The Flash is one of the DC290's strong points, it's big but maintains its composure, measured well and colour balance is excellent. Skin tones come out looking very healthy (no pasty gray looking individuals in the DC290 flash shots), and it's still powerful enough to light a good sized room. Red-eye reduction also worked pretty well with a pre-flash used to reduce pupil size before the main flash and capture.

Skin tone flash test, great colour, white background and accurate metering.
Good macro flash performance too, not washed out or overpowered by the flash (though looks like the auto-focus was a bit confused).
Another macro flash of a difficult subject.

Some drop-off on the plain white wall shot but not unacceptable.

Image quality modes

The D290 offers three different JPEG levels and now (and I can hear the cheers from the DC260/265 owners) a TIFF format!! Below are crops of the same shot taken at different JPEG and TIFF modes.

1792 x 1200 UNCMP TIFF
6,334 KB (!)
1792 x 1200 BEST JPEG
507 KB
1792 x 1200 BETTER JPEG
349 KB
1792 x 1200 GOOD JPEG
221 KB

1440 x 960 BEST JPEG
350 KB

720 x 480 BEST JPEG
171 KB

Ultra Resolution

Everyone was a bit puzzled by Kodaks choice to include an interpolated mode in the DC290, something which has always been associated with manufacturers attempting to mislead the uneducated buyer into thinking the camera has more resolution than it actually does. However, the DC290 already has a very reasonable 2.1 megapixels in HIGH resolution mode, adding an interpolated 3.3 megapixel mode seems odd at first, but it does have (some) benefits.

Below are 200% blowups of crops of the same shot taken at 1792 x 1200 HIGH resolution and 2240 x 1500 ULTRA resolution.

HIGH resolution (1792 x 1200) original
ULTRA resolution (2240 x 1500) original

Now, lets compare what detailed we'd get if we reduced the ULTRA image back down to 1792 x 1200 (it's original resolution before the camera interpolated it). This new image (right) shows significantly less JPEG artifacts (because we've merged them out) but isn't quite as sharp as the original 1792 x 1200 image...

HIGH resolution (1792 x 1200) original
ULTRA resolution (2240 x 1500) reduced to 1792 x 1200 using Photoshop Bicubic interpolation

Now lets try blowing up the HIGH resolution image to ULTRA resolution (from 1792 x 1200 to 2240 x 1500) using Photoshop's Bicubic interpolation.

HIGH resolution (1792 x 1200) interpolated up to 2240 x 1500 using Photoshop Bicubic interpolation
ULTRA resolution (2240 x 1500) original

As you can see there is a slight degradation interpolating OUTSIDE the camera (using something like Photoshop) as we're also blowing-up the JPEG artifacts *AND* we don't have the original GRGB RAW CCD data which the camera has (whether this is used by the DC290 in interpolation is unknown).

I supposed the question that would spring to most peoples minds is WHY? Well, sometimes you need to interpolate an image if you want to print it at a particular size.. for example a HIGH resolution 1792 x 1200 image @ 300 DPI would be 6" x 4", the same shot at ULTRA resolution 2240 x 1500 @ 300 DPI would be 7.5" x 5"..

Would I shoot in Ultra mode? Perhaps... there's no loss in reducing down to normal "viewable" sizes plus you get the extra pixels for printing.. You don't lose or gain very much either way..

Long Exposures

Here's a shocker.. Long exposures without noise.. Well, not no noise but certainly much better than ANY of the competition. Not sure how Kodak are doing it (taking a black frame first?) but the results are truly impressive. The four samples below were all shot using the "Long Time Exposure" option in the CAPTURE menu.

2.0s, F3.0
4.0s, F3.0
8.0s, F3.0
16.0s F3.0

If shooting at night / fireworks is your thing then you can't do better than the DC290 (at a consumer level).