Best Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife Photography (2021): Reviews & Buyers Guide

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Best Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife

Wildlife is one of the most dynamic subjects for a photographer to capture.

It’s quite a difficult feat, you’ll need all the help you can get.

 

You can quickly see our Editor’s Picks if you’re in a hurry.

 

So, you’re likely pondering the question, what is the best bridge camera for birding and wildlife photography in 2021?

 

And we’re going to help you figure that one out.

As mentioned, you’re choosing to work with a dynamic subject.

Though difficult, the result is that much more rewarding.

 

Whether it’s specifically birds you want to photograph, or other wildlife, or a combination of both, you have to be aware of some things.

 

Your subject obviously isn’t something still like a landscape or a skyscraper.

Your subject also isn’t a person who you can instruct to “sit up straighter” or “move to your left”.

 

You’re working with wildlife that not only doesn’t care if you get a great shot, but they also won’t even know you’re trying to get a great shot.

 

Worse, if they become aware of your presence, they may get scared and take flight.

 

We’re assuming you knew these things, but they’re still important things to think of when you’re searching for the best bridge camera for wildlife photography.

 

There are certain things you will absolutely need your camera to have to be photographing birds and other wildlife.

 

There are also some details which may be good to have, but you will ultimately decide if you need them or not.

 

We’ll get into all of that in a bit.

Just know, we have seven of the best bridge cameras for birding and wildlife photography on this list.

 

They’re all fantastic in their own rights and they have lots for many to love.

But we need to help you pick out the one that you’ll love the most.

 

The one in your eyes that’s the best bridge camera for wildlife photography.

So, let’s get into the details and figure all this out.

 

The birds and other animals won’t be waiting around all day, so we have to get you the best bridge camera so you can capture those perfect wildlife shots!

Editors' Picks

Best Bridge Camera for Birds In Flight | Best All-rounder Camera

 

Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV

 

This camera has a continuous shooting rate of 24 fps making it the fastest when dealing with moving subjects and also features an incredible sensor and fantastic autofocus capabilities!

 

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Best Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife | Best Budget Superzoom Camera

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ80


This camera has the third-best zoom range and is the least expensive option you can get along with being quite a light option for easy mobility!

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Best Bridge Camera for Birds in Flight | Best Budget Camera

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ300

This camera has a 12 fps continuous shooting speed which is great for catching moving subjects, it comes at a fraction of the cost of other fast cameras and is a much lighter option as well!

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Best Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife | Best for Traveling

 

Sony DSC-HX99


This camera is the lightest and most compact camera on this list for easy travel, features great ability to deal with low-light conditions with an ISO 12800, and an overall great balance with its sensor, zoom, and lens construction!

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Best Bridge Camera for Wildlife and Birding | Best Balanced Superzoom Camera

 

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS 4K


This camera has the second-best zoom range and is more balanced with its features including one of the better sensors on this list!

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Best Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife | Best for Low-Light Situations

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II


This camera has an expanded ISO 25600 for excellent performance in low-light conditions, has a top-notch sensor, and is light and easy to travel with!

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Best Bridge Camera for Wildlife and Birding | Best Superzoom Camera

 

Nikon Coolpix P1000


This camera has, by far, the best zoom range of all the cameras and additionally is the best at dealing with too much light!

See the review section for in-depth tech details and pros & cons!

Birds and other animals living in the wild are quite possibly one of the most beautiful subjects you can task yourself with capturing.

 

Uninterrupted, undisturbed, there is something extraordinary to the simplicity of their untouched lives.

 

And likely if you’re looking for, say, the best bridge camera for bird photography, you want to capture these lovely creatures in their natural state.

 

There is a lot you have to consider for this feat.

If it’s the best bridge camera for birds in flight… there is, even more, you have to consider.

 

Essentially, if you photographing birds or animals, they can fly off or run off at any moment.

 

So, you need a camera that’s ready for that possibility.

Your camera will need to be able to act fast… as will you.

 

You will want, at the very least, decent zoom on your camera.

The farther away you can stay from your subjects, the better.

 

You don’t want them to hear any accidental noises you may make and get spooked.

But you will decide… is it the best zoom you want so you can stay as far away as possible?

 

Or do you feel you can operate with a decent zoom and figure yourself to be a stealthy and quiet individual who can get a bit closer?

 

Maybe you prefer less zoom to produce higher quality photos.

And there are plenty of other things to consider.

 

The weight of the camera, in case if you’re going to be moving a lot and carrying it with you.

 

The cost could be a factor as well.

We’re going to go over all these details and more.

