The good news

That Kodak have solved several of the problems I found with the DC265, no more flat area noise / artifacts, long exposures are no longer dogged by a red glow and I can't find any horizontal banding.. good news.

Colours are excellent, bright and accurate, a little more saturated than I like but pleasing to the eye and just as with the DC265 the DC290 loves greens. My only gripe with the image quality of the DC290 is that it just doesn't have that punch, that depth and feel to it that I get from other 2+ megapixel digicams.. Images also seem softer and even sometimes simply out of focus.


Well, not that many I'm glad to report, there's no barrel or pincushion distortion and only a VERY SLIGHT chromatic abberation halo around overexposed areas (not enough even to report here), there was a slight moire effect visible on repeat patterns in certain circumstances.

Samples below are shown as the full image first followed by a 200% crop from the same image. Click on any image for the original untouched image.

Moire pattern
Moire pattern

Barrel Distortion
Pincushion Distortion
(Very slight, not noticeable)

Compared to the Nikon Coolpix 950

As you well know many people (including myself) still hold the 950 in high regard, challenged only recently by the Olympus C-2500L it still holds its own and produces the best all-round performance for the buck. That's why we're comparing the DC290 to the 950.. People considering the DC290 may also consider the 950, and the 950 makes a good 2 megapixel benchmark.

Samples below are shown as the full image first followed by a 200% crop(s) from the same image. Click on any image for the original untouched image.

Kodak DC290
Nikon Coolpix 950

As an overall shot there's very little to choose between the two (top shot) though the DC290 image does have that super-saturated feel to primary colours (something we've seen before in the DC265) I personally preferred the more neutral colour of the 950 but it's a tough call. The first crop shows more sharpness from the 950. The second crop shows that the DC290 didn't suffer from the colour filter array artifacts (blockiness in the yellow) seen in the 950 image.

Kodak DC290
Nikon Coolpix 950

At this stage in testing I'd normally take some crops from our standard poster shot, however our DC290 completely failed to take this shot correctly. Every attempt to shoot (fully automatic) ended up with a very dark image badly white balanced compared to the bright clear 950 image, I had no explanation for this and repeated this test several days later with the same results. Therefore I've made the images available below but without comment.

From a pure image quality point of view the two cameras are very closely matched, I feel the 950 had the edge on sharpness and its automatic exposure was flawless, that said the DC290 didn't exhibit some of the artifacts found (very close up) on 950 images, didn't suffer too badly from chromatic abberations or barrel / pincushion distortion.