Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: June 30, 2004
August 11, 2004
you think about innovation in digital photography,
you probably think of Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus,
etc. But the truth is that HP is one of the few companies
coming up with new and useful features for their
cameras, instead of just dropping a higher resolution
CCD into the same tired body this year. Their latest
camera, the 5.1 Megapixel Photosmart
R707 ($349) is a showpiece for HP innovation.
Some of the cool features that you'll find on the
Lighting - a kind of "digital flash" that
Advice - analyzes your images and tells you how
they can be improved
Share - mark pictures for easy printing or e-mailing
to undelete a photo you trashed
course, none of that matters if the camera doesn't
take decent pictures. Find out how the R707 performed
in our tests -- starting right now!
in the Box?
we begin, I should mention that there are several
different models of the R707 going around. There's
an R707, R707v, and R707xi (at least). Rest assured
that the camera is always the same -- it's usually
just a difference in the software bundle.
Photosmart R707 has a very good bundle. Inside the
box, you'll find:
5.1 effective Megapixel Photosmart R707 camera
lithium-ion rechargeable battery
adapter / battery charger
cables (one for computers, one for printers)
featuring HP Image Zone software
page camera manual (printed)
latest trend in digital cameras is to not bundle
a memory card with the camera, instead hard-wiring
memory right into the camera. The R707 has 32MB of
on-board memory, of which 27MB is available for photo
storage -- not a whole lot. So I recommend buying
a memory card right away. The camera supports both
SD and MMC memory cards, though I recommend the former
due to its superior capacity and performance.
won't need to buy a battery right away, as HP includes
the R07 lithium-ion battery in the box. This compact
battery doesn't have too much power -- just 3.8 Wh
of energy -- but HP estimates an average of 200 shots
per charge, which isn't too bad for a compact camera
you've been visiting this site for a while you know
my position on proprietary batteries like the one
used by the R707. For one, they're expensive -- buying
another one (which I recommend) will set you back
$50. My other complaint, that you cannot use alkaline
batteries to get you through the day, isn't totally
valid here. That's because the R707 supports Duracell's
CP1 disposable battery. That would be all well and
good if these batteries were readily available, but
they're not -- at least not yet.
it's time to charge the battery, plug in the included
AC adapter. Charging takes a whopping 5 to 7 hours!
The AC adapter can also be used to power your camera,
thus saving the battery for when you really need
dock. Note the video out, DC-in, and USB ports on
look at the dock plus its remote control
optional Photosmart R-series dock ($79) is the best
camera dock that I've seen -- it does it all. You
can use it for charging the camera's battery, transferring
photos to your Mac or PC, and playing back photos
on your TV. Thanks to the included remote control,
you can use the dock and your television from the
comfort of your sofa. The remote lets you view photos,
navigate the menus, tag photos for printing, and
even do the "zoom and scroll" feature!
Do note that the remote can only be used in playback
mode. But wait -- there's more. The dock can charge
a spare battery, too (see above photo), in about
half the time as it would inside the camera.
Photosmart R707 has a built-in lens cover, so there
are no lens caps to worry about. As you can see,
it's a pretty small camera.
for this compact camera are limited. You can purchase
a quick recharge kit which includes an external charger,
extra battery, travel pouch, and a camera case for
$80. The quick charger takes just an hour to fully
charge the R07 battery. The only other accessory
is a premium camera case ($30) -- there are no lens
accessories for this camera.
area where HP's Photosmart cameras really shine is
in the software department. HP's Image Zone Software
is for Mac OS X and Windows. The Mac version is 7.1.9,
while the Windows version is 3.5. Combined with the
Instant Share system on the camera (more on that
later), HP has created a system that lets you easily
share photos in a number of ways.
is the main part of the software, known as HP Gallery,
where you can view and edit photos, as well as send
them to the other programs included in the package.
software can do basic photo editing like adjusting
contrast, sharpening/blurring, and removing redeye.
