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Epson PhotoPC L-410 review: Epson PhotoPC L-410

Epson PhotoPC L-410

Eamon Hickey
4 min read
Epson's PhotoPC L-410 is aimed squarely at the casual snapshot photographer who wants a compact, inexpensive digicam. Although its images aren't as punchy as many snapshooters might like, the camera's 3X zoom lens, 4-megapixel resolution, and above-average burst and movie modes make it a good value. The Epson PhotoPC L-410 is your basic rectangular, silver box, but Epson rounded off its corners and generally gave it a clean look. It's very portable, weighing only 6.8 ounces with battery and media installed, and small enough to fit easily in a shirt pocket. The camera's shiny, plastic body feels adequately constructed, and we found it comfortable to hold and use.

A mode dial, a four-way controller, and just a few other controls are scattered around the top and back of the PhotoPC L-410, and we have no complaints about their placement. The menus, too, are minimal--occupying only one page in recording mode--and they're easy to understand and quick to operate.


Epson PhotoPC L-410

The Good

Compact and lightweight; better-than-average movie mode; burst shooting is faster than the norm.

The Bad

Images look somewhat flat; autofocus often gives up in very low light; long startup time.

The Bottom Line

This compact Epson should meet the needs of many bargain-hunting snapshooters.
For casual snapshooting, the Epson PhotoPC L-410's feature set is perfectly adequate. Exposure options and controls include programmed autoexposure mode, two scene modes (landscape and portrait), and exposure compensation to plus or minus 2EV. You can also set the sensitivity of the sensor to ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, or Auto. White-balance options include automatic and five presets, but there's no manual setting.

The L-410's lens is a standard-issue, 3X zoom that covers the range from 34mm to 102mm (35mm-camera equivalent). The widest aperture at wide-angle is f/2.8, while, at telephoto, it's f/4.9. In other words, this camera isn't ideal for taking close-ups in low light or capturing a big group of people in a room.

For still photos, the camera captures JPEGs only, and it saves them to its internal 16MB of memory or an optional SD/MMC card. You can choose from three resolution settings and two JPEG compression levels.

This Epson's surprisingly good movie mode can capture 30fps video with sound at 640x480 resolution. The length of your clips is limited only by your storage card's capacity.

As you might expect, the PhotoPC L-410 can print photos directly to selected Epson printers via an included USB cable, and it even has a set of built-in frame styles that you can add to any pictures that you print directly from the camera.

Performance is not the Epson PhotoPC L-410's strong suit, but it's adequate for a snapshot camera. Start-up time is a somewhat annoying 6.7 seconds, and shot-to-shot time is about 2.2 seconds or 5.6 seconds with flash. We measured the shutter delay including autofocus time at 0.8 second in good light and just slightly longer in dim light at 0.9 second.

Epson expended extra effort on the PhotoPC L-410's burst shooting mode, which can fire off 3fps without pausing, until your storage card is full. That's impressive, although we're pretty sure that a quicker start-up time and shorter shot-to-shot intervals would have been more useful to most buyers of this camera.

We found the PhotoPC L-410's autofocus system to be pleasantly quick and decisive in light levels all the way down to a moderately dim room. But in very low light, where many other cameras can still focus (albeit usually slowly), the PhotoPC L-410 often gives up. The camera's lens zooms fairly quickly, but its position cannot be controlled with very much precision.

The camera's 1.5-inch LCD, though small, is sharp and smooth. It shows 100 percent of the actual image. The optical viewfinder is tiny and fairly distorted, but it's not as dim as many others in this class. It shows about 86 percent of the actual image.

The built-in flash's maximum range with the lens at wide-angle is a fairly average 8.5 feet at ISO 100.

The Epson PhotoPC L-410's images are good, but we found that, compared to those from many other snapshot-oriented cameras, they often needed a bit more Photoshop tweaking to look their best.

Our test photos were detailed and sharp, as you would expect from a 4-megapixel camera. Noise levels at ISO 100 were also fairly low, which makes for smooth, clean shots. But colors, though accurate, were mildly muted. Combine that with the camera's slightly flat contrast and you get pictures that look a little less punchy than we'd expect. Visually, it's a relatively small issue as you can easily boost the punchiness in any image-editing program, but many folks won't want to take the time to do that. We also noted a slight tendency toward overexposure, and our blue skies often looked somewhat too cyan.

Noise at ISO 200 and ISO 400 was about average for a snapshot camera, meaning it's very visible at the latter sensitivity, but it probably wouldn't ruin a small print for most people's tastes. The lens produces moderate barrel distortion at its wide-angle setting and relatively modest pincushion distortion at telephoto.


Epson PhotoPC L-410

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Image quality 7