 

If you have any details you know that you need covering, and any details you would like covered, then making a list is helpful.

 

If you can order it in terms of the importance that’s even more helpful.

If you’re unsure, that’s alright too.

 

Making a detailed list of priorities will become easier and easier as we go through the different options and explain to you what each one has to offer.

 

Whether it’s beautiful, brightly-colored cardinals and blue jays you’re hoping to photograph… or you’re trying to find hard-to-spot ground-dwelling animals that pop up occasionally… or maybe you want to capture perfect images of the deer that you often see in your backyard… we have some of the best bridge cameras for wildlife on this list.

 

We’ll make sure to find you the one that suits you best.

So, get your questions ready.

Get your checklist ready.

 

And let’s dive into the details… quietly that is… so as not to spook the animals.

What are the Best Bridge Cameras for Birding and Wildlife Photography in 2021?

Comparison Table for the Best Bridge Cameras for Birding and Wildlife Photography (2021)

Camera View on Amazon Sensor Zoom Weight
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 18.1MP 1/2.3" High-Sensitivity MOS sensor 60x 1.36 lbs.
Panasonic Lumix FZ300 12.1MP 1/2.3" High-Sensitivity MOS sensor 24x 1.52 lbs.
Sony DSC-HX99 18.2MP 1/2.3" Exmor R CMOS sensor 30x 14.3 oz.
Canon PowerShot SX70 HS 4K 20.3MP CMOS sensor 65x 4.24 lbs.
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II 20.1MP 1" High Sensitivity MOS sensor 16x 1.0 lbs.
Nikon Coolpix P1000 16MP backside illuminated CMOS sensor 125x 3.12 lbs.
Sony Cyber Shot RX10 IV 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor 25x 2.32 lbs.

Best Bridge Cameras for Birding and Wildlife Photography [2021]

1. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 | Best Budget Superzoom Bridge Camera for Wildlife Photography

We’re going to start with the Panasonic Lumix FZ80.

This is one of three options we have from Panasonic as it is a fantastic and trusted brand.

 

This is the least expensive option on the list for those looking with a budget in mind.

 

Ranging typically from $300 – $400, this is a steal of a price for a quality bridge camera for wildlife photography.

 

TECH SPECS

The FZ80 has an 18.1MP 1/2.3″ High-Sensitivity MOS sensor and a top sensitivity of ISO 6400 for any work you may be doing in low-light conditions.

 

Good to note if you plan on shooting in the evening or the woods or forests with a lot of tree cover, for example.

 

This camera affords you a 10 fps shooting rate if you’re trying to photograph an animal in motion.

 

It also has 4K video capability if you don’t want to be limited to just photos.

 

And with a 60x zoom lens that can create high-resolution stills, this is one of the best zooms on the list.

 

The third best in fact, so if you want to keep your distance from a mother deer and her babies, the FZ80 is a fine choice, especially for the budget-minded.

 

There’s also a dedicated macro mode if you want to switch it up and photograph anything close by.

 

It can focus on subjects as close as 1cm away in case you see a slow-moving caterpillar begging for a close-up.

 

Weighing in at 1.36 lbs, it’s the third lightest camera on our list.

 

Pair that with its ability to charge the battery inside the camera via USB connection and this is a great camera for traveling… light and convenient!

Pros
Cons

2. Panasonic Lumix FZ300 | Best Budget Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife

Looking at another camera from Panasonic, this is the Panasonic Lumix FZ300.

This is another inexpensive option, costing just around $400.

 

As you can see it nearly matches the last option from Panasonic in cost.

Let’s see what else it has to offer.

 

TECH SPECS

The FZ300 has a 12.1MP 1/2.3″ High-Sensitivity MOS sensor and also has a top sensitivity of ISO 6400.

 

Another excellent option for low-light conditions in case if you tend to do a lot of your shooting in the evening.

 

The FZ300 has a 4K video capability and 4K photo mode as well.

 

If you’re looking for the best bridge camera for birds in flight and want a bargain, this inexpensive option can give you a 12 fps shooting rate.

 

Don’t worry about that titmouse flying off, you’ll have an even better chance of getting a great shot of it mid-flight.

 

The 24x zoom capability does fall on the lower end of our list… and it does pale in comparison to the last choice from Panasonic.

But it’s still great!

 

And if you plan on getting a bit closer to subjects and don’t need the full-on 60x zoom, this zoom will still allow you to zoom in closer to subjects.

 

And it produces excellent quality images with zoom.

