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Kodak DC280

Review





Kodak DC280

This is the Kodak DC280 Zoom, a 2-megapixel digital camera that yields 1760x1168 JPEG images stored in one of three compression levels (Good, Better, Best).   It does not have an uncompressed image mode.   It does have a fast USB port for PC or Mac connectivity though.

The lens is a 2X optical (30-60mm equiv) zoom lens with an aperture range of F3 - F7.6 (Wide); F3.8 - F9.6 (Tele). There's also a 3X digital zoom feature. The normal focusing range is 0.5m to infinity with a macro mode that covers from 0.25m to 0.5m.

Exposure is automatic with a manual override of +/- 2 EV in 0.5 increments and features automatic white balance and shutter speeds of 1/2 to 1/755 of a second.  It has a builtin 4-mode strobe flash (auto, fill, redeye, off) covering out to 9.8 feet in wideangle.

Jump to the DC280 Specifications.



Kodak DC280

The buttons on the back are used with the graphical onscreen menus that are displayed on the 1.8" TFT color LCD.  I'd like to show you the menus but the DC280 does not send them out the video port. You can frame your shots using the LCD or the optical viewfinder.

The large command dial switches the camera between Capture, Review, Connect and Setup modes.



Kodak DC280

On the bottom from left to right is the CF card eject lever, the tripod socket, the LCD brightness adjustment is a recessed dial located above the tripod socket, on the right is the battery access door.



Kodak DC280

Top view, camera is powered on with the zoom lens extended.



Kodak DC280

Closeup view of the controls and data LCD display on the top of the camera. On the left is the selftimer and focus/macro buttons. On the right is the shutter release, flash mode button, and zoom rocker switch.

The LCD is displaying the selftimer as active, infinity focus lock, flash disabled, 32 pictures remaining in the current size and quality which is High and Best.



Kodak DC280

The DC280 is powered by four AA size alkaline, NiMH, NiCd or lithium batteries. They are quickly and easily changed due to the inline design of the battery holder located on the bottom of the camera.



Kodak DC280

The DC280 has a CompactFlash Type I card slot and comes with an 8MB card. Just above the the card is a green LED that indicates card R/W activity.



Kodak DC280

On the same side as the CF card slot we find the DC280's I/O ports all hidden behind seperate rubber covers.

Top to bottom: The DC IN port for the optional AC power adapter. Next is the Video Out port (NTSC or PAL, user selectable) for connecting to your TV or VCR. And on the bottom is the USB and Serial data I/O port for downloading to your computer.



Kodak DC280

Like the Kodak DC290, the DC280 comes with a large 20MB CompactFlash card and a set of four 1450mAh rechargable NiMH batteries and an 8-hour rapid charger.





Steve's Conclusion

The DC280 is a good choice for those who want a reasonably fast 2- megapixel digicam capable of creating images large enough for photo- quality prints up to 8x10" in size.  It is basically a fully automatic point and shoot type camera with a zoom lens that has some manual override capability. Because it looks and feels like a regular compact film camera, consumers going digital for the first time will be comfortable using it right from the start.

With the builtin USB port the DC280 is able to transfer image data to the user's computer without the need for an optional card reader. It comes with a set of high-power NiMH rechargable batteries and a convenient 8-hour rapid charger. This is a good move on the part of Kodak and adds real value to the overall package. They even give you a set of alkaline batteries to use as you're charging up the others.

The DC280's zoom lens goes from a very wide focal length of 30mm to just beyond normal at 60mm in 35mm camera equivalents. Along with this very wide focal length also comes a considerable amount of barrel distortion which is common to most ultra-wide lenses. It has a good macro (closeup) capability and unless you're dealing with bright or excessively shiny objects, the flash works quite well in macro mode too.

One thing the DC280 does that I don't like is that it has a very noticeable shutter lag time. Even when you're pre-focused with the shutter release pressed halfway, it's still a full second before the picture is taken once the shutter is fully depressed.

Image quality is everything and the DC280 produces the usual rich and well-saturated colors that we have come to expect from a Kodak digicam. There is a menu option to set the picture sharpness between Soft, Standard (default) and Sharp.   In High image size I didn't notice all that much difference although it seems to be very noticeable in the lower (Standard) resolution size.  I have posted examples of all three sharpness settings used in High resolution on the picture samples page.

In its resolution class and price point I think the DC280 will sell well. There's no denying that the Kodak brand gives it a certain edge over the "other digicams" as Kodak is synonymous with photography here in the U.S.   Ease of use, speed of processing and image quality considered, the DC280 represents a good value for the consumer.



Steve's DC280 Sample Pictures





Kodak DC280 Specifications

CCD Resolution:

1901 x 1212 pixels
Image Resolution: 1760 x 1168 pixels (high), 896 x 592 pixels (standard)
Image Quality Settings: Best, better, good
Image Storage: 20 MB KODAK Picture Card included. Stores 32 to 245 pictures.
Viewfinder: 1.8" TFT color LCD for review and preview, plus real-image optical viewfinder
Lens: Auto focus 2X true optical glass zoom
Digital Enhancement: 3X digital zoom
Lens Focal Length: 30 mm to 60 mm equivalent
Focus Range: Regular: 0.5 m to infinity
Macro: 0.25 m to 0.5 m
Exposure: Auto, or manual override (+/- 2 EV in 0.5-EV increments), automatic white balance and exposure lock
Shutter Speed: 1/2 to 1/755 second
Aperture Range: Wide: f/3.0 to f/7.6; Tele: f/3.8 to f/9.6
ISO Equivalent: 70
Self Timer: 10 seconds
Tripod Mount: Standard
Flash: Strobe flash (auto, fill, red-eye, off), range 1.6' (0.5 m) to 9.8' (3.0 m) wide and 1.6' (0.5 m) to 7.9' (2.4 m) tele
File Formats: JPEG (EXIF)
User Interface: Graphical, menu-driven, easy to navigate
Video Out: NTSC, PAL (user selectable)
Picture Overlay: Time/date stamp, borders
Special Effects: B&W mode; sepia mode; borders included; document mode
Interface: USB, serial, PC card
Power: 4 AA batteries (included) or AC adapter (optional)
Dimensions: 5.2"(w) x 2"(d) x 3"(h); 133 mm (w) x 51 mm (d) x 76 mm (h)
Certifications: VCCI, CE, FCC Class B, C-Tick, ICES-003 Class B, CCIB
Weight: 0.75 lb. (342 g) without batteries
Warranty: One Year






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