If you're a photographer who needs serious zoom range but doesn't want to spend a fortune on an interchangeable-lens camera with a compatible telephoto lens, a bridge camera can be a great solution. While its smaller sensors don't provide the same level of image quality as most full-frame and APS-C cameras, they do combine the simple utility of a compact point-and-shoot camera with an unprecedented zoom range, making it which makes them the perfect option for casual wear. become a good fit. Wildlife and sports photography or astrophotography.

We've tested over 70 cameras, and here are our recommendations for the best cameras to buy with zoom lenses. These picks were chosen not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. You can check out our recommendations on the best point-and-shoot cameras, the best cameras for wildlife photography, and the best cameras for beginners.

Bridge Camera

Best Bridge Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II is the best zoom camera we've tested for most people. It is versatile enough for general purpose family or travel photography. Its built-in zoom lens has a focal length range of 24-400mm (the full-frame equivalent) allowing you to get closer to distant subjects, which is what you would do with an equivalent telephoto lens on an interchangeable-lens camera. will get.

The camera is well built and feels very comfortable to shoot. It has an easy-to-navigate menu system, as well as plenty of customization options to configure the camera controls to your preferences. The image quality out of the camera is excellent, although sharpness decreases as ISO increases. If you prefer to shoot RAW, it has good noise handling despite its small sensor.

While it doesn't have built-in sensor-shift stabilization, the camera does have an electronic stabilization feature to reduce handheld camera shake, though this isn't available when shooting 4K video. Its autofocus sometimes struggles to track moving faces as well, but it does a good job of keeping objects in focus. The camera also has a long battery life for busy days.

Best Premium Bridge Camera: Sony RX10 IV

If money is not an issue, the Sony RX10 IV is one of the best bridge cameras on the market. Although it comes with a premium price tag, it's the most capable bridge camera we've ever tested, with a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor and a built-in Zeiss zoom lens. With a long focal length range that covers 24-600mm (the full-frame equivalent), you can shoot everything from landscapes to close-ups of distant subjects. It's also weather-sealed against moisture and dust, giving you an extra level of protection.

The camera can shoot at a staggering 24fps to capture bursts of fast-moving subjects. It also has an amazing phase-detection AF system that works particularly well when tracking subjects in video, rarely losing focus. The image quality out of the camera is excellent, with accurate colors and sharp details even when ISO is increased, although noise management is good when shooting RAW at higher ISO values. The camera also has a long battery life and feels incredibly comfortable to shoot with.

That said, like other Sony cameras, its menu system is confusing to operate and you can't use the touch screen to navigate. However, there are plenty of customization options that can help cut down on the time it takes to scroll through the settings. Overall, though, this camera's solid weather-sealed build, built-in Zeiss zoom lens, and dense feature set make it an excellent all-in-one camera.

Best Superzoom Bridge Camera: Nikon COOLPIX P1000

The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is the bridge camera to buy if you're looking for a full zoom range. Its built-in lens has a remarkable 125x zoom, so you can get as close as a full-frame maximum equivalent focal length of 3000mm. It's tall enough to capture details on the Moon's surface but is also suitable for landscape or everyday photography at short focal lengths.

The camera's off-camera image quality is good. However, it does not perform well in low light due to its smaller sensor, as photos start to lose sharpness and have visible noise at medium and high ISO levels. On the plus side, it has a screen that is perfectly Clear enough to help you shoot from a tripod and feels well built. It can take seven photos at 7fps to capture fast-moving subjects like birds, and it has a minimum shutter speed of 60K for long-exposure photography.

Unfortunately, the advantage of having such a long zoom lens is that the camera is very bulky and bulky, making it not very portable or suitable for travel. Even though it has an electronic stabilization feature, you'll still need to use a tripod when shooting at its longest focal length, and even with a tripod, it's still hard to eliminate camera shake. Is. Still, if you want incredible zoom capability in a convenient all-in-one package, this camera is worth considering.

Best Portable Bridge Camera: Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

The best bridge camera we've tested with a more portable design is the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS. It's relatively small and light, and thanks to its intuitive menu system, large grip, and simple control scheme, it feels very comfortable to shoot. It also has a perfectly clear screen to help you shoot from different angles, although it lacks touch capabilities.

Its built-in lens has a 21-1365mm equivalent focal length, so you can easily zoom in on very distant subjects or take wide-angle landscape shots. It offers pretty decent image quality with plenty of dynamic range to pick out more detail in highlights and shadows. It has a good autofocus system that is particularly effective at tracking moving objects. The camera also features 10fps fast bursts, so you can turn off fast bursts to capture fast-moving action.

However, it's not suitable for low-light shots, as its small sensor produces soft and noisy images at high ISO levels. Battery life is fine and is advertised for around 325 photos, depending on your shooting habits, but it doesn't support USB charging, which is a drawback.

Best Budget Bridge Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ80

The best bridge camera we have tested for your budget is the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80. It has a simple and easy-to-use menu system and is relatively portable as far as bridge cameras go. Its built-in lens has a focal length of 20-1200mm, giving you a wide zoom range for shooting whether you want to shoot wide-angle landscapes or zoom in on distant subjects.

The camera offers wide image quality with a large amount of dynamic range at its base ISO. That said, image quality drops noticeably as ISO increases, so it's not suitable for shooting at night or in low light. It can shoot at a rate of 11fps in its high-speed burst mode, and its autofocus does a good job of tracking moving objects, although it struggles to track moving faces. It also has a unique '4k Photo' mode that extracts still images from 4k video capture at 30fps if you want to capture some very fast-paced action.

Unfortunately, its viewfinder is small and difficult to use. It's also not the highest resolution, which can make it hard to get a clear, lag-free view of your subjects. On top of that, its screen is stable, which makes it a bit difficult to shoot from lower angles. That said, the good image quality combined with the long zoom range of this camera makes it a lot of value for its price.

Notable Mention

  • Nikon COOLPIX P950: The Nikon COOLPIX P950 is a bridge camera that is very similar to the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 but with a shorter maximum full-frame equivalent focal length of 2000mm. While it's still a substantial degree of zoom, it's well below the P1000 and only slightly more portable.
  • Leica V-Lux 5: The Leica V-Lux 5 is effectively a rebranded version of the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II, with a slightly different body design, and as such both cameras work very similarly. Although it is a versatile and complete bridge camera, it does not offer the additional functions that justify its significant price difference compared to Panasonic.

Recent Updates

March 3, 2022: No change to recommendations after revising article for clarity and accuracy.

Jan 5, 2022 - Sony RX10 IV renamed "Best Premium Bridge Camera" and Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II renamed "Budget Option" to "Best Bridge Camera".

December 16, 2021 - Verified picks are still accurate and available; No change in recommendations

Nov 25, 2021 - Canon PowerShot SX70 HS rebrands from 'Portable Alternative' to 'Best Portable Bridge Camera'.

November 4, 2021: Minor text updates for clarity and accuracy; No change in recommendations

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras with zoom lenses for most people to buy based on their needs. We factor in price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no hard-to-find or near-sold-out cameras in the US).

Here is a list of all our Bridge camera reviews if you want to pick one for yourself. Be careful not to get bogged down in details. Nobody is the perfect camera. Personal taste, preference and shooting habits are the most important in your selection.