 

Panasonic also incorporated the dedicated macro mode allowing you to focus on subjects 1cm away, so you get versatility with this camera as well.

 

Still on the light side at 1.52 lbs, though heavier than the last option by a bit, this camera is still quite light and portable.

 

And another plus for the FZ300, the 5-Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization so you don’t have to worry about camera shake.

Pros
Cons

3. Sony DSC-HX99 | Best Traveler Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife Photography

Now, we’ll take a look at a camera from Sony.

Another bargain buy is the Sony DSC-HX99.

 

This one will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $475.

You can see that this camera stays in the lower price range for cameras on this list.

 

Let’s see what types of things it will afford you if you choose it.

 

TECH SPECS

The DSC-HX99 has an 18.2MP 1/2.3″ Exmor R CMOS sensor and an expandable sensitivity range up to ISO 12800.

 

With these details combined, you are assured to get smooth and fantastic shots even in very low-light conditions.

 

You have the ability to shoot in 4K if you want some special videos of birds in flight.

 

And to view your work, there is both a pop-up OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder and also a 180-degree tilting 3-inch 921k-dot touchscreen LCD.

 

Talk about versatility!

 

This camera has a 10 fps continuous shooting rate which is great for multiple shots of animals in motion.

 

It does pale slightly to the last camera, the FZ300, though it lacks there, it excels in that it has a 30x zoom capability which is better than the FZ300.

 

This zoom finds itself in the middle of the pack in terms of this list but is an excellent zoom range to catch shots near and far.

 

This camera also has five aspherical elements and an anti-reflective coating which will reduce spherical aberrations and lens flare respectively.

 

And one of the most notable things about this camera is the sleek construction and lightweight of 14.3 ounces.

 

The lightest camera on this list!

 

If you’re looking for the best bridge camera for wildlife photography that travels well, this may be the best option for you.

 

Easy to bring along where ever you’re heading.

Won’t take up much room in whatever pocket you slide it into as you search for the perfect clearing to set up and take photos.

Pros
Cons

4. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS 4K | Best Balanced Superzoom Bridge Camera for Wildlife and Birding

Now, let’s take a look at something from Canon.

This camera is the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS 4K.

 

We’ve moved up a bit in the rough price, but we’re still on the low side of this list.

This camera will cost you around $600.

 

Let’s take a peek at what details it will bring to the table.

 

TECH SPECS

This camera comes with a very impressive 20.3MP CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 8 image processor which will aid the SX70 in shooting quite quickly so you don’t miss any of the action out there in the world.

 

And a 10 fps continuous shooting rate will help you in many quick shots as birds fly from branch to branch.

 

With this camera from Canon, you can film 4K videos and also make 4K time-lapse movies.

 

This is a great quality if you’re planning on spending a great amount of time out there trying to photograph your subjects.

 

If your idea of the best bridge camera for bird photography is one that allows you to get a time-lapse of a day in the life of a bird in its habitat, then this may be the choice for you!

 

This camera has an expansive 65x zoom which is the second-best zoom on this list.

 

With a 21-1365mm equivalent focal length range this affords you a wide-angle all the way to a super-telephoto range.

 

This is a nice luxury if you are unsure how close your subjects will stay to your relative area.

 

If they move in close or fly off far from you, this Canon is an excellent choice.

 

A 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder is a great detail to help you to view your work as you shoot.

 

With a weight of 4.24 lbs, it is the heaviest camera on this list, so be aware if you’re looking for the lightest possible option.

 

Though if you’re planning on using a tripod or if a weight of around 5 lbs doesn’t seem all that heavy to you, then don’t worry as this camera has a lot more to offer.

Pros
Cons

5. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II | Best Low-Light Bridge Camera for Wildlife and Birding

We’ll take another step up in price to check out the third option from Panasonic.

We’re talking about the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II right here.

 

This bridge camera will cost somewhere around $800.

We’re starting to get into the more expensive categories of cameras, so let’s take a look at what it has to offer you.

 

TECH SPECS

This bridge camera comes with a 20.1MP 1″ High Sensitivity MOS sensor which gives you extremely clean and beautiful images and reduced noise in your images.

 

It also has an expanded ISO 25600 for great work in low-light conditions.

 

Lovely 4K photo and video modes are afforded to you with this Panasonic bridge camera so you can capture the very best shots.

 

For continuous shooting rates, you have 7 fps with continuous AF and also 12 fps in single-shot AF mode making this one of the best bridge cameras for birds in flight.

 

The 16x zoom is the lowest on this list so keep that in mind if you’re all about the zoom.

