The compact and sturdily constructed Olympus E-410 (an updated version of the year-old E-400) is the baby of the Olympus digital SLR family, a 10Mp entry-level model that like its predecessor is the world's smallest and lightest DSLR on launch.
So, aside from the fact that the Olympus E-410 is retailing for almost half the original cost of the older model, what else is new?
For starters the Olympus E-410 features a faster internal processor to speed along image capture and processing, plus a larger all-new imaging chip, also seen in the E-510 and E-3, which Olympus has esoterically named the 'Live Mos' sensor.
This is claimed to improve handling of image noise – those tiny, grain like specs that can intrude into shadow areas of an image, particularly when shooting in low light or without flash. And it seems to work. You can bump the Olympus E-410's light sensitivity up to ISO1600 before noise starts to appear, which is impressive at this price point.
As with the E-400, with the Olympus E-410 you get a built-in dust-prevention system – here the grandly named Supersonic Wave Filter – to avoid undesirables intruding and attaching themselves to the camera's sensor when you're swapping lenses.
This is important, as such particles can appear as dark spots on your images, and nobody wants to spend a tedious day in Photoshop eradicating them all. Olympus's system simply vibrates the chip at high speed to shake them free.
As with all of Olympus' DSLRs, the Olympus E-410 uses a Four Thirds lens mount, meaning that any optic used provides twice the focal length of its 35mm equivalent; thus the 14-42mm kit lens offers the same range as a 28-84mm.
This is a definite advantage for anyone looking for a camera that won't leave your shoulders aching after a day's use – and so it's easy to forgive the Olympus E-410 for the factthat there's some fisheye-like distortion at maximum wide angle. For the most part images are sharp and colour is naturalistic, although we preferred the optional ‘vivid' setting.
For those not already wedded to a Nikon or Canon dSLR system, the Olympus E-410 appears the very definition of a bargain and an ideal entry point for the first-time dSLR owner.