What happened to bridge cameras?

My Canon Powershot SX60 HS is finally wearing out. It has been a great camera! But after almost four years of trips to the lake and taking hundreds of thousands of pictures, the colors don’t seem quite as vivid as they used to and I am occasionally finding pieces of sand in the lense, making the motor work harder than it should to zoom in and out. (Zooming in and out a few times while pointing the camera straight down seems to help with this.)

On one hand I am sad to see this camera go. On the other hand – Bridge cameras were getting pretty amazing the last time I made a purchase! I was eager to see how far they have come!

Checking for the best bridge camera in my budget.

One of the guys I do product photography for offered to help pay for my next camera. We have not decided on a firm price yet, so I am checking out a variety. I have my wish-list narrowed down to three cameras. All “bridge” style (meaning they have the look and feel of a DSLR, but the lense is not changable), all have 1″ sensors, all have impressive reviews, decent zoom, and nice sample photos available online.

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 – This is an older model, from 2014. But from what I have read, it works with the Panasonic remote app on my iphone, takes good quality pictures, and has a 1″ sensor plus decent zoom. Add the fully articulated LCD screen (which means I can get some decent shots from awkward angles) and about a $600 price tag and this camera sounds like a good step up from my Canon!

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II – This newer model, from 2019, is a nice step up from the earlier mentioned FZ1000. They have added a touch screen along with a few other nice features. Panasonic has also added about $300 to the price tag. As a price conscious consumer, I have to ask myself if I will actually use the extra features enough to be worth the $300. The answer? If I have them, I will probably use them. But truth be told, I won’t rarely miss these features if I stick with the cheaper model.

Sony Cybershot RX 10 IV – I think I am in love with this camera from 2017! The image quality is amazing and this camera features an impressive 24-600mm equiv lense (that is 25x zoom!) to go with its 1″ sensor, without being much bigger than the lower-zoom Lumix models. It even has an animal eye auto-focus!

This camera also costs significantly more than the earlier mentioned models. As much as I love and believe I would get my money’s worth out of this camera, the price difference is just too much. The only reason I am still considering this camera is because of its more durable construction.