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As a beginner, you need to start with a camera that has lots of shooting modes but isn’t a huge investment. If you later want to transition to a manual camera, bridge cameras are the perfect middle-ground for you.
The only caveat is that they aren’t great at taking footage in low light. But they let you control a lot of the settings and that aids in experimentation.
So get started with the best bridge camera for wildlife and peek into the world of photography.
There are too many sources online to confuse you. Skip all that with this list we have prepared for you. Get yours easy. The 5 cameras you see below are the best in the market.
Best Bridge Camera For Wildlife Photography Reviews 2021
|Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera||Best Overall||Check Price|
|Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video||Best Value||Check Price|
|Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera||Budget Option||Check Price|
Each of the cameras you see below is the best in their respects. All you have to do now is compare the specs and take the one that fits your preference best.
1. Sony DSC-RX10 III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera
To photograph wild animals, you need to get up close to them. It doesn’t count as a good photo if your object appears as a blurry dot in the distance. That’s just facts here. Well, if you want a camera with good magnification, then this Sony RX10 III Cyber Shor will be a good buy for you.
The lens it houses is a high zoom 24-600mm Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens which is the best of Sony’s optical technology. The wide focal length of 24 mm stretches into telephoto lens territory with a magnification of 600mm in any kind of light.
It has an aperture of f2.4 – 4, and this is the recommended aperture for shooting in low light conditions. So, don’t worry if it’s close to sundown. If you’re out in the wild, you can stay a bit longer and take more shots with your Sony RX10.
The camera has a resolution of 20.1 megapixels that will give you the most amazing contrast and detail ratio. You will be able to appreciate the tiniest of the details in scenes – sometimes you will even come across things that you could not see with your naked eyes.
Light is pulled in through the 1″ Exmor RS stacked back-illuminated CMOS sensor with dynamic random access memory (DRAM). The photodiodes in the back-illuminated structure are placed before the wiring, which aids the flow of light without any obstruction whatsoever.
You can record 4K videos on the camera with direct pixelation. There will be no super-pixelation binning to mess with the resolution of details in your photos.
Everything is possible with the Sony RX10 III – you get high frame rates for slow-mo movies of wildlife like leopard and owl. The autofocus is a quick 0.09-second endeavor that is splendid to work with, then there is the anti-distortion shutter that creates a fast response of up to 14 fps and 1/32000 seconds.
A lot is going on here that needs to be explored. If you pick this wildlife camera, you will have a lot of learning that awaits you. So, get this in your hand and get started with your wildlife photography experiments.
- Has high zoom Zeiss Vario-Sonaar T* lenses
- A 20.1 MP camera with a 1″ Exmor RS back-illuminated sensor
- Direct pixelation with 4k recording
- 40X high frame rate
- Allows continuous shooting upto 14fps7 with minimized blackout
- Is the best low light bridge camera
- Quick autofocus up to 0.09 seconds
- Comes with an anti-distortion shutter
- Strong and resistant body made of magnesium alloy
- Tru-Finder with a multi-angled LCD for sharp viewing
- Produces amazing details due to the BIONZ X engine
- Autofocus lags in low light conditions
- The long telephoto lens could have been sharper
2. Canon Powershot SX70 20.3MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 4K Video 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen
The CMOS sensor picks up images at a resolution of 20.3 megapixels. An incredible amount of photons are transmitted into the camera to give your photos a great number of details and colors.
The main processing of the images happens in the DIGIC 8 image processor, which is a powerful new component that can process 40 times the amount of data. You get a lot of other features, such as a panning mode, time-lapse, live view shooting, and so on.
The optical zoom, with a magnification of 65 times works in combination with the Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO), which is another very useful feature lent by the processor. DLO is a lens-correcting mechanism that has lens aberration set in place which helps to capture the tiniest details in pictures that you can later zoom in on to reveal great detail.
You can shoot 4k videos and also 4k time-lapse videos with this compact Canon Powershot SX70. So, you’ll be able to take videos of wildlife lkike black panther, hummingbird, zebra, elephant.
The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is OLED, which is great at producing the right colors to the right density so that you can view what you are shooting. This comes in extra handy when you are shooting in the dark as the EVF helps you to navigate better.
An additional feature of this affordable bridge camera comes in the form of an EOS webcam that makes use of beta software and connects to both Windows and Mac. This makes your work much easier as transferring files becomes quick and convenient. Overall, it’s certainly one of the best bridge cameras in 2021.
