A stylish performer with fourth-generation Super CCD HR technology.
With a 3megapixel resolution, 3x optical zoom and stylish looks, Fujifilm's Finepix F410 Zoom is targeted squarely at the highly competitive mid-range digital camera market.
While it may share essentially the same exterior design as the earlier F401, there's one crucial difference: it's the first camera to use Fujifilm's fourth-generation Super CCD HR technology.
Fujifilm's proprietary Super CCD technology employs octagonal pixels turned by 45 degrees and arranged in a honeycomb pattern.
It claims this increases apparent resolution and, as a consequence, offers optional internal scaling to produce higher resolution output.
In January Fujifilm announced its fourth-generation Super CCD technology, consisting of new SR and HR sensors.
SR claims to increase tonal dynamic range and will be first seen in the Finepix F700. HR stands for high resolution and delivers this on physically smaller chips, in turn allowing smaller cameras to record more detail.
To illustrate this point, the earlier F401 featured 2.1megapixel resolution, whereas the new F410 boasts 3.1megapixels in a body measuring the same size.
While the F410 is perfectly happy to record 3.1megapixel images, it additionally offers a mode which internally scales them to 6megapixels.
Where the old F401 recorded its images onto dated Smart Media cards, the F410 now uses the tiny XD format, recognising capacities up to 256MB.
Fujifilm supplies a 16MB XD card which can store around 10 jpeg images at the highest 6megapixel mode, or around 21 at the native 3.1megapixels.
While you can select four different recording resolutions, there are no options to alter Jpeg compression nor use tiff or raw modes. There is, however, a movie mode which can record 320 x 240 clips with sound, but sadly there is no TV output.
The camera itself feels solid and looks the business in its silver metal casing. It's pretty compact and light too, weighing 195g, complete with XD card and the supplied lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack. The premium kit includes a cradle.
Like the F401, it's powered up by sliding a front panel slightly to one side, after which the lens cover nips out of the way, allowing the optics to extend outwards.
During this process, three small lights on the front panel briefly illuminate a rather satisfying blue - these also flash when you are using the self-timer.
The lens is a 3x optical zoom, equivalent in coverage to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera, while the closest focusing distance in macro is an average 10cm. Composition is with an optical viewfinder or a crisp 1.5in LCD.
There's the option to overlay a 3 x 3 grid on the screen to aid composition, but no specific scene presets.
One external improvement over the old F401 is the addition of a small blue photo mode button, which immediately takes you to the resolution, colour and sensitivity options; the latter ranges from 200 to 800 ISO, although at 800, you're forced to drop to 1megapixel.
While there's a manual mode, you're limited to adjusting exposure compensation or white balance. The built-in flash can be set to auto, on, off, red-eye reduction or slow-synchro, but otherwise, the F410 is pretty much an automatic camera.
In terms of image quality, the F410 is a big improvement over the earlier F401, but in our tests it didn't resolve any more detail than other decent 3megapixel cameras, and in some areas suffered from greater electronic noise.
The internal scaling certainly smoothes edges on big enlargements but, unless you're printing direct from the card, we'd recommend the 3megapixel mode and scaling using software where necessary.
The F410 is a good camera but faces tough competition from the likes of Nikon's Coolpix 3100, Sony's Cybershot DSC-P72 and Canon's Powershot A70. The latter won our June group test, and all three cost at least £60 less on the street.
Additionally Fujifilm may declare that the HR chip allows smaller cameras to be made, but the Pentax Optio S and Canon's Ixus II already match its resolution and features in a shorter and slimmer body for around the same street price.
As always, design plays a big role, and if you've fallen for the looks of the F410, you'll certainly end up with a good overall performer.
Our only reservation is that its pictures are no better than the models we've mentioned, which also happen to be slightly cheaper.
Contact: Fujifilm 020 7586 1477
Pros:Stylish; cradle supplied in premium kit.Cons:No TV output; expensive.Overall:A decent stylish camera, but its features and images were no better than the competition, which are slightly cheaper.
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