You can crop and rotate photos as well.
most impressive parts of the software package are
the photo sharing tools. You can share photos via
prints, online albums, e-mail, or even CDs, all using
the HP software.
software doesn't actually e-mail the photos to people
anymore. Now it puts them on the web and sends the
link to your recipients.
photos is very easy as well, and there are all kinds
of prints to choose from, ranging from albums to
you've got a CD-R/RW drive, one of the coolest features
it he ability to create a CD with your photos.
the HP Memories Disc Creator Software, you can make
a Video CD containing your photos. They are presented
as a slide show, and you can even pick a song from
your MP3 collection to use as background music. The
whole process takes just a few minutes, and then
you've got a CD you can share with friends and family.
The catch is that you need a fairly modern DVD player
to read these discs (most computers can see them),
and the Video CD quality isn't the greatest. Still,
it's a nice product to include with the camera.
Photosmart R707's manual should stand as an example
to some of the other manufacturers who think a digital
camera is a VCR (it's not). There are good explanations
for the cameras features, without a lot of fine print.
Photosmart R707 is a compact camera with a stainless
steel front and plastic back. If you have a stainless
steel appliance then you know that these things love
fingerprints and scratches -- so be sure to take
care of your camera.
camera is quite small and can fit into any pocket
with ease. Most of the controls are easy to reach,
though I'm on the fence about the R707's zoom controller
(which you'll see in a moment). The dimensions of
the camera are 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.4 inches / 98.5 x 60.0
x 35.3 mm (W x H x D, excluding protrusions) and
it weighs just 180 grams / 6.3 ounces empty. For
the sake of comparison, the numbers for the Canon
PowerShot S500 and Nikon Coolpix 5200 are 3.4 x 2.2
x 1.1 inches / 185 grams and 3.5 x 2.3 x 1.4 inches
/ 155 grams respectively.
start our tour of the Photosmart R707 now, beginning
with the front of the camera.
R707 features an F2.8-4.9, 3X optical zoom lens.
The focal range on the lens is 8 - 24 mm, which is
equivalent to 39 - 117 mm. The lens is not threaded.
above the lens is the camera's microphone. To the
right of that is the optical viewfinder and the AF-assist
lamp (which helps the camera focus in low light situations).
the upper-left of the lens, right next to the HP
logo, is the built-in flash. The flash has a range
of about 2.7 m at wide-angle and 1.5 m at telephoto
(both at ISO 100). The typical flash recharge time
is 6 seconds according to HP. You cannot attach an
external flash to the R707.
back of the camera is where you'll find most of the
buttons on this camera.
first, let's talk about the LCD. The R707 has a fairly
small 1.5", but with almost 120,000 pixels,
the resolution is very good. You can adjust the screen
brightness in the setup menu. And speaking of brightness,
the camera automatically brightens the screen in
low light so you can see what you're shooting at.
The image on the LCD is noisy and choppy in those
situations, but I'm willing to make that tradeoff.
at the top of the photo is the R707's optical viewfinder,
which is good-sized for a compact camera. It lacks
a diopter correction feature, though, which is useful
for those of us without perfect vision.
let's talk about the seven buttons that ring the
LCD. I'm going to work my way from left to right.
(Normal, macro, infinity, manual)
(Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, flash on, flash
(Normal, self-timer, self-timer [2 shots], burst)
- see below
view - shows the live image on the LCD
- enters playback mode
Share - tag a photo for e-mail, printing, website;
- tag a photo for printing
focus (sorry some of these are so crummy)
to talk about, starting with manual focus. In this
mode, you'll use the up and down buttons on the four-way
controller to set the focus just where you want it.
Unfortunately it's not the best system out there,
with a vague focus distance guide (see screenshot)
and no center-frame enlargement that other many other
R707's burst mode can take up to four photos at 2.5
frames/second. It did take over 50 seconds for the
camera to finish writing the images to the memory
card, but the camera was still usable during that
Share is one of the hallmark features of this and
all recent HP cameras. You can tag pictures for e-mailing,
printing, and transfer to websites. Just set up the
destinations on your Mac or PC and you're set to
go. When you tag a photo for e-mailing, the photo
is later transferred to a website, and an e-mail
is sent to the person you have selected telling them
how to view that photo. You can tag photos for printing
to an HP or any other PictBridge-enabled photo printer.
