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Kyocera Finecam M410R review: Kyocera Finecam M410R


7.6

Kyocera Finecam M410R

The Good

Big zoom range for telephoto junkies; no buffer stall in continuous shooting; decent image quality; 30fps video capture at 640x480 pixels.

The Bad

Some important settings buried in menus; lens offers little wide-angle capability; somewhat long flash-recycle times.

The Bottom Line

A big zoom range and market-leading continuous-shooting speed combine to make this megazoom model a good option for telephotophiles and action fans.
Intro
Kyocera's 4-megapixel Finecam M410R, which sports a 10X zoom lens, may look like another me-too megazoom digicam, but the company says that speedy performance provided by a technology it calls RTune sets this model apart. We found that to be partly true, and when you add in the Finecam M410R's acceptable design and feature set, you have a serviceable midrange-to-advanced snapshot camera. Made of black plastic, the Kyocera Finecam M410R weighs 15 ounces with batteries and media installed, and it's fairly compact for a 10X zoom model. Its construction quality feels decent, and the grip is comfortable and secure.
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The knurled ring on the lens barrel is just for looks--it's not a functioning focus ring. The adapter ring that comes with the camera serves as a lens hood and lets you attach filters and accessory lenses.
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The zoom toggle falls comfortably under your right thumb. The three buttons to the left let you switch between viewing with the LCD and the EVF, pop up the flash, and apply exposure compensation, respectively.

A rear-mounted, four-way pad with a center Set button controls most of the Finecam M410R's functions, and the rest of the buttons and dials are well placed. The camera's menu system is fairly logical, but we disliked having to drill so far into it to change the exposure mode, the metering mode, and the ISO. The position of the top-mounted main command dial also caused us to inadvertently change shooting modes several times.

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Automatic, continuous shooting, video, scene, and playback modes are accessible via the mode dial, along with the camera setup menu. The Ext selection activates a range of manual settings in the menu system.
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The controller pad gives you quick access to flash and focus modes and lets you change aperture and shutter speed settings when you're in aperture- or shutter-priority mode. You also navigate LCD menus with the controller, and the Set button doubles as a quick review key.

The Kyocera Finecam M410R's feature set is aimed at telephoto lovers who want more than just snapshot capabilities but who don't necessarily need comprehensive manual controls. The 10X zoom lens covers a range from 37mm to 370mm in 35mm-camera-equivalent terms. Individual preferences vary, of course, but that range offers too little wide-angle capability for our tastes. The maximum aperture of the lens is f/2.8 at the wide end and narrows to only f/3.1 at the telephoto end, which improves low-light performance. You have a choice of spot or wide-area autofocus.

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You'll need a high-speed, high-capacity SD card to take full advantage of the Finecam M410R's fast continuous-shooting capabilities.

More unusual than its big zoom range is the Finecam M410R's ability to shoot continuous photo sequences at 3.3fps (frames per second) without ever pausing or slowing to clear the buffer, a benefit of the RTune image-processing engine.

The camera's exposure-mode options include programmed auto, shutter priority, aperture priority, and four automatic scene modes. You can choose from evaluative, center-weighted, and spot light metering, and you can use an easily accessible exposure compensation function to adjust your exposure plus or minus 2EV. When you activate exposure-compensation, an image histogram automatically appears on the LCD or in the electronic viewfinder, which is a nice touch. You can also set the camera to display the histogram full-time in record mode. White-balance choices include auto, four presets, and custom. Light-sensitivity settings range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which is unusually high for a consumer digicam.

This Kyocera captures still images in JPEG format only at two compression settings and four different resolutions. An impressive movie mode lets you record 640x480-pixel video with sound at 30fps in clips as long as your card capacity allows.

A lens-adapter ring ships with the Finecam M410R, allowing you to mount 52mm accessories such as filters and conversion lenses.

We were modestly impressed with the Kyocera Finecam M410R's responsiveness but not as bowled over as we had hoped, given Kyocera's bold claims about its RTune technology. On power-up, the camera's display makes it appear ready to shoot in a quick 1 second or so, but we could not actually get a first shot off in less than 3.6 seconds. That's reasonably good for a megazoom model but not earth-shaking. We measured shutter delay with autofocus at 0.8 second, also good but not class-leading. Likewise, shot-to-shot time is about 2.5 seconds with image review off (4.6 seconds with review on), which is again acceptable but not notably impressive. With flash, the M410R's shot-to-shot time extends to 8.6 seconds. The nonflash shot-to-shot numbers are puzzling because, in continuous-shooting mode, the camera can indeed capture 3.3fps without pausing or slowing until your SD card is full. That is impressive.

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With four rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride batteries, we captured 720 photos on a charge for a good but not outstanding performance.

Though we found the Finecam M410R's autofocus speed to be lackluster--thus, the decent-but-not-great shutter-delay time--the camera did do an unusually good job of follow-focusing moving subjects while maintaining 2fps in continuous shooting. The lens zooms relatively quietly and smoothly, but its zoom position is hard to control precisely, which can lead to framing frustrations.

Though the Finecam M410R's LCD is small at 1.5 inches, it's fairly sharp and usable in bright light. The electronic viewfinder is about average, meaning it's a tad jerky and not too sharp, but you can tell what you're looking at. Both show about 100 percent of the actual image.

Kyocera lists the Finecam M410R's maximum flash range as 14.4 feet, but the company doesn't specify at what ISO setting that measurement was made, which makes the claim somewhat suspect.

We were pleased with our test shots from the Kyocera Finecam M410R. Sharpness and detail are good for its class. Colors are accurate and vibrant. We noted some modest inconsistency in our exposures but nothing too serious. We also got good neutral skin tones.

Barrel and pincushion distortion from the lens, while present at the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom, respectively, are quite modest. We noted a few digital artifacts--mainly color fringing in several different hues--but these were relatively minor.

Noise in our test images was quite low at ISO 100 and reasonable at ISO 200. At ISO 400, noise is about average for a consumer digicam--that is, quite noticeable--and it's so bad at ISO 800 that we doubt many photographers would ever use that sensitivity setting.

7.6

Kyocera Finecam M410R

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8Image quality 8