Fixed Lens Camera

How does a fixed lens camera differ from a DSLR?

The Canon SX60 HS is a fixed lens camera with a large zoom lens.

 Canon

The term fixed lens camera can have many different meanings. Some fixed lens cameras look identical to digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, but there is one major difference: A fixed lens camera cannot use interchangeable lenses.

Information in this article applies broadly to different types of cameras. Review individual product specifications before making a purchase.

What Is a Fixed Lens Camera?

Fixed lens cameras range in size from vintage models with large image sensors to tiny point-and-shoot devices. Cell phone cameras are technically fixed lens cameras, but the term is most often used to describe larger cameras that look like DSLRs.

Fixed lens cameras typically have very large zoom lenses, and they usually cost more than beginner models. Some fixed lens cameras can slightly increase their zoom and wide angle capabilities through the use of conversion lenses, but this is rare.

Basic Fixed Lens Cameras

The most basic fixed lens cameras typically offer some sort of optical zoom setting. Inexpensive models are often very thin, and the lens retracts inside the camera body when it's powered down, allowing you to carry the camera in your pocket. For example, the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS camera is a basic fixed lens model that offers a 18X optical zoom lens.

Premium Fixed Lens Cameras

More advanced fixed lens cameras may come with a smaller zoom lens, but they have a wide open aperture. This gives the photographer more flexibility, including the ability to blur the background. Such advanced fixed lens cameras will also have a large image sensor. These types of cameras, such as the Fujifilm XF1, are usually very expensive.

Fixed Lens Bridge Cameras

Bridge cameras serve as a bridge for an intermediate photographer looking to migrate from a beginner camera to a DSLR. These large-zoom fixed lens camera can achieve settings that are difficult to match with any other type of camera, even a DSLR. The Canon SX60 HS camera is one such model, offering a 65X optical zoom setting.