Bridge cameras are seeing exponential growth in their popularity right now with more and more people adding at least one Bridget camera to their photography kit. As with most camera types, the range of bridget cameras is vast ranging from entry level all the way up to the professional level gear that can end up costing you an arm and a leg. With many people just picking up their very first bridge camera, we have seen more and more people reaching out and asking for advice on the more entry level cameras on the market.
Due to this, we have decided to make todays article all about our ultimate Kodak Pixpro AZ421 review to try and help any of our readers who are looking to add a cheap yet high quality bridge camera to their photography kit. In our opinion, the Kodak Pixpro AZ421 definitely manages to hit a sweet spot in the market that was previously empty as very few brands were offering a solid little bridge camera in the one hundred to two hundred dollar price bracket.
Due to Kodak identifying this early, they have managed to establish a foothold in the market and their Kodak Pixpro AZ421 is currently dominating the price point when it comes to bridge cameras with it managing to continuously go from strength to strength amongst the community earning itself an excellent reputation. In addition to this, the Kodak Pixpro AZ421 has also managed to grow one of the largest users bases of all bridge cameras on the market right now, not just those in the entry level price bracket and more and more photographers are adding the camera to their collection with each passing month.
The AZ421 is has been designed primarily as an extremely versatile little camera that can offer people new to photography many of the features of a DSLR with multiple lenses all in one small, light, budget friendly package. That said though, the camera also offers some solid video performance but it does max out at a 720p resolution as videography is not its primary purpose but it can still hold its own for its price tag.
Although there are defiantly better options out there for YouTubers such as the Canon G7X or Sony ZV-1, we have also seen a large number of people who own the Kodak Pixpro AZ421 mention that they use the camera to record their YouTube videos too. As we mentioned, it does top out at a 720p resolution and although a modern smartphone camera may offer a higher pixel count for your videos, the angles and zoom that the Kodak Pixpro AZ421 offers can end up scoring it points over smartphones or other competing cameras on the market for vlogging and YouTube.
We are now going to be moving onto taking a more in-depth look at the Kodak AZ421 as well as what it has to offer our readers in the majority of situations out there. We will be covering each of our core review sections below to try and ensure that our readers get the best possible insight into the AZ421 as possible while also pointing out its positives and negatives throughout the review.
Performance And Functionality
Although the camera does have a large number of solid positives going for it when it comes to its feature list as well as its performance and functionality, the main one that we want to start with is the huge 42 x optical zoom range that the AZ421 offers you right out the box. This ensures that you are able to zoom right in to capture those close ups when using the camera for something like wildlife or bird photography where getting close to the subject of the photography may be a pain.
Although something like the Nikon p1000 does offer a better zoom range and image quality, you have to factor in that the p1000 is almost four times the price of the Kodak AZ421. This really does help to put things into perspective as the zoom range and image quality of the p1000 may not be four times better depending on the photography or videography niche that you are working in. Additionally, the 42 x zoom capability of the AZ421 actually beats what some competing bridge cameras on the market offer that are double the price tag too. In addition to this, the build in image stabilisation on the AZ421 also helps to score it additional points as some higher price point bridge cameras have sub-par image stabilisation scoring this great little camera from Kodak additional points.
Speaking of the image stabilisation technology on the camera, it performs very well considering that this is a budget friendly, entry level camera. If you are going to be using your AZ421 for videography then the image stabilisation is an excellent little feature that can seamlessly iron out even some of the more rapid movements without spoiling your video footage. If you are wanting to use your camera for vlogging then this can definitely help you as it allows you to walk and talk into the camera at the same time without the need for a gimbal while helping to keep your video footage stable.
That said though, if you are panning to be zooming right in on a subject, especially over the 30 x zoom ranges then we would highly recommend that you invest in a solid little tripod. The Zomei Z699C is a great little budget friendly tripod that we always recommend to our readers due to it offering excellent performance for a low price tag. If you are considering adding a tripod to your collection of camera accessories the the Zomei Z699C is well worth checking out and it has plenty of excellent, independent reviewsfrom other photographers and videographers that you can read too if you wish.
