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Taking pictures

The DC280 is a solid build, feels pretty good in your hands and operates as you'd expect. The zoom is kind of limited from a nice (slightly wide but completely barrel distortion free) 30mm to a just beyond "normal" 60mm. Switching to macro mode locks the zoom at 60mm.

Operation is quick, although you're aware that the camera takes quite a while to write out to the CF card (the activity LED indicates when the camera is writing to the card). The LCD refresh is an improvement on older Kodak's but still isn't up to the quality of other digicams and still has little "sparkles" of colour noise in shadows.

Timings

Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. In record mode the "live preview" image comes back about a second after the review image is displayed, you can take a shot soon after this (around 2 seconds recycle time) for up to 4 images (filling the internal memory buffer) If the camera is not ready the RED light on the viewfinder will light.

Timings below are time to take-and-store the image, from the moment the finger is RELEASED from the shutter release button to the time the green light LED above the CF card slot stops flashing. Note, that the camera will allow you to take another shot before the light stops flashing but will not allow the camera to power-down.

Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 1760 x 1168 (HIGH) JPEG image @ BETTER quality compression.

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Notes

CAPTURE mode:
OFF to CAPTURE 3.5 Time is taken mostly be lens extension
CAPTURE to OFF 3.0 Time to retract lens
CAPTURE to REVIEW 2.2  
Auto Focus LAG 1.4  
Shutter Release LAG 0.4 Noticeably slow, note: pre-production
Store 1760 x 1168 BEST 35.0 Again, obviously slow times. This can probably be put down to the fact that this is a pre-production camera, I will update these times when a production model is made available.
Store 1760 x 1168 BETTER 31.0
Store 1760 x 1168 GOOD 27.0
Store 896 x 592 BEST 24.5
Store 896 x 592 BETTER 23.0
Store 896 x 592 GOOD 23.0

REVIEW mode:
OFF to REVIEW 3.2  
REVIEW to CAPTURE ~1.0  
REVIEW: Image to Image 2.7 Initial image appears instantly
REVIEW: Thumbnail view ~1.0 As quickly as the menu appears
REVIEW: Zoom-in 2.7  

File sizes

Notes: All file sizes as an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary wildly depending on the content of the image (especially the amount of detail captured). For example, take a photograph of a fairly empty wall and you'll get a small JPEG, take a photograph of a bush with a lot of detail and you'll get a larger image. File sizes here are closer to the later, the larger size of file you should expect.

The estimated number of images per 8MB CF card is give as a guide to beginners. It is always recommended that you get a larger CF card.

Image resolution / mode File Size (KB) No. images per
8MB CF card
1760 x 1168 BEST 600KB 13
1760 x 1168 BETTER 400KB 20
1760 x 1168 GOOD 320KB 25
896 x 592 BEST 180KB 45
896 x 592 BETTER 120KB 66
896 x 592 GOOD 50KB 160

Battery life

Battery life is a very variable thing, and as most digicam users will know using ordinary alkaline batteries such as the 4 AA's supplied with a digicam won't last you long enough to fill up your 8MB CF card. Thats why I always recommend the use of NiMH rechargables and a good quality charger. (I use GP 1300mAh NiMH rechargeables and a Maha C204F charger).

The DC280 I had seemed to have a bug which reported the battery as half empty even on a freshly charged set, this meant that I only got about 1/2 the life out of them before the camera refused to operate (flashing battery light). I'll update these results when I receive a production camera.

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