- 20.3-megapixel camera with a powerful 65X optical zoom
- The CMOS sensor keeps photos bright and detailed
- Enhanced viewfinder magnification and offers continuous shooting at upto 10.0 fps
- Powerful DIGIC 8-image processor packed inside
- Capable of shooting regular 4K and time-lapse 4K as well
- Has a built-in webcam
- Has an user-friendly LCD screen and a reasonable price tag
- A compact camera for capturing wildlife photos
- Configurations are not user-friendly
- Difficulties in connecting to the computer
- The view goes blurry when you’re zooming in
3. Leica V-Lux 5 20MP Superzoom Digital Bridge Camera for Wildlife
This one is another great contender for the best bridge camera for wildlife photography title. It is a 20-megapixel camera with a 1-inch sensor that is the perfect combination for taking photos of fast-moving animals that often go blurry with regular lenses.
Using the DC Vario-Elmarit ASPH lenses, your photos will be great and crystal clear. The aperture of the camera has a range between f/2.8 to f/2.2. If you are working in low light situations, then the lower ranging values are better but if you are working in normal light then opt towards the bigger end of the range.
The 16X zoom lens of this digital bridge camera will help you see what is far away from you. The lens is 9.1 – 146 mm and allows you to switch between ultra-wide angles and short telephoto ranges as well.
When shooting 4K video, your lens has an aperture of f/2.8-4 while using the zoom range of 25-400mm, and with this, you will be covered on both far-ranging shots and closer objects just alike.
For convenient and better connectivity through multiple devices, you will have BlueTooth and WiFi connectivity via Leica FOTOS.
The OLED electronic viewfinder will help you to watch your footage so that you can control your shots and frames even better. It has a resolution of 2.36m, which translates to 1024×768 pixels, which will give images a sharp definition and high luminance.
- Has a sensor of 1-inch with a 3X crop
- Comes with a high definition OLED EVF
- Maximum continuous shooting rate at 12 fps
- 4K available both for photos and videos
- Features BlueTooth and WiFi connectivity
- DC Vario-Elmarit lenses with a 16X maximum zoom capability
- Performance and usability could have been better
- Comes with a premium price tag
- Not weather-proof and would have been great if it had a splash resistant body
4. Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II 20.1MP Digital Camera
If you want a megazoom camera with a large sensor and excellent performance in times of darkness and a little color, then this Panasonic LUMIX is your friend.
It has a 1-inch sensor that lets in plenty of light and helps the 20.1 MP camera to put down pixel after pixel in order to create a bright photo. The sensor is large, and so you can capture motion with this camera as well.
Another thing we love about this is its Leica optical zoom lenses that can magnify up to 16X. It’s often called the best superzoom bridge camera.
The aperture range is f2.8 to f4.0, and the focal length is 35mm to about 25-400mm. For wide-angle shots, your aperture is F2.8 F11 and on the telephoto lens, you will get about F4.0 F11. If you are looking for a cinematic view then go with the wide angle lens and the telephoto will help you capture things that are very far away.
There is also a 5-axis hybrid optical image stabilization system in this super zoom bridge camera which is great at removing blurs caused by shaking hands. This feature makes it even easier to shoot with this Panasonic budget camera and makes it all the more fun as well.
As one of the top bridge camera models, it allows you to shoot 4K videos and take 4K QFHD photos in the resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. You can also make recorded videos in the MP4 format at 24P.
There is an OLED viewfinder, which shows high-speed videos without compromising on quality. You can also tilt the viewfinder 180 degrees horizontally and 270 degrees vertically.
- Has a big 1-inch sensor
- 20.1 MP camera that takes excellent photos in dim surroundings
- Flexible aperture – supports both wide angle and telephoto shots
- Perfect bridge camera for video as it can produce 4K videos, alongside 4K photos
- Comes with a super high-quality OLED live ViewFinder
- Superb image quality despite being one of the most affordable bridge cameras
- Poor performance in low light
- The internal lens starts to fail only a few months after use
- Many of the configurations stay greyed out
5. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera
This is a point and shoot camera with a 18.1 MP MOS sensor that has a magnification of up to 60X on lens. Inside the camera is housed a DS Vario Lens that is 20-1220 mm, which is great at producing photos of distant animals with great details.
You can take 4K and 4K ultra HD videos at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The viewfinder is about 3 inches in size and has 1040 dots which makes the images pop up under intense sunlight as well.