Photos can also be uploaded directly to hpphoto.com
or Shutterfly (for printing). All of this is super
easy -- even my mom could do it.
now back to our tour. To the right of the Instant
Share and Print buttons it he four-way controller.
This is used for menu navigation. Above that is the
zoom controller, which you operate with your thumb.
I'm not sure if I like the feel of it or not -- you'll
need to try it yourself to decide. The zoom moves
the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in under 1.2
seconds. I counted seven steps in the zoom range.
above-left from the zoom controller is the power
not much to see on top of the camera.
mode button on the left switches between the various
operating modes on the R707. These include:
- Beach & snow
aperture priority mode is quite limited -- at any
one time you can choose between just two apertures.
So, at wide-angle, it's F2.8 or F4.8 (these will
vary depending on the focal length). Not exactly
my kind of manual control (how about a bigger range,
and maybe shutter speed control too?).
panorama mode is really cool. The camera helps you
line up your shots and when you're done it gives
you a preview of what it will look like when you
get home and stitch it.
Mode is where the non-beginner crowd will spend most
of their time. You can choose your favorite settings
and the camera remembers them (unlike in the other
modes). By default the camera enters Auto mode when
you turn on the camera, but you can change this in
the menu system.
to the mode button is the microphone. Continuing
to the right you'll find the shutter release and
movie record buttons.
this side of the R707, you'll find the I/O ports,
which are kept under a rubber cover. These include
DC-in (for included AC adapter) and USB.
that there's no A/V port on the camera. That means
if you want A/V output, you must buy the $80 camera
to see here!
the bottom of the camera you'll find a plastic (I
think) tripod mount, dock connection, memory card
slot, and battery compartment.
memory card / battery compartment is protected by
a sturdy plastic door. As I mentioned at the start
of this review, the R707 supports both SD and MMC
included R07 battery is shown at right.
the HP Photosmart R707
R707 starts up very quickly, taking just 2.5 seconds
to extends its lens and "warm up" before
you can start taking pictures.
histogram in record mode
speeds are about average, with a 0.5 - 0.8 second
delay before focus is locked. The image on the LCD
pauses slightly while this is going on. Low light
focusing was good, thanks to the R707's AF-assist
lamp. As I mentioned before, the LCD automatically
brightens so you can see what you're pointing the
camera at in dim lighting conditions.
lag was not an issue at fast shutter speeds, but
you'll notice it when the shutter speed drops into "tripod
speed is good, with a three second delay before you
can take another shot. The camera always shows the
photo you just took, so you may have to halfway press
the shutter release button to get back to shooting
you take a shot, you can press the OK button to delete
it, before it's written to the memory card. Another
post-shot option is recording a voice clip; just
keep holding down the shutter release after you take
the picture, and you can add up to 60 seconds of
Photosmart R707 is one of those cameras that is always
ready to shoot. Whether you're in playback mode or
the menus, you can still operate the zoom and quickly
get back to shooting with just a half press of the
shutter release button.
here's a look at the image size and quality choices
available on the R707:
shots on internal memory
2608 x 1952
2048 x 1536
1280 x 960
640 x 480
no TIFF or RAW mode available on this camera.
camera names files as HPIMyyyy.JPG, where y = 0001
- 9999. The camera maintains the numbering even if
you erase the memory card.
has the best menu system of any digital camera. Period.
