The Death of the Bridge Camera

March 10, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 68 Comments |

Minolta DiMAGE 5PMA 2006: The first ever digital camera that I bought was the Minolta DiMAGE 5 bridge-style camera, so-called because it “bridged” the gap between a smaller compact digital camera and a larger digital SLR. Now it seems that the bridge camera has become something of a dying breed, at least for those manufacturers with DSLRs in their product range.

Last week’s PMA show in Orlando, Florida, saw no less than 90 new digital cameras announced for 2006. Conspicuous by their small number were the bridge style cameras – only Kodak, Panasonic and Sony announced new models that fall into this category. What do these three companies have in common? None of them have any DSLR cameras (not yet anyway). If you add Fujifilm into the mix (the S3 Pro has very little market share), then it is clear that the bridge camera is only supported by companies that have virtually no presence in the DLSR market.

On the other hand, those manufacturers who do have a strong DSLR line-up have quietly removed bridge cameras from their 2006 range. Canon has confirmed that their very popular G-Series cameras are no more, and there was no sign of a new Pro Shot model at PMA. Olympus has officially discontinued their C-8080, C-7070 and C-5060 cameras, and Nikon only have a couple of older models that fit the bridge description. All of these companies were busy introducing a slew of more compact digicams at PMA, or promoting their latest DSLRs.

So it seems that, for some manufacturers at least, the bridge camera has been squeezed out at both ends – from below by the compact digicams, which are offering ever more advanced functionality and zoom ranges in a smaller form factor, and from above by the DSLRs, which are becoming ever cheaper. There is simply more money to be made by selling digital SLRs, with the many expensive add-ons in the form of lenses and flashguns, whilst compacts can accommodate the majority of people who don’t want the bulk of a DSLR. For the likes of Canon, Nikon and Olympus, bridge cameras actually compete with their most profitable products (DSLRs), rather than complement them, hence their gradual removal.

So what does this mean for you, the consumer? Well, if the current trend continues, it will ultimately lead to a lot less choice, especially if the likes of Sony and Panasonic go down the same road and phase out their bridge camera ranges. In a few years time, I predict that you will be able to buy either a compact digital camera, or a DLSR, with no in-between. The bridge camera, with its unique combination of SLR-like handling, no sensor dust issues, versatile focal length and advanced functionality, could disappear forever, not because people have stopped buying them, but because the camera companies have simply stopped selling them. A quiet revolution is happening, one that isn’t being driven by the people.



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#1 phule

Isn't the S3 IS a bridge camera? Ok, so no RAW support, but still, it offers a lot of the same features.

8:44 pm - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

#2 Jason

There's certainly gray area, but I wouldn't say the S-series are "bridge cameras" as they lack RAW support (as you said), but also things like hotshoe flash mounts and real controls (dials and wheels) for aperture/shutter speed.

Funny enough, I think that just a few years ago there was talk about the bridge camera taking over the market. I also have to asky why would Sony make the R1? That's a lot of R&D for an SLR technology demo.

But, I guess folks like Nikon think that a D50 with an 18-200VR lens can do anything a Coolpix 8800 could do, and better. They may be right.

I guess I'd hate to see bridge cameras go, but do we really need them? I don't know.

9:11 pm - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

#3 azi

This is no surprise. 'Bridge' cameras weren't that successful in 35mm film either (eg. Ricoh Mirai, Olympus IS300, Canon Epoca etc). Now that digital cameras are maturing, it seems they are following the footsteps of their film equivalents in the marketplace 10-20 years ago. Bridge cameras have always been a compromise between image quality (not as good as a true SLR) and portability (not as compact as a true 'compact').

Regarding the 'choice' issue mentioned in the article - there appears to be plenty of choice when you walk into a camera store these days and try to pick between 20-30 almost identical looking cameras, if not more.

10:29 pm - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

#4 Josh

Olympus were talking to someone at Focus on Imaging show and they were asking why the C-8080 was discontinued - Olympus said it costs them less to make a digital SLR than it does the bridge camera. Perhaps it will be better for the consumer in the long run as DSLRs come down in price?

11:59 pm - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

#5 Nichoas

I think you areoverlooking the wedding photographer market. The ideal job for a bridge camera ( once better than today's technology has to offer).
The R-1 is a start.

Regards, Nicholas

1:16 am - Thursday, March 9, 2006

#6 m gottlieb

Does anyone feel the Fuji S9000 will be the last of their bridge cameras? I own a S602 and a S7000, so I am curious where this market is going. Believe it or not, I have not yet bought a dSLR. I probably will buy the Pany L1 or the yet unannounced Leica version.

Comments?

2:26 am - Thursday, March 9, 2006

#7 Rick

Actually, Azi, the quality of the Canon G images matched DSLR and didn't require sharpening in PS to look good. And live view with a rotating LCD makes the Canon Gs easier to use in many situations. How many of those look-alikes have a hot shoe? I think the phase out of the bridge is simple economics.

