Friday, October 18, 2013

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Review: The Kodak PixPro AZ251 - Great for Families and Bloggers

Action photo taken using the "sports" setting  of the AZ521 Kodak camera

As a family, we've gone through more than our fair share of digital cameras.

So when we upgraded our phones to smartphones, we did like what many families do these days and just use our iPhone and Android phones to take photos. 

Only, they are still quite limited in the variety of shots and angles you can get and you don't always come out the best in them, neither the objects you're trying to capture. My husband really doesn't like how he comes out in them at all, especially at night.

So about a year ago, I purchased a semi-professional camera on eBay which was expensive when it was just released but because several years had passed and I got a great deal. I never could get into it though because I was used to the super sized view screens and this one had a tiny one. I never bothered to figure out all the settings and eventually loaned it to one of our bloggers for an event and haven't seen it since.  

So it was wonderful and quite timely to get asked by reps for Kodak to test out its  PixPro AZ 521 Digital Camera which retails for $179.99, a really good price for all you get!


Every blogger, mom and busy professional needs a good reliable quality camera and the Kodak PixPro works wonderfully to fit the bill!

The Look: First off, I dug the fact that the camera looks like one some professionals use because that alone could give me a little cred when covering events as a blogger alongside professional journalists and those working for major websites. I really like that the viewing area had a 3 inch LCD display so I could frame a pretty large area and feel good about it before shooting. 

The Perks:
It has an Asphereic High Definition Zoom Lens that extends when capturing an object faraway. It takes 25x wide images via a 24-600mm lens which is the equivalent of a 1:3.7 -6.2 ratio. Edited to add: the BEST thing about the camera is that it is a great alternative to an SLR camera which would require the purchase of additional lenses as this camera comes with settings that auto adjusts for the various categories of subjects you'd shoot. It's a perfect entry-level pro camera for someone starting out or a blogger. Sweet! 

The Weight: The camera was relatively lightweight too.  That means it wouldn't weigh me down if I'm wearing the convenient adjustable neck straps that the camera comes with around my neck or on my shoulders.  Also, it shouldn't add to the weight of my bag if I chuck it in there along with my iPad and other things I have to carry while covering events or when out and about at family functions or kids' sport games. 

The Grip: It has a cool rubberized grip so you can have a secure hold on it while aiming. I have a clumsy streak at times so this grip gives me comfort in knowing I may be less likely to drop the camera if I am bumped while shooting in a crowded space or at the school Christmas pageant with other pushy parents jockeying for a good position to take a pic of their little angel. 

The Extras: All I would need to do is purchase a memory card and fetch out one of our old camera bags in the closet to protect the camera from bruising and getting damaged. If I wanted to take a photo of myself or use some of the advanced functions, I'd need to get a tripod, but otherwise the camera is ready to go out the box. It works with AA batteries which drains and can get costly thus why I usually love the rechargeable type batteries but if you forget the charger at home, you're out of luck. The best part of AA batteries is that you can usually find them at a local drugstore or gas station if you're in a pinch! Also, I'm going to invest in rechargeable AAs to save costs over time. 

The Functions: All the settings resemble ones I've seen on previous cameras. The shutter button is ample size so even my 5-year old could use it (and she did take a photo of me with it). There is an image stabilization function so if a person with unsteady hands like that on an elderly relative or a kid (like my 5-year old) takes a photo, the camera will steady itself and still take pretty good photos. There are other extra functions on the camera that help ordinary non professionals take a professional looking photo.  

And the best thing is that we can then share and upload the images without having to rely on the various filters that all the social media sites have as an option to help people beautify their images. ha! 

Sample Photos: The kids and I headed out for a few days after school, during soccer practice, and before heading into the local library to do homework to test out some of the various camera settings available on the camera: Sport,  Beach, Sunset, Fireworks, Night Landscape, Sketch, Snow,Children, ID, Glass, Photo Frame, Panning Shot,Portrait, Fish Eye, Party, Indoor, Leaf, Museum, Night Portrait, Pet mod Dog, Pet mode cat. 

We also tested out the Panoramic setting, the Face beautifier, the image stabilizer and the shutter priority. A fast shutter is great for when you're photographing lots of images like while covering a fashion runway show, for example.

We wound up with some pretty amazing crystal clear and sharp high def images. 
Zoom - Can you see that tiny ant?


Plant -Look close.You can see a hummingbird bee in the flower getting nectar?


Outdoor Landscape - my middle kid is The Thinker 


Panorama - I think I messed up a little bit on this one while panning. Notice the phantom table in the middle. heh.


Indoor


Manual mode - My crazy girl


Sunset 


Movie - Gif mode

Fish Eye - Funny effect!

Children


Wide lens and Zoom - Got up close with a cricket!


Museum 

Face Beautifier - It's like instant Photoshop!


Night


Shutter - Takes images of fast moving object, great for sports and fashion shoots

Image Stabilizer - My 5-year old is taking this shot of me.

Finally, Look how clear this leaf came out! Wow! Recommend! Great camera!
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