The viewfinder has rear-touch enabled, which lets you focus more on your photos by making the whole ordeal a bit more convenient for you.
If you want to take photos and record videos in low light conditions, then this digital bridge camera is a great camera to take up in hand. The high magnification on the lenses is going to further ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the details on your surroundings.
When it comes to connectivity, the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 gets extra points in convenience. It has WiFi connectivity that enables you to transfer files quickly through other devices but that is not what we give extra points for.
The LUMIX FZ80 also comes with a USB charging system which means that you will be able to shoot long nights out in the wild as long as you take a charging dock in your vehicle. To sum up, it’s a good bridge camera and should be given a shot.
- Has a 18.1 MP MOS sensor
- Comes with a magnification of 60X on the lens for superior image quality
- High optical image stabilization helps in hands-on shoots and minimize camera shake
- Great video capture resolution as it can shoot videos in 4K, 4K QFHD, and 4K ultra as well
- Performs well in low light conditions and ideal for capturing distant subjects
- File transferring is easy due to the WiFi connectivity
- Features a USB charging system
- Comes with a lens cover for weather protection and price-wise extremely cheap
- Ideal bridge camera for beginners
- The user interface is inconveniently difficult to learn
- Focus quality not good at all
Buying Guide For Bridge Camera for Wildlife Photography
First of all, let’s begin by saying that conventional bridge cameras are great for taking precise shots of wildlife placed large distances away. But you still need to find the right one to capture movements of birds, deers, and lions. So, here are the factors that you need to keep in mind to find the best superzoom camera for wildlife photography.
The resolution is managed by the sensor inside. You get two types of bridge cameras in the market based on the sensor. One is the CCD sensor and the other is a CMOS sensor.
CMOS is similar to sensors that are generally found inside DSLR cameras, and most bridge cameras house this inside. These sensors are bigger in size than CCD sensors, and so they produce photos that have more dense pixels.
More pixels are always better, so CMOS wins this round against CCD.
Now, apart from their difference in size, another difference between them lies in the fact that CCD sensors use a global shutter and CMOS uses a rolling shutter. Rolling shutter is more reliable because they capture light in individual pixels, while the global shutter captures light all at once for the entire photo.
Evidently, the photos appear to be better quality when taken with a CMOS sensor.
One of the first reasons for which bridge cameras are so much fun is the big zoom lenses they hold for quality shots.
There are two kinds of zoom – optical and digital. Digital zoom works by using the image sensor while optical zoom uses the camera lens directly. As you can perhaps tell, the optical zoom will give photos much more clarity than digital zoom. These cameras generally have an optical zoom with a 60X magnification.
This allows you to get real up close to the object even if you are far far away from it. The zoom capability is the sole reason why these cameras are so suitable for those delving into wildlife photography.
Also, it would be great if the camera has interchangeable lenses with dynamic fine zoom. You should find them in digital cameras with tilting screens. Getting a high-end camera like sony cyber shot should relieve you of your worries about the zoom capacities.
Cameras with manual modes are fun to play with and produces great image quality. Everything from the shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, color balance, maximum aperture, and focal length can be tweaked with full manual control mode.
There are automatic modes as well similar to the prosumer 4k video camera from Canon. You can use those to take brilliant photos if you are not in the mood to experiment.
Please note that the lenses on zoom cameras cannot be changed.
That is the only limitation of these cameras. The rest is adjustable.
4K Video Footage
The quality of images and photos is very good with bridge cameras in general. However, most of these now come with the capability to shoot 4K as well. You will have high-end production quality with a camera that comes at a mid-range price point. Also, make sure tha cemera has optical vibration reduction to get the finer details right when making use of long focal lengths. That way horizontal or vertical jerks won’t cause issues while shooting long zoom lenses.
The viewing screen just makes your life with the camera easier. If you can see what you are shooting, you can definitely shoot better.
Most mid-range bridge cameras will have a 3-inch screen that is either LCD, OLED, or TFT. But the best viewfinders are those that are electronic. Widely known in their abbreviation, EVFs are better because they don’t go dark in the sun. LCDs, on the other hand, would definitely be of no use under direct sunlight.
The battery life of the camera is really important. As it’ll decide how many shots you can take per charge. For me, i think it should be around 400 shots per charge. If the unit comes with a spare battery, that would be really useful.