3:02 am - Thursday, March 9, 2006

#8 Joe

We need a new class of cameras, between the large sensor DSLRs and the small sensor "prosumer" digicams, such as the former Canon G series (I had a G3 before my EOS DSLRs). Read Mike Johnston's DMD essay and see if you find a need for similar in your kit - http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/DMD.shtml. The Epson R-D1 comes close currently, but at $3k and with limited distribution and support, it's just a glimpse.

3:24 am - Thursday, March 9, 2006

#9 Jason

I agree with you, Joe. I had Mike's article in mind when I was looking at the Ricoh GR digital but the price...MY GOD!

4:08 am - Thursday, March 9, 2006

#10 Grzegorz

I am one of those being left in the cold, or so it seems at the moment. I DO need a bridge camera, simply because I am taking pictures mainly while travelling, frequently to some remote locations. I need something compact, which I can keep with me all the time, if not in my pocket, then at least in a belt pouch. While trekking in Nepal I missed many great photo opportunities simply because my 35 mm Nikon FM 2 with two zoom lenses was travelling in my backpack, not only adding substantially to the weight, but also making it time consuming and troublesome to get it and make it ready to shoot, making sure no dust enters inside while changing lenses in difficult conditions.

So for my travelling in Cambodia I bought an Oly - C-770 and was very happy with it (apart from a lousy battery life and, yes, limited dynamic range) and took much more great IMHO pictures. Simple P&S will not do for me because of limited manual controls, limited zoom and limited picture quality. Looking for an upgrade now, I find very (this l - word again ;-
)limited choice ....

Anyway, I suppose there are many people in similar position, looking for decend picture quality in a compact, versatile package so I still dearly hope that our needs will be recognised. I, for one, am not willing to buy a digital SLR, because I now it will not suit my needs, just as the Nikon, an excellent camera all by itself, did not. And the only accessories I am interested in is storage media and filters, so the camera stays compact.

9:59 am - Thursday, March 9, 2006

#11 Paul

I think the phasing out of the bridge camera is kind of like the phase out of the inexpensive 35mm compact rangefinders in the late 1970s.

From the 60s through the early 80s you could still buy inexpensive rangefinder cameras that had non-interchangeable, but decent, fast lenses. They were typically capable of either aperture priority or fully manual exposure. Think of an Olympus XA, Canon Canonet or Yashica MG-1 as an example.

They provided a level of control nearly comparable to an SLR, without the expense, nor the ability to change lenses. Yet they also offered better overall lenses and features than most compact pocket cameras, that often had zone focusing or fixed focus, and limited exposure options.

The compact rangefinders of the 70s, especially, could be great cameras in the right hands, with their own strengths--like quick focusing and quiet operation--compared to SLRs. By comparison, the EVFs and live preview, and nearly silent operation without mirror-flap noise on bridge cameras are also an advantage in some situations.

But the gradual decrease in the cost of 35mm SLRs in the 1980s combined with the emergence of practical autofocus and autoexposure on compact cameras pretty much drove compact rangefinders out of existence.

So, we might be seeing something similar as pocket-sized digicams get more capable and entry-level dSLRs get closer to $500 with a kit lens.

But maybe one manufacturer will hold on with a bridge model or two, if only because the advantages are enough to maintain a small market. The caveat may be that the small market will drive up the retail price, kind of like how rangefinders are now niche specialty items -- a new Voigtlander Bessa R will cost you more than twice as much as a Nikon or Canon entry-level SLR.

1:46 am - Friday, March 10, 2006

#12 Alexander

Prosumer has the same electronics as any DSLR. Whe basic price of DSLR doesn't include any appropriate lens ;)

1:50 pm - Friday, March 10, 2006

#13 Itai

Bridge cameras indeed seem to be going the way of dinosaurs. That is too bad because these cameras provided an all-in-one package with capabilities rivalling DSLR kits that come with one or two lenses. Of course both combos had their advantages and it was up to the consumer to chose which one they got.

It is a very interesting observation that those companies with succesful DSLR cameras are the ones without bridge-cams. The last high-performing bridge-cam is probably the Fuji S9000 and coincidently Fuji has not updated the S3 Pro line in a long time. We all know what happened to KM's brige-cams since Sony does not feel like they needed them. For now, we'll have to bet on Fuji.

In the near future I think there will be hope in the form of ILC (interchangeable lens camera) which will provide interchangeable lens in a compact body using an EVF, no pentaprism and no mirror in the optical path. These will basically have the major advanatages of bridge cameras and DSLR cameras. With the light weight of the former and the flexibility of the latter. Plus, if it is well done, we'll get a true WYSIWYG live-preview (unlike the Olympus E330 and Panasonic L1).

