In the earlier parts of the second millennium, you could choose between either a point-and-shoot camera, which was fun to use if you were an amateur photographer, or you could choose the DSLR/SLR which was mainly used for professional photographing. Then, with advancement in technology came the bridge camera with manual controls, long zoom lenses and lots of amazing features. It presents a safe option for many photographers which connect the old world of film with the future world of digital photography.
As the name suggests, a bridge camera is designed so as to bridge the gap between the DSLRs, SLRs and the compact camera. These cameras offer high optical zoom which makes them ideal for taking close-up pictures of subjects present at a distance, like wildlife, sporting events, etc. The integrated lenses present on some cameras can cover a wider range of zoom and focal lengths. Having a wide zoom range, some of the cameras have built-in image stabilization to maintain the sharpness of your photographs. The cameras are larger than normal compact cameras in order to accommodate the extended zoom. Many models are, however, still lightweight and compact enough to enable comfortable use on the move. Features like electronic viewfinders are also present on bridge cameras which allow you to perfectly frame your shot even if you are in bright sunlight. Different sensor sizes are also present like smaller CCD sensors and CMOS sensors which improve the quality of the image. These sensors increasingly reflect the capabilities of DSLRs and digital cameras.
A digital bridge camera has become a formidable tool that is manufactured by several brands and has different features to fit the needs of different photographers. Bridge cameras often resemble DSLRs in appearance and may be of comparable size with a similar arrangement of dials and buttons enabling manual control. Some models come with a mode dial and direct buttons for key shooting parameters like ISO and white balance. They also allow pretty standard HD video recording although the bit rates, file formats, and frame rates vary among the models. Some models also feature an external microphone which lets you record better audio. Recent models might also offer features like Wi-Fi, GPS, etc to appeal to traveling photographers.
The image quality of a digital bridge camera is determined mainly by two factors: sensor size and lens brightness. The excellent light-capturing abilities of these cameras offer more detailed and sharper images. They provide a decent sized grip which makes them easy to handle. With these cameras, one-handed shooting is also made easier since you can easily grip them with your right hand. They generally offer more buttons for direct control and also have a hot-shoe for flash. The design and shape of these cameras are also ideal for you if you have big hands and find compact cameras to be too fiddly.