 

But this is not to say the zoom isn’t still fantastic for this camera.

 

And if you’re planning on using less zoom than other wildlife photographers and wanting to get somewhat close to your subjects, this is still a great pick.

 

Especially if your subject happens to be animals that are less likely to rush off from a somewhat nearby presence.

 

The maximum aperture range is f/2.8 – 4 to allow you to work in varying lighting conditions well.

 

This camera’s construction features five aspherical elements and four extra-low dispersion elements so aberrations both spherical and chromatic, distortion, and color fringing are all limited keeping your work looking clean.

 

Oh, and a 5-Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer will help you to keep steady shots and prevent camera shake.

 

And this camera only weighs 1 lb.

It’s the second lightest option on this list, so it travels very well.

What’s not to love about this bridge camera?

Pros
Cons

6. Nikon Coolpix P1000 | Best Superzoom Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife Photography

Here we will take a look at a bridge camera from Nikon.

 

A brand that you know and trust, we’re looking at one of their best creations, the Nikon Coolpix P1000.

 

As you’ve likely noticed, the price has been increasing the further we’ve gone on the list.

 

This is one of the big boys in that department, costing you somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,050.

 

It is the second most expensive camera on this list, but let’s see why exactly that is.

 

TECH SPECS

With this camera, you’ll be working with a 16MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and a range between ISO 100 and 6400.

 

So, in low-light situations, this camera can handle that.

Too much light, say, right at noon?

This camera can handle that too.

 

It’s a versatile camera that you can bring with you any time of day and achieve excellent shots of wildlife.

 

And this camera from Nikon can also shoot in 4K video mode to deliver to you impressive videos that will look like you’re seeing real-life unfolding before your eyes.

 

And here’s the detail that sets the Coolpix P1000 apart from all the rest.

The 125x zoom is by far the best zooming capability on this entire list.

 

You need not worry about scaring off your subjects with this camera, you can set up shop far, far away, they won’t hear or notice you as you get shots that look like you’re sitting right next to them.

 

Found some mockingbirds or mourning doves that you want to photograph without scaring them away?

 

This is the best superzoom bridge camera for wildlife photography.

 

The zoom range is 24-3000mm and is also further enhanced by Dynamic Fine digital zoom which means the maximum focal length is 6000mm!

 

And with Dual Detect Optical Vibration Reduction providing 5 stops of optical image stabilization, your shots will stay shake-free and in focus with more ease than you might imagine.

 

The Coolpix P1000 is the second heaviest camera on this list, weighing in at 3.12 lbs.

 

But what do you expect with all that zoom?

Just be ready for a little extra weight.

 

On the plus side, this camera also has a vari-angle 3.2 inch LCD to view your work or a 0.39 inch 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder.

 

Whichever you’re more comfortable with.

Pros
Cons

7. Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV | Best All-rounder Bridge Camera for Birding and Wildlife

Lastly, we come to a second option from Sony.

You saw the first, more budget-oriented camera, this one is the big gun.

 

This is the Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV.

It is definitely the most expensive camera on the list, costing right around $1,600.

 

Let’s take a look at why this features such a high number on the price tag… besides just the great Sony name.

 

TECH SPECS

To start with, the 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor is incredible and when paired with an ISO 12800 that can help you to achieve bright and brilliant shots in low-light conditions, you’ll already love what this camera can bring.

 

In addition to the fabulous UHD 4K video recording, you also can choose to shoot with a high frame rate and slow-motion shooting.

 

In full HD you can film at 120 fps, meaning those birds that are so quick to fly away, as long as you’re fast enough, this camera is fast enough to get some gorgeous videos of them.

 

That makes this one of the best bridge cameras for birds in flight.

 

To add to that notion, you also are afforded up to 24 fps of continuous shooting with this Cyber-Shot RX10 IV.

 

The 25x zoom won’t disappoint you, allowing you to keep your distance and still get close-up shots.

 

Want to switch it up and shoot something close by?

This camera can also focus on subjects as close as 1.2 inches away.

 

Yes, it’s really THAT versatile!

 

This camera’s construction features eight extra-low dispersion elements, five aspherical elements, and anti-reflective coating on these elements, meaning aberrations, lens flare, anything that can obstruct your photos is ultimately prevented and your shots will continue to look incredible.

 

A fast hybrid autofocus system along with 315 PhaseDetection points will help you to quickly focus on moving subjects and get your shots before they fly off.

 

Great detail for a subject that may not be sticking around too long.

