Digital cameras with noninterchangeable long-range zoom lenses are known as bridge cameras. That’s because they bridge the gap between entry-level point-and-shoot cameras and interchangeable-lens mirrorless and DSLR cameras. They also bridge the zoom gap; they provide focal lengths ranging from wide angle to extreme telephoto. Consequently, long-zoom bridge cameras deliver exceptional versatility in convenient, compact, all-in-one packages. That’s also why they appeal to travelers, family shooters and vacationers, as well as even serious shooters that own a mirrorless or DSLR system.
Moreover, the new and current models on our short list also qualify as crossover or multimedia cameras. All are capable of capturing impressive video footage as well as crisp, detailed high-resolution still images. It’s also notable that some of the cameras covered here incorporate large, 1-inch, high-res CMOS sensors. As a result, they can give APS-C-format and full-frame mirrorless cameras and DSLRs a run for the money in terms of image quality, especially at high ISO settings.
In addition, the majority provide 4K UHD 30p video recording and elevated sensitivity settings of ISO 12,800 and above. Further, all deliver sizzling maximum full-res burst rates of at least 5 frames per second—and up to an incredible 60 fps and higher.
What’s more, many provide an array of enticing, useful special capabilities and full feature sets that rival those in the dominant mirrorless and DSLR categories. In perusing the descriptions and features of the cameras we cover, at a range of price points, several key points become crystal clear. Considerable technical development has gone into creating these long-zoom bridge cameras. And the category is still evolving and being continually tweaked!
A Selection of Long-Zoom Bridge Cameras
Nikon Coolpix B600
A great all-rounder at an enticing price, this flexible all-in-one long-zoom camera features an impressive 60x, f/3.3–6.5 Zoom-Nikkor ED lens that covers a 24-1440mm* focal length range. Its zoom range extends to a super-telephoto 120x with Nikon Dynamic Fine Zoom technology. It also employs a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor integrated with a high-performance Expeed image processor. The combo enables the B600 to deliver a 7-fps, full-res framing rate as well as sensitivity settings from ISO 125 to ISO 6400.
Video features include Full HD recording at 30p and 60i. Moreover, a 4-axis hybrid (digital/electronic) VR (vibration reduction) image stabilization system offers lens-shift VR. This achieves smoother video recording and provides a 3-stop anti-shake advantage when shooting handheld stills at long focal lengths and/or slower shutter speeds.
Other key features include a 3-inch, 921K-dot LCD monitor; an electronic front curtain shutter with timed speeds of 1 to 1/4000 sec; built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy for wireless sharing and remote control; target-finding AF; a contrast-detect AF system with subject tracking; and a smart portrait system that enables red-eye reduction, face-priority AF/AE, smile mode, blink warning, skin softening as well as D-lighting.
With ergonomically arrayed controls and a large built-in handgrip, the B600 also provides a built-in, pop-up flash; an HDMI (micro) port for connection to a TV; as well as an array of scene and creative modes. It measures a compact 4.8×3.3×4.0 inches and weighs a very portable 17.6 ounces with battery and SD/SDHC/SDXC card. $329.95.
Canon PowerShot SX620 HS
With a 20.2MP, 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor and a powerful Digic 4+ processor, this cool, pocket-sized beauty sports a 25x optical zoom, 25–625mm f/3.2–6.6 zoom lens. Furthermore, it focuses from 0.4 inch to infinity in auto and macro modes, as well as down to 2 inches in normal mode—all at the wide setting. Plus, with the 4x digital zoom engaged, it provides a combined zoom range of 100x!
This extended reach is complemented by built-in intelligent IS (image stabilization) that includes normal IS; panning IS; macro (hybrid) IS; dynamic IS for video; as well as active tripod IS options to minimize the appearance of camera shake in a variety of shooting situations. In addition, its auto zoom feature maintains consistent compositions, framing and sharp focus when shooting distant subjects.