I hope my prediction is correct because otherwise the world will have lost the convinience of true live-view cameras with professional capabilities.

- Itai

2:40 pm - Friday, March 10, 2006

#14 DogBreath

I owned a Minolta D7 as a bridge camera. Nice, but short-lived because of quality issues. Next was a Canon 10D. Great value. With five lenses it remains my most versatile camera. I bought a Canon Powershot Pro1 because of its size for a traveling camera. If kept at ASA 50, it produces great images.

With the megapixel wars in full swing, I was hungry for more, but didn't think 8 was enough, and I had become addicted to the EVF on the Canon. So, I bought a Sony DSC R1. It works like I do. While Sony has done some really DUMB things on this camera and I'd rather have V1 instead of V0, it is now my main shooter.

I would hope Canon comes up with a Powershot Pro 2, but my guess would be that until tiny sensors have less noise they'll hold off.

5:43 pm - Friday, March 10, 2006

#15 Alexander

I do not think Canon will make the successor to his prosumers. When Sony bought Minolta, the Sony's rep said: "The prosumers have too less margin". It is true for any manufacture.
Imagine: two cameras (DSLR and prosumer) have the same costs to the manufacture. The prosumer may even cost more because of strict limits in size and very strict requirements to the lens - it is the only one lens it allows. So the costs are the same. But what about the price? The prosumer cannot cost more than low-level DSLR due to some design and quality limitations. But any DSLR assumes a lot of later byings, mostly lens. This is manufacture's benefit. So manufacture does not like "bridge" cameras.

6:06 pm - Friday, March 10, 2006

#16 Freeman

Although I am no big fan of the bridge camera, but I hate to see it goes also. Personally, I think the death of the kind is due to the success of the compact digicam. Seriously for every year, the picture quality of the compact have risen to the point that it's almost as good as entry level dSLR. Especially if you look at F10/11. It's like there is no need to bridge the gap anymore.

7:13 pm - Friday, March 10, 2006

#17 dawn

I own the Sony F828. It's a great bridge camera and I have had wonderful experiences with it. While I'm holding out for the right DSLR, I continue to use it and keep returning to it (even after trying the Nikon Coolpix 8800 and 7800) because the quality of images, the RAW ability, and the complete manual controls allow me to take the shot I want - not the shot the camera wants me to take.

7:34 pm - Friday, March 10, 2006

#18 terry chay

I forgot to post this.

My comments on this article here.

Great article Mark!

2:40 am - Saturday, March 11, 2006

#19 Scott

I'm going to miss bridge cameras. If I am traveling on business, or just heading out somewhere, and want a camera just in case a bridge camera is perfect. All the manual control I need, and it takes up a lot less room than a dslr.

Maybe I should pick up another Olympus C-7070 to have as a spare.

3:24 am - Monday, March 13, 2006

#20 nick in japan

#17.. Dawn, I'm hoping you have explored the IR abilities of the F828 too, I use a Kenko ND400 with a PL, also tweaking to B/W in Photoshop, a great feature that can be used with Solarization, plus EV changes.
I too, love this camera, use it daily with my LX-1 slipped into the 828's Hot Shoe.

4:10 am - Monday, March 13, 2006

#21 Whit

"only Kodak, Panasonic and Sony announced new models that fall into this category. What do these three companies have in common? None of them have any DSLR cameras (not yet anyway). "

Shouldn't this be "Not any More" Kodak certainly has a long if not the longest history in DSLR's

I'll miss prosumer cameras if they are gone for good. They fill a gap for me, I took a C5050 and a Minolta D7 on a bicycle trip to Florida. Still use the C5050 often as a 'carry' camera, perhaps the lack of things to go wrong doomed them. Hard to make money if your consumers aren't buying a new camera every couple years.

5:58 am - Monday, March 13, 2006

#22 nick in japan

Truth is, that a camera is a camera, either a pin-hole box, or the twin lensed Kodak V570, they all do the job, some better than others that's for sure, we sure have been able to capture those important moments in our life, and in all our expectations for bigger and better ( OOPS!, Smaller and better) we sometimes forget that we were pretty darn happy when we got those first prints back. I gotta break out a few old cameras and pay homage to them again.
Nice to hear stories of how important certain models were, indeed, a big part in people's lives. I wonder where that old Brownie is that I took pictures of my first Harley with?

7:53 am - Monday, March 13, 2006

#23 James

I'm looking at bridge cameras at the moment, but I'd like something with better sensitivity than my assorted compacts and some wide angle, so the R1 seems to be the main contender. However, I could get a Dynax 5D for the same money, so it's a tough one.

This may be a silly question, but why can't DSLR's show a live LCD display if you lock the mirror up? Wouldn't this be ideal for quiet shooting or in low light?

