I just bought a HP Photosmart R927, an 8 Megapixel camera from Hewlett-Packard. While I had seen and briefly used one before, I was excited again upon using my own one (as all tech people are [read: geeks]). First of all don’t confuse me as anyway into photography: I’m not and far from it. I had a criteria in mind when I purchased and this was it:
- Must work under any OS (Windows [a given], Mac and Linux [latter two I only use])
Every camera I have come across mounts as a disc drive [think looking at files on a cd or your local computer], but there is also PTP or “Picture Transfer Protocol” in other words it doesn’t appear as picture files, rather PTP triggers your computer to open your camera in your photo application. I was unsure if this PTP would work under Mac or Linux, since I had only briefly seen it as an option in digiKam. It turns out on Mac there is Image Capture, and Ubuntu (My Linux distribution of choice) it automatically detects it and asks to import photos intoF-Spot.
- It must have decent Image Quality
Now decent to me means decent as in “a 128kbps MP3 sounds the same as a cd”! I am not talking uber-quality, far from it. There is already a Samsung 6MP camera in my household, and it more than does the job, despite occasionally messing up focus and being nearly two years old. I want a “point and click” with decent image quality, and I believe we are mostly there with todays cameras (compared to old 35mm film. I know only SLR come under the term “decent image quality” to some [professionals].
- It must have portability
Phone cameras are an indication of the future, there won’t be any real cameras besides ones used by professionals eventually. Why? Portability. People don’t want 20 devices and the weight attached to it, I have trouble making sure wallet, keys and my phone are on me, and a camera adds to this striuggle today.This is the same reason people are ditching cd’s for iPods: portability.
Now for my review:
The R927 looks good, but with camera sizes decreasing, it ends up being bigger than most. Its brushed metal feel is somewhat amusing, maybe a tribute to Apple Computers Brushed Metal theme in iTunes? The picture quality is great, and it certainly matches and beats many other cameras I have tried. My R927 came with a dock, and the camera itself has only one port: a usb one [This as I am after finding out is not true, the one port on the camera is non-standard usb it seems, so it can only be used through a dock, rather annoying if your travelling it seems to me!]. I really liked that fact as it clears up clutter and removes confusion, with only one slot, for one cable (I am thinking of many other similar sized cameras than try to have the kitchen sink with a port for video, a second memory card port, usb port, basically: every port possible).
Its screen is something to behold: bright, clean, clear and crisp. This apparently comes at a cost though, in a PC World review ( in which this camera ranked #2 out of #10 “Point and Click Cameras”), they said it had the shortest life at 114 photos of any in the top 10. Since I only have mine a few hours, I can’t comment on this yet, but one thing I will say: the battery is easily replaceable: I found the exact same 3.7 V Li-ion battery in my Bluetooth GPS Receiver (a low end one), so buying a backup battery they said might be a good option.
The Cameras photo manipulation is full featured, as are the menus in this camera. You can crop, change contrast, brightness, add frames and dozens of other features without touching photo editing software on a computer. Is that a plus or minus? Depends on the user really, I might use it the odd time, but as someone who likes long lasting batteries: it won’t be too often I will. It modes are variful and plenty also: beach mode, auto mode, landscape, portrait, theatre, panaroma etc. Panorama is a lot of fun, but it takes a while for the camera to “stitch” the photos, and if made out of high quality images: beware, the panorma won’t be as of the same quality. Document Mode puzzled me, the camera says it captures text clearly. This wasn’t the case in my experience and with no text recognition software in the camera or accompanying software, one could be left typing a long document from looking at an image of one!!
It’s design and layout are elegant and useful. The main navigation d-pad feels a bit clicky (with a clicky sound to match) and the zoom is controlled by the far-edges of an upside-down “L” shape. It has a: Flash Button, Contrast Button, Sharing Button. Preview button and On/Off. The sharing button is linked to HP’s software and allows you to select photos to email, print and share upon your connection to a computer. I found this annoying as I do things manually, but some average users might consider this a bonus. I got a dock, a power cable, usb cable, and UK & Ireland plus a European plug within the camera’s very nice package.
Overall I’d give it an 8.8/10 so far. Battery life leads me to lower its score somewhat, and the fact that the camera is bulkier than most. Other than that it is a great buy, and well recommended thus far. I will update this if I ever have any problems with it!