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Hewlett Packard PhotoSmart 812 Review

May 2002 (updated August 2002) | By Phil Askey


Review based on a production HP 812, firmware 1.00.11 (v09.33)

The four megapixel three times optical zoom PhotoSmart 812 was announced back on the 9th of January as part of CES 2002. The 812 was developed by HP in the US although it uses the same sensor and Pentax lens used in their own Optio 430. The 812 faces stiff competition in the 'four megapixel arena' with cameras such as Kodak's DX4900, Olympus D-40Z, Canon S40, Minolta DiMAGE S404 etc.

Despite its four megapixel sensor the 812 is aimed at the beginner, everything has been kept super-simple with a very straightforward control and menu system. As such there's also very little in the way of manual control, there's no white balance or exposure compensation for example (things we've become accustomed to). The camera is also smaller and lighter than you'd think at just 95 x 41 x 70 mm (3.7 x 1.6 x 2.8 in) and 250 g (8.8 oz) fully loaded.

Review Updated August 2002

Since the original publication of this review HP has issued new firmware (1.00.11) which addresses some of the sharpness and image quality issues we originally raised. This review has now been updated to reflect the results of a camera with the new firmware. Sections updated:

  • Standard Resolution Chart
  • Standard Colour Chart
  • Quality / Resolution
  • White Balance
  • Low Light Auto Focus
  • Flash
  • Distortion
  • Fringing
  • Image Quality Specifics
  • Comparison
  • Conclusion
  • Samples Gallery


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This review is Copyright 2002 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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