It's so easy to use and there's actually a help system
that explains what everything does. I hope the competition
is taking notes. Here's what you'll find in the main
compensation (-3EV to +3EV, 1/3EV increments)
quality (5MP ***, 5MP **, 3MP **, 1MP **, VGA **)
- there are five predefined choices or you can
customize the quality by choosing the resolution
balance (Auto, sunlight, shade, tungsten, fluorescent,
manual) - shoot a white or gray card in manual
mode for perfect color in any light
speed (Auto, 100, 200, 400)
metering (Average, center-weighted, spot)
lighting (Off, low, high) - see below
(Full color, black & white, sepia)
(Low, medium, high)
(Low, medium, high)
(Low, medium, high)
bracketing (Off, ±0.3, ±0.7, ±1.0)
- camera takes three shots in a row, each with
a different exposure value
- Date & time
imprint (Off, date only, date & time)
Adaptive Lighting feature is a kind of "digital
flash" that you can use to bring out more detail
in dark areas of your photo. In fact, this feature
used to be called Digital Flash back on the Photosmart
945. The catch is that the brightened areas may appear
noisy. While you can use it instead of the built-in
flash, this is not recommended. Here's a quick example
of how it well it works:
also a photo in the gallery in
which I used low adaptive lighting -- it would've
been pretty lousy otherwise.
in My Mode, all of those menu items will have "My" before
them. This is how you select what settings are your
addition to the record menu, there's also a setup
menu, with the following options:
brightness (Low, medium, high)
sounds (Off, low, high)
Assist Light (Auto, off)
View at Power On (on/off) - whether LCD is on when
you start the camera
- Date & Time
configuration (Digital camera [PTP], disk drive
configuration (NTSC, PAL)
(English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch)
Photosmart R707 actually has a full-fledged help
menu -- wow! It has the following sections:
Images and Video
to HP for making this camera so user friendly!
enough about all that boring stuff, let's do photo
R707 did a decent job with the macro test subject,
though I'm not thrilled with the color accuracy.
Both the reds and blues are darker than on the real
life figurine. There's a bit of grain in the image
as well. The camera's manual white balance came in
handy, as I have 600W quartz lamps which often don't
go over well with preset white balance values.
focal range in macro mode is 14 - 90 cm at wide-angle
and 50 - 100 cm at telephoto, which isn't terribly
night shot was a bit frustrating to take. The camera
only wanted to do a super-long exposure: in this
case 12 seconds. That resulted in the overexposed
image that you see above. There's no way to manually
choose a shutter speed, so you're at the mercy of
the R707's brain. This photo looks a lot better after
a trip through Photoshop. Obviously your mileage
may vary, but if you take a lot of photos like this,
the R707 may not be the best choice.
R707 has a really cool in-camera redeye reduction
feature, which is actually located in the playback
menu. Pick the photo, and the camera does some processing
for a while and then the redeye is reduced! It's
not perfect, but it's quicker than doing it yourself
on your PC.
using the reduction reduction feature, the camera
picks up quite a bit of this annoying phenomenon
(and that's with the redeye reduction preflash).
But after using the redeye reduction system, it got
rid of most, but not all of it. I'm very pleased
to see this feature, and I hope more cameras offer
it in the future.
distortion chart shows moderate barrel distortion
and no vignetting (dark corners).
image quality on the Photosmart R707 was good, but
not great. The main issue I have is noise: there's
a lot of grain in the images, and some of it eats
away at the details, giving photos a soft appearance.
This doesn't really matter if you're making small
prints, but for large prints or viewing on your computer
screen, you'll certainly notice. Colors did look
good, though, and purple fringing was not a problem.
have a look at our gallery and
see if the photo quality meets your expectations.
You are encouraged to print the photos, as well.
R707 can record video at 320 x 240 (30 frames/second)
with sound until the memory card is full. To record,
you use the dedicated video button on the top of
the camera. Press it once to start, and a second
time to stop.
cannot use the zoom lens during filming, but you
can position it before you begin.
are saved in MPEG format.
a quick sample movie for you:
to play movie (2.3MB, MPEG format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
R707 has a pretty snazzy playback mode, even if you
don't include the Instant Share features that I discussed
earlier. Basic features include audio captions, thumbnail
mode, zoom and scroll, and slideshows (assuming you
bought the dock). There is no image protection, though.
magnification (what I call zoom and scroll) feature
lets you blow up the picture (not sure how much exactly),
and then scroll around in the zoomed-in area. It
takes about four seconds for the R707 to blow up
the image, but after that, it's smooth scrolling.
can rotate photos with a push of the button.
already mentioned two of the coolest playback features:
redeye reduction and panorama preview, but there's
two more that'll really impressive you.
first is HP Image Advice. This analyzes your photo
and tells you ways in which you could improve it.
