With the E-410 (and originally the E-400) Olympus has finally realized the lightweight, compact digital SLR which we had hoped to see come out of the Four Thirds standard. From a design point of view the E-410 is quite reminiscent of the popular OM series, a clean and almost symmetrical layout with good ergonomics and a simple control layout. There are many plastics in this world, thankfully Olympus has used a nice quality 'glass reinforced' type for the E-410 body which provides a weight saving without compromising robustness or quality feel.
Side by side
The E-410 and Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi) are approximately the same width and height however the E-410 is considerably narrower and has a different type of hand grip which enhances this narrow appearance. In fact as you can see from the table below the E-410 becomes the lightest and slimmest digital SLR.
(W x H x D)
(inc. battery & card)
|Olympus E-410||130 x 91 x 53 mm (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)||435 g (1.0 lb)|
|Olympus E-500||130 x 95 x 66 mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)||479 g (1.1 lb)|
|Nikon D40||126 x 94 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)||524 g (1.2 lb)|
|Canon EOS 400D||127 x 94 x 65 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)||556 g (1.2 lb)|
|Sony DSLR-A100||133 x 95 x 71 mm (5.2 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)||638 g (1.4 lb)|
|Pentax K100D||129 x 93 x 70 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)||660 g (1.5 lb)|
|Nikon D80||132 x 103 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)||668 g (1.5 lb)|
The photo below properly demonstrates the difference in depth between the Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi) and the E-410, almost 10 mm in all. Note that the depth of the EOS 400D was measured using a digital caliper (the quoted depth appears to include the viewfinder eyepiece).
In your hand
The E-410 has a non-traditional SLR hand grip, in that instead of holding it in a 'gun grip' style you hook a single finger around the rubberized grip at the front of the camera in the same way you would hold a compact camera. Thankfully the E-410 is light enough to be held this way and is actually surprisingly comfortable.
Control panel display
Because of its lack of a separate status LCD the E-410 provides two levels of information on the main LCD monitor ('control panel' displays). These are accessed simply by pressing the INFO button. The first mode displays brief information, the second more detailed. You can press the OK button to change settings as they appear on the display.
The E-410 has a typical prism style viewfinder with a dioptre adjustment and a removable rubber eyecup (for eyecup accessories). The glass of the eyepiece appears to have an anti-reflective coating. Like every Four Thirds digital SLR before it the viewfinder view can be best described as 'small', a lack of magnification means that when you're looking through the viewfinder there does appear to be a lot of black space around the actual focusing screen. To be fair however it is quite bright, perhaps a little better than a typical APS sensor-size camera viewfinder.
Through the viewfinder (the layout is the same as previous Olympus 4/3 SLRs) you will see the center metering circle and three AF areas indicated. The center AF area is sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail, the two outer areas to horizontal detail only. The selected / in-use AF area is indicated on a half-press of the shutter release by a red circle (LED-like). To the right of the focusing screen is an LCD status column with various items of information including metering mode, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation etc.
The E-410 features a relatively small and lightweight Lithium-Ion battery; the PS-BLS1 which has a capacity of 1150 mAh at 7.2V (8.2 Wh). This fits into the base of the camera on the hand grip side behind a locked door. The battery takes approximately 3.5 hours for a full charge.