Display and menus

The R707 has simply one of the most user-friendly and well-designed menu systems of any camera I've ever seen. Aimed fair and square at the less experienced user, it's unique help system is not intrusive and doesn't get in the way of operation of the camera if you do know what you're doing. Kudos to HP for not only producing an attractive and intuitive interface, but for making it responsive enough that it never, ever drags its heels when flicking from screen to screen.

Apologies for the poor quality of some of these screenshots - the R707 does not support video output in record mode, so some of these screenshots had to be taken with another camera.

This is a typical record mode preview screen - only the most basic information appears in the top right-hand corner. Half-press the shutter release and the camera will calculate exposure (AE) and focus (AF), indicating successful focus by turning the focus area brackets green.
Pressing the mode button on top of the camera lets you cycle through the 10 exposure modes on offer. This is about as 'manual' as you can get with the R707; Aperture Priority exposure, manual focus and manual flash control (on or off).
The capture menu offers control over a wide range of shooting parameters, from ISO speed to image quality to AE compensation and metering pattern. It's clear, intuitive and fast. Excellent. Selecting one of the main capture menu options and pressing OK brings up a second screen where the actual changes are made. Image parameters you can change include sharpness, saturation and contrast.
The unique Help Menu offers a cut-down in-camera manual, explaining how and why you should use the various features as well as some tips on getting better pictures. If you're new to photography or digital cameras you're going to love this! Every function has a 'help' option - select it and you get a brief description of what that function does, and when you might want to use one of the non-default settings.
The playback menu is very similar to the capture menu - simple, easy to navigate and generally self-explanatory. Again it is easy to call up help notes if you don't understand any of the functions. In here you'll find options for deleting, rotating and adding audio to saved images, plus clever tricks such as automatically removing red-eye (which really works!), adding audio comments, previewing stitched panoramas and the unique 'Image Advice' feature. Zooming 'out' in play mode allows you to view saved images as nine thumbnails. Zooming 'in' magnifies the image in 25 steps - allowing you to get right down to pixel level, which is nice. There is a slight delay as the full resolution image is loaded before the zooming can commence (one of the reasons the camera can speed through images in playback is that screen resolution previews are used).

Select 'Image Advice' from the playback menu and the R707 will analyze the image and its EXIF data and attempt to identify probable causes of any problems (as well as ways to avoid them in the future). Many are obvious (the camera couldn't focus, there was camera shake etc), but it will even tell you if the camera was hot enough for noise to be increased. Very clever stuff. Like all HP cameras, the R707 has an 'Instant Share' menu that, in conjunction with the supplied software, lets you select images for instant emailing or online sharing when you next connect to the PC.