Above is just one of many possible responses (50
to be exact). Other times it will say that your photo
is just dandy.
you can really do this
you ever been reviewing photos when you deleted a
photo accidentally? Usually cursing follows, and
then depression. Well, worry no more -- the R707
lets you bring the previously-deleted photo back
to life at the push of a button. The catch (there
always is one) is that once you take another picture
or turn off the camera, this option disappears.
default, the R707 tells you nothing about the photos
you've taken. If you want more information about
your photos, choose the Image Info option in the
between photos is super fast -- it's basically instantaneous.
Does it Compare?
Photosmart R707 shares one thing with its ultra zoom
brother, the 945: with a few changes this could be
one of the best cameras out there. If HP improved
the image quality and added a few manual controls,
this would be the camera to beat. While other camera
manufacturers are developing things like "image
roulette" or putting tiny 6/7/8 Megapixel sensors
into their cameras, HP's engineers are developing
things that people actually need, like in-camera
redeye reduction, image advice, photo undelete, and
easy photo sharing. I hope the competition is taking
thing at a time though. The R707 has two major shortcomings:
image quality and manual controls. While photo quality
is decent and perfect for making smaller-sized prints,
enthusiasts will be turned off by the above average
noise levels. And while the camera has manual controls,
the ones that matter are limited. Manual focus needs
a better distance guide and center frame enlargement,
and real aperture and shutter speed controls
are badly needed (witness the night shot). Some other
quibbles: the macro mode isn't so hot, and the dock
is required if you want to view photos on a television.
are so many other things that I love about this camera
that I'll just list them off. When shooting in low
light, the LCD amplifies the image on the screen
so you can see it, and the AF-assist lamp helps the
camera lock focus. The Instant Share system lets
you tag photos for direct e-mailing, transfer to
a web gallery, and printing through Shutterfly. The
panorama assist feature helps you set up the shots
and then gives you a live preview of the whole thing.
A digital flash feature, known as Adaptive Lighting,
helps bring out details in dark areas -- and it really
works. And I love, love, love all the in-camera help
systems -- this is a great camera for beginners.
The redeye reduction feature works fairly well, but
is not going to totally eliminate this annoyance.
Image Advice gives you hints about improving your
photos, with 50 possible answers! Finally, the image
undelete feature is handy if you accidentally trash
an important photos.
I mention that this camera only costs $349? Quite
a deal if you ask me, though you'll have to factor
in a memory card and extra (pricey) battery into
that. The $80 dock is useful too, but is not a requirement
unless you want to view photos on your TV.
R707 is a nice camera for beginners or those who
do prints smaller than 8 x 10 inches. Enthusiasts
will probably find better image quality on other
of cool toys for under $350
Instant Share system + software bundle
Adaptive Lighting feature
undelete last photo taken
can be used in low light
redeye reduction feature
easy-to-use: in-camera help system and manual are
Advice tells you had to improve your photos
use Duracell CP1 disposable battery -- if you can
(but optional) camera dock
I didn't care for:
get video out you must buy the dock
other compact 5+ Megapixel cameras worth looking
at include the Canon
PowerShot S500, Casio
FinePix F450 (coming Fall 2005), Kodak
EasyShare LS753, Konica
Minolta DiMAGE G600 (6MP), Nikon
Coolpix 5200, Olympus
C-60Z (6MP), Pentax
Optio 555, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 and DSC-W1.
always, I recommend a trip down to your local retailer
to try out the Photosmart R707 and it's competitors
before you buy!
how the photo quality stacks up in our photo
another opinion? How about more?
more reviews of the Photosmart R707 at Steve's
Digicams and dcviews.
Feedback & Discussion
you have a question about this review, please send
them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail
me asking for a personal recommendation.
discuss this review with other DCRP readers, please
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