HP PhotoSmart R707

The HP Photosmart R707 has a stylish silver and dark-gray case that looks vaguely BMW, but it’s got a downright Midwestern personality that’s eager to help out a neighbor and do right by its friends.

That personality shows through as soon as you venture into the camera’s menus, which include full-text descriptions of each option instead of the cryptic icons and abbreviations common to most cameras. What’s more, there’s a Help menu — familiar to computer users but unheard of in the camera world. This extensive menu includes advice on taking better photographs and pointers on using the camera’s features and buttons. When reviewing shots you’ve already taken, the R707 offers a red-eye removal feature, although it doesn’t work reliably.

When taking shots, the R707 has subsecond shutter lag and a very speedy one-second recovery time between shots. Image quality overall is good, although indoor flash shots were a little dim.

The camera fits nicely in your right hand, with a small depression for your thumb to rest just below the zoom controls. The R707 has a separate button for video capture, and instead of a mode dial the camera has a single button — pressing it repeatedly cycles through the available modes.

With a healthy 5.1 megapixels and 3x optical zoom (plus 8x digital zoom), the HP R707 is a versatile, easy-to-use camera that’s especially good for beginners. -Dylan Tweney

Best Feature: Incredibly helpful and complete menus
Worst Feature: Flash photos can appear dim

SPECS:
HP Photosmart R707
$349
Weight: 7.4 ounces
Size: 3.7 x 2.3 x 1.3 inches
Specs: 5.1 megapixels; 3x optical zoom; 1.5-inch LCD; 320 x 240-pixel, 30 fps MPEG video; integrated flash; SD slot; 32MB of internal memory; USB 2.0; lithium-ion battery
www.hp.com

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HP PhotoSmart R707