HP Photosmart R817
Review Date: October 4th 2005
The HP Photosmart R817 has a 5.25 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD that delivers 5.13 effective megapixels. There are 6 image quality settings available (5MP Best, 5MP, 3MP, 1MP and VGA and a Custom setting), which are recorded as JPEGs. There are no RAW or TIFF formats. The camera's 5x Pentax optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 36-180mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 8x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. The camera has 32 MB internal memory and supports Secure Digital (SD) and MultiMediaCard (MMC) memory cards.
The HP Photosmart R817 offers an Auto exposure mode and a number of scene modes (action, landscape, portrait, beach, snow, sunset, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, panorama right, panorama left, theatre, document, my mode). The aperture range is f2.8– f8 at wide-angle and f4.7– f7.6, and the shutter speed range is 16 secs. – 1/2000 sec. There are 4 ISO speeds ranging from 50 to 400 and an Auto option. There are 4 different White Balance presets to choose from (Sun, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent), plus Auto and Manual settings. The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 3 in 1/3 EV stops and there are also several exposure autobracketing options (± 0.3, ± 0.7, ± 1.0). The R817 offers 3 different auto-exposure metering options - average, centre-weighted and spot. It also has HP's unique Adaptive Lighting feature, with 3 settings of Off, Low and High.
The HP Photosmart R817 has a normal shooting mode (still), self-timer (10 seconds), self-timer (2 shots) mode and a burst mode, which allows you take up to 4 photos at 2.2 frames per second. There is also a Panorama mode, enabling you to take between 2-5 shots and stitch them together in-camera to form one large image. There are 3 different colour modes on offer - colour, black and white and sepia - and 3 settings (low, medium and high) for saturation, contrast and sharpness. The Super Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 3cms, and there is also a Macro option. As well as normal auto-focus, the camera offers Infinity and Manual focusing modes. The built-in flash offers a range of different modes; Flash Off, Auto, Red-eye, Flash On and Night. The in-camera red-eye removal automatically recognises red-eye and lets you remove it immediately via the LCD screen.
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical viewfinder. The HP Photosmart R817 has a 2 inch colour TFT LCD monitor which has 153,600 pixels. The HP Photosmart R817 can record movies with sound at 3 different settings (VGA *** - 640x480 pixels at 30fps, VGA ** - 640x480 pixels at 24fps, QVGA * - 320x240 pixels at 30fps) which 320x240 pixels at 30 frames per second. Video is recorded in the MPEG-1 format and the lens can be zoomed in and out during capture (although the sound of the lens is recorded). The lenghth of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. You can also capture still images direct from video clips by choosing a specific frame, which are saved at twice the resolution of the original video frame. As well as recording movies, the HP Photosmart R817 also doubles up as a voice recorder, allowing you to attach an audio clip up to 60 seconds long to an image that you have taken.
The camera's dimensions are 91 (W) x 29.8 (D) x 57 (H) mm (excluding protrusions), and it weighs 160g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by either the supplied rechargeable lithium-ion battery or the 3.3V AC adapter. There is a plastic tripod mount in the centre of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a USB cable, cradle, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, wrist strap, user's manual and a CD-ROM(s) with HP Image Zone software for Windows and Macintosh. Note that HP have chosen not to supply a memory card. The HP Photosmart R817 does have 32Mb internal memory, but you can only store 18 images at the highest quality setting. You will therefore need to invest in some SD or MMC Cards to store your images on. HP have also been rather mean by not including either their R-series camera dock or an A/V cable to connect the camera to a TV. This is because they want you to purchase the optional Photosmart R-series camera dock. In my opinion they should have included this in the basic kit.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the HP Photosmart R817 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.