Hewlett -Packard Photosmart R507 review
Review Date: 17 Dec 2004
Price when reviewed: inc VAT
Reviewed By: David McKinnon
The R507 falls in the middle of HP's Photosmart range of digital cameras.
The front is dressed in lightweight alloy, giving it a solid appearance, but the dark plastic rear means it looks more like a computer peripheral than a fashionable gadget. A 4.1-megapixel sensor sits behind the Pentax 3x optical zoom lens. This produces images of 2,408x1,758 at maximum resolution, which is large enough for high-quality prints up to 8x6" in size. There is 32MB of internal memory and an SD card slot is included for expansion.
Although the R507 isn't the best-looking camera around, it is one of the easiest to use. All of its buttons are well placed and marked with clear illustrations. Quiet but audible beeps and a simple but effective menu system make navigating though the R507's various functions easy, even for the uninitiated. The rear-mounted screen is satisfactory for image framing and menu navigation, but it's small, not very bright and tends to add a colour cast to the image, so isn't ideal for reviewing your shots.
The basic automatic mode is supplemented by further action, portrait, landscape, beach, snow and sunset settings. An aperture priority mode, although a little out of place in such a camera, provides a little more control over shots if you need it and there is an assisted panorama mode to capture wide-angled scenes.
In well-lit shots colours are bright and accurate, with little evidence of chromatic distortion in high-contrast areas. In low-light scenes and flash-assisted shots, however, colour balance becomes an issue, with images appearing a little cold and, with the flash, grainy in places.
This isn't the most elegant camera on the market, but it's one of the easiest to use and produces a decent image. At £151 it's also one of the best-value 4-megapixel cameras available. For that fact alone it's hard to ignore.
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