Olympus Stylus 410
At a Glance
We attracted a lot of attention while we were out testing the 4-megapixel Olympus Stylus 410. It has a stylish look, with gold highlights on a metallic, champagne-colored body. But besides having good looks: The Stylus 410 is "weatherproof," according to Olympus, with rubber seals on each cover or opening to keep out rain or the occasional splash of water. (It's not rated as an underwater camera, however.)
Unfortunately, in our image quality tests, the Stylus 410 earned mediocre scores, including an overall score of fair. It washed out skin tones in our flash test, and our outdoor shot had an indigo cast and noticeable speckling in the pure, blue sky.
The camera is easy to use. To turn it on, you slide back the front cover, which in turn extends the camera's 3X zoom lens. Olympus gave the Stylus 410 a simple set of controls (sufficient for snapshot photography) including a comfortable zoom rocker positioned perfectly for your thumb. Changing a basic setting, such as macro mode or flash, requires only a couple of presses of the camera's four-button control pad. Unlike most cameras, the Stylus 410 lacks a dedicated mode dial; instead, a virtual dial pops up on the LCD, and you make your picks by pressing the right and left navigation buttons. Eight different modes help you with a variety of shooting situations, from a beach scene to a fireworks display. For more-complex functions, such as Panorama mode, you have to work your way through a fairly small number of menus. Though the Stylus 410's 1.5-inch LCD screen is relatively small, it's bright enough to let viewers easily view images on it, even in sunlight.
The Stylus 410 shares two problems with its close cousin, the Olympus D580: The instant review seems too short and is not adjustable, and erasing images is laborious. The 16MB XD Picture Card that Olympus bundles with the Stylus 410 can store no more that six images at the camera's highest quality setting. And though the basic printed manual is better than the D-580's, you'll have to read the reference manual included on the software CD to fully understand your camera.
The Stylus 410's lithium ion battery is easy to carry on the road. In our battery tests, we got a slightly above-average 250 shots from a single charge. A bundled wireless remote trigger is a nice bonus.
When the going gets damp, the Olympus Stylus 410 lets you keep shooting. But if you want a camera that produces pictures of better than snap-shot quality, you may be disappointed.
Olympus Stylus 410
4-megapixel resolution, 32MB XD-Picture Card, 35mm to 105mm focal range, 320 by 240 video with audio, 6.6 ounces. One-year warranty on parts and labor, 13-hour daily toll-free support.