HP Photosmart 620 review
My oldest daughter (11) has had an AGFA ePhoto CL18 for some time now - quite frankly it turned out to be a rather expensive toy, but not much of a camera. We have better cameras in the house (Canon G3, Nikon F70) but these are not pieces of equipment I'm going to let my daughter take on a Girl Guide camping trip.
This winter we got her an HP photosmart 620 and a 64MB SD card. This camera is an example of how computer companies can make acceptable cameras, but not great ones.
Outdoors, in daylight, the camera works very well. It has enough manual control that you can have a fill flash. The lens and 3x Zoom seem reasonable and colours are good, providing you point the camera in the right spot to get correct exposure metering. Later in the day the camera still performs well, but really benefits from a tripod in any situation without full daylight.
Indoors the flash is acceptable but tends to overexposure closer subjects. Colours are a bit under saturated and sharpness suffers.
Like many low-end digital cameras a tripod makes any pictures taken with the HP 620 turn out much sharper.
Where this camera clearly provides the most fun is being able to take 30 second video clips (no sound). Video clips generally work out well in the majority of lighting and the frame rate is good, however the resolution is low and motion artifacts are evident. In context, the little video clips are one of the things this camera does a consitently good job on - considering the cost.
The 8MB internal memory is okay to get started, but adding a SD card will make the camera much more useful. At maximum resolution and JPEG quality one can get ~68 images on a 64MB card.
We have only used this camera with 1500mAh NiMH batteries and they seem to last much better than anticipated - even when using the flash.
The user interface is simple enough. The rear colour LCD does not stay on much and is not very good resolution. I'm used to the G3, so my expectations may be skewed. The LCD is certainly better than having nothing at all and is fine for deleting really bad shots on-site. If the LCD is used for framing the refresh rate is fine. Apparently having the rear display on, whenever the camera is in use, will significantly reduce battery life.
Construction is reasonable, and shutter lag/time-to-next-frame are what you would expect in this price range (CN$299).
While overall the HP photosmart 620 is fine, it is bulky and slow compared to something like the Canon Digital IXUS/elph/S200 - which is availalbe for about $50 more and is a much more flexible camera than the HP.
No problems to date.