Is a bridge camera good enough?

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Yesterday, I realised that I'm probably going to have/want to get into bird photography a bit sooner than I thought - so my basic question is, are (reasonably affordable, say <£400) bridge cameras good enough for bird photography?

And for that branch of photography, what are the advantages and drawbacks of them compared to full DSLR+lenses setup (apart from the obvious £).

And speaking of branches, that is what led to the realisation - I was lucky enough to spot a hobby yesterday, and with a bit of patience and some bramble scratches I ended up with an absolutely stunning view of a family of 4 hobby sitting on a branch 😁 but with no means to record it ☹️ (Swithland Res in Leics).

In reply to Michael Hood:

Just seen a sigma 150 - 600 mm lens (the one I use) for £480 on ebay, and you can get a Nikon d3200 (what I use) for £140. A bridge camera for £400 would be ok for close ups (bird hides etc), but would probably entice you to upgrade. 

 henwardian 29 Aug 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

I don't think so.

My friend has some great bird photos, I'll have to ask him what he uses, I know one of his lenses is a Nikon with an RRP of £15 000 but he got it at a great second hand price.

Maybe if you go for second-hand gear and not the highest level you can get a camera and lense for under £5 000....

In reply to Michael Hood:

As I understand it, a bridge camera with a long enough lens for wildlife is going to have a very big zoom range so will certainly be a compromise in terms of max aperture and image quality at the long end. Might be "good enough" but you may soon want to upgrade.

 Dax H 29 Aug 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

Buy a S/H bridge and see how you go. If you get in to it and decide to upgrade you know its worth it, if you don't become as keen as you hope you won't lose money because a S/H camera has already done its depreciation.

Added bonus you can leave a bridge in your pocket for those spur of the moment photo opertunities that will come up when you don't have the Dslr with you. 

In reply to Dax H:

Thanks, I was just wondering about 2nd hand gear, less £ commitment and there's probably a fair bit of ok kit floating about because of people upgrading all the time. Probably won't do anything about it until next year though.

In reply to Michael Hood:

I'd go for a second-hand DSLR every day of the week. Even an 'old' camera like Bottom Clinger's D3200 will give you great results given the correct input. I use a D3200 as well, and I wouldn't dream of upgrading on the basis of image quality. At the end of the day, the limiting factor for most of us is going to be light, environment or self - not body or lens quality.

I'd personally say that an affordable used DSLR body and the right lens will be a better purchase - particularly as if you get more involved in photography, or if you get involved in other genres of photography too, you can expand your lens collection as your needs evolve. If you get a bridge camera and fall heavily into it, you might end up outgrowing it and buying a DSLR anyway.

Post edited at 03:40
In reply to Michael Hood:

> but with no means to record it

The saying I’ve heard is - the best camera for “x” is the one you have with you at the time. Go for a bridge if that suits; I very nearly went for one a few years ago for a camera I could have in the car for those situations where I wanted a photo - similar to you found yourself with seeing the Hobby.

I only started bird photography this year, but for what it’s worth I went straight into MFT camera/lens and don’t regret that choice. I knew the limitations and just try for the best photo the camera/lens is capable for (which is more than my ability). One thing for me that was important/vital was good image stabilisation. Useful for the longer reach if that is something you will use.

All cameras have their limitations; if you accept that, I think a bridge camera could be a good option to start. If you’re intending to do more photography in future, however, I reckon look ahead and decide on dslr/mirrorless cameras to save money in the longer run.

I’ve read some bridge cameras now save raw files if you want flexibility to post process.

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