I may just end up buying a Fuji F10 for its low light (and movie) ability, and wait and see...

12:25 am - Friday, April 28, 2006

#24 terry chay

James,

There is a dSLR that can display live preview: the Olympus E-330 uses something called LiveMOS developed by Panasonic (and used in their forthcoming Lumix L1). It splits the flip down optical signal into two paths: one for the CCD (LCD display) and the other for the viewfinder. Both are 4/3 dSLR cameras. Pentax tries something similar to what you suggest by flipping up the mirror to take a quick exposure, but not saving that exposure to the card from the buffer. I think they call it Live Preview or something.

I believe the main problem is dSLR cameras use the flip-down state of the mirror for their exposure and focusing systems. Also I don't think the CCD/CMOS sensors for the dSLR are exactly designed for the specification needed to do continuous focusing, metering, display. This will change as Sony has introduced a 60fps APS-C sensor and DSP chip that will probably appear in the next Sony Alpha (Minolta Dynax) lines. I imagine in that case, the "viewfinder" will be actually a tiny LCD display, much like you see in video cameras today, instead of an optical viewfinder. I'm not too sure how I'd feel about that as a photographer.

I hope this helps to answer some of your questions,

terry

12:50 am - Friday, April 28, 2006

#25 James

Thank you Terry - just what I wanted to know. Funnily enough, I have an old Olympus C-1000 (D-500 in the US, IIRC) which is a fixed lens SLR that splits the beam between sensor and eyepiece. Still no LCD preview, but that doesn't matter, as the viewfinder works all the time. It produced pretty good pictures, considering it has less than 1Mp to play with! Example here:

http://static.flickr.com/24/129000047_3e8bdf832e_o.jpg

Presumably there is some light loss involved, which would prevent it catching on.

How do dSLR's handle continuous exposures? Does the mirror bang up and down at the same rate? I must admit that I do like the 'electronicness' of other digicams...

7:48 pm - Friday, April 28, 2006

#26 terry chay

Yes, the SLR mirror flips up and down on each exposure as the system cycles between metering and focusing and exposure. Oftentimes, reviewers post sound samples of them so people get an idea of the speed and sound of the camera.

I have a suspicion that it may be a lot like golf. You know that there are a number of blind golfers but very few deaf ones? A lot of golf’s feel is transmitted by sound and I have a suspicion the same is true for a camera.

Some dSLR cameras allow mirror lock-up in order to minimize the impact of the vibration caused my the mirror flip. It will impact an exposure from a stable tripod in and around a couple seconds. The actual exposure time is not controlled by the mirror in a dSLR, it’s controlled by the front/rear (or electronic) curtains—a double sort of set of venetian blinds, one opens while the other closes. This is how high shutter speeds are achieved.

In any case, I would guess mirror flipping will not be a factor in a forthcoming Sony “alpha” dSLR based on the just-announced 60fps sensor. Those would more more like a consumer camera (or video camera) by sampling directly from the sensor for everything.

9:04 pm - Friday, April 28, 2006

#27 James

Thanks again. On reflection (no pun intended) you'd think that a mirror could be realised electronically, like an LCD, thus removing the one clunky mechanical component. I just wish someone did a camera that suited me, i.e. with a reasonably wide zoom position (28mm would be OK, but 24mm would be nicer), optical viewfinder (or very good EVF), a movable LCD for overhead and low shots, and good sensitivity/low noise. A movie mode would be good, too, so a sort of combination of Canon G6, Fuji F10 and Minolta A2 would be just fine... The Sony R1 comes close, but it's a tad expensive, and it doesn't do movies. I could buy an F10 and a Canon A620 with a wide-angle adaptor and still have some change, but I've not seen good results from any adaptor lens...

12:02 am - Saturday, April 29, 2006

#28 morey000

I've got what I consider a top-of the line bridge camera. The amazing Minolta A2. I also own a DSLR; a Canon 20D. When it comes to photographing my 2 year old, indoors, and I need a clean ISO800 and 5fps drive, the A2 doesn't hold a candle to the Canon.

However- 80% of the time, I still reach for the A2. It's so much more versatile in so many ways for me. Yes, I would pay $900 for an upgrade to this camera (higher ISO, better continuous mode).

10:15 pm - Friday, May 12, 2006

#29 Fer

I disagree with this article. Bridge cameras (I like to call them BLC's - Big Lens Consumer cameras) won't die. I'm a guy. I like my lenses BIG. Big lenses look good (maybe there's a Freudian component to all t his, I don't know). The point is, whenever there's a hole in the market, someone will fill it (no pun intended there either, I swear!).
If the 2 giants are discontinuing BLC's, that only means that they are a genuine threat to DSLR sales. Competitors who can't beat Nikon and Canon in DSLR market will continue to develop BLC's to take that section of the market who wants good quality pictures, movie capabilities, a nice looking camera and none of the hassle of multi-piece equipment.