Unlike many of the competing mirrorless and DSLR cameras on the market right now that will often require a lens change when switching from 42 x zoom to wide angle use, the Kodak AZ421 does it seamlessness at the press of a button without the need for an additional, potentially expensive wide angle lens. With the lens fully retracted, the Kodak AZ421 can offer you 24mm wide angle use making it a solid little vlogging or landscape camera capturing some great background behind the subject of the photograph or video.
This 24mm capability is one of the things that sets the Kodak Pixpro AZ421 apart from most of the competing bridge cameras at this price point in the market right now too. Although most of the other entry level bridge cameras can offer you a great image quality at their upper zoom ranges, they really do struggle when it comes to wide angle use but the AZ421 takes it in its stride.
Your photographs and video footage will be free from blur when using it as a wide angle camera and although there can be some minimal chromatic aberration, it really is not as bad as the other competing cameras on the market and as we keep saying, the Chromatic aberration is a sub-two hundred dollar camera so this is expected anyway.
One thing that we would like to stress is that the face detection technology on the camera can definitely be hit and miss. We have seen reports from people on both sides of the argument saying that it works fine for them or that it is totally useless but depending on what you are doing with the camera, you may never need to use the automatic face detection system anyway.
For any pixel peepers out there, the AZ421 is able to offer plenty of detail with its 16 megapixel camera sensor offering excellent detail in anything that you capture when using the camera for either photography or videography. This helps to ensure that you can crop, zoom, and enlarge your photographs after capturing them with the camera without having to worry about sacrificing the image quality too keeping your image resolution optimal.
In the age of social media where each social platform often has its own unique aspect ratio for the images that you share with your followers, this is an excellent little feature. It means that you are able to take the same photograph, tweak it to meat the ideal image dimensions for each of the social networks and then upload it in all of its glory for people to see without it distorting for some something like Instagram where the images are usually cropped and in portrait.
The Kodak AZ421 comes with a recommended operating temperature range of 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C) as well as an operating humidity of 0-90%. That said though, we have seen a small number of reports saying that the camera has been used on some night sessions outside of these without having any issues in the image quality that it has been able to capture but using the camera outside of the recommended ranges is not recommended.
In our opinion, the battery life of the lithium ion battery in the Kodak AZ421 is solid for its price point and it should easily be ablate meet the needs of the vast majority, if not all of our readers looking for a bridge camera at this price point in the market. That said though, the battery life per charge is definitely going to depend on what you are actually doing with the camera, recording video footage at 720p can drain it in around an hour where are capturing photographs can let the battery run all day without issue.
The 720p maximum video resolution on the AZ421 is overshadowed by the modern smartphones that often offer you 1080p or even 4k video recording but as we touched on earlier, their wide angle use or zoom functionality is not as good as what the AZ421 is able to offer. This means that if you are a videographer or YouTuber, you can often use footage from both your smartphone and your AZ421 to get the best video possible and the edit the footage together in post production as needed prior to uploading or sharing the video.
As the Kodak AZ421 is limited to a normal SD card or a regular SDHC card with an upper limit of 32GB you can quickly run out of free space when recording video footage, even in 720p. That said though, compatible SD cards are cheap these days and easy to source so you can easily add a number of spare memory cards to your collection without having to spend too much money to prevent you from ever running out of space to actually save your content when using the camera.
Considering the price point of the Kodak Pixpro AZ421, we feel that Kodak really have done a great job of identifying an area in the market with weak competition and then releasing their own products to dominate. This is why the sales for the AZ421 are still so strong as well as why the reputation of the camera just keeps on getting better and better and it has minimal faults relative to its price point when compared to what the competing cameras from other brands are offering right now.
