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

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.

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