What To Consider When Choosing Between a Compact Digital Camera or a Bridge Camera

In the last few years, there has been a surge in the number of digital camera models. However, there is a shift away from traditional types of compact cameras and Digital Single Lens Reflex (Digital SLR), with the market appearing to focus on many compact system cameras for development (bridge cameras). This has made it difficult to determine which camera is an ideal choice for the typical consumer.

The underlying principle of most compact cameras is exactly the same as the principle behind a Digital SLR, with the advantages of having sensors that are large and interchangeable lenses combined with the portability of modern compact cameras. These cameras are built to provide a high level of performance and image quality in a small and affordable camera body.

This opens up the market to manufacturers, from novice users looking for a low-cost solution to get high-quality pictures to the enthusiast who might not want to carry around a bulky Digital SLR body and collection of lenses for daily shooting or for whom the price of a high-end Digital SLR would be prohibitive.

For me, I’d rather go with the features and image quality of compact system cameras. But are they the most effective choice for everyone?

Compact cameras

Compact cameras are designed to meet the needs of those who are less demanding and frequent users and are ideal for holiday and family photos. They are equipped with smart and ‘intelligent’ technologies. Compact cameras are perfect for people who prefer to leave all decision-making up to the camera rather than them while still allowing some control when required. However, these cameras tend to appear to be among the toughest to pick among due to the wide variety of models available from many brands.


The majority of modern digital cameras come with a greater sensor size than before, with approximately 8 to 16 million Pixels (Mp). This is a great way to meet and exceed the needs of a majority of photographers today when it comes to shooting family pictures and photos of the holidays.

While having a higher amount of pixels may be advantageous when the lighting is good, it could also have negative effects on the quality of your images when you set your camera’s light sensitivity settings or ISO settings to their highest when taking photos in dim light conditions.

It doesn’t mean that you should stay clear of cameras that have a large number of megapixels, but your choice of the digital camera that is most suitable for your needs must consider both the image quality and mega-pixels as well as user-friendliness and high-quality of the lens. Lens high-end and quality of the sensor are important elements that should be the primary considerations in any choice when it comes to the kind of digital camera, model, and maker you’d like to buy.

If you’re planning on buying a basic compact camera and are likely to use it in various lighting conditions, you should look for models that have a ‘backlit’ sensor since they tend to produce images that are less noisy (noise is the distortion of color due to low light in which your camera attempts to compensate for the distorted and grainy appearance could ruin what would otherwise be a beautiful image) and also with a wider dynamic range. As technology advances, manufacturers are adding this feature to more models. It is nevertheless worth asking questions before purchasing your next camera.

What lens?

The high quality of the lens is of paramount importance when deciding on the best camera for purchase. It is recommended to choose a camera with various lens options which will tell you its suitability of it for various scenarios and subjects. I suggest purchasing a brand new camera; you select an ultra-short zoom lens that can provide the range of 24mm to 70mm. Of course, it’s likely that as an initial purchase, the camera will arrive in a kit lens with the camera’s body lens will be packaged together.

A lot of manufacturers have their cameras fitted with a stabilization system for images. If you can, look for cameras that have either the sensor or lens-based image stabilization, especially when you’re considering buying an image stabilization camera that has a large zoom. This can help ensure the highest standard of image quality even in low lighting conditions.


A majority of compact cameras feature an optical viewfinder; however, it is not the case for all cameras. They are connected with the zoom optical of the camera. They work in conjunction with the lens. They are helpful for photography in bright sunlight in situations where LCD screens become difficult to see. Viewfinders with optical viewfinders are available on more expensive compacts, like Canon’s G 12 or Nikon’s P 7000.

Limit Your Spending to What You Can Spend.

It’s easy to get attracted by glossy brochures and persuasive sales pitches to spend more than you could be able to afford when buying cameras for digital. If you do have more cash to spend, what camera should you look for, and what are the advantages? A higher-end compact camera could have higher quality sensors and an improved lens and help to improve the quality of digital photos you take. There may also be the option of adjusting exposure manually for those who are more proficient in technical terms and may also have the option of shooting in raw, which is a shooting mode that gives you the ability to record more details of the digital image and giving you more flexibility when processing images in software like Photoshop. Furthermore, high-end models are likely to feature better LCD screens than the ones on lower-end cameras that will not only offer greater clarity but will also be more comfortable to view in bright and bright conditions.

If you are looking for a bigger zoom, you’ll certainly want to consider using a bridge camera. They offer a wide range of optical zooms and the option of manual exposure that offer the same control as the DIGITAL SLR.

Alongside better quality LCD screens, bridge cameras tend to include electronic viewfinders that have approximately 2,30,000 dot resolution; however, the performance of these differs greatly between models. Therefore it is worth taking a look prior to making a final decision on a particular model. Viewfinders with this type of technology also come with added benefits of displaying all of the information on the LCD screen of the camera, allowing users to see and alter the settings of the camera without having to move the camera from their eyes.

Although the outcomes of cameras that bridge are typically not as great as those of Digital SLRs However, what you sacrifice in the quality you make up for with portability and ease of use with a compact and affordable camera body. Many cameras come with LCDs that are articulated and HD video recording. And as mentioned previously, some have a raw shooting mode.

Bridge and compact camera summary

In the end, if you have around 300-400 to spend and you’re looking for something compact but powerful, make sure you choose models that have a wide range of manual controls and an LCD display with more than 460,000 dots, and most importantly, a sensor that is backlit, however, before you make that purchase think about whether it’s better with a compact camera (bridge camera). This gives you more flexibility as well as better overall image quality.

A different consideration could be the next step for your photography and what you want to accomplish as a photographer. If you’re thinking of just taking photos, then compact cameras are ideal. If you want to get started on becoming a photographer more technically skilled, the versatility that a bridge camera offers might possibly be better suited to your needs.

William Johnston is a professional photographer who offers wedding photography as well as portrait photography across Bristol, Bath, and Somerset and in the South West, Birmingham and the West Midlands, Leicester and Leicestershire, London, and the Home Counties.