The user interface on the Kodak AZ421 does look a little dated in all fairness but it does get the job done and allows you to quickly and easily make tweaks and changes to your camera settings to get the best performance possible out of it during use. It follows the standard LCD screen with a directional pad, and a hand full of buttons and the actual navigation system on the Kodak AZ421 is surprisingly easy to work letting you quickly and easily find settings to tweak without having to waste time.
We feel that this does help to score the user interface on the AZ421 some points over the competing bridge cameras at this price point as some of them have a terrible navigation menu that can be a total pain to use. Some other brands have their settings in random sections and then something that should realistically be doable with one button press can take three. We know that this sounds a little nit picky but in some niches, for example bird photography, having to waste time to adjust your camera settings can be the difference between capturing the photograph of the bird or it flying off never to be seen again.
This is where the AZ421 manages to score some points as its navigation menu is straight forward and very easy to use. We are confident that our readers will easily be able to work the system without even having to read the user manual that comes included with the camera too. The layout of the menu has the more frequently tweaked settings closer to the top allowing you to get to them quicker and make any changes that you may required during use.
The 3” LCD Screen on the camera is bright offering a great view of what you are about to capture but leaving the LCD screen powered on can definitely reduce the maximum battery life of the camera. Our advice would be to power the screen down whenever it is not in use to ensure that you are getting the best battery life possible out of the camera with each full charge.
The rotary dial at the top of the camera allows you to easily switch between photo and video mode with one turn so you can adjust the type of content that you are capturing with ease. This ensures that you can switch from capturing photographs to recording video within seconds so if you are out taking part in bird or wildlife photography you can also capture the animals in video format to share on sites such as YouTube too if required.
Build Quality And Design
When it comes to the design of the Kodak Pixpro AZ421, there really is not much that stands out about the camera as it is a normal bridge camera and there is little left to change to improve the design, especially at this price point in the market. This is not a fault of the AZ421 or Kodak and this is common amongst all brands who make bridge cameras as the current design is so good that they tend to go by the whole, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it philosophy.
When it comes to the build quality of the camera though, Kodak have produced a solid little camera and although it does have that cheap feel to it, the camera body itself is robust and should easily be able to take bumps or knocks when you are using it. One thing to note is that if you do have the lens on the AZ421 extended, you should take extra care as although the actual lens casing is tough, a sharp bump or knock may cause damage to the lens elements insight of the lens.
We see this mistake made time and time again with bridge cameras where the photographer or videographer things that the glass lens elements are just as strong as the camera body but this is not the case. Simple bumps or knocks to the lens, especially the forward lens element on any bridge camera can break it and due to the lens being mounted to the camera body rather than detachable, this can result in an expensive repair bill and due to the price tag of the AZ421, it might be cheaper to just purchase a new camera.
Although there is a recess for the forward lens element on the camera to try and reduce the chance of any damage happening to it, there is no lens filter thread on the AZ421. This is one of the free things that we would change if we were able to as we always like to have a UV filter on our lenses just to add that additional layer of protection for the forward lens element. That said though, this does just come down to personal preference and we know plenty of people who never use a UV filter with their cameras and never end up running into these issues anyway.
That brings our Kodak Pixpro AZ421 review to a close and we hope that our readers have found it helpful. Throughout the article we have tried to go into the various positives and negatives of the camera to offer our readers a fair and balanced look at what they are able to expect from it if they add it to their collection. Considering its price point in the market, we are confident in recommending the Kodak AZ421 to any of our readers who are wanting to add a cheap bridge camera to their collection as it offers some excellent performance for its price.
The low price, great performance, and solid feature list on the Kodak AZ421 all come together to result in a great little camera and we are not surprised that it is dominating the entry level bridge camera price point right now. As we touched on back at the start of the article, sales are still strong for the AZ421 and its already excellent reputation amongst the community just keeps on getting stronger with each passing month.