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GE E1410SW - digital camera review: GE E1410SW - digital camera

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The Good The GE E1410SW puts a wide-angle 10x zoom lens in an ultracompact package for an affordable price. It also has some nice extra shooting features you'd find on more expensive cameras in its class.

The Bad The E1410SW isn't great for low-light or indoor shooting. Its flash turns on automatically every time you start the camera or change shooting modes, which slows performance. Battery life is relatively short.

The Bottom Line While not without its share of photo and performance issues, the GE E1410SW is a fine ultracompact megazoom snapshooter for those on a budget.

6.1 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Image quality 5

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.

Photo quality
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.

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The E1410SW's flash turns on every time you start the camera or change shooting modes.

Shooting performance
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.

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The E1410SW has a Micro-USB port for charging and Micro-HDMI for connecting to a TV or monitor. Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

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