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Which bridge camera brand?

Most reliable bridge camera brands

By Ryan Shaw

Article 1 of 2

Our one-of-a-kind reliability survey of camera owners highlights the differences between the best and worst bridge camera brands.

Put us to the test

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The annual Which? reliability survey shines a light on the bridge camera brands you can rely on for years and the ones more likely to let you down before their time.

We ask bridge camera owners about their experiences with their camera, including how satisfied they are with it and what faults, if any, it developed over the first five years of its life to help you choose a model that will last.

Below we’ve collated all our unique reliability ratings for bridge cameras and rated each brand over a lifespan of five years, so you can see how the cameras from all the major brands compare.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access.

Brand name Reliability rating Reliability score
96%
95%
95%
94%
94%

Table notes
Results based on June/July 2017 reliability survey of 741 bridge camera owners. Data correct at August 2017.
 

Key

Member Content

Which bridge camera brand stays fault free for longest?

The graphic below shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, plus the average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a five-year period in the table underneath.

Brand name % faults after one year % faults after five years
97% 93%
96% 94%
96% 94%
97% 93%
99% 95%

Table notes
Results based on June/July 2017 reliability survey of 741 bridge camera owners. Data correct at August 2017.

Key

Member Content

How bridge camera brands compare

From all the bridge camera owners we surveyed, all brands rated very well for reliability, with very few issues or major faults. For example, even the bottom-ranked brand scored 93% for reliability over five years - no mean feat.

Our survey collects data on products Which? members have owned over the past five years, recording what faults occur and when. We also take the severity of faults into account. Faults on older products are judged less harshly, as they are likely to have been used more.

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 fault 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, problems with the shutter or failing to capture photos/video.

We think it’s vital to consider reliability alongside our product testing, and asking owners to tell us about their experiences is the best way of judging a product’s real-world performance. Because of this, we’ll strip products of Best Buy awards if they get less than three stars for reliability. The most reliable brand is often not the best overall but buying a product from a good brand increases your chances of getting one that will serve you well for many years.

Common bridge camera problems

As part of our survey, we ask Which? members to share any bridge camera issues they've had over the past five years. And for most owners we spoke to, control buttons ceasing to work and problems with the focus are the equal-top faults in our survey.

Of those that reported a fault, the issues that topped the list were:

  • 20% - control buttons stopped working
  • 20% - problems with the focus
  • 18% - problems with the zoom
  • 10% - problems with the shutter (ie unwanted delay before taking pictures)

A camera isn't much use when the buttons you use to control it stop working or only work intermittently. Similarly, a camera that tends to focus before or after the intended point of focus is less than ideal, and will result in blurry photos.

Issues with the zoom lens are a common problem for bridge cameras, 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.

A stuck shutter typically means the camera takes pictures that are completely black or, if you are taking pictures outside, extremely bright and overexposed. This was the third most common problem.

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