I had the chance to play a little bit with Olympus entry level offering in DLSR arena, the E-410 when my friend bought it yesterday. Back then, I was considering to purchase E-410 as my first DSLR, but in the end, picked the Pentax K100D instead.
My friend purchased the two lens kit package, so the unit comes with two lens, the ZD 14-42 F3.5-5.6 and ZD 40-150 F4.0-5.6, perfectly covering your walkaround needs.
The build quality of the body is very good, compared to the cheap feeling that I get from the D40 and 400D. The same thing goes to the build quality of the lenses, too bad the lens mount is made of plastic.
My first impression was.. the size. This thing is so damn small for a DSLR, comparable to the old Nikon FM10, making my K100D looks like a Godzilla. Without the lens mounted, it was only slightly larger than my Canon PowerShot A640. One of the cause is the missing right hand grip that usually available on a DSLR. I don’t really have a large hand, but after regularly handling the bulky K100D, the minuscule size of E-410 felt uncomfortable in my hand, especially when handling it with single hand. But on the other hand, the E-410 might fit snugly in my friend’s hand, since she has smaller hands than mine.
The E-410 has plethora of functions for an entry level DLSR. One feature that I really like is the custom White Balance that enable you to input the specific value of kelvin for the specific occasion. Browsing through the setup menu is confusing at first. Options can be set either using the top wheel, or the D-pad at the back. Still, I prefer the straight forwardness of K100D menus 😛
One feature that I use a lot that missing from the E-410 is the top LCD found in the higher end E-510, thus all setup function is done on 2.5″ back LCD panel, just like the D40 & D60. I’m really happy that Pentax equipped the K100D with the top LCD, the feature that I use a lot. But on the negative side, that LCD panel is not backlighted, and since it’s impossible to set the aperture and/or shutter speed via K100D’s back LCD screen, your only option to set them is by taking a peek into the viewfinder. Also on more thing, since it was so small, the top of the camera felt cramped with two dial controls, shutter, EV buttons on the right side, and shooting mode and flash buttons on the left side. A lot of times I found myself accidentally press either the shutter or the EV button when scrolling with the dial control.
And then come the Live View. Just like the E-510, the LCD at the back of the camera can be used to compose shots, just like any pocket digital camera. I once tried this feature on E-330, and find it handy when shooting macro or on anytime your head is not at level with the camera. But unlike the E-330 (and like E-510), the the LCD doesn’t flip up, somewhat minimizing the usefulness of this feature.
From shots that I have taken, At 10Mpix, the E-410 captures much more detail compared to my K100D. And just like E-510, it captures colors beautifully. Unfortunately, I haven’t got the time to truly test the E-410, since it was already dark and raining when we finally got out of shop, so I will update this post as soon as I get the chance to play some more with it.