• Price: 164

  • Company: HP

  • Pros: Decent quality pictures at an affordable price. Large screen.

  • Cons: Suffers from distortion, and the battery life is short. Special effects are plentiful but not that useful.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

The Photosmart R927 is HP’s first 8mp camera. It sports a three-inch LCD in a sturdy metal case, and while it’s not the lightest or slimmest, it’s still easily pocket-sized.

Its photos offer excellent colour accuracy, exposure, and sharpness. However, the Photosmart R927’s high pixel count doesn’t hide the fact that its output suffers from distortion. In test shots taken of a target resolution chart, distortion was more noticeable than most compact cameras.

The camera packs a lot of processing options, such as built-in special effects that make an image look like an aged photo print, or a watercolor painting, or a cartoon. These are more suited to the consumer than any serious creative work. The special effects work pretty slowly too.

Controls are plentiful – the R927 offers aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, as well as white balance calibration and exposure bracketing, so the camera offers more opportunity to fiddle with the settings than most compacts.

There are the usual colour-modification settings, such as B&W and sepia, or you can add a colour tint.

The oddest effect is called slimming. This distorts the picture slightly to take a few pounds off self-conscious subjects. Sadly, this causes hilarious and potentially disastrous distortions to the body shapes of your subjects. Aside from messing about with it in the pub, it’s useless.

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 biggest problem with the R927 is its poor battery life. The camera took just 114 shots before conking out.

Despite offering a decent level of control for the price, and decent image quality, the Photosmart R927 still feels
like it’d be more at home taking family snaps than in a creative’s back-pocket. Aside from the distortion problem, the output is pretty good, but the lacklustre battery-life is frustrating.