7:28 pm - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

#30 Stephen Hill

I also own a Minolta A2, my second bridge camera. Except for speed of operation, it is the closest thing to the "DMD" camera described by Mike Johnston in his piece at Luminous Landscape mentioned above. Small, silent and o, so flexible, I've also found it capable of excellent work in over 90% of the situations I encounter and you will have to steal it from me until something better comes along.

However, for the bridge type camera to remain competive with professional DSLRs, I think it still needs significant improvement and evolution. Inevitably this will make it more expensive, which should help to balance the financial equation that is driving these cameras off the market.

First, the C-size sensor and the 24mm equivalent wide angle are key to image quality and shooting versatility. But there are other core elements that need to be improved as well. Unlike Mike J. I would not want to live without a zoom. Though good, I've found the 7:1, 35-200 equivalent of the A2 to be still too limited in everyday use. Whatever the lens design challenges, the ideal range would be at least 24-300mm, and fast enough to keep the noise down at the long end. This inevitably means a bigger, more expensive lens.

Next is the EVF issue: the Minolta A2 has a 640x480 EVF -- almost double the resolution of typical EVFs -- and I believe the ultimate bridge camera EVF resolution should be even higher. After all, it has to compare favorably to an optical viewfinder when shooting; but just as important it serves as a means of evaluating results immediately after the shot when the 'review' feature is enabled. Unless you are shooting live action, this method of working soon becomes habitual. It's not unusual to take and discard several shots while working toward the desired result. There is no way around a super high quality EVF to achieve this intuitive, efficient digital camera workflow.

Another set of issues for evolution concern the weight and physical layout of the camera. The Sony DSC-R1 has been praised for its construction quality, but it weighs even more than most DSLRs! Getting to the sweet spot in size and weight requires the use of high strength/low weight materials. If the result is not half the weight and two-thirds the size of the equivalent DSLR, why bother? When you cannot use the EVF, the external LCD needs to swing and tilt freely like the Canons. Limited LCD movement (like the A2) is just frustrating.

Finally the actual usability and day to day operation of the camera is 100% dependent on the user interface design. Every manufacturer has their own approach and while the spread of best practices have raised the bar generally, but the bridge camera really requires its own solution, since unlike DSLRs, you almost never have to remove the camera from your eye to work.

I can afford a DSLR, but I would happily pay any premium for a professional level bridge camera.

1:46 am - Sunday, November 26, 2006

#31 carl hamilton

should this thing happen , this decision is largely dictated by camera manufacturer's corporate stockholders and not by actual photographers . a clear-cut marketing strategy . it is therefore up to us , consumers , to make an effort to steer their direction towards our actual photographic needs and not theirs. i for one am not impressed by the looks of today's crop of DSLRs . visually , they are clunky and uninspired in their creation . further , manufacturers still haven't solved the basic nemesis of the DSLR - dust on the sensor! the very thing that defeats the concept of a DSLR . no live preview either on a fully articulating large format LCD screen . antiquated as it may seem , the film camera triumphs over ANY dslr in this seemingly trivial but very important aspect as it records every light nuance on the visible light spectrum onto a 35mm film squarely .a far cry from today's mathematically-guesstimated digital imaging engines . also, i believe that we are not getting 100percent photography unless manufacturers make it a standard to equip DSLRS with 35mm full-frame sensors to really justify their claim of having truly replaced the analog single lens reflex camera . and maybe , if manufacturers would turn out handsome-looking camera bodies like CONTAX N1s , CANON EOS3s , NIKON F5s/F6s , OLYMPUS E1s , there's no doubt i would be willing to make an investment . as of late , these "affordable " DSLRS look like they are trying vainly to live up to their top-echelon counterparts in so far as their physical characteristics are concerned . i wouldn't be caught in one of these "pretenders".

6:43 am - Sunday, November 26, 2006

#32 James Pickett

Maybe there is some hope - despite the doubts aired at the start of this thread, Canon have brought out a G7, which has a lot more zoom than previously, although it has lost a bit of lens speed and (maddeningly) the excellent swivel LCD. Still, it shows they are trying, and it probably represents a market niche that Canon are reluctant to let go, especially if it gets filled by a rival.

Large sensors make large lenses, unfortunately, but Fuji have made great strides with their CCD's, so their F30 now has a usable 1600ASA setting. A bridge camera built around that sensor might be something...

10:30 am - Monday, November 27, 2006

#33 Alexander

G7 is a shame for Canon and it really shows their attitude to customers: they only consider company profits. The aim not to make any competitors with their entry-level DSLRs has killed any innovations or already existing hi-end features. Where is RAW, Canon? It hadn't cost you a thing. Where is it?

