capsule review

HP Photosmart R727

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Photosmart R727 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

HP Photosmart R727
Photograph: Chris Manners

The Photosmart R727 ($300 as of 6/15/06) is a well-designed, smart camera with a sturdy metal case that's thin enough to fit easily into a shirt pocket. It's a little thicker (at 0.9 inches) than the lightweight Casio SX600, but it certainly won't weigh you down. The slim design extends to the lens as well: The 3X optical zoom doesn't protrude from the case.

The 2.5-inch LCD is bright and clear, and looked good in everything but direct sunlight. The on-screen menu has both text labels and icons for the options; the delete button, menu button, directional controls, and zoom control are on the back of the camera. The shutter release button resides on the top.

I found some of the controls a little uncomfortable to use. The camera has a tendency to slip from your grip when you use the zoom control on the back of the camera. Both hands are needed to effectively use the flash mode, focus mode, and the playback mode buttons on the top of the camera, as you simultaneously use the directional controls to change these settings. This is an inconvenience that could cause you to miss a shot. You won't miss shots due to shutter lag, though: In our informal tests, we found it to be under half a second.

The R727 lacks manual controls, as well as an aperture- and shutter-priority modes. Instead, you must use the shooting modes, which include landscape, portrait, theater, action, and night modes, plus a fully automatic mode. A very well-executed panorama mode shows the edge of the previous image on top of the live image preview, and then stitches up to five images together in the camera, a process that takes about a minute. And the adaptive lighting mode brightens darker areas of the image--useful for high contrast flash shots where the background gets lost.

The battery life of the camera from the small lithium ion battery was a respectable 240 shots, and we found the image quality to be good, with accurate colors and reasonable detail. The images are a little noisy, though: Even in good lighting at a low ISO setting, a grainy pattern appears in the darker parts of images, and when you increase the ISO rating to the maximum of 400, it becomes much more pronounced. But these minor issues aside, the R727 is an easy to use, inexpensive camera for casual shooters.

Richard Baguley

This story, "HP Photosmart R727" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Has a bright 2.5-inch LCD and nice features, such as panorama stitching and image advice. But it lacks manual settings.

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