What Is A Bridge Camera | Everything You Need to Know

The bridge camera, invented in 1988, is one of the most specialized and convenient camera types. It stands somewhere between a DSLR and a compact camera. The versatility of bridge cameras has made them popular among photographers.

If you are a photography enthusiast and looking for an all-in-one camera to carry on the go, then this article is just for you. If you are curious to know ‘What is a bridge camera?’ Or ‘What are they good for?’- keep reading to find out!

what is a bridge camera

What Is A Bridge Camera?

As the name suggests, a bridge camera functions as a ‘bridge’ between two types of cameras. It fills the niche between point-and-shoot cameras (compacts) and single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs). The best bridge camera for wildlife will offer you both the convenience of compact cameras and advanced features of DSLR cameras.

What A Bridge Camera is Good For

The biggest advantage of using a bridge camera is the enormous zoom lens with a lightweight. It is beginner-friendly and offers fixed lenses (irreplaceable) with a wide range of options. For example, Nikon offers bridge cameras ranging from 24-3000 mm.

With bridge cameras, you can take raw images. This will allow you to capture much larger image files with more information (better than standard JPGs). You can also use them for multi-purposes. Such as wide-angle landscapes, long-range telephoto work, 4k video shooting for YouTube content or football matches, capturing wildlife or the northern lights, and so on.

How To Photograph The Northern Lights With A Bridge Camera

You can use a bridge camera for aurora photography, whether you are a beginner or a professional. Just follow these simple, easy steps:

Step 1: Set Your Camera to A Manual Setting

Firstly, you need to set your camera and lens to manual, turn off image stabilization, and turn your flash setting off.

Step 2: Fix the ISO Setting

ISO controls the light sensitivity of your camera/film. It is used to control exposure. Your second step is to set the ISO at 1600 for a head start.

Step 3: Choose Wide Aperture

The aperture, or f-stop, on your camera, allows you to open your lenses within a range. To capture the northern lights, set your aperture at f-2.8. If your model doesn’t go to 2.8, don’t worry. Set it at the lowest setting your model allows.

Step 4: Set the Shutter Speed

Shutter speed refers to the exposure time of your lens (the time your lens is open and absorbs light). As the intensity of the northern lights changes throughout the evening, you will be required to adjust the shutter speed along the course.

Start with a 20-second shutter speed. If the aurora moves slowly, adjust to 12-20 second exposure. We recommend 15-30 second exposure for soft lights and 1-6 seconds for strong lights.

Step 5: Set the Camera Focus

To work best with a bridge camera at night and capture sharp quality images, you must set your camera focus to infinity (set to ∞). You can do it most conveniently if you pre-set the focus during the day.

Finally, after completing all the steps, your camera will be ready to capture beautiful northern lights.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are bridge cameras better than phone cameras?

Yes, bridge cameras produce better images than phone cameras. You can use bridge cameras for capturing wide-angle landscapes to distant objects. They are a good fit for taking excellent pictures on regular days.

2. What is the best bridge camera for beginners?

If you are a beginner, you can choose any bridge camera from the available wide range to take premium shots. Here are a few suggestions for you- Canon SX70 HS, Nikon COOLPIX P950 (small sensor, big zooms), Sony RX III and RX IV, Leica V-Lux 5, The Panasonic FZ1000 II (big sensor, shorter zoom).

3. Is a bridge camera good for wildlife photography?

With a bridge camera, you won’t have to carry heavy lenses, and yet you can get the best macro or distant shots for your wildlife photography. If you are not keen to go for expensive ones, there are a few affordable options for you, such as Sony RX 10 IV, Nikon COOLPIX P700, Nikon COOLPIX P950, etc.

4. What is the difference between a bridge camera and a DSLR camera?

A bridge camera stands in between a compact camera and a DSLR camera. In bridge cameras, unlike compact cameras, you will get advanced features like manual controls over shutter speed, aperture, ISO sensitivity, color balance, etc. However, they are not quite as advanced or professional as DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.


If you have come this far, you have acquired the basic idea about a bridge camera and a few additional information about it. Have you found all the answers you were looking for, such as ‘What is a bridge camera?’ Or ‘Is a bridge camera good for me?’, we will be glad to know.

Bridge cameras offer manual controls, long non-interchangeable zoom lenses, and several decent features varying from model to model. Therefore, if you are a photographer looking for a handy yet functional option, bridge cameras might be your ideal pick.

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