Jamie asked in Consumer ElectronicsCameras · 1 month ago

What is the difference between a compact camera bridge camera and a DSLR?

4 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Best Answer

    Also bear in mind:

    Some of the expensive enthusiast level compact cameras have fixed lenses and 1" sensors or even bigger. But this means if you want a useful optical zoom lens on it then it will be quite big and complicated to fold back into the camera body to keep it compact and pocketable. Bridge cameras don't fold that long zoom lens away and can reach out to amazing focal lengths, but you need a tripod and a static subject because long lenses make dim images.

    Digital SLRs and the smaller mirrorless cameras feature interchangeable lenses which optimise the light gathering abilities at the long end. You can also get ultra wide angle and macro lenses.

  • 1 month ago

    All DSLRs have interchangeable lenses - no compact or bridge camera has one.

    Some DSLRs have 35mm size sensors (full frame), some have larger ones (medium format), some have smaller (APS-C) - compacts and bridge cameras have even smaller sensors, usually much smaller. 

    All DSLRs have a wide range of controls and displays to show you what you're doing.  Some compacts and bridge cameras have the same, some have almost none.

    DSLRs have optical view finders - this means you view the real scene in real time.  Compacts and bridge cameras use electronic view finders (EVFs) that produce an electronic image - modern ones can be excellent, older ones less so.  EVFs mean you can see the effects of your camera settings as you change them.

    Bridge cameras look like small DSLRs - compacts don't.     

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Mr. Smartypants seems to have gotten most of it already but in a gist, compacts are small cameras with small sensors, limited settings and a non-interchangeable lens. Bridge cameras are juiced-up compact cameras that look like tiny dSLRs. Some bridge cameras have have the most zoom power in the digital camera market. DSLRs are characterized by their optical viewfinder. They also offer larger sensor sizes, an interchangeable lens system and total control of all settings required to take a photograph which make the dSLR a complicated machine to operate. Good thing there is Auto mode for those who don't bother learning photography.

    Although some may view the dSLR's optical viewfinder as archaic and a nuisance, it is still the only method by which a photographer can see the scene to be photographed through the lens itself. Other types of cameras that rely on an electronic viewfinder such as compacts, bridges and mirrorless, do not offer that same capability. Anywho, the importance of an optical viewfinder will only be appreciated by someone who knows exactly what to do with it.

  • 1 month ago

    The most important difference is the size of the sensor, the electronic 'film'.  DSLRs have a sensor the size of a frame of 35mm film, about 1.5 by 1 inches.  'Bridge' or 'prosumer' cameras have sensors about half that size.  Compact cameras and cellphones have tiny sensors.  They work surprisingly well but not as good as a DSLR.

    The other differences are features. DSLRs have interchangeable lenses, which is both good and bad.  The lenses are expensive, and to really get the most out of the camera you need 2 or 3 of them, meaning not only do you have to spend a lot of money on them, you also have to carry them around.  Some bridge cameras have zoom lenses with ridiculous ranges (mine is 60x zoom!) so you don't have to bother with interchangeable lenses, but you don't get quite the quality of an SLR.  Compact cameras sometimes have digital zoom, meaning they just take the center part of a picture and you get less sharpness and quality.

    A decent bridge camera usually has LOTS of features--time lapse, color correction, various automatic modes, they can take multiple pics in succession (so for instance if you're watching a sports event and want to get that exact moment, you just hold the shutter down and it clicks 3-5 pics per second, and you just pick the one you want later).

    The original advantage of an SLR was that the viewfinder saw exactly what the lens saw, even in terms of depth of field, etc.  But in a digital camera you're almost always seeing exactly what the camera sees because you're looking at a video screen.  So the flip-up mirror is seen as a bad thing because it shakes the camera and limits how low of a shutter speed you can use.  So there is a whole different standard for professional 'mirrorless' cameras that are lighter/smaller but have the same size sensor and the same electronics as DSLRs. From what I hear, they are growing in popularity.

    Meanwhile, compact pocket-sized cameras are growing less popular because people just use their cellphones today.

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