Kodak PixPro AZ521 Review

September 25, 2013 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality

The images achievable by the Kodak PixPro AZ521 in good light - namely clear blue skies - prove to be something of a revelation. In terms of low light, completely unsurprisingly, noise starts to visibly intrude into a shot above ISO800. Whilst ISO1600 has a noticeably softer and at the same time grainier appearance it’s usable at a push, as, to be honest, are images taken at ISO3200 - they’re that much softer and noisier again, but far from the worst effort we’ve seen in our almost 15 years of handling and reviewing digital cameras.

It’s in normal daylight conditions however that the AZ521 is given a chance to prove its worth and show what a physically larger piece of glass bolted on the front of the camera, even when twinned with a relatively physically small, can seemingly do.

We’re pleased to report that the camera delivers the well-saturated colour-rich results that we’d normally associate with the Kodak brand. Detail is noticeably impressive too - picking out subtleties of detail on the stem of a flower for example that we’d usually only expect to see provided by an interchangeable lens camera. OK, so if we look closely enough at the corner of an extreme wideangle shot we’re seeing a softening of detail and if shooting towards the other end of the zoom to draw faraway objects closer it can sometime take two or three shots to end up with one that’s sharp enough when shooting handheld.

But in summation better than we’d expect of a snapshot camera and better than we’d have any right to expect of one costing £250 through Argos.


There are 5 ISO settings available on the Kodak PixPro AZ521. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Kodak PixPro AZ521's 52x zoom lens offers an incredibly versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Kodak PixPro AZ521 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg



The Kodak PixPro AZ521 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The flash settings on the Kodak PixPro AZ521 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Off, On and Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (1248mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (1248mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any significant red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Kodak PixPro AZ521's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 800.


Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg