At press briefings during PMA 2004 HP staff quietly admitted they had finally realized that the company's digital cameras suffered from something of an 'image problem'. Big, seemingly designed to resemble a house brick, and made from the kind of materials normally found only on the dashboard of a 1980's hatchback, the Photosmart range simply couldn't compete with the slick, shiny and keenly priced Far Eastern offerings. From now on, we were told, HP cameras would be designed for style, speed and ease of use, and would no longer be twice the size of their direct competitors. The 5 megapixel, 3x zoom, Photosmart R707 is the first of this new wave of slimmed-down, metal-bodied HP cameras, offering a tempting mix of thoughtful design and some genuinely innovative features. Most of these are aimed at ensuring less experienced users avoid common photographic pitfalls, something possible mainly due to the inclusion of a clever Texas Instruments Digital Signal Processor (DSP). The power of the DSP is obvious when you look at some of the features it has allowed HP to shoehorn into the R707:

  • Adaptive lighting technology ('digital fill flash')
  • In-camera red-eye removal
  • MPEG movie mode
  • Comprehensive on-screen camera instructions
  • In-camera panorama stitching (preview)
  • 'Image advice' - on-screen help system that analyses saved pictures, identifies problems and suggests how they could have been avoided.

Key specifications

Street price • US: $321
• UK: £208
Body Material Stainless steel and 'rubberized' plastic
Sensor • 1/1.8" CCD, 5.36 million total pixels
• 5.14 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 2612 x 1968
• 2048x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Movie clips 320 x 240, 30 fps, duration limited only by card capacity, MPEG1 with sound
Lens • 39 - 117mm equiv. (3x optical zoom)
• F2.8 - F4.9
Focus • Single point TTL-AF
• Manual focus
• AF assist beam
• Minimum focus: 50 cm (Normal), 18 cm (Macro)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Aperture priority AE
• Portrait
• Action
• Landscape
• Beach and Snow
• Sunset
• Panorama
• Document
• Custom ('My Mode')
• Movie (with sound)

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 100 - 400
White Balance • Auto
• 4 presets
• Manual
Image parameters

• Color (Full, Black and White, Sepia)
• Contrast (3 levels)
• Sharpness (3 levels)
• Saturation (3 levels)

Continuous • 3.0 fps, up to 4 frames
Flash • Modes: Auto, Flash On, Flash Off
• Slow Sync: On, Off ('Night Mode')
• Red-Eye Reduction: On, Off
• Range, Wide: 2.7m, Tele: 1.5 m (ISO 100)

• SD and MMC
• Supports cards up to 2GB
• 32 MB internal memory (27MB available for image storage)
• No card supplied

Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 1.5" TFT LCD
• 119,548 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (inc PTP, but not High Speed)
• A/V out via optional dock

• Lithium-Ion L1812A rechargeable battery (supplied & charger)
• Can also use Duracell CP1 disposable battery
• AC adapter/charger included

Other features

• Orientation sensor
• HP Adaptive Lighting
• HP Instant Share
• In-camera red-eye removal
• In-camera panorama stitching preview
• Sound memo
• Direct print (HP & PictBridge)
• Optional HP Photosmart camera dock
• Image advice
• AE Bracketing
• Date and time imprinting
• Spot Metering

Weight (no batt) 180 g (0.4 lbs)
Dimensions 98.5 x 35.3 x 60 mm (3.9 x 1.4 x 2.4 in)

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (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.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

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