(click for larger image)

Probably one of the easiest cameras to identify, the unique square "futuristic" design often makes the camera appear to be bigger (in photographs) than it really is. In my hand it fits very well (being the same height as my palm) and the handgrip is just about the right depth for comfortableTripod screw location carriage. Add to that the addition of a hand strap (Nikon, where's yours?) and the DC265 is a comfortably sized and easy to carry camera. Weight balance is good, the batteries and CF card are in the hand grip which balances the weight well with the lens on the left, because of this CF cards and batteries can be changed whilst the camera is still on a tripod, however the tripod mount is not in line with the axis of the lens (optimal for panoramas) but is instead offset right of center of the body.

Rubber finger gripYou'll also note the carefully moulded thumb grip on the left hand bottom corner, this hints as to how to hold the camera for maximum stability and its corresponding rubber finger grip on the front left - shown here.

To get a better idea of the size of the camera I did a quick comparison (lens extended) with the Nikon Coolpix 950 and Canon Powershot Pro 70:

As you can clearly see the DC265 is slightly smaller width-wise than the 950 and Pro70 (which are about the same width), it's worth noting however that the DC265 is slightly taller than both other cameras. Weight wise the DC265 is just slightly heavier (very hard to tell) than the Coolpix 950.

Rear LCD Display

LCD in playback modeThe LCD on the DC265 is bright and clear when viewing images, the use of the Digita operating system displays information over the image. When you're taking a shot it doesn't provide you with any more information than the status of the space free on the CF card and internal DRAM (shown as bars along the top of the LCD).

There are a few niggles with the LCD:

  1. It's fixed, that means unlike many other digital cameras you can't tip or rotate it which means taking photographs low down or at odd angles becomes fairly difficult.
  2. In high contrast situations such as taking an indoor shot next to a window their is fairly noticeable streaks eminating from the bright objects straight across the preview image.
  3. Image preview is slow, jerky and covered in coloured artifacts. When you move the camera around you can see that the update is around 3-4fps however until the image "settles down" there are odd cyan and magenta streaks left behind from the movement (example below). The preview image is also quite grainy and turns almost completely RED in low light situations.

Example of coloured streaks

(click for larger image)These problems certainly don't make the LCD unusable, far from it, but they can become annoying at times and do make taking action shots very difficult. I did have one other problem which occured after switching from review to capture mode, the LCD became a jumble of pure noise.. The camera was operating correctly apart from that. A power-cycle fixed this problem and it did only occur once (battery power problem?).

Top "Status" LCD

The top status LCD displays the following information: flash mode (auto / red-eye / fill / off), exposure compensation (+/-2.0EV) / external flash aperture mode, picture type (still / burst / time-lapse), quality (best / better / good), battery status, IrDA status, pictures remaining and self-timer indicator.

The select and scroll controls directly next to the display are used to scroll through each option on the display and change the setting without having to go into the rear LCD menu system (details of controls later).

Battery and CompactFlash compartments

Battery compartment (click for larger image)

The battery compartment (4 x AA batteries, NiMH recharables included) is on the back edge of the hand grip (note that both the battery and CF comparments share the same hinge). After opening the battery compartment door their is a second "clip" which actually holds the batteries in (and connects them in series). Sliding this clip back exposes the batteries (a clever if a little cumbersome design).

Note the "heat" warning on the door, the DC265 is a battery monster and typically batteries come out very hot.

CompactFlash compartment (click for larger image)

On the front edge of the handgrip is the Compact Flash compartment, noteworthy here is that Kodak actually put the slot the right way around so that you can use the "finger lip" on the edge of the CF card to take the card out (CF's in the Canon Pro70 and Nikon 950 are difficult to extract because of the direction of the CF slot). Also noteworthy is the addition of an orange LED above the eject lever. This indicates when the camera is accessing (typically writing to) the CF card, this is something which differentiates Digita cameras (the Minolta Dimage EX1500 exhibits the same behavior) as the cameras will buffer images and write them out to the card even AFTER the camera has been turned off.