It’s also essential that the camera has an in-built image stabilizer so that you can take crisp photos of wildlife movement like the flight of birds. Also, the camera should have the ability to capture shots in RAW format.
Another thing to check is that if the camera can perform well in extreme lighting conditions. That would be a bonus if it can.
Another feature that i value highly is weather sealing. But very few bridge cameras out there are weather proof.
One thing to remember that if you’re likely to take pictures of insects and other small wildlife, then you’ll need to get a macro lens. The maximum aperture of the lens should be minimum f/2.8.
How to Use a Bridge Camera
If you have used an SLR or a DSLR, you already know how to use a bridge camera. This camera is a cross between the SLR and the DSLR, so don’t get nervous if this is your first time with it.
Steady The Camera: These cameras are heavy. The best thing will be to get a tripod for the camera so that it stays steady. Don’t rely on your hands because there is no way they will be able to hold this camera completely stable.
Set The Angles Straight: Look into the viewfinder and check whether the planes are all straight. Turn the grid on and try to match surrounding flat surfaces along with the grid lines to make sure that
you aren’t taking misaligned shots.
Fix Exposure: You can refer to these three settings as the Exposure Triangle for convenience. It is very important that you control these three settings.
- Aperture is the hole through which light will enter the camera – adjust the size of this hole to change the intensity of light in your photos.
- ISO controls how sensitive the camera sensor is. Adjust it to control the noise level of the images you take.
- Shutter speed is important for capturing the movement of your subject. Adjust the shutter speed to control the time for which the aperture will keep allowing light in through the lens. For moving subjects, increase the time to let more light come. For stationary subjects, decrease the time to let less light come.
Start Shooting: After you have fixed the three things mentioned above, you should practice a lot. Change up the modes on these settings and inspect the results. Use your personal creativity to work on your composition skills, color skills, and angles for creating amazing photos with your bridge cam!
Difference Between A Bridge Camera, SLRs and A Basic Compact Camera
There are two kinds of cameras mainly – compact cameras and single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs). Between them, in the midpoint lies the camera of our discussion – a third one – the bridge camera.
Compact cameras are quite good at producing high-quality images, they work with a variety of lenses, and they are also easy to carry.
SLRs, on the other hand, are a bit on the bulkier side but they let you have more control over the photo quality with their adjustable shutter speed, high contrast ratio, color pixelation, and so on.
Bridge cameras, as the name suggests, is a bridge between these two kinds of cameras. They are the best of both worlds and they are perfect for someone who is interested in pursuing photography but wants more creative control than lent by a compact camera and also doesn’t want the inconvenience of carrying around a huge and heavy SLR.
Bridge cameras are digital, so file transferring is quite easy and simple with them. They have manual options for shutter speeds, ISO, color balance, and focal length. There is a lot for you to play with.
You might sometimes hear people talk about superzoom cameras. Nothing to be confused about – the superzoom is another name for the bridge camera. These bridge cameras have high-ranging optical zoom controls that go up to 60X and more.
So not only are these fun to experiment with and learn from, but their zoom capacities and detail-packed pixelation make them great for wildlife photography.
You will be able to take advantage of the shutter speed settings, aperture, and so on in order to get your best animal photo without breaking the bank to get a super expensive camera.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are bridge cameras good for nerdy noobs?
Ans: Bridge cameras are a good place to start from because they have a lot of manual settings that motivated beginners can play with without getting overwhelmed.
2. What camera is better to travel with: compact or bridge?
Ans: Compact cameras are small, but bridge cameras are more capable within a reasonable size. I would say if photography is one of your interests, then get a bridge camera for traveling, otherwise, a regular compact camera would be okay for you to take average photos with.
3. What similarity is there between a DSLR and a bridge camera?
Ans: Perhaps the fact that both cameras have big optical zoom lenses.
4. Is the bridge camera a fixed lens camera?
Ans: Yes, they have fixed lenses. You cannot change the lens on a bridge camera; you can only adjust the settings.
5. Between mirrorless cameras and bridge cameras, which one will give me better quality photos?
Ans: Mirrorless cameras will almost always produce better photos than bridge cameras.
If you are someone who would like to get into photography but don’t want to put in a huge camera investment yet, then you should take advantage of the manual controls on a bridge camera. Hope this article has helped you to get more comfortable with these cameras. Now all you have to do is buy the best bridge camera for wildlife shooting and venture out into the unknown for some amazing photographing moments.