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Taking pictures

Overall I enjoyed using the DC265, it's a surprisingly rewarding camera to use, gone are the long delays and annoyingly slow startups of the DC260 and with almost every click of the shutter you're rewarded with a high contrast, sharp and colourful image (I'll talk more about image quality in that section). And it's fast enough to get back to you and let you take more and more shots (at least until the internal DRAM is full.. Then you'll have to wait). Some of the controls were a bit fiddley but that's just a get-used-to-it thing.

The assisted light focusing works pretty well in all light levels, although the DC265 is NOT a low-light performer. It's also not a macro performer, maybe I've been spoilt by the Coolpix 950 but the DC265 doesn't even have a specific macro mode and has difficulty focusing at anything closer than 30cm (no lens thread either, so no easy way to add a macro lens), even the Pro70 is better than this!

The flash is one of the strong points of this camera, it's BIG, I mean it's just BIG on the camera, and Kodak got the programming just right nearly every flash shot I took was perfectly balanced and colours were bright and not at all washed out or pasty (take a look at the first shot in the samples gallery as a testimony to that).

There are annoyances though, the zoom is pretty noisy which means no candid pictures here. Switching on and off can be a pain as you DO have to wait quite a while for the lens to extend / retract. The LCD is the weakest point on the DC265, as long as the camera is completely still you'll get a FAIRLY good representation of what you're going to get (if you ignore the noise, floating streaks of brightness) but as soon as you move the camera, even a little the image just gets blurry, discoloured and pretty ugly (see Body Page One). Once you TAKE the shot then you get a lovely image.

Sometimes if you're trying to take shots closer than 50cm away you'll quite often get "Out of range" even though the image isn't actually out of range, repositioning or switching to single-spot focus sometimes fixes this but it is a weakness of the focus system.

Timings

(Average of three actions)

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Notes
OFF to CAPTURE 6  
OFF to REVIEW 6  
CAPTURE to REVIEW 2.5  
REVIEW to CAPTURE 2.5  
REVIEW: Image to Image (Best) <1.0
7.0
First timing is "rough display"
Second is detailed display (1536x1024)
REVIEW: Image to Image (Super) 1.0
8.5
First timing is "rough display"
Second is detailed display (1536x1024)
REVIEW: Thumbnail view <1.0 Three images per thumbnail view
PLAY: Zoom-in (x2) <1.0 You can't zoom-in until detailed image is displayed
Shutter release PRE-FOCUS 1.0 - 2.5 (half press shutter release button)
Shutter release LAG 0.7 (full press shutter release button)
Store before take next 2.0  
Store 1536 x 1024 SUPER 21.0

All these timings were measured as the amount of time the orange "writing" indicator was flashing the CF card bay, that is the amount of time before you'd be able to take out the CF card.

The more important time is the 2 sec figure above which is the amount of time between each frame (up to about 8 of 1536 x 1024 images).

Store 1536 x 1024 BEST 18.0
Store 1536 x 1024 BETTER 17.5
Store 1536 x 1024 GOOD 16.0
Store 1152 x 768 BEST 18.0
Store 1152 x 768 BETTER 17.5
Store 1152 x 768 GOOD 16.0
Store 768 x 512 BEST 13.0
Store 768 x 512 BETTER 12.0
Store 768 x 512 GOOD 10.0

File sizes

Resolution / Quality Average size
Images on supplied
16MB CF card
1536 x 1024 SUPER 730 KB 18
1536 x 1024 BEST 600 KB 22
1536 x 1024 BETTER 580 KB 22
1536 x 1024 GOOD 450 KB 29
1152 x 768 BEST 380 KB 35
1152 x 768 BETTER 350 KB 38
1152 x 768 GOOD 250 KB 53
768 x 512 BEST 250 KB 53
768 x 512 BETTER 220 KB 60
768 x 512 GOOD 190 KB 70

Battery life

Traditionally here I'd start ranting and raving about how they'd only supplied Alkaline batteries and how they only last for half an hour.. But NO, Kodak have been smart enough to supply the camera with a charger and a good set of 1450mAH NiMH rechargeable batteries... What does this mean? Well, once you've got them charged (not that quick, 8 hours for a full charge.. I preferred to use my Maha C204F, only 4 hours) you can zip off and easily fill the supplied 16MB card (another good choice by Kodak, WHY oh WHY do we still get megapixel cameras supplied with 4 or 8MB cards??).

I managed to get around 120 shots on my 48MB SanDisk before the batteries started to give up (and that was over a few hours). Important thing here though is that the DC265 is a power monster, more so than previous cameras I've reviewed (and they were bad enough), so USE the supplied batteries AND get some spares (I used GP 1300mAH NiMH's as backup). Oh, and batteries get REAL hot inside the DC265.. Take care when removing them.

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