HP Photosmart R817
Review Date: October 4th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The HP Photosmart R817 seems to have everything going for it. Small, compact and very stylish body, lots of innovative features like Adaptive Lighting that really make a difference, full manual controls and a 5x optical zoom lens that sets it apart from the competition. This is a digital camera that I really enjoyed using and which will suit both beginner and more experienced photographer alike. Unfortunately there is one big fly in the ointment, namely noisy images, which spoils an otherwise great package. The small 1/2.5 inch CCD sensor simply generates too much noise at what are very slow ISO speeds. On a typical British day, you will have to use ISO 200 and 400 when the skies are overcast, but the levels of noise that the HP Photosmart R817 produces at those ISO speeds ruins the image quality. Worse still, even ISO 100 has visible noise. You may be able to reduce the effects using third-party noise-reduction software, but that would mean having to process virtually every image that you take. The noise problem is a real shame, as in most other respects the HP Photosmart R817 is a fine camera. Other minor niggles that you should be aware of include the lack of an optical viewfinder, the battery taking 4-6 hours to fully recharge and the lack of a camera dock and memory card supplied with the standard kit. All in all, the Photosmart R817 is something of a missed opportunity for HP.
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.