People have always been inspired by the ability to freeze an image in time. This miraculous thing became a possibility with the invention of the light-bulb camera. However, the initial inspiration was sought from the pinhole camera, which was first noted in Aristotle’s writings in 330BC.
Modern-day cameras are expensive. To get the perfect shot, you’ve got to dish out the cash. However, there are still some cameras that cost significantly less than other ones. A good camera is one that can capture the moment and minimize background noise.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are always appreciated in cameras as they make sharing images and videos easy, fast, and convenient. Wireless sharing is always a good idea, and cameras with this feature are preferred when shopping.
Bridge cameras are an exciting hybrid that maintains the duality of both SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras and point-and-shoot cameras. This duality allows them the power of total manual control without the use of additional devices. Bridge cameras are compact devices with high magnification. You can zoom in to your heart’s content, without experiencing a drop in quality.
They offer affordable usage as they do not require camera film. Bridge cameras are modern devices that provide the best of SLR and point-and-shoot cameras. They are also less costly when compared to DSLRs and possess the convenience of a digital camera with manual control.
Cheap bridge cameras are nothing short of a dream. Now that we understand what all the fuss is about to let us explore a series of the best cheap bridge cameras out there!
1. Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 (Overall Winner)
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 is a powerful yet cheap bridge camera with great features. It has a Live MOS sensor and 4K video and photo technology, which is a premium Panasonic feature with the ability to click up to 30 frames per second. This impressive speed does not cause a compromise in photo quality, even when zoomed in.
The maximum zoom capacity of the LUMIX FZ300 is 24x. Low light shooting is possible with this camera without compromising on the photo or video quality.
The image quality is remarkable due to the camera’s live MOS sensor and Venus engine. Also, this camera has excellent blur reduction to compensate for any disturbance during single-handed shooting. The level shot function adds to superior picture quality. This camera’s ISO level range is 100-6400 ISO, auto. Video resolution peaks at 3840×2160 pixels (2160p).
The FZ300’s exterior is sturdy. It is dustproof and smartly designed to withstand harsh winds, dust, and the like. While it is not fully waterproof, it is splash-proof, which allows it to withstand mild water contamination. It can carry additional memory cards. SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards are all supported. It has a 3-inch display screen on which recorded videos and photographs are viewable.
2. Minolta M35Z
This handy yet cheap bridge camera is a favorite amongst students because of its low cost. One can quickly obtain a Minolta M35Z within the price range of most photography students. It also completes the requirement base to qualify as a useful bridge camera while being affordable at the same time. Let’s discuss the details of this device:
The Minolta M35Z comes box packed with an AC adapter, USB cable, complimentary neck strap, pouch, and lens cap for protection. It flaunts a Li-Ion battery and comes with a one year warranty from Minolta, the manufacturer.
It has a 16GB SDHC memory card and wallet for the storage of the detachable card. It also comes with a card reader, as is required by such cameras. What’s great is that the Minolta M35Z comes with a tabletop tripod stand, too. The additional items give it an edge over other devices because it is both student-friendly and affordable.
It can capture photos with a 20MP resolution. It maintains the capacity to allow for up to 35x zooming. The full zoom allows for flawless photography and yields photographs that can easily be edited using editing applications without distorting the original photo quality. Apart from still photography, the Minolta M35Z can also record videos with sharp imagery and high definition.
The device also has built-in Wi-Fi, which is a handy tool. It makes it easier to share photos and recordings with other online devices. It has a 3-inch screen display. The M35Z is a very tech-savvy device.
Canon is a very well reputed name in the photography world, and the SX70 HS does not disappoint. It is not too expensive either. It is considered one of the most excellent cameras for long-range photography with a pocket-friendly price tag.
The SX70 flaunts an electronic viewfinder and has built-in automatic technology that helps stabilize the final shot. It also has impressive autofocus functions and does not lag. Its zoom range begins at 21mm (up to 65x) and is a lightweight camera, making it easy to shoot pictures.
The downsides of this camera are few. The design of the camera’s exterior body looks a bit cheap, and it lacks USB charging and a touchscreen.
Due to the lack of touchscreen, this camera somewhat more complicated to use. Modern cameras should bear a touchscreen ability as most users are familiar with them. Missing a particular feature can be annoying. However, it is not a big enough downer to allow people to place this device under total disregard. As for the seemingly “cheap” outer body, most users can work around it.
Kodak is another very well reputed name in the camera industry. The AZ652 is a good cheap bridge camera because of all that it offers. It bears a 65x optical zoom option with five fps burst shooting. It has a handy electronic viewfinder, making it convenient to use.
The excellent 65x zoom option helps achieve the perfect far away shot with ease. It is a useful tool when capturing wildlife and buildings. The 24 mm wide-angle lens is strong enough to maintain high-quality photography even when zoomed to a max. Video quality is also decent at 720p with HD performance.
A plus is Wi-Fi connectivity, which makes it easier to share captured shots to smartphones and personal computers. It bears a 3-inch LCD screen that can be extended from the device and rotated on demand. Rotating displays are rarely seen in modern cameras and add a flavorful touch to the device. It makes it easier to share and analyze shots on the camera. Additionally, the Kodak PIXPRO AZ652 has the option to generate both JPEG and RAW images.
5. Nikon COOLPIX B500 (Budget Winner)
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 is another favorite amongst students because of its affordability. Most students cannot afford to invest in an expensive heavy-duty camera. However, the Nikon COOLPIX B500 is not far off from the standards of a higher-tier camera while not leaving a dent in one’s wallet.
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 flaunts a 16MP resolution with a BSI CMOS Sensor. It allows users to make use of both the optical and digital zoom. It bears a maximum ISO sensitivity of 6400, with 7.4 fps and a continuous shooting mode for video.
A capable device, the B500 has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC. The connectivity allows for easy sharing of pictures and videos to other devices, including smartphones and personal computers. The Nikon COOLPIX B500’s video recording capacity is 1080p with 30 fps. Recording capabilities are impressive for such an affordable camera, and you’ll find yourself appreciating every moment.
Choosing Cheap Bridge Cameras
All the above-discussed cheap bridge cameras are good options for students and beginners. Professionals can opt for either refurbished bridge cameras or new ones. For professional use, however, it is recommended that a new camera is purchased to avoid any unwanted problems.
None of these cameras are over $500, which is the best part. They all afford beautiful shots without breaking the bank. Also, let’s not forget that the most critical part of a photograph is the person taking it. All the magic of the shot is in their hands. However, having a good camera certainly does help!