12:07 pm - Monday, November 27, 2006

#34 Nicholas

I recently read Sony intends to bring bridge camera technology to the DSLR level, meaning the top brass of Sony consider mirrors and their movements are not really needed.
This leaves a lot of room for speculation.
If they announce such a camera, will they NOT license the sensor to others as they have done in the past?

1:03 pm - Monday, November 27, 2006

#35 Alexander

As soon as they have managed to realize phase detection autofocus directly by the main camera sensor the mirror becomes redundant.

1:43 pm - Monday, November 27, 2006

#36 Peter White

Re #34 post above I was saddened to read in Amateur Photographer's forecasts for 2007 that we will continue to be lumbered with DSLRs; complete with clanking mirrors, dust protection systems, fixed LCDs with no 'live' preview, scene-limiting optical viewfinders ("0.94x" - Nikon).
Many years ago I bought a cheap'n cheerful film SLR with 28-70 and 70-210 lenses. I never used the long lens and replaced the SLR with a Pentax film 928 with 28-90 lens. Therefore my first digital camera was the Olympus 5060 (27-110 equiv lens). Far too much lens distortion for my mostly architectural photos but I was hooked on the swiveling LCD - want to photograph a ceiling; just swing out and turn the LCD, lay the camera on its back on the floor. Also no need for a tripod; just hold the camera against a wall or a pillar.
There was only one possible replacement; the Sony DSC-R1. A couple of niggles: the JPG's are too much compressed so I take RAWs (now supported in Adobe Camera Raw), the manual focus is not much use in dim churches. But, switch to manual focus and you get a read-out of the current focal distance in the EVF. It's quick and easy to guesstimate the distance to the subject and set the lens accordingly.
I think our only hope is Sony who brought out the R1 when the marketing trend was already moving to the DSLR. Maybe a vain hope but it would be marvellous to see an R2 before my R1
is stolen/broken/fails.

1:25 pm - Thursday, December 28, 2006

#37 carl hamilton

I CERTAINLY SECOND THIS MOTION ! PROSUMERS OF THE WORLD , UNITE ! ! !

5:21 am - Monday, January 22, 2007

#38 Tony Napier

In recent years I have found my Canon T-90 and kit of lenses too heavy to carry easily and so my photography declined. The Sony DSC-R1 was the answer to my prayers. Its very high quality zoom lens offers the equivalent to my 24 mm wide angle but with very low barrel distortion, unlike the only two other fixed-lens digital cameras offering this focal length, while the larger sensor reduces the noise so widely reported as a problem at 400 ASA and higher on 8Mp+ compact digital cameras. I wish the telephoto limit was nearer 200 mm (or even longer) and that JPG files were not so compressed - or RAW files not so large - and have one or two grouses about its performance, but there is absolutely no other fixed-lens digital camera that comes near to replacing my previous 35 mm kit.
The alternative of a (Sony) DSLR with 16-80 mm zoom lens is just too expensive to contemplate. Like Peter White, I hope for an R2 to come.

2:36 pm - Thursday, February 8, 2007

#39 Paul M

read this discussion with interest... having missed the boat on getting a G6, I waited eagerly when the G7 was rumoured, only to be disappointed. Maybe the Nikon P5000 will be better? So, meanwhile, have scoured DP Review and others, and the choice for the "prosumer" or serious amateur is now comes down to perhaps four or five cameras few of which are recent models (Nikon 8800, Oly 8080, Kon-Min A2 or A200, Sony R1)?

Been looking at ebay and the Nikon 8800 still sells for a good price, as does the Canon G6, when most of their contemporary ordinary peers go for much less. There's a lesson there by itself - the class leading bridge cameras of each generation remain useful for much longer!

3:52 pm - Sunday, March 4, 2007

#40 Zoltán

You guys may want to check out the two new Olympus DSLRs. Everything you liked in a bridge camera - small form factor, live view complete with live histogram, dust-free sensor - and more: interchangeable lenses, much cleaner pictures, REAL (read: non-interpolated) magnification to aid manual focussing, in a price range that most can afford.

10:56 am - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

#41 Paul M

In a discussion on dpreview forum, people discussed nikon p5000 with canon g7 and someone said the canon a640 was a worth contender...
I carefully read the dpreview of the Nikon P8800 and compared it with the Canon A640. Apart from image stabilisation, the Canon fared very well, as apart from raw, and not being a superzoom, it got very good technical results.

Zoltan, your comment on the new Olympuses was good, I am going to hold fire and see how things shake out.

11:24 am - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

#42 James Pickett

The Canon A710 is worth a look, too. 6x zoom (with optical viewfinder!) image stabilisation and a reasonable ISO range. And it runs on a couple of AA's...

