Kodak PixPRO Friendly Zoom FZ53 review: Great point and shoot camera for budget conscious. To see if the Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ53 could beat its smartphones, we took dozens more photos and videos.
We like this
Slim, portable design
High quality photos taken with ease
Use your intuition to control the situation
Impressive digital zoom
Video of low quality
Low light photos can produce noisy images
Kodak's PIXPRO Friendly zoom FZ53 camera is an excellent choice for budget-conscious buyers. It takes high-quality photos while maintaining the simplicity of a point and shoot camera.
The Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ53 was purchased so that our expert reviewer could fully test it and evaluate it. Continue reading to see our complete product review.
In an era when everyone owns a good camera, point-and-shoot digital cams like the Kodak PIXPRO friendly Zoom FZ53 are up against stiff competition. Although there is still an audience for basic digital cameras (mainly because they have more options to photograph than you could get with a smartphone), it is shrinking rapidly as smartphones get better and more advanced. To see if the Kodak PIXPRO friendly Zoom FZ53 is still a viable choice in this age of ubiquitous smartphones, we tested it.
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At 3.5" wide by 2.25' high and 0.62 inches thick, the Kodak PIXPRO friendly Zoom FZ53 digital camera measures in at surprisingly small dimensions. The camera is extremely slim, smaller than many phones, and can be easily slipped into your purse or pocket while on the move. It was also a bit too small to comfortably fit in your hand. It has a red front (but you can also get it in black or blue), a silver metal ring around its lens, and a rubber grip. All of the back of the camera are black with the three buttons that control power, video and shutter controls located on the right-hand side of the chassis.
For the buyer with a tight budget, this is a great option.
On the back is a large 2.7" LCD screen. There are several buttons on this screen and a directional pad that allows you to access additional functions such as timer and macro. The controls were easy to use and intuitive. Although both the SD and battery are located behind the same door, it is possible to open the door with the SD card out. However, the camera will turn itself off if the SD card is removed. The lens extends when the camera is turned on and silver rings are placed at the top of each cylinder. This little detail is a pleasant addition that shows a great deal of attention.
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It was easy to set up the camera. The camera was turned on after we had inserted the battery and placed the SD card into the slot. We were now ready to go after entering the date and time. It is important to note that the camera does not come with a memory cards. To save your photos, you will need one. The battery door proved a bit tricky when we first used it. We tried several times to shut the door before finally it worked. The problem disappeared after we tried closing and opening it several times.
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You can choose from resolutions ranging from 640 x 480 up to 16 MP with the Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ53. You can also save files at different compression rates, including fine and best. The smallest file size, however it can also cause the greatest photo degradation. We took photos on a wide range of lighting conditions to test the PIXPROFZ53's photo quality. This included landscape shots at daytime and night as well indoor photos taken in darker and lighter rooms. The photos look sharp in great lighting. On a sunny day, we took landscape shots of Chicago's skyline. The photos were stunning, even though my hands weren't the best. In similar circumstances, we tested the zoom as well as the digital zoom. Particularly impressive is the digital zoom. We still managed to get sharp images even at 6x digital zoom with very little noise.
It was harder to do at night. To capture the same shots, we used the "night landscape" scene mode. Without a stabilizer you will lose much of the clarity. Despite this, the photos turned out great when the stabilizer was used. Also, we tested the sunset photos on both auto and with the "sunset" mode. Both shots looked good and provided different depths-of-field—'sunset mode' focused automatically on the sun in the background while auto focused on the buildings in the foreground. Indoor shots produced different photo quality. Quality photos were produced in a moderately well lit area, but darker areas added visible grain.
Although Kodak says that the PIXPROFZ53 can record HD video, it may not capture the same quality as SD. If the image quality is poor, it doesn't really matter how many pixels are available.
Indoor shots were taken of our cat and they came out very poor. This is not surprising considering the camera was inexpensive. It's also not meant to record motion. Although the PIXPROFZ53 isn't as flexible as other cameras, its user interface makes it incredibly easy to use. You can adjust ISO and exposure for every shot with granular control via the manual mode. The exposure ranges from -2.0 to 2.0 by ⅓ increments and ISO starts at 80 and goes up to 1600.
The Kodak PIXPRO friendly Zoom FZ53 allows you to take panoramic photos and then stitch them together using software. The first shot is the most important. Next, the display will pull up transparency from the top edge of that image. The transparency is then matched to the scene and you take another shot. Panorama shots are not as good quality than normal photos. Use this mode to ensure that the image quality is not affected by file compression.
Kodak PIXPRO Friendly zoom FZ53 can capture video in these resolutions. The results were not very satisfactory when we tested at the highest resolution. Each movie that we shot was very grainy and loud. While it wasn't so obvious when shooting in well-lit rooms, the problem became more severe as we moved into darker ones. Even though the setting is technically HD, details were blurry. Although the PIXPROFZ53 claims to be capable of HD video recording, it may not capture the best quality. If the image quality ends up being poor, it doesn't really matter how many pixels are available. Older smartphones can take better videos at the same resolution setting. This camera will not capture HD video at high quality.
The Kodak PIXPRO friendly Zoom FZ53 has two primary functions: the ability to transfer photos to your computer, and in-camera editing. Importing photos into Apple's iPhoto was really easy with the PIXPRO FZ53—we just connected the USB and turned on the camera. We were able to download the photos from the software as soon as the software connected to our camera. You can connect the camera directly to your printer via USB, provided you have a USB-micro-to-USB-B cable.
Light editing software is available for the Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ53. The software allows you to adjust color settings and crop or rotate images. You also have the option of HDR or red-eye reduction. However, the options are limited. It's better to edit your photos on your computer, unless you have to send the photo from the camera directly to a printer. One fun option worth noting is'sketch, which transforms your photo into a hand drawn image using a black background with white outlines.
Kodak has set the MSRP of the PIXPRO Friendly zoom FZ53 at $90. This is in line with similar entry-level point-and-shoot cameras. The camera's video quality may not be very high, but it makes up for this with excellent photos and a cheap package.
Nikon COOLPIX A10 The entry-level point-and-shoot Nikon COOLPIX A10 camera is a Nikon COOLPIX A10. It's essentially the Kodak Kodak PiXPRO Friendly Zoom A53. It is priced at $75 and comparable to the PIXPRO FZ53. Coolpix has a very long time delay in taking photos. This is an issue. The Coolpix is also bigger than the PIXPRO FZ53 so it can be harder to tuck into a pocket.
Sony DSCW800/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera: The Sony DSCW800/B 21.1 MP Digital Camera looks very much like the PIXPRO Z53. Only difference is the increase in megapixels to up to 20.1MP for the DSCW800/B. If you were printing large images, the average photographer wouldn't be able to notice any difference. It's difficult to tell the difference between the DSCW800/B & the PIXPRO Z53 without a rigorous test.
An excellent point-and-shoot camera at an entry-level price.
The ideal choice for budget-conscious buyers who want a small, lightweight camera. The camera takes excellent photos and is easy to use. It's also very affordable, which means you won't need to worry about damaging expensive equipment when you go camping or on the beach. This is an excellent buy, as long you don't plan to shoot HD video.