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To this day I miss this camera after selling it to a friend for £20, four years ago. Posting old photos on Flickr, shot with this camera, I realised that while the technical specs are very outdated, this camera still did a wonderful job. Never-mind the 3.2x zoom and Mpx. The Canon PowerShot A410 with no image stabilization, and literally nothing fancy under the hood, produced stunning pictures. Both sharp and natural looking. The macro pictures are downright unbelievable. I have done some really great portrait photography as well with it. This camera, as long as it gets enough light, will beat a lot of the modern-day cameras. Where things go south is night and low-light situations. You either need extremely steady hands, or push the ISO up, and you'll end up with unusable photographs. But, it has built-in flash, and guess what? Even an optical viewfinder! How cool is that! Needs only 2AA batteries and it's ready to go. I will admit that battery-life is not great and don't you dare leave the rechargeable ones in the camera while not using it. You do that and in 2-3 days you'll see that fully charged batteries lost their power completely. One great feature this camera has is the ability to sample a colour and then take a monochrome picture plus anything that is of the previously sampled colour. Fantastic! Size-wise, albeit not slim, still fits in most pockets, and the build is also of good quality and will withstand heavy usage and dire conditions.
The Canon PowerShot A410 is perhaps not a camera you would consider nowadays, seeing as it has a resolution of a mere 3.2 megapixels, and in any case the A4xx range is already up to A480! However, if you can find one going cheap - I was lucky enough to grab one from the small ads for a tenner - you might be surprised at how capable it still actually is. It takes two AA batteries and SD memory cards, so neither of those essentials will break the bank. Do use high-capacity NimH rechargeables, though, as alkalines don't last very long!
The A410 is quite small, if not down in the ultra-compact end of the market. However, it is not particularly slim, so is not really a camera to slip unobtrusively into a trouser pocket or small bag. The silver-coloured front panel is textured, which helps grip a little bit, but there is not the secure feeling that you can get from some of the larger PowerShot cameras. I would definitely recommend using the wrist strap if there is any risk at all of the camera slipping.
This is a fairly simple camera by the standards of some of the others in the Canon range, and although it has an "M" (manual) setting on the mode dial, this is rather misleading as you do not have access to shutter speed, aperture or manual focus settings. You can choose the ISO - though this only goes up to 200, which can be annoying in low light - and also things such as white balance and exposure compensation; these are greyed out in automatic mode. There is a separate scene mode with eight settings (Foliage, Snow etc) which are handy if you're in a hurry but somewhat inflexible otherwise.
A rather controversial feature of this camera (and several others in the A4xx range) is that it does not have a dedicated zoom control; instead, you have to operate the zoom by means of the up and down parts of the four-way controller. I find this slightly uncomfortable but bearable, but it is certainly not a feature I would have chosen for myself. The other buttons are reasonably well positioned on the right of the LCD, which at 1.5" is much smaller than you'd find on a new camera, and does suffer from slight but noticeable lag. There is also a tiny, so less than useful, optical viewfinder.
The optical zoom is 3.2x, which is not really a noticeable improvement over the 3x zoom that most cameras of the A410's era provide, though much better than the 2.2x zoom on its predecessor, the A400. The zoom works efficiently, though I do find it a little bit noisy, certainly when out and about in quiet situations such as country walks. The lens is offset right to the left (as you hold the camera to take photos) which prevents the centrally-located flash from causing annoying shadows when used.
Photo quality from the A410 is really quite acceptable, with the usual bright Canon colours, so long as you are aware of the limitations of the tool you're using. 3.2 megapixels, coupled with a decent-quality lens (which Canon, as usual, provides) is perfectly adequate for snapshots, and you'll certainly get better results than from just about any 3-megapixel cameraphone, but the low resolution does mean that you don't have much flexibility to zoom in closely and crop out small sections for printing.
Noise is often a problem with Canon compact cameras, but the A410 doesn't seem to suffer too badly, perhaps because of that maximum ISO setting of just 200. Naturally if you push it too hard in poor lighting the results will suffer, but in reasonably good conditions (not necessarily bright sunshine) the camera produces some really quite pleasing results, better than I might have expected from a camera with this specification.
Video is one area where the march of time really has left the A410 behind. Even when it was new, 320x240 at 20fps was unlikely to set the world alight, and now it seems almost laughable. There is a 640x480 mode, but with that you get a paltry 10fps, which looks horribly jerky. Worse yet, you can only record silent movies: a sound facility is completely absent. I suppose you could use that 10fps, record yourself playing the piano separately and make your own Keystone Kops movies, but apart from that it's hard to see why you'd use the movie mode on this camera.
To sum up: the A410 is perhaps best considered as a second camera, perhaps to keep in the car or to give a child a first taste of photography with a "real" camera rather than a toy. It might also be useful to take around in a coat pocket in situations where you don't want to risk a more expensive camera. As long as you temper your expectations and don't expect miracles beyond its power to provide, the A410 remains a perfectly capable tool.