Although the Kodak camera range has massively dropped off in popularity, their bridge cameras still have a large core customer base and we often see people reaching out each month with various questions for different Kodak camera models. One specific Kodak camera model that we have noticed more and more people reaching out for advice on is the Kodak Pixpro AZ421 that in our opinion is probably one of the best entry-level bridge cameras around at the time of writing and offers some excellent image quality for its price point in the market.
Due to constantly seeing so many people reaching out about this specific camera model we have decided to dedicate today’s model to our own ultimate Kodak Pixpro az421 review. With so many people reaching out about the az421 we are hoping that our article will be able to help any of our own readers who are looking to add this great little camera to their collection as a way to get involved with super high zoom bridge cameras without having to break the bank.
Now, there is absolutely no denying that the Kodak Pixpro az421 is a very popular little camera that has managed to earn itself an absolutely outstanding reputation amongst both photographers and videographers who are involved in the wildlife, bird, and astrophotography niches. The camera just keeps on growing from strength to strength due to its low price tag but in our opinion, you should only be going with the Kodak AZ421 if you are on a very tight budget.
The Nikon p900 was one of the better bridge cameras on the market for many years and due to the recent release of the Nikon p1000, the p900 has received a price reduction from Nikon to lower its price tag substantially. If you are wanting the best image quality possible out of your camera then we would highly recommend that you consider the Nikon p900 as it is an excellent little camera that in our opinion, is very budget-friendly considering its performance and the image quality it provides.
With that out of the way, we will still be going over our full, dedicated review of the Kodak az421 below as it is a solid little entry-level bridge camera and we know that many of our readers will be on very tight budgets. In our opinion, the az421 offers some great bang for your buck and is probably one of the best cameras of its type in its price bracket.
Performance And Functionality
One of the best things about the Kodak Pixpro az421 that instantly sets it apart from the compeating camera bodies in its price bracket at the time of writing is the fact that it comes with a 16MP as standard whereas some compeating entry-level bridge cameras only have a 12MP camera sensor. This gets the Kodak az421 off to a good start right off the bat scoring it points over what the compeating entry-level bridge cameras are able to offer you.
The camera also offers you up to 42 x optical zoom that is fully native to the camera and does not rely on any digital zooming tweaks as some of the compeating camera bodies do in the entry-level price bracket. This often offers better image quality over the camera units that need to use digital zooming technology to reach the same maximum distances helping to score the camera even more points over its competition.
The 24mm wide-angle lens not only helps to move you closer to the main subject of your photograph or video but also allows you to capture more with the same frame. Now, we know that this will not be useful for everyone and depending on your niche, you may not be too focused on the wide-angle size of things but again, it is great for things such as wildlife photography as you are able to capture the natural habitat of the animal with ease.
If you are involved in the astrophotography, wildlife or bird niches or anything else where you need the best possible image quality going while at the higher zoom ranges of the camera then the Kodak Pixpro az421 is ideal. It offers some of the sharpest and clearly image quality going once you tweak its focus at its higher zoom ranges relative to its price tag. We have some example test footage below that has been captured using the Kodak az421 and offers an excellent example of exactly what mean.
When it comes to the video capabilities of the camera, it fully meets the 720p video resolution standards. We know that there are a few competing cameras that offer 1080p at this price point with similar zoom capabilities but the image quality they provide looks grainy, especially when at their higher zoom levels. This is due to the actual encoding method the manufacturers have used to try and knock out 1080p in an entry-level camera as quickly and cheaply as possible while cutting corners. We would much rather have clearer video footage at 720p than low-quality video at 1080p so in our opinion, the Kodak camera comes out on top again.
Another thing that the Kodak az421 offers you over the compeating cameras in the entry-level price bracket is its excellent facial detection software. Now, again, the usefulness of this is going to depend on the niche that you are working in but the Kodak system has proven to be effective at automatically detecting the faces of animals as well as humans. This allows you to use the technology to help enhance your image quality for wildlife photographers and help get the perfect photographs possible.
The panoramic mode on the camera is pretty average in all honesty and is very similar to what the competing cameras offer for a similar price but the az421 scores so many points in other areas and so few people will likley use the panoramic feature anyway that we feel this can be overlooked. If you are traveling or in a landscape based niche then the panoramic feature on the Kodak az421 can help you quickly and easily capture epic 180-degree landscape vista images that are truly seamless.
Another area where we feel that the Kodak az421 performs well is with its optical image stabilization technology. It helps to minimize the disruption via movement or vibration even at a decent zoom level without issue. That said though if you are doing any work at the higher zoom ranges of the camera then we would always recommend that you use a tripod for optimal image stabilization and image quality. Even a decent, cheap tripod can be a valuable camera accessory and help you get som super stable video or improve the image quality of your photographs at higher image zoom ranges.
