Which bridge camera brand to buy in 2021
Issues with the control buttons are the most commonly seen problems with bridge cameras. Our survey found that 18% of faults were buttons that stopped working altogether, or only worked intermittently.
Whether you're buying a superzoom bridge camera for taking photos of distant subjects or something a little more advanced and compact in size, you should be able to rely on your camera for years. However, even the simplest of bridge cameras can suffer from problems such as a stuck shutter, producing black photos or very bright and over-exposed shots. That's why it's important to find a bridge camera brand you can trust.
Each year in our unique reliability survey we ask thousands of Which? members to tell us whether they are pleased with their bridge camera, or have experienced faults.
Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, severity of these faults and the how quickly they occurred. In our latest analysis we've looked at the performance of the biggest bridge camera manufacturers – including Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony – and have calculated a reliability rating for each so you know which brands are the most and least reliable.
Difference between the best and worst bridge camera brands
There is quite a big difference in the highest and lowest average test scores for bridge cameras. And although they are all pretty reliable, there are also some brands that do better than others. The lowest manages 89%, whereas there are others that are well into 90%-plus territory.
The most reliable bridge camera brands
The table below summarises this year’s reliability results. Customer score relates to whether their customers would recommend it. The more stars for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.
|Brand||Reliability rating||Reliability score||Customer satisfaction score|
Common bridge camera problems
The most common faults with bridge cameras are problems with the control buttons. A camera isn't much use when the buttons you use to control it stop working or only work intermittently. Some 18% of faults recorded were related to this.
Similarly, the zoom malfunctioning defeats the point of buying a camera often marketed for a large, far-reaching zoom. Issues with the zoom lens are a common problem for bridge cameras (14%), with the lens sticking, jamming or malfunctioning. Typically, it's sand or grit interfering with the lens extension mechanism that causes it, or the camera's been dropped with the lens extended.
Which bridge camera brand stays fault free for longest?
The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compared with the worst brand, as well as the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a six-year period in the table below.
|Brand name||% fault-free after one year||% fault-free after three years||% fault-free after six years|
Results based on feedback from more than 695 bridge camera owners, surveyed in April/July 2019.
How we measure faults and reliability in bridge cameras
Our reliability scores don't just take into account the number of faulty products. We also look at how severe these faults were and when they happened. We judge major or catastrophic faults more harshly than minor annoyances, and also penalise faults that occur when the product is new and hasn't had much use. We ask our respondents to describe their faults as minor, major or catastrophic based on the following guidelines:
- Minor: a fault that doesn’t affect the product’s performance significantly or a fault that only occurs occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying but it isn’t frequently problematic and you can easily work around it. For example, not being able to record audio with video.
- Major: a fault that has a noticeable effect on the product’s performance. This fault affects how you use the product and can be problematic, for example, a problem with the lens.
- Catastrophic: a fault that renders the product unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be used again. For example, a fault with the shutter or failing to capture photos/video.
Bridge camera brands rated
Choose a brand from the list below to find out more detail about its performance in our survey.
Head to our bridge camera reviews
Know which bridge camera brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:
How we calculate the best and worst brands
Every year we survey thousands of bridge camera owners, asking how satisfied they are with their bridge camera and how likely they would be to recommend it to a friend. We also track faults, taking into account when these issues occurred and how severe they are. We use this data to create customer and reliability scores for the most popular bridge camera brands.
Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best bridge camera you should buy.
This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buys and won’t recommend any of their products unless a marked improvement in reliability is shown.