GE's cameras are all about value, delivering some very good specs at an affordable price. That's certainly what you get with the E1410SW, a 10x zoom ultracompact camera that's loaded up with a 14-megapixel CMOS sensor and some nice shooting features at a price under $160.
Specs and shooting features don't necessarily translate into good photos and movies and fast shooting performance, though. What you get with the E1410SW is a bit of a mixed bag; its pictures and videos are on par with other lower-end point-and-shoots, but it is a bit speedier in some areas, such as burst shooting, which you typically won't find at its price.
Like most budget-oriented compacts, the GE E1410SW has its limitations. It's best used outdoors with good lighting and 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 taken 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 shooting 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.
Video quality is pretty good, too, but it suffers from the same issues as the camera's photos. In good lighting you'll get nice-looking movie clips suitable for Web sharing; low-light video isn't as nice, though. The zoom lens does move while recording and there is continuous autofocus. However, while the lens is moving, the mic is dampened so you hear less of the movement. Audio quality in general is merely passable.
The E1410SW is not a terribly fast camera, but it's not as slow as some competing models. Its speedy CMOS sensor gives it some better shooting speeds -- particularly burst shooting -- than similar models with CCD sensors, but it's still not a camera I would readily recommend for capturing sports, wildlife, or active kids and pets.
Part of the problem is its time to first shot; every time you turn on the camera the flash defaults to Auto, which means you're waiting about 4 seconds to take that first shot. The same thing happens when you change to different shooting modes, too. For instance, if you're in Auto and turn the flash off and then change to Manual, the flash kicks back on. However, even with the flash off, the camera takes a few seconds between shots and can be slow to focus and shoot with the lens extended.
If you need to shoot faster than that, there is a continuous-shooting option that can capture at up to 10 frames per second at full resolution. This is your best bet when shooting fast-moving subjects; however, the focus and exposure are set with the first shot so there's a chance only your first shot will be in focus. Shutter lag -- the time from pressing the shutter release to capture without prefocusing -- is usually long on lower-end cameras, but that's not the case here: the E1410SW does well with a lag of 0.3 second in good lighting and 0.5 second in dimmer conditions.
Features and design
Again, GE offers a lot of features at a reasonably low price. You get the 10x zoom, a large 3-inch LCD, full HD movie capture at 30fps with a one-touch record button on top, and Micro-USB and Micro-HDMI ports.
The lens offers a useful range going from a wide-angle 28mm, which is nice for group shots and landscapes, and goes out to 280mm, which is helpful for framing up portraits or getting closer to distant objects. The LCD is less impressive. It is big and gets fairly bright, but subjects looked overly cool and colors quickly invert when you're shooting anywhere above eye level.
|Key specs||GE E1410SW|
|Dimensions (WHD)||3.9 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.7 inch|
|Weight (with battery and media)||5.2 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||14 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CMOS|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||3-inch LCD, 230K dots/None|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||10x, f3.2-5.6, 28-280mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (.MOV)|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,320x3,240 pixels/1,920x1,080 at 30fps|
|Image stabilization type||Optical and digital|
|Battery type, CIPA rated life||Li-ion rechargeable, 170 shots|
|Battery charged in camera||Yes; via USB to AC adapter or computer|
|Bundled software||Arcsoft Photo Impression (Windows)|
The camera's controls are large enough to press easily and its interface is simple enough to learn quickly. There are a few minor details that could be better, such as the video record and power buttons essentially being right next to each other and the same tiny size and shape, but no real deal breakers. Well, maybe one.
As mentioned earlier in regard to the camera's flash, every time you shut down the camera, it returns to its default settings. This extends into other settings, like ISO, white balance, AF mode, and exposure compensation. If you're the type to leave Auto and like to take some control away from the camera (which in the case of the E1410SW is how you'll get the best results), you may want to skip this camera. Even changing shooting modes wipes out your setting changes.
Another source of frustration might be the battery life. It's CIPA rated for 170 shots, which is low to begin with, but my battery never reached that mark and was exhausted at about 100. Using the lens a lot, shooting video, or using the burst-shooting features will drain the battery faster, but regardless, you'll probably want to pick up a secondary battery. The battery is charged in camera, too, so you'll need to plan ahead if you're going to be out shooting all day.
|General shooting options||GE E1410SW|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|White balance||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Fluorescent CWF, Incandescent, Manual|
|Recording modes||Auto, Manual, Face Beauty, Scene, Panorama, Movie|
|Focus modes||Center AF, 9-point multi AF, Face Detection AF, Object Tracking|
|Macro||1.9 inches (Wide)|
|Metering modes||Multi, Center-weighted average, Spot|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||Unlimited continuous|
Shooting modes are geared for snapshooters, so you won't find a lot of fine controls for shutter speed or aperture, or anything else really. The Manual mode is simply the type of Program Auto mode that you'll find on just about any camera. In this mode, you can pick settings like metering, white balance, exposure compensation, and ISO, though the latter two are somewhat hidden; you have to hit the Set button to change them instead of going to the logical place under Menu. You can also choose different color settings in Manual: Normal, Vivid, Retro, Black and White, Negative, 70s Film, Pop Art, and Rock. (You can see examples of these in the sample picture slideshow.)
There are two automatic modes, one for just quick and easy snapshots and an auto scene recognition option that selects an appropriate scene mode for what you're shooting, such as close-ups, landscapes, or portraits. There are a total of 25 scene modes, though, should you want to select a specific one for what you're shooting or take a shot with a specific effect like a frame or fish-eye distortion.
The E1410SW also has a couple extras like HDR (high dynamic range), easy in-camera panorama creation, and a Face Beauty mode for softening skin. HDR can be applied in playback, too, should you want to quickly reveal shadow details. Face touch-ups can also be done after the fact, with skin softening, red-eye reduction, and eye-brightening and enlargement tools in playback.
Conclusion: Recommended with reservations
The GE E1410SW is a decent camera for the money. It's best suited for someone needing a simple automatic point-and-shoot with a long lens to stick in pocket or purse for casual snapshots in daylight to be used for small prints or Web sharing. I know, that's a lot of qualifiers, but that's the case for a lot of sub-$200 cameras. The benefits to getting this model are the lens, the size, and the extra shooting options including fast burst shooting, which, again, you won't find on many, if any, new cameras at this price.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
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