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The Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 is an entry-level bridge camera - the AZ stands for Astro Zoom! It was announced in July 2013 available from Argos and Tesco with an RRP of £129.99 (currently £99.99 in Tesco). You get plenty of zoom, full manual controls with 720p HD video recording at a reasonable price, let's see how it performs.
There is an auto mode which adjusts the camera settings automatically, as well as PSAM modes for more control. You'll also find a panorama mode as well as a number of scene modes. There are also a number of digital filters as well as the option to record HDR's where the camera combines three shots.
Videos are recorded in 720p HD with optical zoom available. You can apply one of three filters to your videos from vivid, sepia and black & white.
- 16 megapixel CCD sensor
- 25x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-600mm)
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3.0 inch 230k dot LCD screen
- Powered by AA batteries
- 720p HD video recording
- ISO 80-3200
- 3cm minimum focusing distance
- Full manual controls
- Panorama mode
- HDR mode
There is a mode dial on the top, this gives access to PSAM and auto modes, as well as panorama, landscape and face beautifier modes. The top also has buttons for continuous shooting and video recording, as well as the zoom rocker, shutter release and on / off slider. The exposure compensation button on the rear also gives access to ISO, aperture and shutter speed, depending on what mode you're using. The i button gives access to the filters, there are also menu, playback and display buttons. Lastly, there is a d-pad with a set button in the middle. The directional buttons can be used to access focus, macro, flash and self-timer.
The menu system is fairly easy to navigate, but one or two things are a little different to most cameras - access of shutter speed and aperture settings via the exposure compensation, as well as using the set button to change the white balance. The 3.0 inch screen has a 230k dot resolution, which is typical of a budget camera, and is easy to see in bright light.
Battery life is rated at respectable 280 shots according to CIPA test results. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Shutter Response||0.3 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.4 secs|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||1.7 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||3.0 secs|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||1.7 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||3.0 secs|
|Continuous Shooting||3 fps|
|Continuous Shooting - 3 shots||0.6 fps|
Continuous shooting records at full resolution. The speed is a little slow when shooting HDRs, it's best to use a tripod as there will inevitably be some slight movement in between each frame.
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Kodak PixPro AZ251 Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/40 sec | f/4.4 | 10.3 mm | ISO 200
Landscape | 1/125 sec | f/11.1 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Low Light | 0.8 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 100
Pet Portrait | 1/600 sec | f/4.4 | 10.3 mm | ISO 324
Zoom Example | 1/240 sec | f/6.2 | 107.5 mm | ISO 80
HDR | 1/950 sec | f/3.7 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Sample Photos - The AZ251 is capable of taking well exposed images with good colour reproduction. Portraits have really good skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash. The HDR mode is very useful, with good detail in the highlights and shadows.
Kodak PixPro AZ251 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/950 sec | f/3.7 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Some Optical Zoom | 1/750 sec | f/5.9 | 40.1 mm | ISO 100
Full Optical Zoom | 1/900 sec | f/6.2 | 107.5 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/34 sec | f/3.7 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Detail is OK in the centre of the images but are soft around the edges and in the corners. Image quality does worsen as you extend the zoom with purple fringing and chromatic aberration becoming more of an issue. This will only be of concern if you're looking to print large pictures, for sharing on the web the image quality is fine. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 3cm which allows for decent macro shots to be taken.
Kodak PixPro AZ251 ISO test images
1/12 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 80
1/13 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 100
1/27 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 200
1/56 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 400
1/110 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 800
1/220 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 1600
1/400 sec | f/4.7 | 12.3 mm | ISO 3200
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80 and 100, but there is detail lost at ISO 200. The loss of detail at ISO 400 means that images are soft with ISO 800 producing a very noisy image. Image quality is very poor at ISO 1600, at ISO 3200 image size is limited to 4 megapixels but you can still see plenty of noise.
Kodak PixPro AZ251 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/17 sec | f/4.0 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/17 sec | f/4.0 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.4 sec | f/4.0 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.4 sec | f/4.0 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) produces images with an orange cast, with the incandescent preset taking a much better picture. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB does a much better job, the fluorescent preset also performs well.
Panorama | 1/750 sec | f/3.7 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Panorama mode - Panoramas have a decent amount of detail but there are some stitching issues in places.
Kodak PixPro AZ251 Digital filters
Digital Filter - Normal | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Black And White | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Dreamy | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Fish Eye | 1/20 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 554
Digital Filter - Salon | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Sepia | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Vignetting | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Vivid | 0.3 sec | f/5.2 | 17.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filters - The AZ251 has a number of filters which can be used during shooting, there are examples of each above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD. Quality is OK, you can use the zoom during recording, but the focus really struggles when you zoom right in. You can view a video using the zoom on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
Value For MoneyThe Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 has an RRP of £129.99 although has been spotted in Tesco for just £99.99. Other cameras with a similar amount of optical zoom (the following all have 26x) include the Fujifilm X-S1 at £403.99, Sony Cybershot DSC-H200 at £147.83, Pentax X-5 at £164.99 and Nikon Coolpix L320 at £129.97. If you can therefore find the AZ251 for £99.99, it's cheaper than all of these cameras.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
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Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 ProsFantastic value for money
Rubberised grip on front and rear
Close focusing for macro photography
Has optical image stabilisation
Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 ConsNoise is an issue from ISO 800 upwards
Images have purple fringing and chromatic aberration
Focusing issues when zooming during video recording
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Kodak PixPro AZ251 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.7 - f/6.2|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 600mm|
|CCD pixels||16.15Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||No Data|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||230k dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 3200|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||4 x AA Alkaline Battery|
|Box Contents||No Data|