Last year Kodak found themselves playing catch-up to the new league of 2 megapixel digicams. What was their reaction? The DC265, an excellent digital camera in its own right, but really what the DC260 should have been when it was first released, most peoples disappointment was no increase in resolution and no major improvement in image quality.
And so comes the DC290, based around that tried and tested body, Digita operating system and scripting engine, optics and overall control layout.
Changes (apart from the upgrade to a 2.1 megapixel CCD) are the long-awaited uncompressed TIFF format for images, slightly faster image processing, a new rubberised case back and handgrip, longer exposures (built-in up to 16 seconds) and a slightly larger 20MB CompactFlash card.
One thing that caught most people's eye about the DC290 is the big "3.3 megapixels" sticker splashed across the front corner of the box (and most press releases) Very slightly misleading I'd say. Essentially the DC290 brings a new in-camera interpolation "ultra" mode which produces a higher resolution image by stretching the original 2.1 megapixel image to 3.3 megapixels (1792 x 1200 to 2240 x 1500 or 1.25 x increase). I'll cover this in more detail later in the review, but there are actually some advantages to doing this in-camera. At normal shooting resolution Kodak have stuck (roughly) with the 3:2 image ratio of 35mm film so you get a few more pixels horizontally (192 actually) than other 2+ megapixel digicams.