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Image Quality

Overall I'm very impressed (enough?) by the DC265, images are generally sharp, well defined with bright well saturated (and more importantly ACCURATE), vivid colours, white whites and silky smooth skin tones. I was immediately impressed with colours from the DC265 they're much more saturated (but still not over the top) than other cameras (Pro 70 & Coolpix 950 included) and make the image that much more enjoyable and less likely to require retouching. I can only put this down to Kodak's years of experience in colour matching and developing.

Images are also sharp and pleasing, you always look forward to downloading the images and viewing them in full glory on a well calibrated monitor. Distant / very fine detail is slightly less than the newer 2 megapixel cameras but the DC265 is for sure no slouch.

Artifacts

Probably the most noticeable artifacts to be found in DC265 images is a "flat tone noise" which I can only put down to a smoothing / JPEG algorithm in the camera (unfortunately there's still no uncompressed format so I can't prove this). It appears as strange JPEG noise / spots on otherwise perfectly smooth features. I'm guessing that the DC265 uses some kind of smoothing algorithm (a) because most continuous tones in images are just that, continuous perfectly smooth gradients of colour (see the "green man" picture in the gallery) and (b) to get rid of noise and produce smaller JPEG files.

(click for full-size image)
In this example the wooden table shows JPEG artifacts / noise artifacts / smoothing effects.

Strange horizontal lines (hardly noticeable), which appeared on a few shots I took, but not repeatable or any theory on where they come from (interlaced CCD?).

(click for full-size image)
In this example (view the full image to see the complete effect) the image was used in portrait mode so the lines are vertical, however you can distinctly see odd interlacing lines...

(click for full-size image)Some long exposures turned red, in the shot here you can see (our lovely cat, Tammy) that the DC265 has had a real problem with this long exposure (2 seconds) and turned the whole image red (lighting in the room was incandescent and white-balance was on Auto).

I can only put this down to a white-balance error.



Compared to...

When writing this review I received several e-mail's from people asking to compare the Kodak DC265 to the Nikon Coolpix 950, so here are a few comparison shots between the two.

Kodak DC265 Nikon Coolpix 950
(200% blowups of a portion of the image below)
(click for full-size image) (click for full-size image)
1/125s, F3.4, Bias +1.0EV
 
1/130s, F5.9, Bias +0.7EV
(click for full-size image) (click for full-size image)
1/250s, F4.8
 
1/84s, F7.4
(click for full-size image) (click for full-size image)
1/125s, F2.8
 
1/64s, F3.4 **
(click for full-size image) (click for full-size image)
1/30s, F2.8, Bias +1.0EV
 
1/23s, F3.6, Bias +0.7EV

** This image was probably my fault, it could have done with a -0.3/-0.7EV compensation however I couldn't tell until I got back because of the poor performance of the 950's LCD in bright light.

Most noticeable is the more accurate, more saturated colours from the DC265, other than that there's very little between the two from an image quality point of view. Remember: the Coolpix 950 has many more manual features than the DC265, it also has a different aspect ratio (4:3) which makes for nearly 200 more pixels vertically (1600 x 1200 vs. 1536 x 1024 for the DC265).

UPDATE 3/June/99: On some of the sample shots what should have been red came out "hot pink", this was a known bug with the DC265 and has now been fixed by a user uploadable firmware update (update 1.03) which can be downloaded (DC265 users only) from:

ftp://ftp.Kodak.com/web/service/software/dc265/dd0621.exe

Example of before and after results here

More samples from the Kodak DC265 and Nikon Coolpix 950 can be found in the Mixed "Singapore Botanical Gardens" gallery:

Singapore Botantical Gardens (32 images) (posted 22/May/1999)

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