Still completely new and equal the best bridge camera is the Lumix FZ1000 of Panasonic. It is characterized by a relatively large image sensor and a very high quality lens. Similarly equipped is the Sony RX10 . Both cameras are a real alternative to SLR or system cameras. The better price-performance ratio is offered by the FZ1000, which makes it the best bridge camera for us.
Short overview: Our recommendations
If you are looking for the best possible alternative for a system or SLR camera, a bridge camera is just the thing for you.
Qualitatively, Sony and Panasonic are the same. The Panasonic FZ1000 , however, has its nose a bit further up because of its larger zoom range and better features. It is more versatile than a Sony and thus offers us for better value for money. That’s why it’s the best bridge camera we can buy right now.
The Sony DSC-RX10 is more robust, smaller and lighter than the Panasonic. Thanks to a neutral density filter can be photographed in bright light and the main subject is clearly visible against the background. The lens is very bright, but the Sony can not film in 4K – that remains the test winner.
In addition, it is also a lot slower than our favorite. Against this background, the Sony is indeed a good camera, but in terms of value for money, it is outdated by the Panasonic.
An alternative for all savers could be a superzoom camera. Such is the Sony DSC-HX400V . As the name suggests, it can score with a 50x zoom, but here must be made significant reductions in image quality.
If you think a bridge camera is too expensive, then the Sony is a good and cheap alternative to it.
What is a bridge camera?
With a SLR camera you are very flexible. For taking a wide landscape, put on a wide-angle lens, the hardworking bee on the lilac blooms take up with a macro lens. But who wants to change the lens for every subject? Especially since the equipment quickly swells to many kilos of weight and on top of that is still expensive.
Much more pleasant would be a camera that is already suitable for all tasks. This is exactly what bridge cameras, so-called because they form a bridge between small compact cameras and SLR cameras.
Our favorite: The Panasonic FZ1000
The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 covers a wide range of 25 to 400 millimeters with its fixed zoom lens. It is quite bright with an aperture of F2.8 to F4.0. Good image quality is ensured by a 20 megapixel sensor, which is much larger than a compact camera.
Although the FZ1000 looks like a SLR camera (DSLR), but brings significantly less weight on the scales – together with the famous lens, it is a good 800 grams. A suitably equipped DSLR easily weighs twice the weight and requires significantly more space in the camera bag. Not to mention that the FZ1000 is noticeably cheaper than a system camera with a comparable lens.
The FZ1000 has many genes in common with Panasonic’s top model, the GH4 system camera . For example, the excellent electronic viewfinder, which dissolves very finely with 2.36 million pixels. Or five function buttons that can be individually configured. In addition, there is a large, high-resolution display that is extremely flexible with a hinged hinge. Unfortunately, the display is not sensitive to touch, with fingertips and swipe gestures can not operate the FZ1000.
In the hand, the FZ1000 feels like a small SLR camera, which is ensured by the far forward drawn handle on the right side. Also, the big mode dial is otherwise known mainly from DSLRs, as is the thumbwheel on the back of the camera.
Zoom or focus can be adjusted with a handy ring on the lens. Alternatively, the FZ1000 also zooms like a compact camera with a rocker switch that surrounds the shutter button. That Panasonic has packed the FZ1000 mainly in a plastic shell, is not a major drawback – everything looks robust, almost solid.
Many functions for photo and video
Who hangs the FZ1000 around the shoulder instead of a DSLR or system camera, will hardly miss a function with the bridge camera. For less experienced photographers, Panasonic has a range of automatic features that deliver impressive photos or movies at the touch of a button.
You prefer to take control yourself? No problem: The exposure controls the FZ1000 either semiautomatic or leave the photographer completely. It is also possible to focus manually. Which one rarely needs, because the autofocus of the FZ1000 is really fast-paced. This is especially important for action photos. Incidentally, the FZ1000 also makes it easier with its high continuous frame rate of 10 frames / second.
The camera really gets down to business when video recordings are required. It can namely film in 4K resolution. Although high-resolution UHD televisions are still quite expensive, 4K videos already have an advantage: Each single frame in the film can be extracted with around eight megapixel resolution – that’s enough for prints in DIN A4 size. Coming up with the usual full HD resolution, the FZ1000 can even shoot four times slow motion at 100 frames per second. Video-Filmer will also be happy that can connect to the FZ1000 an external microphone, a headphone port is missing, however.