The Canon P&S also delivers Full HD 1080p video recording at 30 fps; a full-res burst rate of up to 7.1 fps; and sensitivity settings from ISO 80 to ISO 3200 for shooting in practically any light. The SX620 HS has a 3-inch, 922K-dot LCD; built-in Wi-Fi with NFC for remote operation via the free Camera Connect app; as well as a dedicated Wi-Fi button.
Further, in hybrid auto, the camera records short HD video clips to produce a highlight reel, and smart auto mode chooses the right scene mode based on the situation. Additionally, its built-in flash has auto and slow-sync settings and gets out to 6.6 feet at the tele setting. The camera measures 3.8×2.2×1.1 inches and weighs a slight 6.4 ounces. In black, red or silver, $319.99.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
This large-sensor Sony compact provides a dynamic feature set for serious still and video shooters. Its notable 15-element, 12-group Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.8–4.5 lens provides an 8x, 24–200mm zoom range. It incorporates eight aspheric elements, including four advanced aspheric (AA) elements, to minimize aberrations and distortion and enhance sharpness. Moreover, Zeiss T* coating suppresses reflections and increases light transmission.
The lens focuses from 3.1 inches to infinity at the wide setting and 3.3 feet to infinity at the tele. Plus, its zoom range extends to 16x (with lossless Clear Image tech) or to 32x (with maximum combined zoom). Plus, a manual control ring around the lens accesses frequently used settings.
A 1-inch, 20.1MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor couples to an Bionz X processor with a front-end LSI. It’s a pairing that provides sensitivity settings of ISO 100-12,800, expandable from ISO 64 to 25,600. They also enable a 20-fps, full-res burst rate (an incredible 90 fps for 7 frames); 4K UHD video capture at 24/25/30 fps; and Full HD 1080p recording from 24 to 120 fps. The sensor also incorporates a hybrid AF system with 357 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points for AF in 0.02 sec, as well as subject tracking for stills and video. Also provided are S-Log3 and HLG (HDR) Gamma settings and a 960-fps high frame rate for slow motion playback.
Viewing options include a pop-up, 0.39-inch, 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) for eye-level 100% viewing and a 3-inch, 922K-dot, 180º tilting, touchscreen LCD with touch focus and shutter options. Other features are Wi-Fi/NFC/Bluetooth connectivity; a smart remote control shutter release; an auto flash with rear sync and slow sync; step zoom control; as well as creative style and picture effect modes. It measures 4.0×2.2×1.7 inches and weighs 10.7 ounces. $1,399.99.
Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II
Smartly styled with an intuitive layout, this Panasonic compact is aimed at sophisticated shooters on the go. Its 15-element, 11-group f/2.8-4 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens includes five aspheric and four extra-low dispersion (ED) elements. They effectively minimize spherical and chromatic aberrations and distortion, thus enhancing sharpness. It covers a 16x, 25–400mm range that extends to a combined 32x and 64x using the optimized digital zoom feature. The lens focuses down to 12 inches in normal mode and 1.18 inches in macro.
The FZ1000 II employs a 1-inch, 20.1MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor and an advanced Venus Engine processor to deliver an impressive full-resolution burst rate of 12 fps with single-shot AF, 7 fps with continuous AF and 30 fps at 8MP in 4K photo mode. 4K UHD 30p and 24p video recording are also possible. Sensitivity settings of ISO 125–12,800 expand to ISO 25,600. To minimize the effects of handheld camera shake, there’s a 5-axis hybrid OIS optical sensor-shift IS system. Its AF system uses Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology to achieve quick, quiet, precise autofocus.
There are two viewing systems: a live-view, 2.36M-dot OLED EVF with a 100% view and eye-level viewing; and a 3-inch, 1.24M-dot, free-angle touch LCD for review and composing at high, low and front-facing angles.
Other features include Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity for sharing and remote control; 4K burst mode for continuous 8MP images at 30 fps; 4K pre-burst that records 8MP images for a sec before the shutter is pressed; post focus and focus stacking that lets users choose the sharpest image from a series and combine images to extend the depth of field; Full HD 1080p 120-fps video for slow-motion playback; as well as creative control, scene guides and photo style modes. It measures 5.4×3.8×5.2 inches and weighs 28.8 ounces. $899.99.
