What is meant by the term "bridge camera"? Recently I bought a Nikon Coolpix L820. It's mentioned as being a bridge camera.

And is this camera is a good option for a beginner?


2 Answers 2


From Wikipedia:

Bridge cameras are cameras which fill the niche between the single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs) and the point-and-shoot camera. They are often comparable in size and weight to the smallest digital SLRs (DSLR), but almost all digital bridge cameras lack an optical viewfinder system (film bridges generally had a lighter version of a reflex finder). In addition, SLRs normally feature interchangeable lenses, while current bridge cameras do not. They are prominent in the prosumer market segment. The phrase has been in use at least since the 1980s, and continues to be used with digital cameras. The term "bridge camera" was originally used to refer to film cameras which "bridged the gap" between point-and-shoot cameras and SLRs.

As to whether any camera, including a bridge camera is good for a beginner really depends on several factors:

  • What type of photos do you want to take? High speed sports action in dimly lit gyms need an entirely different set of features than architectural shots of buildings during mid-day. So do close up photos of flowers when compared to star trails in the sky.
  • How much are you willing to learn about the technical aspects of photography so that you can make decisions for each particular photo based on the unique characteristics of the scene? Or would you rather let the camera (imperfectly) make most of those decisions for you? Often, the more control you have over the way the camera functions, the more knowledge and skill you need to be able to control it.
  • How much are you willing/able to spend, both now and in the future, on your new hobby? A bridge camera is a fairly self contained entity. To upgrade you will need to replace the camera. An interchangeable lens camera, on the other hand, can be improved for specific photographic needs without replacing the entire system. You can concentrate your resources only on the things you need for the type of photos you take.
  • What level of image quality do you expect out of your camera? How technically demanding are the photos you want to take? For some photos taken under certain conditions, it is hard to tell the difference between photos taken with a bridge camera and photos taken with much more sophisticated gear. Under other conditions, the photo you might want to create is outside the limited range of a bridge camera's capabilities while a much more expensive solution has the capability to capture the image.

Bridge Camera combines the concepts, and just the concetps of the DSLR and Point&Shoots Camera. The simplicity of the P&S operations combined with the some technical concept of DSLR, that is what we called a Bridge Camera. This makes them ideal for photographers who like the simplicity of a compact camera, although occasionally find it rather restrictive in terms of lens range and picture taking features

In terms of physical size and ergonomics, Bridge camera presents a middle ground. Lenses on Bridge cameras are fixed can cannot be detached, but its lenses offers zoom ranges. A typical zoom range will enable you to tackle everything from landscapes at the wide-angle end through to tame wildlife and sporting action at the telephoto end, but take note, that is mainly because of its smaller image censors, and we cannot really make it function like what a DSLR can do. They can also focus to a near Macro quality like those of the DSLR's Macro lens.

  • 1
    I agree that this is the pitch for bridge cameras, but I don't think it's not really true that the hybrid is ideal. In fact, I think that often bridge cameras combine disadvantages of an SLR's bulk with a small sensor, awkward controls, tunnel-vision viewfinder, and non-changeable lens.
    – mattdm
    Jun 10, 2013 at 12:09
  • Uh, too many negatives in my first sentence there. Commenting from my phone. You know what I mean. :)
    – mattdm
    Jun 10, 2013 at 12:28

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