Why are those huge lenses photographers carry on their shoulders better than a bridge camera which fits in a bag?

9 Answers

  • Sumi
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    The reasons for a pro to use a 10 lbs, $13,000 800mm lens over a bridge camera is due to the optical quality, AF performance and depth of field produced by the lens/camera combo.  A bridge camera simply cannot compare in any way, shape or form.

    There are a lot reasons why a photographer would spend $13,000 on a telephoto lens instead of using a bridge camera with an equivalent focal length or even one with a 2,400mm equivalent which is 3x stronger than the $13,000 800mm pro wildlife/sports photographers use.

    For one, the optical quality in terms of ultra sharpness, lack of distortion, exceptional control of flare, etc... are something that you do not get in a bridge camera.

    Those photographers using these lenses are often photographing moving subjects.  Bridge cameras simply cannot focus fast enough nor can they track moving subjects.

    The sensor in bridge cameras are very, very, very small; about the same size of the sensor in a common smartphone.  In comparison, a full-frame DSLR like the Nikon D5 has a sensor that is 30x larger than the sensor in a bridge camera like Nikon's top-of-the-line P900 bridge camera.  This is exactly why the lens in a bridge camera is so compact.  As the sensor/film size increases, the lens needs to be able to project a larger image circle onto the sensor/film.  This causes the size, weight and cost to rise to astronomical levels.

    Bridge cameras uses small sensor which means that the pixels are very small, too.  As the pixel size decreases, the noise at any given ISO will also increase.  A bridge camera like the Nikon P900 will have as much noise at the lowest ISO (about 100) than a full-frame camera at around ISO 1,600.  The quality of the images are simply so bad, that no pro could ever use them for professional purposes.

    Because the sensors are so small which leads to much shorter focal lengths, the depth of field (area that's in focus) is dramatically increased with bridge cameras.  The DOF is affected by the aperture, focusing distance and focal length.  Most any photographer, regardless if they're a pro or not, will need a shallow depth of field to blur out distracting backgrounds.  Because the focal length of a typical bridge camera is so much shorter, the DOF that they produce is equivalent to a pro camera at about 5.6 stops closed down.  For example, a P900 has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the wide-angle and f/6.8 at the telephoto end.  After applying the crop factor of 5.6, the P900 produces the same DOF as a full-frame camera shot at f/16 and f/36 respectively.  This makes it impossible to blur backgrounds even a little bit.  It's this shallow depth of field look that can make a snapshot look professional. 

    As noted, bridge cameras can't focus as fast, as accurately or continuously as a DSLR.  They also can't take continuous photos as quickly either.  This leads a pro to missing getting the moment and thus loosing jobs.

  • 4 weeks ago

    They are for different jobs. Is a magnifying glass better than a telescope? One is easier to carry while another might create a better image. Do you want to study the rings of Saturn or see the moon?

  • qrk
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Larger sensor gives better results (dynamic range, noise at higher ISO settings, color depth).

    Larger sensor means bigger lenses due to the physics of optics.

    Many larger lenses have superior optics (sharpness, color aberrations, larger aperture, ability to manually focus) compared to a bridge camera with a wide zoom range.

    Big lenses around National Parks signal birders which gives an instant in to starting up a conversation with strangers with a similar interest.

    Yes, it's a drag carrying around 3 to 5kg of camera equipment, but in the end you can print images on large paper and have a decent image using those big rigs.

    For my EDC (every day carry) camera, I have a 1" sensor point & shoot with a 3x zoom range since it's easy to carry & fits in my shirt pocket. The 1" sensor gives superior results compared to tiny-sensored cameras.

  • 1 month ago

    They capture more light, handle chromatic focusing better, and the larger sensors in the cameras they fit on have better dynamic range. So the pro photographer has more potential for getting the perfect shot, even in challenging conditions.  Bridge cameras are excellent for those who do not depend on making a living from their photography; I happily used a Fuji bridge camera privately for a number of years in preference to my DSLR system, which I still needed to use for work.

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  • Alan
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Lenses are the tools we use.

    The lens we choose is based on the task. We choose a short wide-angle lens when working in confined spaces because they image with a widespread angle of view. We choose long lenses when we are after detailed views of distant objects like wildlife or stars and planets. 

    We choose lenses based on the size of the camera we are using. We choose miniature cameras for their continence. We choose giant cameras when our images will be displayed on huge screens or enormous prints on paper. We choose more moderate size cameras because they are good and they are less cumbersome. There is a big difference between the casual sharpshooter and the professional. When your living depends on your photographic skills, what might seem burdens to carry often decides whether the rent is paid or whether you have a car and car insurance. In other words your view of the tools of the trade changes with the task.

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Those huge lenses aren't better. They're crap, they're heavy and the cameras they attach to require a full understanding of rocket science to operate. Let those silly photographers suffer from the weight and the craziness of it all!


    Sure, bridge cameras can have more zoom than that huge lens but not everything is about zoom. The bridge wins hands-down on cost, portability and simplicity of operation but that huge lens and the dSLR that comes with it offer more control and better optics which only matter if you know exactly what to do with them. Otherwise, the bridge is a perfect camera to you (and your bag, of course). 

    ...and your wallet.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Those huge lenses are long focal length lenses designed for wildlife and sports photography. it is not possible for a sports photographer to get very close to the action since they are shooting from at least about 50 yards away sometimes. Same is true for wildlife photographers when their subject is an elephant or a rhino or a lion. Many animals are dangerous and some would not let you get very close. The reason they are huge is because to collect enough light for a fast shutter speed to freeze the action, there needs to be a big front lens element. Since glass is heavy, the big front lens element makes the lens heavy..

    Small cameras have tiny sensors, so they have small pixels and/or small numbers of pixels. That means they cannot resolve as much detail as larger cameras like the DSLR cameras. They are okay for small prints, but big prints require 35mm cameras full frame or medium format cameras. Lenses designed for 35mm and medium format have to be much larger. Those heavy lenses tend to have exotic lens elements made of fluoride crystals to keep the lenses sharp even with big front elements, and they are expensive to make and costly to buy. Sports and wildlife photographers need them to get the shot, and those shots are how they make money. I needed a 400mm f/5.6 lens (not huge or heavy) to take the photo below, and I still need to crop the photo. 

    Attachment image
  • snafu
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Better more powerful optics

  • Rick
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    those are telephoto lens, able to get a good picture from 1/4 mile away .................

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