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.