12:37 pm - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

#43 Paul M

A710IS lacks movable screen, also if I recall from review that flash performance is poor due to trying to run on lower voltage from 2xAA; it's only a quarter-incher sensor too.

A canon A640+IS would be close to what the G7 should have been.

12:44 pm - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

#44 Paul M

I found a decent set of tech specs for the Oly 510 at Steve's Digicams.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/olympus_03052007_e-510_pr.html

crucial for bridge camera owners upgrading is that the weight is "only" 460g without lens, so with a lens would probably be only as heavy as the quite chunky Nikon 8800. Hmm. I just measured my olde Oly C3040Z and was surprised it weighed in at ~420g, and I'd be prepared to live with something a bit heavier, but not much larger.

10:39 pm - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

#45 James Pickett

"A710IS lacks movable screen.."

I was really addressing the IS issue. IIRC, all the A-series use the same size sensor, although the noise performance of the 710 is no worse than the G7. Unlike the G7 or A640, you can put the 710 in your pocket...

All cameras are compromises - you just have to find the ones that suit you.

11:07 am - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

#46 Paul M

the A6 series vary in choice of sensor, the A640 is definitely 1/1.8", the A710IS is 1/2.5". Wife's ixus 750 is 1/1.8", the 800 and 850 are 1/2.5", the 900 is back to 1/1.8"


James, yes, you might be able to put the 710 in your pocket, but if we're discussing bridge cameras such compactness might actually be a negative.

11:58 am - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

#47 James Pickett

You're quite right about the sensor sizes. I was talking complete rubbish! Still, the 710 seems to deliver the goods, even at higher ISO's - not sure why compactness would be a drawback, though, except among those who always think that bigger is better.. :-)

WRT movable screens, the only mainstream camera I know with one and IS is/was the Minolta A200. It has a 28mm lens, too, which I like. Shame nobody makes anything like it now - which is where we came in, I think!

10:39 pm - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

#48 Paul M

I read the review and marketing blurb on the Oly E510 and 410, and they almost seem to make a virtue of the fixed screen.

The new Kodak Z712 look good but no detailed specs yet.

10:53 am - Thursday, March 8, 2007

#49 Paul M

oops, I meant Z712IS

10:54 am - Thursday, March 8, 2007

#50 Josh F

I want to buy the Fuji FinePix S9600 (9100 in the usa) because owing a DSLR is just too bulky for my travels in asia. ....So far, I've read nothing but good review about this camera, but I've been reading these posts and other people are talking about other bridge cameras. ...is there a camera out there that is significantly better than the fuji FinePix S9600?

Josh.

5:06 am - Thursday, August 2, 2007

#51 James Pickett

If size is an issue, I'd consider the Panasonic TZ3, which has a 10x zoom starting at 28mm. Doesn't take AA's of course, which may be a consideration, but it's a lot of camera is a small package. Not 'better' than the 9600, but more likely to be in your pocket!

10:43 am - Thursday, August 2, 2007

#52 Brian

There is a lot of hype about DSLRs much of if from people who never change the standard lens. Hving used both film and digital SLRs Personally I find that bridge cameras are more convenient and easier to use.

They are lighter to carry, more convenient and often have many features that leave DSLRs standing.

With x12-x18 optical zooms (with macro)are common. No lens changing and worrying about getting dust on the sensor.

Large "live view" LCDs (tilting in many cases for low down and up high shooting)

Image stabiliztion and a host of other theaures built in.

And why is it that so called superior DLSRs still use antiquated mechanical shutters ?

Take the Fuji S100FS - truely a camera to be reckconed with 11M pixels on a larger than average 2/3 sensor. 28mm-400mm x 14 Macro Zoom. Image Stabilisation, 2.5" tiltable LCD, RAW support, Extended Dymnaic Range, fast autofocus with face detection. Full rnage of automatic, manual and semi-automatic modes and all for about £350

My Samsung GX10 has been resigned to Ebay

4:13 pm - Wednesday, May 14, 2008

#53 Azem Koleci

I see all the comments and each one is right depends on which angle you see.
Ofcourse some they have their preferences for different cameras etc, which basically they do same job, taking photographs. But is up to the photographer how he/she use it and how skillful and artist is he/she.
For the camera to delver the best so far on my experience and easy to handle on the DSLR market and format will be without hesitation the Nikon D700 and it has all, 12mp special features for pro and will deliver high quality result.
I used and so far not disappointed and will be my choice for long to come.

10:16 pm - Thursday, August 21, 2008

#54 Brian Levy

Interesting thread. From what I've seen over the last couple of days, the bridge camera is still alive and getting better. Looking at the current offerings, spec wise they come close to the lower level dslr cameras. Still have a ways to go to catch up but doubt it will ever happen as the companies have to maintain a marketing advantage between the 2 line ups.

