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HP Photosmart R927 digital camera

The Photosmart R927, HP’s first 8-megapixel camera, sports a large (3-inch) LCD in a sturdy metal case. And though you’ll rarely need all that resolution for a print enlargement, the large number of pixels gives you freedom to crop down to a small portion of your photo and still get a high-quality print.

The R927 performed well in our image quality tests; its photos earned high marks for color accuracy, exposure, and sharpness. In test shots taken of a target resolution chart, the camera’s only shortcoming was distortion, which was more noticeable than most other cameras we’ve looked at recently.

The R927 isn’t ultra-slim, but it fits easily enough into a shirt pocket. At seven ounces, it’s slightly heavier than many point-and-shoot cameras.

This compact camera packs in a lot of processing options for shutterbugs who would rather not edit their images on a PC. For example, built-in special effects let you make an image look like an aged photo print, or a watercolor painting, or a cartoon. But special effects take time. It took the camera anywhere from 8 to 11 seconds to add one of these effects to images shot at 5-megapixel resolution. The results were generally good, though the initial thrill quickly faded. More subtle color modification settings, which let you convert an image to black-and-white or sepia or add a color tint, were more useful and took less time to process—about four seconds. The oddest effect is called slimming, which distorts the picture slightly to take a few pounds off self-conscious subjects. Taking a few pounds off the waistline, however, made the head of one person look unnaturally thin.

The most impressive trick you can perform with the R927 is stitching together panoramas and displaying them on the camera’s LCD. You can combine up to five shots, and for each shot after the first, the LCD provides guidelines to help you line up an overlapped section for the next shot. The downside is that the camera takes about 45 seconds to stitch together a five-shot panorama. Doing the same thing on the computer with HP’s Photosmart software takes a lot less time. And once you have stitched together a panorama in the camera, you can’t add effects to the individual images.

Controls are plentiful: The R927 offers aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, as well as white balance calibration and exposure bracketing. That is more than many point-and-shoots offer.

The R927’s least appealing attribute is its battery life. The camera earned the lowest score for battery life of recently tested point-and-shoots, taking just 114 shots—less than half the average—on one battery charge. If you plan to go crazy with the special effects, you’ll want to pack an extra battery.

performance

Image Quality Very Good
Battery Life Poor

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

How We Tested: The image-quality rating of the camera is based upon a panel of judges’ opinions in five categories: exposure, color, sharpness, distortion, and overall. Battery life testers follow a precise script, including shots with and without flash, until the battery dies.—Tested in conjunction with the PC World Test Center

specifications

Resolution 8.2 megapixels
Zoom/Focal Length (35mm equivalent) 3x/35mm-105mm
Battery Type Rechargeable litium ion
Media Slots Secure Digital/MMC (1)
Size (wxhxd) 3.8 x 1.0 x 2.4
Weight (oz.) 7

Macworld’s buying advice

If you’re looking for a high-resolution point-and-shoot camera that gives you an array of controls and creative options, the HP Photosmart R927 is a good choice. It takes fine images and is easy to tote around. However, be prepared to wait for your special effects to process, and to recharge the battery more often than other comparable cameras.

[ Eric Butterfield is a senior associate editor at PC World.]

HP Photosmart R927
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