 

This bridge camera from Sony weighs about 2.32 lbs making it the third heaviest camera on the list, but honestly, with all these perks and details, it’s surprising it doesn’t weigh more than that.

Pros
Cons

Best Bridge Cameras for Birding and Wildlife Photography — Buyers Guide ​

There we go, with 7 excellent bridge cameras that you can choose from.

 

If your passion is to go out and capture shots of wildlife, then these are some of the best bridge cameras for wildlife photography.

 

No matter your exact situation, there is a camera on this list for you.

 

Whether it’s birds or other animals, whether you can get somewhat close or you want to stay as far away as possible.

 

Now, after all that information you may be thinking, they all sound great, but which one is the perfect one for me?

 

And that’s the question we want to help you answer.

 

Let’s break down some of these details so that you can make the best decision.

 

We’ll go over some frequently asked questions that people have when trying to find the best bridge camera for wildlife photography and provide answers.

 

That way you can get a good sense of which cameras are best for which scenarios.

And then you can apply all that information to your specific situation.

 

So, let’s get to it!

What’s the best superzoom bridge camera for wildlife and Birding if I want to keep my distance?

This is an excellent question as some people are aware their subjects may be quite flighty and don’t want to risk any of their movements causing too loud of a noise… so distance is key.

 

First off, the very best zoom of 125x belongs to the Nikon Coolpix P1000 so you can keep the most distance while still achieving excellent shots with this camera.

 

This option is pricey, so if you want to keep your distance but save a little cash, the next best zoom of 65x belongs to the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS 4K and its excellent sensor which will capture fantastic images.

 

And as a third option, the best zoom in the “bargain range” of 60x is the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 and also happens to be the lightest of the three.

What’s the best bridge camera for birding and wildlife photography if I want to travel with it a lot?

Generally, the rule of thumb for the best traveling camera is the lightest and most compact camera.

 

You may have other criteria you want to meet in addition to that.

 

The absolute lightest and smallest camera on this list is the Sony DSC-HX99 which features a decent 30x zoom.

 

The second-lightest option is the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II which features a fantastic sensor.

 

The third lightest option is the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 with a 60x zoom which is the best of these three.

 

So, when traveling you can go with the absolute lightest and smallest, or a light and compact option that either features a great sensor or great zoom.

 

It all depends on which things are most important to you.

All are great for travel.

What’s the best bridge camera for wildlife and birding in dealing with low-light conditions?

Here, I would say the absolute best for the ‘evening photographer’ or anyone dealing with low light, is the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II with an ISO of 25600.

 

No others compare in that sole respect.

The two next best have a range up to ISO 12800 and are both from Sony.

 

The Sony DSC-HX99 has the best zoom of these three at 30x, it’s the lightest and the cheapest.

 

The Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV with its 25x zoom is better than the Panasonic in that regard.

 

It also features phenomenal autofocus, the ability to focus on subjects extremely close, and an outrageous construction with aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements galore for clean and beautiful shots.

What’s the best bridge camera for birding and wildlife photography in dealing with a lot of light?

In this case, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 has them all beat with a range between ISO 100 and 6400.

What’s the best bridge camera for birds in flight?

Yes, if you’re looking to get those beautiful shots of birds as they quickly fly away, you need something fast.

 

The Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV will give you the very best results with its 24 fps of continuous shooting.

 

Now, if you want something fast that won’t break the bank as much, the fastest ‘bargain option’ is the Panasonic Lumix FZ300 which is much cheaper and still gives you 12 fps of continuous shooting, better than most of the others on the list.

Best Bridge Cameras for Birding and Wildlife Photography — Summary

So, as you can see, there is a camera here for all wildlife photographers.

You just need to figure out what priorities you have and how they rank amongst themselves.

 

Budget is always the first thing to focus on, most would say.

If you have a certain budget, take a look over the general cost of all these cameras and see which range you are alright being in.

 

Once you have determined that, or if you determine that all these cameras are in your budget range, think of what’s the most next important factor.

 

There are cameras with excellent zooms, excellent performance in low and/or high light, fast shooting ability… and of course, combinations of these factors and more.

 

Imagine yourself out in the field shooting and what would be of utmost concern to you.

 

Is it not scaring your subjects away and keeping distance?

 

Maybe you don’t mind if they hear you and fly off as you wish to get shots of them in flight.

 

No matter what you want, the best bridge camera for wildlife photography in 2021 is available on this list.

 

Every option will perform fantastically.

So, go ahead, pick out the one that suits your style best.

 

And go capture those stunning shots of the beautiful wildlife just out there waiting for you.

Mike
Mike