Mark Goldstein has a nice little article on the death of the bridge camera over at PhotographyBLOG.
I talked about the bridge camera in an earlier article. My main contention is that bridge is often better for more people, but they’re going to buy dSLR anyway.
He covers the sadness I feel and know is coming true: cheap dSLRs are going to squeeze the bridge camera out of existence and this is a bad thing for photography. Though, unlike him, I feel that the market will drive them out, not the industry. Simply put, the ideal consumer for a bridge camera is not smart enough to know it is the right for them and will buy a dSLR instead.
One comment I’d like to point out deserves counterpoint: “I guess folks like Nikon think that a D50 with an 18-200VR lens can do anything a Coolpix 8800 could do, and better. They may be right.”
This is very true, but consider that a Nikon D50 with an 18-200VR lens would cost around $1275 while a Coolpix 8700 is around $480 (B&H prices to be fair). The problem here is a lot of people who can’t spring the $1300 for this combo aren’t going to get a Coolpix 8700, they’ll either get a pocket camera or a $500 dSLR w/kit lens I mentioned in the above post. Add to this the fact that either choice will make more net money for the manufacturer than the bridge camera and you have the death of a camera.
(BTW, this is the problem with Mike Johnston’s DMD suggestion mentioned in the comments: the camera would cost over $1000 retail (APS-C sensor, 24mm f/2 prime lens, anti-shake, flip-up LCD) and the market would certainly be smaller than the Sony R1 which is the same camera delta putting a more popular zoom over the useful-but-no-consumer-would-buy 24mm f/2.)