Bridge buy DefinitionBuying a bridge Definition
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Indispensable guide: Bridging Camera and pocket trip magnifiers
A bridge cam or trip pack might be perfect if you're looking for something with a lot of zooming in. The Bridge lens was initially conceived as a kind of transition home between small format lenses and the DSLR. Their large handles and electronical finder provide a user feel similar to that of a DSLR, often combined with full hand held controls and the possibility to acquire loss free blank images.
Bridge cams also feature the security net, which allows them to operate in fully automated point-and-shoot modes, and the capability to fill the image with distant objects thanks to the enhanced telezoom function. The introduction of high-end system and high-end digital SLRs in recent years has made the concept of a bridge mount as a " half-way-house" somewhat deceptive.
Put another way, while bridge cams look noticeably similar to a small ADSLR, their picture clarity has more in common with normal compact cams. Against this background, bridge viewers are often called " supers amers " nowadays, as this better illustrates the enhanced telezoom that has become their distinctive feature.
However, the word "bridge camera" has existed for many years, and therefore the name has remained. However, bridge and superzooms are one and the same and both concepts are commonly used to describe the same kind of camcorder. Whatever they remember, bridge cameras/superzooms are still loved by occasional shooters looking for an easy-to-use digital still image capture system with lots of zooming in on.
Over the past few years a new kind of camera has been added - the pocket trip lens AutoMotion. They provide the expanded zooming capability found in Super zooms, but in a smaller body. Even the passenger cars have proven to be very successful, especially because they are very flexible and much simpler to transport.
On the following pages we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of super-zooms and trip compactes in detail and find out what you need to consider when choosing a suitable camera for you. Bridge camera enthusiasts and their travelling companions are attracted by the high-performance zooming lens they are fitted with.
Although they cannot rival a SLR of the same focus in purely picture clarity, they provide a high level of versatility at a small fraction of the price. Now, for comparison: Sigma currently produces a 300-800mm f/5. 6 zooms for Nikon and Canon' DSLRs, which is generally regarded as an outstanding one.
On the contrary, there are many bridge camcorders that give you well over 800 mm for under £400. Note that the range of bridge camera and compact drive units is very different; while most compact drive units can achieve 700 mm, some bridge camera units range up to 2000 mm.
Compact trip planners, however, are smaller in physical terms than bridge mount planners, and for many individuals, especially those who want to make travelling as easy as possible, this is a worthwhile compromise. Whilst most bridge and compact trip models provide a wide-angle shooting range of about 24-25mm, a few, such as the Canon X60HS, open up to 21mm, which could make a big difference if you' re taking pictures of landscape or architectural scenes on a frequent base.
Whilst bridge mount imagers are engineered to have the appearance of a SLR, they are generally small with 1/2" small, lightweight sensor size. That has important implications for picture clarity, because smaller sensor sizes mean smaller single light-sensitive diode sizes, which in turn results in lower dynamics and higher picture noises when the higher speed setting is used in low-light conditions.
Fortunately, as users have already done so, some vendors have consciously decided to reduce the number of pixels to a more reasonable value in order to enhance the low lighting and high speed camera performances. Panasonic's latest addition, the Telecom Transport System Z70 Traveller is a perfect example of this latest development. A further upcoming tendency, especially in high-end bridge camera applications, is the use of bigger 1-inch sensor sizes.
Admittedly, both video clocks provide a better picture than their 1/2. Bridge cams have proven to be a favourite because of their use. Whereas most compact tripods have a small fingering, bridge models have a more distinctive handle that helps you grasp the lens more easily. With the additional electronical finder you can also keep bridge viewfinders in the same height as a ADSLR.
However, the EVF' s EVFs differ greatly from model to model, with the high-end ones being much more sharp than the cheap ones. Currently very few chassis have an EVF, the remarkable one being the Lumix TZ70. With the expanded phone range of bridge and compact trip imagers, it's comforting to know that they're all equipped with some kind of picture stabilization technique.
Since many bridge camcorders now span well over 1000mm, you should consider an investment in a stand as it is almost impractical to keep a camcorder still at this type of lens. Bridges and undercarriages are available in various locations, from the base to the high-end.
The base model is usually restricted to fully automated capturing mode and pure JPEG capturing, while the more sophisticated model offers full hand held controls in conjunction with data ingest. However, high-definition film acquisition has always been a powerful sales argument for bridge camera technology, and many companies also provide a variety of slow-motion applications in conjunction with high-definition film acquisition.
To sum up, with bridge view systems and travelling compacts you will get - as with all our range of DSLRs - what you are paying for. No matter whether you choose the ease of use of a bridge cam or the portable nature of a Tour Kompakt, there are many different types to compete for your money.