Canon PowerShot SX70 HS
Canon’s compact, attractive, ergonomic long-range P&S boasts a 65x optical zoom lens that covers an ultrawide to super-telephoto equivalent focal length range. The 21–1365mm f/3.4–6.5 lens is complemented by a versatile dual-sensing image stabilization system. The IS system achieves up to a 5 stop advantage in minimizing the effects of handheld camera shake. In addition, it teams with 4x digital zoom for a combined 260x zoom reach. The camera also has a zoom-framing assist function that makes it easy to track a moving subject when the zoom is fully extended. It zooms out to help locate the subject and then returns the lens to its original position, keeping the subject in focus.
The SX70 HS also marries a high-resolution, 1/2.3-inch, 20.3MP CMOS image sensor with an advanced Digic 8 processor. Consequently, the camera delivers such impressive specs as a 10-fps, full-res burst rate; 4K UHD video capture at 30p; 4K time-lapse video creation in-camera; Full HD recording; as well as sensitivity settings of ISO 100–3200.
Other key features include a 2.36M-dot OLED EVF for convenient eye-level shooting; built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for image sharing and remote camera control; a 3-inch, 920K-dot, articulating LCD to facilitate high- and low-angle shooting; a built-in hand grip; and a built-in auto flash with slow-sync mode. The PowerShot SX70 HS accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, measures 5.0×3.6×4.6 inches and weighs in at 21.4 ounces. $599.99.
Nikon Coolpix P1000
Nikon’s ultra-long-zoom masterwork is celebrated for its class-leading 17-element, 12-group, 125x, 24-3000mm f/2.8–8 Nikkor zoom lens. What’s more, its reach extends to an incredible 250x (6000mm) with the camera’s dynamic fine digital zoom feature. It also focuses from 12 inches to infinity at the wide end. In addition, 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 also features a 16MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI (backside-illuminated) CMOS sensor that works with an advanced Expeed processor. Together they achieve 7-fps, full-resolution continuous bursts for 7 frames (JPEG), as well as sensitivity settings of ISO 100–6400. Multimedia attributes include 4K UHD video capture at 25 and 30 fps, as well as Full HD 1080p video at 25/30/50/60 fps.
What enables this all to work seamlessly in the real world is Nikon’s Dual Detect Optical VR technology. The advanced IS system provides a 5-stop advantage in minimizing the effects of handheld camera shake when shooting stills or video. In addition, a contrast-detection AF system features multi-area, center and selective single-point options; single, continuous and tracking modes; face detection; as well as live view mode.
The superlative P&S also provides a large 3.2-inch, 921K-dot, vari-angle LCD monitor along with a 100% view 2.36M-dot, eye-level EVF. Furthermore, it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; a variety of shooting modes, including moon and bird modes; and a handy control ring that provides instant access to frequently used settings. Rounding out its features are a pop-up auto flash and support for the optional ML-17 remote. The camera measures 5.8×4.7×7.2 inches and weighs in at 3.1 pounds with battery and memory card. $999.95.
Kodak PixPro AZ901
This perky, ultra-zoom compact is at the top of the Astro Zoom collection from JK Imaging, a Kodak licensee. Its signature feature is a 14-group, 18-element, 22–1980mm f/3.1–6.8 zoom lens. The lens provides an expansive 90x zoom range. And built-in 4x digital zoom permits up to 360x combined zoom! However, the AZ901’s other specs are equally impressive in its class.
It employs a 20.7MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS image sensor for superior image clarity. The P&S also provides sensitivity settings from ISO 100 to 3200 as well as built-in optical image stabilization. It has an eye-level electronic viewfinder plus an articulating 3-inch, 920K-dot LCD monitor for working at high and low angles. The Astro Zoom flagship also captures Full HD 1080p video at 30p as well as HD (1,280×720) video at 60p. In addition, its maximum, full-resolution framing rate tops out at 5 fps.