As with many things, the Kodak az421 also has a few weak areas and we wouldn’t feel right unless we made our readers aware of them. The Kodak az421 does take a standard SD memory card but does not support any memory sizes larger than 32GB. Although this should not be an issue for the vast majority of our readers due to the camera not offering 4k resolution and needing those larger memory cards, we just wanted to point it out.
The second main weakness of the camera is its lithium-ion battery but battery issues are very common at this price point in the market. The Kodak az421 has received a number of reports saying that its maximum battery life is inconsistent and can provide people with ten hours with one charge, four hours with the next charge, and eleven hours with the next charge. Now, this is going to naturally fluctuate depending on what you are doing with the camera but these massive fluctuations may present an issue for some people depending on what you will be doing with the camera.
From what we have seen from people who use the Kodak az421 as their go-to camera of choice, the most popular workaround seems to be to just switch over to third-party batteries and the battery life of the camera becomes much more consistent. This would suggest that the problem with the fluctuating battery life is with the batteries supplied with the camera rather than the camera itself.
Although a number of third-party brands do produce their own version of the NP-40 battery that the Kodak az421 uses, we would highly recommend that you consider the Powerextra NP-40 battery if you do want to purchase a set of spare batteries. Not only are they very cheap coming in at around $15 a set depending on the retailer but they perform very well and have earned a solid reputation amongst the community as the best third-party NP-40 battery around right now.
When you factor all of this in with all of the strong and neutral points for the Kodak az421 as well as the two weak points that can essentially either be easily fixed or won’t apply due to 32GB memory cards being plenty for the resolution the Kodak az421 supports, it is easy to see why it is so popular. It has one of the lowest price points going for this type of camera while offering some of the strongest performances that we have ever seen. In addition to this, the az421 owning community has chosen to publish a ton of glowing independent reviews for the camera too.
If you are worried about having issues with the memory card or battery life issues or just want more information on how well the camera performs, we would highly recommend you skim over some of those reviews. They have been posted by both photographers and videographers who have used the Kodak az421 in a large number of different niches and situations and go into detail on how the camera performs in each as well as the levels of image quality that you can realistically expect during use.
User Interface And Control System
Now, as you would expect for an entry-level camera body at this price point, the Kodak az421 does not come with touchscreen technology and relies on a number of buttons shown on the read in the image above as well as across the top of the camera body too. Although the buttons do look dated and have that cheap feel to them, they actually perform very well and register your touch quickly with no delay. Some cheap cameras can have low-quality buttons that won’t even register your button press but this is not an issue with the az421 as its buttons are very sensitive and responsive.
The three-inch LCD screen on the rear of the camera is bright, clear, and very easy to see, even if you are working in low light for some astrophotography work. The actual navigation menu that Kodak has put on the az421 is also very user-friendly and easy to follow too. If you are looking to purchase your first camera we have no doubt in our mind that you will easily get to grips with the Kodak system. We would imagine that the majority of people, especially if you are used to using a smartphone will be able to take the camera out the box and use it efficiently without having to read the manual or spend much time playing with it.
As we mentioned above, Kodak has put a number of different automated modes such as the face detection technology into the camera to make your life as easy as possible during use. This makes tasks that previously had to be done manual easy to automate to save you time and they are very quick to turn on and off via the navigation menu as required.
In our opinion, Kodak has done a great job of realizing that the vast majority of the photographers and videographers who are using the az421 will likley be entry-level users. Due to this, they have emphasized ease of use in ever aspect of the camera ensuring that it is as easy to use as possible for a novice user.
Build Quality And Design
Considering the low price point of the Kodak az421 we were actually expecting a low build quality but we are pleased to report that Kodak has absolutely smashed it and done an excellent job. The az421 comes in at around 3.3 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches while being 0.98 pounds of weight meaning that it is about average for its size and performance. The light payload weight of the camera also means that you are able to quickly and easily mount it to even entry-level cheap tripods without risking exceeding their maximum load capacities too.
Relative to the price point of the az421, it is also pretty touch in all fairness and we would imagine that it can easily take any bumps or knocks that are coming its way during use without having issues. On top of this, although the majority of cheap camera bags have great padding these days, we feel confident in saying that the az421 will also withstand and knocks during transit too without breaking.
That brings our ultimate Kodak Pixpro az421 review to a close and we are happy to say that we would recommend that any of our readers looking to add a cheap bridge camera to their collection with high zoom capabilities consider the Kodak Pixpro az421. In our opinion, it is definatley the best option for the sub-two hundred dollar price point by far and it is easy to see why it has managed to earn the excellent reputation that it enjoys.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, if you are able to stretch your budget a little then the Nikon p900 is a great bit of kit that is currently a steal after the recent price reduction due to its successor, the P1000 being released. Although it comes in at the lower end of the intermediate price point camera range, it blows its competition out the water and also has one of the best reputations going for the intermediate level bridge cameras.