Kyocera Finecam M410R Review

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Kyocera M410R

Steve's Conclusion

The Finecam M410R is the first "Super Zoom" camera we have seen from Kyocera (as of June 2004) and combines a 4.0 megapixel imager with a high-quality 10x optical zoom lens. Its Auto exposure mode offers the less-experienced users with fully automatic operation, including adjustments for image size and compression quality. The more advanced users will appreciate its program AE, aperture priority, and shutter speed priority modes, with manual settings for ISO, white balance, metering, long exposure, etc.

One of the "key" features of this camera is its 10x optical (37-370mm 35mm equivalent) optical zoom lens. The wide angle end of the zoom range is average for "Super Zoom" digicams, and provides enough field of view to produce satisfying group and landscape photos. At full telephoto, the lens delivers a range that action and nature photographers depend on, which allows you to bring distant subjects up close and personal. The camera's zoom is smooth and quick with 17 steps, which allows ample flexibility for composing your shots. The lens produced sharp results throughout its zoom range, with a slight amount of barrel distortion at wide angle, and minimal pincushioning at full telephoto. When using a camera with a non-stabilized, long focal length lens, hand holding the camera may cause your images to be affected by camera shake (blurring of the subject.) While the M410R's lens is not stabilized, its maximum F3.1 aperture at full telephoto allows for faster shutter speeds and helps minimize camera shake. I would recommend the use of either a monopod or tripod whenever using the telephoto capabilities of such a camera. The supplied 52mm lens adapter is an excellent accessory, just be sure to remove it when capturing macro shots using the flash or the adapter will block a small amount of the flash coverage area (see examples below.)

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The shooting performance of the M410R is very impressive for a camera in this class. From power up to first image captured measured approx. 2.5 seconds. Shutter lag (the delay between focus lock and image capture) averaged less than 1/10 of a second when pre-focused and 4/10 of a second including autofocus. Shooting in single exposure mode, the shot-to-shot delay measured about 1.5 seconds without the flash and 2 seconds with the flash. The M410R has two continuous modes to choose from (High-speed continuous ,High-speed continuous with autofocus.) Using High-speed continuous mode, I captured 18 frames in approx. 4.8 seconds, that's approx. 3.3 frames per second. High-speed continuous with autofocus captured 18 frames in about 7.7 seconds. All tests were done using a Sandisk 256MB Ultra II SD card (which Kyocera supplied for testing), size/quality set at 2272x1704/Fine, preview off, flash off (unless otherwise noted), and all other settings at default. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.

The ergonomics of the M410R are good, the controls are well placed and functional, and the menu system is easy to navigate. The 1.5-inch DayFine LCD works great outdoors, even on the brightest of days. When using the LCD or EVF in low-ambient lighting conditions, they "gain up" to increase visability, which helps you frame your subject in these conditions. One thing Unlike other super-zoom cameras, the M410R's EVF and LCD do not freeze up or hesitate when the camera is trying to focus. This allows you to easily follow fast-moving subjects during continuous or rapid sequence capture.

I was pleased with our outdoor samples, the majority of the images were sharp, well- exposed, and nicely saturated. There was an average amount of noise in low/high contrast areas, and I did notice an acceptable amount of CA (Chromatic Aberration) at full telephoto in high contrast areas. I was also pleased with our indoor test shots, skin tones appear very natural, and for the most part flash pictures were properly exposed. When you are using the camera indoors, you will have to work within the range of the flash (about 14.5 ft. max. at the 37mm wide angle focal length.) This is sufficient for taking most landscape and group portraits, but like most of these digicams with a built-in flash, it lacks the power to illuminate large open rooms like gymnasiums, wedding chapels, etc.

The M410R is powered by four AA-type batteries, Alkaline, NiCD, NiMH, or Lithium photo cells. As always, we recommend the use of NiMH rechargeable batteries; they supply more power than alkalines, they can be recycled about 500 times, and they save you money. Kyocera claims that the M410R yields approx. 100 shots using alkaline AA batteries. Using four 2400mAh rechargeable AA batteries, I was able to capture about 150 shots and complete our other test before the camera posted a low battery warning (using the LCD 50% and the flash 25% of the time.) Note, because the EVF is simply a small LCD, it will consume your batteries at about the same rate as the LCD on the back of the camera.

Bottom line - with 4.0 megapixels of resolution, a 10x optical zoom, robust performance, and a street price of around $499, the M410R offers an excellent value. It will make a great choice for anyone who wants a fast, easy to use, "Super Zoom" camera. Its 4.0 megapixel Fine quality images yield beautiful 8x10-inch or larger prints. With a professional class burst mode of about 3.3 frames per second and its 10x optical zoom, it will be perfect for capturing photos at the kids sporting events.

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