It seems the big issue is still noise. Though the cameras are boosting iso, the noise problem still starts becoming an issue as low as 400. Of course, this is also a curse with any digital but the technology is getting there to reduce it, probably another generations to get the slr and another to start seeing it filter down.

The concern seems to be with the extreme multiplication factors and the lens alignment. I can see over time the elements going out of alignment, it is a lot of glass (well plastic) and tubing moving around.

7:21 pm - Sunday, September 21, 2008

#55 AA

No Brian, the concern is VIDEO.

I call it FRANKEN-CAMERA, not Bridge Camera.

We're about to cross. Hahahaha

8:51 pm - Sunday, September 21, 2008

#56 John Shewsbury

I believe bridge camera still has it's own market share...

Panasonic is still in the game for this bridge camera market.

You can try and read about their latest Lumix DMC-FZ28 (released in 2008)

http://www.trustedreviews.com/digital-cameras/review/2008/08/22/Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-FZ28/p1

or here;

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2008_reviews/panasonic_fz28.html

It is a wonderful bridge camera.

I believe Panasonic can excel further into this market as the top 2 in the DSLR (Canon and Nikon) are well ahead and Sony is catching up (at the very slow pace)

It's not easy for Panasonic to simply beat the C and N, so the best way is to compete in the area where Panasonic can conquer (because C and N probably have abandon this market segment - bridge/prosumer)

Then again, I maybe wrong, this is all my personal opinion only - I'm not an expert.

For sure, I love Panasonic camera products and will support them.

11:58 am - Tuesday, February 3, 2009

#57 Paul M

DMC-FZ28 is a nice camera but it fails as a bridge camera for one main reason: too small a sensor - 1/2.33".

the new micro-4/3rds system will, I think yield the bridge camera to make us happy. with much of the quality of a DSLR without the bulky optical viewfinder and prism/mirror system, they're basically a bridge camera with interchangeable lenses.

Hopefully the Panasonic DMC-G1 is the first of many such devices. I for one will be looking to replace my Canon Powershot.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Panasonic/panasonic_dmcg1.asp

11:48 pm - Tuesday, February 3, 2009

#58 James P

>too small a sensor - 1/2.33"

I'm not keen on small sensors either, but they're the only way to get a good zoom range and keep the compactness (the new TZ6 is a good example).

It's horses for the courses - the Fuji S100FS has a 2/3" sensor, which is usefully bigger, but that lens is quite an item. Scale that to 4/3 and it would be huge!

If you think 1/2.33 is small, you should see what goes into a camcorder!

9:53 am - Wednesday, February 4, 2009

#59 Paul M

sorry, JamesP, but you're wrong!

dpreview says the DMC-G1...
Weight (inc. batteries) 360 g (12.7 oz)
Dimensions 124 x 84 x 45 mm (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)

FX28...
Weight (inc. batteries) 417 g (14.7 oz)
Dimensions 118 x 75 x 89 mm (4.6 x 3 x 3.5 in)

so the new micro4/3rd camera is lighter and smaller than the tiny-sensor fx28!

10:18 am - Thursday, February 5, 2009

#60 James P

"lighter and smaller"

Not with both lenses, it isn't!

(and even then, the FX has more range)

10:47 am - Thursday, February 5, 2009

#61 James P

Sorry, that should be FZ...

10:50 am - Thursday, February 5, 2009

#62 James P

"Weight (inc. batteries) 360 g (12.7 oz)"

It turns out that's just the body, so either lens would make it heavier (and bulkier) than the FZ!

I've nothing against the G1, which is a terrific camera, but it's an academic issue for me, with the twin lens kit G1 costing around £650...

1:18 pm - Thursday, February 5, 2009

#63 Napolentye, Isabella Deroyr.

Hello! Panasonic has the LX3 and it's like DSLR na! Has, RAW, Hot-shoe, F2.0lens and 24mm wide and large 3.0" screen with more pixels than 230k 2.5" screens...

5:20 am - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#64 Dhananjaya

I want to purchase a good bridge camera with HDMI spt,Please give me advice

1:47 pm - Sunday, January 24, 2010

#65 Ramgopal

to know specification of niconcoolpixp90

1:57 pm - Sunday, January 24, 2010

#66 shashi

Thank the stars Fuji have a versatile range of bridge cameras that will work for most people.

6:15 pm - Monday, May 2, 2011

#67 Dr. Surf

Um...you might want to revise this blog based on current reality. There are a ton of bridge cameras out there, with a wide variety of capabilities. Future forecasting is a risky business.

6:49 pm - Friday, July 22, 2011

#68 Steve Robson

As with the other persons comments, you should be looking a t revising this blogs material. The bridge camera is alive and well!!! They are better then ever. Please look into up-dating this site to reflect the current state of the industry. As is stands now, it is very dated material now.

9:53 pm - Tuesday, July 26, 2011