Take a look at the picture quality from GE's inexpensive 10x zoom ultracompact, the E1410SW.
These are 100 percent crops from the center of our test scene. Like most budget-oriented compacts, the GE E1410SW has its limitations. It's best used outdoors with good lighting using ISO sensitivities below ISO 400. Fine detail is never very good -- especially when photos are viewed at larger sizes -- but once you get to ISO 400 and above, subjects just look soft and lack detail. That means that shots indoors, even with flash, won't be good for much beyond Web use at small sizes. However, for a lot of people, that's all that's needed.
Under ideal conditions, you'll be able to get shots good enough for 4x6 prints and the occasional 8x10 as long as you don't do much enlarging and cropping. I would not consider this camera if you're going to be doing a lot of low-light shooting.
Also, the camera's auto modes are aggressive about raising the ISO when you have the flash off. When possible, switch to the camera's Manual mode and set the ISO to 100 outside in good light and to ISO 200 or 400 indoors for better results.
Color performance is good. Subjects look bright and natural when shot outdoors in good light. Results indoors are a little mixed depending on your lighting, which is typical of lower-end (and even some more expensive) compacts. What was irksome was that nothing looked particularly good on the camera's LCD, which made most everything look overly cool.
The lens offers a useful range going from a wide-angle 28mm (top), which is nice for group shots and landscapes, and out to a 280mm that's helpful for framing up portraits or getting closer to distant objects (bottom).
There is some barrel distortion in photos taken at the wide end of the lens (top) and some minor pincushioning when the lens is extended (bottom). The lens' center sharpness is good, but it gets much softer out to the sides and in the corners. There was also a fair amount of fringing around high-contrast subjects, but except for extreme cases, you may not notice it when photos are viewed at small sizes.
Unfortunately, the barrel distortion is a bit worse in video, so if you're shooting a movie with the wide end of the lens, you may end up with some barrel distortion. Extending the lens a little helps correct it.
In Manual mode you can choose different color modes to shoot in. From top left to bottom right: Normal, Vivid, Retro, Black and White, Negative, 70s Film, Pop Art, and Rock. These are also available in the playback menu, should you want to add an effect to a photo you took in another mode.
In Manual and Auto modes, there is an HDR setting that can be accessed in the main menu system. Turn it on and the camera will quickly take a few shots at different exposures and combine them into a single shot with a more balanced exposure. The photo on the left is with HDR on, the right with HDR off. It's worth turning on if you aren't shooting a moving subject and you're dealing with extreme highlights and shadows.
Mixed in among the scene-shooting options are a couple extras like a multiexposure setting that captures six successive shots combined in a single photo, and Panning Shot, which will keep your subject in focus while blurring the background.
The E1410 has an easy panorama shooting mode called Pancapture. Take a shot and slowly move the camera to the left or right, lining up a crosshair with an onscreen target. Once lined up, the camera fires the next shot. Do it a third time and the camera will then take the three shots and stitch them together. It works well, but with this method, any subject moving through your scene may appear two or three times, such as the man with the red shoes in my shot who ends up in both the far left and center.