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HP Photosmart M22
- Digital Camera Quick Review
HP have this to say about the camera:
"This tough but good looking all-metal camera combines ease-of-use and weather-resistance with a range of HP Real Life technologies first seen on HPs award-winning R-series cameras. Just point and shoot for great results wherever you go."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: It's
very compact and made out of shiney silver metal.
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm Camera (PC-550).
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents - a large memory card, and a case would have been nice.
The Camera in Use:
Battery life seemed average - rechargable high-powered Ni-Mh batteries
and a charger are highly recommended and should provide much better battery
Speed: The camera speed is average when being turned on and average when taking photos. The screen updates are a bit sluggish. The playback mode is fairly quick. Playback mode allows you to zoom extremely closely - enlarging the pictures pixels. Shot to shot time seemed about average. The camera shutter response seemed about average, and sluggish in low light. Focusing was quite good, but slow in low-light.
Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, the built in help explains the modes when you select them. The controls on the back of the camera are very easy to use - with the clear photo / play button. The camera is compact but not overly small. The menus are responsive, easy to use, and the options are easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation (there's very little control beyond point and shoot operation).
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are very easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons - although a seperate delete button would be nice. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled well. I thought the camera felt good ergonomically. The buttons are a good size. Build quality seems good.
Screen / Viewfinder: The 1.5" screen, although small, is fairly clear with good colours. There is no optical viewfinder.
Image quality generally: Outside image quality was average, colour was quite rich and saturated, and noise seemed fairly low, the pictures had good contrast, although images were soft and as a result detail was average. Indoors - image quality was below average, images were soft and often fuzzy looking and lacked detail - focusing was occassionally a problem and red eye was quite noticable (although the built in red-eye reduction does help assuming you're not wearing glasses). Images were generally fairly soft, and may benefit from sharpening. The maco mode was fairly poor as the closest you can get to the subject is around 20cm away.
Image quality issues: There was very minor purple fringing.
Zoom: The camera
has no optical zoom lens, meaning you will either need to walk closer
to the subject in order to frame the subject correctly, or alternatively
use the digital zoom - which will degrade image quality drastically.
Movie: The movie mode offers 320x240 / 25fps. The video mode is good and works well, however the lack of sound-playback on camera does limit it's usefullness.
Size + Compression options: The choices are 4mp Best, 4mp, 2mp and VGA. There's a limited choice here although it should keep the intended market happy - it would be nice to see a 3:2 aspect ratio available (especially for those wanting to print traditional 6x4" photos).
The flash performed quite well in the photos I took and performed better
when the subject was closer to the camera - however I wouldn't expect
the camera to light up large rooms.
Conclusion: The HP Photosmart M22 scores very highly on ease of use, but unfortunately falls short on image quality, with soft images, and poor indoor photo quality. The lack of optical zoom is a real shame as well - you may be better off buying a camera with an optical zoom lens. Images do have okay colour outdoors and this camera may suit those looking for an extremely easy to use weatherproof point and shoot camera on a budget.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.