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Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Review

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Review - Daniel Bell reviews one of the new Astro Zoom cameras from Kodak, the PIXPRO AZ251 that has a 25x optical zoom lens.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Kodak PixPro AZ251
Price : £126
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Kodak PixPro AZ251

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.

Kodak PixPro AZ251

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Features

The Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 has a 16 megapixel CCD sensor and 25x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-600mm, with optical image stabilisation to reduce the effects of camera shake.

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. 

Kodak PixPro AZ251

Key Features

  • 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
Kodak PixPro AZ251

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Handling

The Kodak PIXPRO AZ 251 has the look and feel of a small DSLR, although it wouldn't really be small enough to carry in your pocket - unless you have rather large ones. The grip is rubberised to help you to hold the camera, with a rubberised patch on the rear for your right thumb.

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.

Kodak PixPro AZ251

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Kodak PixPro AZ251 Sample Photos


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


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


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


White Balance PerformanceUnder 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 | 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 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 Money

The 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.

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Verdict

The Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 packs a decent set of features - there's plenty of zoom, a close focusing distance of just 3cm, decent continuous shooting, manual controls and an automatic HDR mode. All this is available for less than £100, a very reasonable price indeed. Image quality is an issue if you're wanting to print large photos, particularly if you are shooting at the higher ISO settings. There is purple fringing and chromatic aberration but if you're going to be sharing your images on sites such as Facebook instead, the excellent colour reproduction will lead to images that will impress your friends and family.

 

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Pros

Fantastic value for money
Rubberised grip on front and rear
HDR mode
Close focusing for macro photography
Has optical image stabilisation

Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Cons

Noise is an issue from ISO 800 upwards
Images have purple fringing and chromatic aberration
Focusing issues when zooming during video recording

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Kodak PixPro AZ251 Specifications

ManufacturerKodak
Lens
Max Aperturef/3.7 - f/6.2
35mm equivalent24mm - 600mm
Optical Zoom25x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16.15Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor SizeNo Data
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution230k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • A
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo Data
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type4 x AA Alkaline Battery
CIPA Rating280
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight341g
Width115mm
Height74.3mm
Depth69.6mm

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Photographs taken using the Kodak PixPro AZ251

My Stunning SunsetMy Picturesque SunsetA Painter's DelightBright Sun RaysThat FaceVery Pink SkyWinter WonderlandGolden Hue Sky PhotoMy Golden SunsetMushroomThat Mushroom AgainHandsome Mushroom
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Comments


30 Aug 2013 5:44PM
I bought this camera and to date (2 months) I have to say for a novice it's great I took all kinds of pix's and they were very good and the battery life is super compared to my other Kodak camera
If you are not a nit picker and just want to take pix's of your friends and family get this camera and for the money it's a steal

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