HP PhotoSmart R607 Review
By Movable Type Admin
The second addition to HP's Photosmart "R" series, the R607 includes many of the innovative features found on it "big brother" the R707 , like HP's Adaptive lighting and in-camera red eye removal. This camera boasts a 4-megapixel imager combined with a Pentax 3x optical zoom lens. It offers the beginner fully automatic operation coupled with various help screens, and also includes a full Help menu that describes various features and controls of the camera. For those who want to be a little more creative, the R607 offers 6 pre-programmed scene modes and an aperture priority mode, which allows you to choose wide open or fully closed aperture values.
Like the R707, the R607 is well designed. Its controls are well placed and functional, and the menu system is easy to use. With your hand wrapped around the handgrip, your thumb falls naturally between the 4-way selector and the zoom controls. No longer will you have to go into a menu and change the exposure mode to movie capture, right next to the shutter release is another smaller shutter release button that allows immediate movie recording.
The zoom coupled eyelevel optical viewfinder has a fairly narrow viewing angle and lacks any kind of dioptric adjustment. It covers about 80% of the captured image, which means you will always capture a bit more than you see. The 1.5 inch LCD, when used as the viewfinder, is much more accurate at about 100% coverage and has a real-time 30fps refresh rate. I found the LCD quite useable outside in bight light conditions, though it would benefit from a non-glare coating. When using it indoors in low-ambient light, it "gains up" to give you a brighter view, which is crucial when using the LCD to frame your subject(s) in these conditions.
It is equipped with a Pentax 3x optical zoom lens, with a focal range of equivalent to 35-105mm on a 35mm camera. Its maximum aperture is f2.6 which helps with low light photography. It produced sharp results throughout its range and exhibits the usual amount of mild barrel distortion at full wide angle, but almost no pincushioning through its telephoto range. Its AF system was fast and accurate, and thanks to its focus-assist lamp, you should have no problems focusing in low-ambient lighting conditions.
Power is supplied by a proprietary 3.7V 1050mAh R07 Li-ion rechargeable battery, and HP clams their R07 battery yields a minimum of 115 shots on a full charge. I had no problem taking our sample photos and performing our other tests, before the battery was even close to being exhausted.
The R607's shooting performance was good. From power up to first image captured averaged about 4.5 seconds. Shutter lag (time from pressing the shutter release to actually capturing the image) measured about 1/10 of a second when pre-focused and 6/10 of a second including autofocus. Using single exposure mode, the shot-to-shot time averaged about 1.2 seconds between frames without the use of the flash and about 1.8 seconds with the flash. When shooting in Burst mode, I was able to capture 4 frames in about 1.3 seconds. All test were done using a Transcend 512MB SD card, using 4MP *** size/quality, flash off (unless otherwise noted), and all other settings at default. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
Overall the image quality in 4MP *** mode was good for a camera in this class. Outdoors, the majority of our test shots were well exposed, and colors were nicely saturated. Although I did notice an average amount of noise in high/low contrast areas with visible edge blurring, and fine detail in the entire picture looked blotchy. We found the Adaptive Lighting feature to be useful when shooting both indoors and outdoors; the camera increasers the Gamma of the picture to better enhance the detail of objects in low contrast (shadow) areas, but the image quality does suffer a little, so as long as you are not going to print any large prints, you should be fine. It also features a Remove Red Eyes feature in playback mode. If an image exhibits red eye, simply select this option in the play menu and it will be corrected in-camera. You can them opt to save or cancel the changes.
Bottom line - the HP R607 is a great all around camera. We feel it will make a great choice for anyone who wants an affordable 4-megapixel camera with fully automatic operation, good image quality, and a helpful menu system. With a street price of around $249, it offers a great overall value and would be a perfect choice for you holiday gift list.
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