Canon has long been one, if not the, top name in the digital camera industry. The depth of their ranges, as well as its quality, has given them their stellar reputation. Their bridge cameras, filling the space between point-and-shoot compacts and DSLRs, are equally impressive. Bridge cameras tend to give users more manual control than a point-and-shoot without the large sensor and interchangeable lenses (and subsequent price tag) of a DSLR. Although they’ve long had a reputation as cameras only for beginners or enthusiastic amateurs, more recent models have staked their claim as versatile alternatives to mirrorless or DSLR cameras. We’ve compiled a list of the best Canon bridge cameras and what it is we like about them, as well as provided some details to help you make the right choice of camera for your needs and budget.
The Best Canon Bridge Cameras
Why it’s great:
- 1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor.
- 65x optical zoom, with equivalent 21-1365mm, f/3.4-6.5 range.
- RAW image capture.
Our favourite Canon bridge camera is the PowerShot SX60 HS, a camera that is right on the edge of being a fully-fledged DSLR, without the price tag. Despite only having a small 1/2.3-inch sensor, image capture is still of a fantastically good quality. The real selling point though is the huge 65x optical zoom that’s equivalent to 21-1365mm on a 35mm sensor. This wide-angle to telephoto range makes it incredibly versatile, and it performs well throughout that focal length range. The optical image stabilization performs well, and is particularly beneficial at the telephoto end of the zoom. The only drawback is the slightly slow maximum aperture range of f/3.4-6.5 which makes shooting in low-light less than optimal. For the price though, there are few that can beat the SX60 HS at this level.
- Maximum aperture range is a little slow compared to rivals and image noise is noticeable in low-light.
Why it’s great:
- 1-megapixel, 1-inch CMOS sensor.
- 4x optical zoom, with f/1.8-2.8, 24-100mm equivalent.
- 1080p video capture.
Where the above SX60 HS looks and feels like a DSLR, the Canon PowerShot G7 X is sleek, stylish and compact. The 1-inch sensor may be smaller than what you’d find on a DSLR or mirrorless, but it still performs very well at capturing images. A 4x optical zoom doesn’t sound like much compared to the massive 65x found in the SX60 HS, but thanks to its maximum aperture of f/1.8-f/2.8 it delivers excellent results through its 24-100mm equivalent range. It’s definitely a different kind of camera, more suited to those in need of a pocket bridge camera with manual controls and good image stabilization.
- The limited zoom may put off users, particularly as there are some good alternatives with much longer ranges available.
Why it’s great:
- 25x optical zoom lens, 24-600mm equivalent, f/2.8-f/5.6.
- 20-megapixel, 1-inch sensor.
- Excellent noise reduction.
Our slight concern about the G7 X was the limited zoom range, and the PowerShot G3 X definitely delivers there. With the longest range on a 1-inch sensor at its launch, the G3 X delivers impressive performance throughout its 24-600mm equivalent range. The 20-megapixel, 1-inch sensor is a cut above many bridge cameras, and features such as built in Wi-Fi, a weather-sealed body, 7fps continuous shooting, and a 3-inch touchscreen make this feel more like a mirrorless than a bridge camera.
- The better features, image quality, and zoom range don’t come cheap. The price would be comparable to an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless.
Why it’s great:
- 42x optical zoom lens, with 24-1008mm equivalent.
- Great image quality for relatively low price.
- Diverse and ideal for travel.
The PowerShot SX520 HS is another Canon bridge camera with a huge zoom range. At an impressive equivalent of 24mm wide angle to 1008mm telephoto range, this camera is ideal to take on holiday to capture a variety of shots. Images come out with excellent detail with barely any image noise, particularly when compared to other bridge cameras in a similar price bracket. The auto-modes and scene-modes give nice pre-sets for those who need a bit of a guide, whereas the fully-manual controls give the more experienced user the freedom to take control.
- It lacks some of the features you’d expect from other, albeit more expensive, bridge cameras such as Wi-Fi, GPS tagging, and HDR mode.
Why it’s great:
- 18x zoom lens, with equivalent 25-450mm range, housed in a compact body.
- Very affordable, with good performance.
- Easy to use and well made.
There’s a lot that impressive about the Canon PowerShot SX600 HS; the 18x optical zoom that folds away into a compact and lightweight body, the consistently good image capture through its range, and its versatility, to name a few. What’s really impressive though is that it does and has so much for a relatively low price. In terms of affordability and value for money, there aren’t many better bridge cameras in this range. It’s easy to pick up and start taking photos, and it adjusts well to most situations the amateur could throw at it. What’s more, with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity you can control it remotely from your phone.
- With few manual options, this isn’t a camera that will satisfy the enthusiast or professional.
Why it’s great:
- 40x optical zoom with 24-960mm, and compact design.
- 3-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor.
- Excellent optical image stabilization.
Last on our list of the top Canon bridge cameras is the PowerShot SX720 HS. Like the above SX600, the SX7290 packs a huge zoom lens into a small and stylish body. A 40x optical zoom gives an impressive and diverse range, with the 960mm equivalent length benefiting from the 5-axis image stabilization. The body of the SX720 is sleek yet robust, and feels sturdy in the hand. Overall performance is good, with images coming out consistently sharp and clear.
- It doesn’t have RAW image capture like some of its competitors, and also lacks a panorama shooting mode.
Bridge Camera Buying Guide
If you’re still undecided about which bridge camera is good for you, we’ve outlined some of the important buying considerations that should help you figure out the right choice.
Canon bridge cameras can range from the low hundreds to the low thousands in terms of price. Your budget will no doubt be one of the biggest considerations in your purchase, so it’s a good idea to decide roughly how much you want to spend before you seriously start looking at cameras. It’s important to be firm on which features are most important to you and your photography needs, and be prepared to miss out on some of the more ‘luxury’ features if you’re budget is tight.
Lenses can vary on bridge cameras. One of the plus points of owning one is that you don’t have to worry about purchasing additional interchangeable lenses. You still need to decide on what kind of focal length range you need though. Would you rather have a long, ‘super-zoom’ lens (around 35x to 65x) or are you happier with a more modest range (4x to 18x)? Both have their benefits, but if you’re going to be travelling and taking a wide variety of shots, the longer zoom may be beneficial.
In terms of image quality, a larger sensor and a greater number of megapixels on that sensor are what you need to look for. The higher these numbers are, the greater the quality of the images. Bridge cameras usually suffer compared to mirrorless or DSLR due to their smaller image sensors, but that’s not to say a four-thirds or 1-inch sensor isn’t capable of capturing some highly detailed pictures. This may not matter so much to an amateur or beginner, but the more serious you become the more important it will be. As a rule of thumb, the bigger and better the image sensor, the more you’re likely to have to pay.