slow-sync modes; creative control and photo style modes; and in-camera picture adjustment settings. The camera measures 4.4×2.5×1.7 inches and weighs 11 ounces with battery and card. In silver or black, $699.99.