by Joseph LaQuiere

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through photography of His created world"
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Olympus E-410 - Mini Review
December 11, 2007

A recent look at three entry level DSLR cameras from Nikon, Olympus and Canon

The Entry Point for a DSLR
My first DSLR (pseudo) was the Olympus E-10 and I enjoyed every minute with that camera.  By today's standards there certainly was a lot lacking but nonetheless for one of the first DSLR's on the market there were a lot of very well thought out features in that camera and even at 4 megapixles I was and remain extremely pleased with the images from that old E-10.  Since that camera and it's successor the E-20 I feel that Olympus has fallen short of their jump of the starting line.  The E-10 was not a true DSLR and was more like one of the compact supper zoom cameras.  However it had through the lens viewing a fast and excellent fixed lens, live view, articulated LCD, silent shutter operation.  There were many E-10s and 20s sold and many very content users, in fact the popularity and quality of these camera can be attested to by looking at the price this 7 year old long outdated camera commands on the used market.  I always felt something inspiring and fun when I picked up the E-10 to use it.  This is a feeling that I have been looking for in each DSLR introduced by Olympus since the E-10.  It has always puzzled me why Olympus did not build on the successful engineering of the E-10 and give it the things it lacked, a removable lens system, lower noise sensors, faster card write times and etc.  Instead Olympus seemed to go in a completely different direction and forsake all the success of the E-10-20 and adopt a completely new and different engineering mind set.  Then to make things worse their "New" camera did not come to market till three years after the release of the E-10 when they were now well behind the competition.

Ok if it sounds like I am a bit negative on the E-410 I make no apologies yes I am.  Like the E-300 that I reviewed previously the E-410 has nothing in my opinion to make it stand out from the competition and deserves the lower price that it retails for.  Would the E-510 have been a better comparison?  Perhaps so but the E-410 was the one that was available and does represent the entry point for Olympus. 

The only claim that the E-410 can make over the Nikon and Canon is the fact that it is smaller and lighter and it also offers Live View.  The live view feature however is slow and hardly useful except for a tripod mount studio situation.

Image quality is good and is certainly far above any compact digicam and at lower ISO settings is completely competitive with the other cameras in this trio. At higher ISO (above 400) the other two cameras head to the top of the heap with Olympus soundly at the bottom.

Update October 2008!

This review had been started with a combined review of a trio of entry level cameras the Nikon D40X  the Canon XTI and this one of the Olympus E410.  I never had the time to complete this page but the above paragraph sums up my opinion of this now outdated SLR and unfortunately, likely the new replacement model from Olympus, the E-420.  In fairness though I have never placed my hands on this new model.  We now are at the end of 2008 and Nikon has soundly put it's name back on the map with a slew of state of the art cameras with great ISO performance.  Canon has also released the, XSI and the XS models all which appear to soundly beat any of the Olympus offerings.  Last but not least we now have Sony which is fighting hard to be right there at the top with it's takeover of Minolta and legacy support of the Minolta lens line.  I will keep looking for something ground breaking from Olympus but this is the state of affairs to date.