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There’s a large gap between a compact point-and-shoot camera and a fully-fledged DSLR in terms of complexity and price. A bridge camera is so named as it bridges the gap between the two. There are a few features that make them distinct; more manual controls than a compact whilst retaining some auto features, a fixed lens that often out-performs a compact and has a large zoom range, and a sensor that is somewhere between a compact and a mirrorless or DSLR. They’re an appealing choice for the beginner or amateur photographer who wants to learn the fundamentals of photography and experiment with manual controls, without breaking the bank with the purchase. Along with Sony, Fujifilm and Canon, Panasonic are one of the foremost brands that produce bridge cameras. This article will detail some of the best Panasonic bridge cameras and outline what it is that makes them so appealing.

Best Panasonic Bridge Cameras

1. Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500

Why it’s great:

  • 20x optical zoom lens equivalent to 24-480mm.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.5.
  • 4K video and photo capture.

Top of our list of Panasonic bridge cameras is the Lumix FZ2000/2500 depending where in the world you are. It packs some mightily impressive specs into a compact and sturdy body. Although the 20x optical zoom doesn’t have the longest range we’ve seen on other bridge cameras, the 24-480mm equivalent range will be enough for most people. It performs well throughout that range too; it’s capable of 4K capture in both photo and video thanks to the 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor. The FZ2000/25000 has many features you’d expect to find in a DSLR or mirrorless, such as an articulated 3-inch touchscreen, image stabilization, and the ability to shoot in RAW format. Overall, this camera stands out above the rest.

Buying considerations:

  • Although it’s a little cheaper than some close competitors, the zoom lens is considerably shorter than many in the same class that have 50x or 60x zooms.

2. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Why it’s great:

  • A predecessor to the above FZ2000/2500 with many of the same features at a lower price point
  • 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor.
  • 5-axis image stabilization for smoother shooting.

Although the FZ2000/2500 is our top pick of Panasonic bridge cameras, it’s the longer zoom and fantastic videography options that set it apart. If you’re not overly interested in those features, the FZ1000 is a more affordable alternative. Many of the other features remain the same; a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, and good image quality are all present. The lens is a smaller 16x optical zoom, equivalent to 25-400mm, and although it’s not as good as it’s bigger brother, it’s still capable of 4K video capture. It’s a well-made camera that feels great in the hand, and it’s a really good option as far as bridge cameras go.

Buying considerations:

  • The FZ1000 is certainly more affordable than the FZ2000/2500, but it’s still a fairly pricey unit. If you’re just starting out with photography, this might be a little out of your budget.

3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Why it’s great:

  • 8-megapixel four thirds image sensor that delivers excellent-quality images.
  • Maximum wide aperture f/1.7-2.8 zoom lens with an equivalent 24-75mm range.
  • Excellent image stabilization.

Whilst the above FZ models have a DSLR feel about them, the DMC-LX100 has a much sleeker and stylish design, without compromising on quality. Although the sensor is smaller in the LX100, it’s more than capable of delivering high-quality images, particularly at the lower ISO range. The 24-75mm equivalent zoom lens has a max aperture of a fantastic f/1.7/-2.8 which makes it reasonably good when shooting in low-light, something that the image stabilization helps with. There’s plenty of dials and manual settings to play around with, which can really help the user get to grips with some photography fundamentals.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s a little slow to start up at times, which could be frustrating for those spur of the moment shots.

4. Panasonic Lumix FZ330

Why it’s great:

  • 24x optical zoom equivalent to 25-600mm with f/2.8 constant aperture.
  • 12 megapixel sensor.
  • 4K video recording and excellent image capture.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 has a fairly hefty zoom range on it; at an equivalent 25-600mm it essentially ranges from wide angle through to telephoto zoom. A constant f/2.8 aperture means you’ll be able to get great results even in low light, again helped out by image stabilization. It comes with a 4K video capture mode, and can shoot continuously at 12.5fps. The body is well-built, weather sealed, light, and compact, meaning you can take it anywhere and capture high-quality images. Overall, it’s a really great camera without the price tag you’d expect.

Buying considerations:

  • Image noise creeps up past the ISO 800 mark, although this isn’t uncommon in bridge cameras.

5. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 / FZ82

Why it’s great:

  • 60x optical zoom, equivalent to 20-1200mm on a 35mm sensor.
  • Excellent value for money with impressive image quality.
  • 3-inch touch screen.

With a huge 60x optical zoom, the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 (or FZ82, depending on your region) has the widest angle lens of all the bridge cameras we’ve looked at so far. With a 35mm equivalent of an impressive 20-1200mm, it’s capable of just about all forms of photography. The image stabilization is good, and the quality of images remains excellent up to ISO 800 thanks to the 18 megapixel sensor. The 3-inch touch screen makes this bridge camera particularly easy to use and navigate the controls and various modes.

Buying considerations:

  • Again, there’s a lot of image noise at higher ISO settings, especially above ISO 1600.

6. Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72

Why it’s great:

  • 60x optical zoom, equivalent to 20-1200mm on a 35mm sensor.
  • 1-megapixel 1/2.3 inch sensor.
  • Manual controls are easy to use.

The 60x optical zoom is also present in the FZ70 / FZ72 (again, a regional difference) and performs just as well here. It’s the kind of lens that is perfect for travelling as it’s incredibly versatile, being wide angle at 20mm and telephoto at 1200mm. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 – f/5.9 is fairly reasonable at low-light, although the ISO isn’t, so you may have to balance it with a longer shutter speed. The construction is good; the DSLR-like body feels sturdy in the hand and looks pretty great. Overall, this is another good Panasonic bridge camera.

Buying considerations:

  • The number of manual controls and buttons may be a little overwhelming for users who are new to photography.

7. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40

Why it’s great:

  • 42x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 22 – 924mm.
  • Good value for money.
  • Good performance at macro photography.

Last in our list is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40, another Panasonic bridge that boasts an impressive zoom range. Although not quite at the level we’ve seen, it’s still a range that will be varied enough for beginners. The manual controls are also useful for those starting out with photography. The experienced photographer may be disappointed by the image quality at times, although it does excel at macro shooting thanks to its minimum focusing distance of just 1cm.

Buying considerations:

  • The entry-level price reflects the entry-level images. The more experienced photographer will find this a little too basic.

Choose a Bridge Camera if…

  • You’re just starting out with photography, or want an inexpensive way of upgrading from a compact point-and-shoot.
  • You want something light and relatively lightweight that’s versatile. Bridge cameras are good to travel with if space is tight.

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