Also notable is single and multiple 9-point AF with face-detection mode, as well as smile-, blink-, dog- and cat-detection modes. Moreover, its 360º panorama mode creates sweeping images by panning the camera. Other features include a built-in flash; metering methods such as AI (artificial intelligence), AE, center-weighted averaging and spot; exposure modes (aperture priority, auto, manual, program and shutter priority); and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The Kodak PixPro AZ901 measures a chunky but comfortable 5.5×4.1×4.7 inches and weighs in at 27.4 ounces. $499.99.
Note: The similarly styled Kodak PixPro AZ421 has a 42x optical zoom lens and a 16.1MP CCD sensor. It is available in red, white and black. $179.99.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99
This elegant, slimline, pocketable long-zoom P&S features a superb 11-element, 10-group, 28x optical zoom, f/3.5–6.4 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. The lens covers a focal length range of 24–270mm and incorporates five aspheric elements to reduce spherical aberrations over the entire zoom range. In addition, T* antireflective coatings control flare and ghosting. The Sony camera also provides a zoom-assist function that lets users zoom more accurately while shooting faraway subjects. It does so with a quick, temporary zoom-out display to showcase a wider area. Plus, when using the clear image zoom function, the subject is magnified at up to 1440mm while preserving high resolution.
The HX99 employs an 1/2.3-inch, 18.2MP Exmor R BSI CMOS image sensor and an advanced Bionz X processor with a front-end LSI. As a result, the camera has a maximum full-res continuous framing rate of 10 fps for 155 shots. It also offers a sensitivity range expandable to ISO 6400. In addition, it provides 4K UHD video recording at 30p and 24p, as well as high frame rate HD video at up to 120 fps to produce slow-motion sequences during editing.
Furthermore, a control ring around the lens allows photographers to adjust commonly used settings such as aperture and shutter speed quickly and intuitively. And a large right-hand grip provides added comfort as well as support during longer shooting sessions.
Other features include a pop-up 639K-dot OLED Tru-Finder EVF; a tilting, 3-inch, 922K-dot touchscreen LCD; built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to minimize the effects of handheld camera shake; built-in Wi-Fi with NFC as well as Bluetooth connectivity for sharing and remote camera control; eye AF capability; and a pop-up flash. The Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 measures 4.0×2.3×1.4 inches and weighs in at a portable 8.6 ounces. $475.99.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300
This long-zoom Panasonic compact sports a 24x, 25–600mm f/2.8–8 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens. The lens incorporates five aspheric elements, a total of nine aspheric surfaces, as well as three ED elements for exceptional imaging performance over its zoom range. Intelligent zoom doubles the zoom ratio while extra optical zoom crops the image to yield 29.4x and 46.9x zoom magnification at 8MP and 3MP, respectively. Further, a 5-axis hybrid optical IS system corrects for five types of camera shake in still and video capture. In addition, a level shot feature keeps the horizon line level even when the camera is tilted.
The Panasonic FZ300 employs a 1/2.3-inch, 12.1MP High-Sensitivity MOS sensor and a Venus Engine processor. They enable a top sensitivity of ISO 6400 plus 60-fps continuous shooting with its electronic shutter and 12 fps with the mechanical shutter. Multimedia capabilities include 4K UHD recording at 30p and 24p; Full HD at 60p; as well as a 4K pre-burst that records 8MP images for a second prior to pressing the shutter release.
Viewing/composing options are a 1.44M-dot, 0.7x magnification OLED live viewfinder for eye-level monitoring and a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, free-angle touch LCD that facilitates high- and low-angle composition. Other features comprise a DFD AF system for greater speed and responsiveness; Wi-Fi connectivity; a splash- and dustproof body with a right-hand grip; four assignable buttons; as well as rear and side dials for easy shutter speed and aperture control.
The camera also has a dedicated macro mode for focusing down to 0.4 inch, creative panorama mode, creative controls and still image scene guide modes, plus picture adjustment settings. It measures 5.2×3.6×4.6 inches and weighs 24.4 ounces. $499.99.
* All focal length ranges are in 35mm equivalents.