It is now a good thing that cameras can connect via WiFi with a smartphone or tablet. The Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is no exception. The FZ1000 also gets location data from the mobile device and writes them into the image files – it does not need its own GPS receiver.
Hardly any wishes remain open also with the processing functions. Even RAW files can develop the FZ1000 – a real treat for demanding photographers.
Neat picture quality
In terms of features and handling, the FZ1000 hardly differs from a single-lens reflex camera. But what about the picture quality?
The heart of the camera, like the Sony RX10, is a 1-inch sensor with a resolution of around 20 megapixels. Thus, the image converter is indeed much smaller than a DSLR or system camera, on the other hand, but not as tiny as a compact camera. Incidentally, only this moderate sensor format makes such a powerful lens possible, as it has the FZ1000 – the same look would be for a DSLR kilo heavy and priceless.
As long as you photograph outdoors with the FZ1000 during the day, you will hardly notice a difference to DSLR photography. Only when the light fades and higher ISO values are needed, the FZ1000 gets behind compared to much more expensive SLR cameras. However, their high-speed lens helps to keep the ISO sensitivity low. Thus, a higher value than ISO 1600 is rarely necessary – and thus takes the FZ1000 quite sizable photos.
For crisp photos, especially with long telephoto lenses, the FZ1000 also provides a highly effective optical image stabilizer. However, the 16x zoom lens tends not to draw the edges as sharp and detailed as the center.
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 test mirror
Most testers are enthusiastic about the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 . In the big bridge camera comparison test by Computer Bild , the FZ1000 emerges as the test winner. Especially the picture quality praises the review :
»The large image sensor of the FZ1000 delivers photos with a resolution of around 20 megapixels – and they were really good. Especially in daylight, the Panasonic was able to shine with detailed and sharp pictures with barely visible picture noise. «
Also with CHIP the FZ1000 lands on number 1 of the best list digital cameras . The conclusion of the testers:
»The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 proves to be a very good bridge camera with a record-breaking autofocus. The extensive features, the modern ultra-HD video mode and, above all, the extremely powerful zoom are just as impressive. «
At Stiftung Warentest , the FZ1000 came second after the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II with a plug-in viewfinder – but with the same test grade of 1.7. The conclusion of Stiftung Warentest :
»Extremely good, high-quality compact camera for highest demands (almost very good). With very good electronic viewfinder and network function. Good all round, very good monitor for folding and panning, very good flash, fast camera, basic operations are very easy. «
DigitalPhoto praises the very fast autofocus and the high-resolution OLED viewfinder and exposes the 4K video recording. Overall, it is enough for 90 percent and a “very good”. The conclusion of DigitalPhoto:
»The Lumix FZ1000 convinces with extensive features, 4K video, good picture quality – and a fair price.«
Pictures-Magazin brings the advantages of the FZ1000 most nicely to the point ( issue 11/2014 ):
“With the DMC-FZ1000 Panasonic has achieved a very excellent overall package: A universally applicable bridge camera that can satisfy even the highest demands on image quality, while offering an enormous focal length range, is easy to operate and has a remarkably good autofocus. For many photographers, she will be able to completely replace SLR or system camera equipment. «
Direct rival of the FZ1000 is the Sony DSC-RX10 . Its case is made of a magnesium alloy and is even more robust, it is also smaller and lighter. A retractable neutral density filter ensures that you can take pictures or film even in bright light with the aperture wide open – and so your main subject stands out from a blurred background.
For the RX10 can not film in 4K and it is much slower than the FZ1000. But above all, its 8.3x zoom is only enough for 24 to 200 millimeters. With continuous F2.8, however, the lens is very bright.
If you can do without long telephoto lenses and prefer a fast lens even in high focal lengths, the RX10 is better for you. For a camera without an exchangeable lens, a large zoom range makes more sense for us. That’s why we prefer the Lumix FZ1000 .
Even more telephoto than the Lumix FZ1000 offer classic superzoom cameras. They are similar in size as a small DSLR, but offer a gigantic zoom range. For example, the Sony DSC-HX400V offers a 50x zoom with a focal length of 24 to 1200 millimeters.
However, you have to make as compared to a bridge camera significant loss of image quality. But the HX400V is also much cheaper and therefore a good alternative for the small purse.
If a bridge camera is too big and too heavy for you, but you still do not want to miss out on a big zoom, then a travel zoom camera could be interesting for you, for which we have our own favorite . But here too, the picture quality of the Lumix FZ1000 does not match these small compact cameras.