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Olympus EVOLT E-410 Digital Camera Hands On First Look
by Ben Stafford -  2/27/2007

Today, Olympus is announcing their new EVOLT E-410 compact digital SLR and I got to spend some time hands-on with it a few days ago. The E-410 is a compact, 10 megapixel digital SLR that includes Olympus' Live View MOS sensor that lets you preview your images on the 2.5 inch LCD. It also features the new TruePic III imaging processor. The Olympus EVOLT E-410 will be available in three configurations: body only, a one lens kit, and two lens kit. The body-only price will be $699 when it starts shipping in May.

olympus e-410
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While I did get to spend some nice quality hands on time with the camera, it was a pre-production model. The E-410 unit that I had was functional, but not production quality, so I can't comment on performance, image quality, or menu entries. I am, however, able to discuss the feel of the camera and compare its size to the Olympus E-510, which is also being announced today.

Hands On Impressions

The body of the E-410 is definitely compact. The grip on the right side of the camera is not very pronounced and has nice texturized, rubberized panels to provide a non-slip gripping surface. It took some adjustment for the camera to feel comfortable in my hand - I had to kind of lay my fingers down on the front of the camera instead of keeping my fingers perpendicular to the grip. Personally, I like the grip on the Nikon D40 a bit better - but that's really a matter of personal preference (and hand size).

olympus e-410
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The E-410 is well built. The outer case of the body is plastic (over a metal frame), but it has a nice matte-black, textured finish. The battery compartment (accessible on the bottom of the camera) is separate from the memory media compartment (right side of the camera) which makes it easy to swap out memory media when you need to.

Even with the smaller 14-42 mm lens mounted on the camera, it felt a little unbalanced to me. It felt like it wanted to tip forward just a bit. While shooting, with a supporting hand under the lens, this won't be a problem, but it could be a cause of fatigue if you hold the camera with only your right hand while not shooting.

Like other entry-level, compact digital SLRs, there aren't as many shortcuts to the camera settings so as not to intimidate first-time users. Many SLRs allow one-touch access to AF modes, metering modes, white balance settings, etc. To change these on the E-410, you need to access the info screen, navigate to the setting you want to change, and then change your setting. However, there are dedicated buttons on the E-410 to toggle flash modes, the drive modes, and exposure compensation.

Features

In my opinion, the top feature, especially in this entry level digital SLR segment, is the Live View LCD. A lot of people who have been using a point and shoot are very reluctant to give up the nice large "viewfinder" that is called an LCD. With the E-410, you get a compact size and you can actually preview your images on the screen - not through a viewfinder. The LCD also has 230K pixels of resolution. The Live View LCD is also very handy if you use the optional underwater housing and take the camera diving.

The E-410's 10 megapixel resolution means that you have plenty of data to print very large prints or do a lot of cropping. The Live View MOS sensor sports low power consumption that prevents sensor heating and helps reduce noise.

To keep the sensor clean after repeated lens changes, the E-410 includes the Dust Reduction system seen on previous E-system cameras. The Supersonic Wave Filter uses ultrasonic vibrations to knock the dust off onto an adhesive membrane.

The E-410 gets a new processor, the TruePic III. Developed for Olympus E-Pro camera, the Truepic III offers faster speeds and better image quality than its predeccessors. Image write times to media are faster, start-up is faster, and connectivity is faster. As far as image quality, the TruePic III, according to the press materials allows for less noise, more detail, accurate color and smooth color transitions.

Along with the announcement of the two new digital SLRs (the E-410 and E-510) is the introduction of two new Four Thirds lenses. These lenses were announced outside of the US, along with the E-400, but this is the first time they' ve been announced in the US. The new lenses are the Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-f5.6 and Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6.


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The E-410 will have pretty much the same compact dimensions as the E-400 that was announced outside of the US a few months ago. The E-410 is 5.1 inches by 3.58 inches and 2.1 inches. The body alone weighs 13.4 ounces.

olympus e-410
E-410 on left, E-510 on right (view large image)

olympus e-410
E-410 on left, E-510 on right (view large image)

Since the E-410 is targeted right at the first time digital SLR user, there are plenty of shooting modes, in addition to your typical advanced exposure modes. There are modes like Digital Image Stabilization, Night Scene, Fireworks, Beach and Snow, Underwater, and Candle Light.

The camera gets a new high-powered lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack and can accept both CompactFlash and xD-Picture Card memory media.

As I mentioned previously, the E-410 will start shipping in May 2007. The body will be priced at $699. The one lens kit (camera and 14-42mm lens) will be priced at $799, and the two lens kit (camera, 14-42mm lens, 40-150mm lens) will be priced at $899. An optional underwater housing with five lens ports and a flash housing will allow you to take the camera to depths of 131 feet.

Pictures

olympus e-410
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olympus e-410
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olympus e-410
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olympus e-410
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olympus e-410
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olympus e-410
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Basic info screen

Detailed info screen

White balance selection


Scene mode selection

 

Additional Specs