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Olympus E-410 Digital SLR - Olympus E-410 Digital SLR

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Nonetheless the E-410 still has much the same specification and performance as the E-510. It has shutter speeds of 60 seconds to 1/4000th, an ISO range of 100 to 1600, and the same excellent metering system, with evaluative, centre weighted, and three spot metering modes including highlight and shadow settings. It also has a similar selection of basic shooting modes, full auto, five special program modes, program auto, aperture or shutter priority and full manual exposure, as well as 20 scene modes, which is two more than the E-510 since it includes modes for the optional underwater case, and accessory which is not currently available for the E-510. The E-410 also matches the E-510 for shooting speed, with a continuous mode capable of three frames a second in SHQ resolution. It has the same very fast AF system, and the same low-light focusing ability, using a pulsed burst from the pop-up flash as an AF illuminator. It also has an identical viewfinder, which like other Four Thirds cameras is a little tunnel-like, but nice and clear.

It is in outward appearance that the two new Olympus DSLRs differ most. While the E-510 is a full-size SLR with a large handgrip, the E-410 has the same slim, compact design of the E-400. In fact it is exactly the same size and weight as its predecessor, measuring a tiny 129.5 x 91 x 53 mm and weighing only 375g body-only, making it one the smallest and lightest DSLRs on the market, and over 100g lighter than any of its immediate rivals. The lack of a large handgrip may feel a bit odd if you’re used to larger modern SLRs, but for anyone who’s been around a few years it will have a pleasantly nostalgic feel, reminiscent of old film SLRs such as Olympus’ own OM system. The slim profile does mean that the top plate is a bit crowded, especially on the right, but in actual use this doesn’t seem to present any problem, and the camera handles extremely well. It is also light enough to operate comfortably with one hand.

In terms of build quality the E-410 is well up to scratch. It has a very tough glass-reinforced plastic body which feels very solid and sturdy despite the camera’s low weight. As with the other E-series cameras the fit and finish of the controls and body panels is very good, so dust ingress isn’t likely to be a problem. The LCD monitor is nice and bright in playback and menu modes, and is also nice and sharp. The live view mode is a useful extra, but it is a little dark compared to the viewfinder, and in lower light the frame rate drops noticeably. As with the E-510, the AF system doesn’t operate while live view is active, so it does introduce some shutter lag, since the reflex mirror has to be lowered and raised again to enable focusing. This is especially noticeable in lower light conditions, where the AF may falter briefly.

spolky

January 16, 2009, 7:42 pm

My first DSLR was the highly-acclaimed (at the time) Canon 350D, and to be fair it did produce some cracking shots with the much-maligned and seriously underrated 18-55mm kit lens. However, I got fed up having to clean dust off the sensor every 30 minutes so I sold it - at a massive 𧹈 loss - and vowed not to buy another DSLR.





But soon was missing the sheer quality of images that no compact could ever match so I started looking around, and came across the Olympus stable of four-thirds, self-cleaning models. Despite most Canon & Nikon owners looking down their dusty noses at the little Oly, I decided that at a whisker under 𧷤 from my local Currys for the E410 and two lenses, it was a gamble I could afford to take. And I have never regretted that decision.





I swapped the 17.5-45 lens that appeared in the Currys kit, for the 14-42, bearing in mind that tiny Oly sensor has a cropping effect of 2x and I like shooting landscapes. But I hung on to the other kit lens - the magnificent 40-150 mm f3.5 - 4.5 which has proved to be a very nice lens indeed, being super sharp and fast-focusing. Best of all, there is no evidence to suggest these lenses suck in dust and dirt like the cheaper Canons used to. The 14-42 is also pin-sharp, and both lenses enable beautiful defocusing.





The E410 body is a little uncomfortable to hold due to being quite small, without a proper grip, and because the strap mounting rings are where you want to put your fingers! This makes hand-held shots with a lens the size and weight of the 40-150 very tricky, but not impossible. In anything other than full sunlight some sort of resting aid is needed at the 150 end. However the 14-42 is a very lightweight lens and equally good for landscapes and close-ups.





The image quality is great, and JPEGs require little post-processing. There are enough pre-programmed ‘scene’ modes to enable it to be used like a compact point-and-shoot, only with far superior image quality. The menus are easy to navigate and the screen is clear. However some of the buttons do not fall as easily to hand as I would like – again this is down to the size of the body.





If you shoot in RAW you will come unstuck with some image-editing software not recognizing the ORF files, and the supplied Olympus Master has some severe limitations. The trial version of Olympus Studio highlights the deficiencies of the free Master program, and is indeed an excellent piece of software – if you can afford the near-𧴜 price tag. It does produce some fantastic results from RAW files, but is a bit rich for my pocket because I already had PaintshopPro. But if you’re starting from scratch and don’t have any other photo-editing software, then I would thoroughly recommend Olympus Studio.





If you can find a decent kit at a bargain price like I was able to, then the Olympus has much to recommend it – it suits everyone from beginner to enthusiast, and the kit lenses are some of the best available. However other lenses and accessories (like flashes) are not cheap, and there are not enough around yet for them to be available cheaply on eBay. I certainly wouldn’t swap my Olympus, but if long zooms are your thing then it might be wise to spend a few more £££ and get the image-stablised E510/520. I have a good all-round camera kit for very little money, and when I can afford it, I’ll certainly be getting a second Olympus body.

Stephen Harrison

July 2, 2009, 4:57 pm

Hi,


I really enjoyed reading your reveue on the 410d Olympus. I purchased one 12 months ago now and I love it, it's my first digital slr and the kit that currys offered at the time looked to me to be the perfect start to digital slr photography. I like birdwatching and the 150mm zoom lens is very good for most things but I would like to buy a 400mm or 500mm lens to get in just that bit closer, but have been put of by the cost so far of a larger lens. I will keep looking.


Regards


Stephen Harrison


Northwich


Cheshire

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