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10-01-2019, 02:41 PM   #1
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"Bridge" cameras - so good are they actually?

Edited: Thread title should have read "Bridge cameras - so how good are they actually?" !!

This "category" of camera actually spans a very wide range of cameras from "basic" stuff that probably does what "your average consumer" wants and with which it is satisfied, to high-end stuff with large sensors, ultrawwide zoom ranges, and many "tweakable" control settings (etc.).

So what is your view/experience?

For my part, this is what I see:

- Good: an "all-in-one" "solution" to "snap-happiness" and relatively light compared with an ILC body plus various lenses, surprisingly good results if used "correctly" (very impressive & sharp pics of insects/small birds - but mainly "stationary" - from what one our our local U3a Digital Photo Group members has produced),

- Not so good: physically relatively large, and heavy for the high-end stuff, EVFs not always very quick to refresh, generally relatively slow AF, poor image quality at the "consumer end" (especially where the users don't really know how to get the best out of their cameras - we have a particular example with one lady who is a brilliant and observant photographer from the fillm age, but really doesn't get anywhere the best from her digital age mid-range bridge, as they are generally shot on "Auto" and so can be "grainy" and blurred )

-


Last edited by jeallen01; 10-01-2019 at 02:51 PM.
10-01-2019, 02:51 PM   #2
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They fulfil a need for some people or in some situations. I have carried a bridge camera when I wanted something compact and could not carry a lot of gear. But the zoom range has only ever been a bout 18-300mm (equivalent in FF). But performance always dropped off at the long end. I have no experience with the "ultra" zoom type. I doubt they could give me anything I considered useful at the long end. I would still carry a bridge camera if I needed to, but I would prefer not to have a 1/2.3" sensor and I would not want more than about a 10x or 15x zoom range.
10-01-2019, 02:52 PM   #3
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My brother bought a HX400V a number of years ago as his first camera - he still uses it whenever he goes out to something like a sports event or plane watching. It handily beats the fancy kit I've got simply because the ultrazoom aspect is so damn good. You can't pixel peep otherwise you'll notice obvious smoothing and NR but for a standard desktop shot its near unbeatable. I've tried matching it with a Q-S1 and the results aren't even close.

And that's my experience with bridge cameras. Wouldn't use one for everyday shots since my K-1 has a lot more versatility there.

Last edited by HarisF1; 10-05-2019 at 11:30 PM.
10-01-2019, 03:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by HarisF1 Quote
You cam't pixel peep
Agreed! I prefer to have something I can work with and too much smoothing is something I avoid. I have sometimes been disappointed with the results from my Q7 compared to my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1. Both have a 1/1.7" sensor. But I am learning that most of the difference is in what I am doing. I would say that the Panasonic is very good as a P&S camera but the Q7 is potentially better if it is not treated as a P&S.

10-01-2019, 03:06 PM   #5
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Before starting with Pentax and a K-x I had a Canon SX10. It was a great camera. Picture and video quality were great, it had a tilting screen a huge optical zoom and it was easy to use. I still have it because I took some great pictures with it.
10-01-2019, 03:27 PM   #6
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I dabbled with a Pentax X90 in between the *ist DS and K-5, and got some pretty reasonable pictures. No raw mode though and landscape shots tended to look pretty smeary even on a 23-inch HD monitor. Mrs Micro still sometimes uses it.
10-01-2019, 03:30 PM   #7
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I had 2 Panasonic super-zooms. For shooting flowers and feeder birds they were fine.
10-01-2019, 04:01 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I've owned a number of bridge cameras over the years - the kind with the tiny sensors - and my problem with them has always been handling/usability.

Edit: oops, I didn't finish my thought. I didn't have an issue with the quality of the images these cameras produced, because I knew what to expect and I was OK with that. Things like not being able set an ISO range along with a shutter speed and using a tiny EVF with long blackout too frequently sapped the joy out of the experience. But in the right circumstances the image quality was just fine for me.

Attached Images
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FinePix HS50EXR  Photo 
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FinePix S1  Photo 

Last edited by luftfluss; 10-01-2019 at 04:43 PM.
10-01-2019, 04:45 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I've owned a number of bridge cameras over the years - the kind with the tiny sensors - and my problem with them has always been handling/usability.
Hard to fault the image quality, though. Superb photographs!

I had an X70 and got some good pictures with it, but I really enjoy using my old Takumars, so I passed it on to a friend. He is blown away with it, is having the time of his life with the super zoom and all the controls. Compared to his Panasonic Lumia point and shoot, the X70 is rocket science. It's a real pleasure to see his enthusiasm. So if you ask me, bridge cameras are great.
10-01-2019, 05:52 PM   #10
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I have shot some pretty good shots with my Sony Cyber-shot HX99, in fact I went on a business trip to Boston earlier this year... I had several nice shots with that even my iPhone 11 Pro Max wouldn’t have taken. The HX99 is nice because it is pocketable and shots 4K video as well but has a nice zoom range too.

I am debating when I go to San Francisco on business in November if I am taking my KP and 20-40 or am just saying good enough with the HX99 and my iPhone.

Last edited by gm4life; 10-01-2019 at 06:49 PM.
10-02-2019, 03:56 AM   #11
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I'd always leave the store when the clerk tells me, "hey, you should buy this bridge...". Perhaps I was mistaken about something...

I don't think there's a "right" and "wrong" general rule when buying cameras. But, I wouldn't touch a bridge camera unless its extra range is very, very important - and then, I'd think if an ILC wouldn't be better.
10-02-2019, 05:31 AM   #12
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Bridge cameras with 1" sensors are very usable for hiking and in general when you don't need maximum quality. The 24-600 lens on the Sony RX10iv gives very nice results all the way out to 600mm (equivalent).They are, of course, very expensive.
10-02-2019, 03:49 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I use a Fujifilm S5700 as my "carry everywhere" camera when I don't want to use an SLR and I'm not too worried about image quality - it works OK, but the sensor is tiny and you get colour fringing at the telephoto lens. I think the one I have now is actually my fourth - they are very cheap on eBay if you're prepared to be patient. I've lost one by bashing it into a wall, one where the flash went wrong and I tried to convert it to infra-red and failed miserably, and one I gave to my niece a couple of weeks ago when another turned up in a job lot of old cameras. There are undoubtedly better bridge cameras, it's a pretty old model, but I know the controls very well by now and it does what I want well enough for most purposes.

Some pictures here:
FinePix S5700 | Flickr
10-03-2019, 02:11 AM   #14
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Thanks for all your experiences, opinions & shots - keep them coming (whilst we are on holiday )!
10-03-2019, 11:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marcus Rowland Quote
I use a Fujifilm S5700 as my "carry everywhere" camera when I don't want to use an SLR and I'm not too worried about image quality - it works OK, but the sensor is tiny and you get colour fringing at the telephoto lens. I think the one I have now is actually my fourth - they are very cheap on eBay if you're prepared to be patient. I've lost one by bashing it into a wall, one where the flash went wrong and I tried to convert it to infra-red and failed miserably, and one I gave to my niece a couple of weeks ago when another turned up in a job lot of old cameras. There are undoubtedly better bridge cameras, it's a pretty old model, but I know the controls very well by now and it does what I want well enough for most purposes.

Some pictures here:
FinePix S5700 | Flickr
Great shots! I had a S5700 back in the day, it was the last point-and-shoot camera I owned before getting my first SLR. It was a very capable camera and I pretty much took it everywhere. Great IQ and specs for the money.
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