Bridge Cameras

So what are they?

Firstly, click here to view the Wikipedia explanation.

As the name suggests, they bridge a gap. That niche is between Compact cameras and SLR (single lens reflex) cameras.  They were in existence pre digital cameras and nowadays bridge between snappers’ Point & Shoot (P&S – click here to read Wikipedia article) cameras and DSLRs.

So between this:   and this:  

 

                                     comes this:

 

P&S are super, but have limited flexibility and abilities, so creative control is lacking. It’s difficult or impossible to:

  • Deliberately blur something that’s moving, by using a slow shutter speed, e.g.:

    (taken with a Canon SX1 bridge camera)
  • Blur background or foreground, by setting a large aperture, e.g.:

    (taken with a Canon S1 bridge camera)

Flash & zoom ranges are also limited and the proximity of the flash to the lens means that red-eye is an ever present irritation, even with pre-flash, or in camera edits.

So why not move onto a DSLR? The most obvious drawback is their physical size. On top of that is cost and/or the further cost of interchangeable lenses to provide full, flexible functionality. The above bridge camera possesses a 20x zoom, with range from wide angle 28mm equivalent, up to 560mm telephoto. You have a camera that is a relatively slim 88mm deep, weighing just under 600g and costing £400. For the nearest range of zoom (wider 18mm, but shorter 200mm), on an entry level DSLR, would cost at least double, would weigh over a kilo and has a depth of around 160mm. The trade off is that photo quality in DSLRs (particularly noticeable in large prints and certainly anything bigger than A4) is superior, combined with far greater control of focus and range of apertures.

Click here to view a very illuminative article from CarnkieCameraClub.co.uk, which covers the differences between the three types of camera.