Hewlett Packard R927 Review

 
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HP R927 Exposure


Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Pretty good overall color, with reasonable saturation. Hue accuracy was slightly off in some areas, but results are still quite good.

In the diagram above, the squares show the original color, and the circles show the color that the camera captured. More saturated colors are located towards the periphery of the graph. Hue changes as you travel around the center. Thus, hue-accurate, highly saturated colors appear as lines radiating from the center.

Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life. The HP R927 pushed the strong red and blue tones quite a bit when viewed on the diagram at right, but results were still pleasing to look at. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc. Skin tones looked good throughout my testing, if sometimes in need of a slight boost in warmth. Still, overall results were good.

The other important part of color rendition is hue accuracy. Hue is "what color" the color is. Though the HP R927 pushed cyan toward blue, blue toward violet, and red toward orange, overall color appeared quite natural (if slightly dark in some cases).

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Good color with all three white balance settings, and no positive exposure compensation needed.

Auto White Balance, Default Exposure Incandescent, Default Exposure
 
Manual White Balance, Default Exposure  

The HP R927 performed very well here, as all three white balance settings tested produced good looking color. The Manual setting resulted in the slightest warm cast, but many consumers may prefer the added warmth on the skin tones. The HP R927's exposure system also handled the scene quite well, producing very good results at the default exposure. The blue flowers in the bouquet are quite dark and purplish (in all three shots), but overall color still looks very good here. (Many digital cameras reproduce these flowers with a dark, purplish tint.) Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.

 

Outdoors, daylight
Overall slightly dark color under harsh lighting, though results are still good. Very good exposure, much less positive exposure compensation required than normal.

Auto White Balance,
Auto Exposure
Auto White Balance,
Auto Exposure

Outdoors, the Hewlett Packard Photosmart R927 produced slightly dark color, though overall results still appeared fairly natural and pleasing. The R927 performed very well in terms of exposure, requiring much less positive compensation than we're accustomed to seeing among consumer digital cameras. The HP R927's default contrast is rather high, producing dark shadows under the deliberately harsh lighting of our "Sunlit" portrait test shown above right. However, the camera's Adaptive Lighting setting attempts to even out the tonal distribution somewhat, albeit by slightly increasing the exposure as well. Overall detail is good, though limited in the shadow by high noise. Even in the brighter areas of outdoor images, noise levels are fairly high. Still, the HP R927 handles extreme lighting outdoors pretty well.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Resolution
High resolution, 1,400 ~ 1,500 lines of strong detail.

Our laboratory resolution chart for the HP R927 revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,400-1,500 lines per picture height horizontally, and to about 1,400 lines vertically. Extinction didn't occur until past 2,000 lines. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail. Beware that while you might be able to make out what looks like distinct lines at numbers higher than those we've mentioned here, the camera is just doing its best to continue interpreting the lines. The lines you see at 1,800 and higher are really only artifacts generated by the camera's imaging system.

Strong detail to
1,400~1,500 lines horizontal
Strong detail to
1,400 lines vertical

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sharpness & Detail
Reasonably sharp images overall, with only slight edge-enhancement on high-contrast subjects. Noise suppression limits detail in the shadows.

Pretty good definition of high-contrast elements, though with minor edge enhancement. Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression tends to blur detail in areas of subtle contrast, as in the darker parts of Marti's hair here, yet both chroma and luminance noise artifacts are still present.

The Hewlett Packard Photosmart R927's images are reasonably sharp, though details are smooshed by noise suppression even at the lowest ISO settings. Under harsh lighting, as in the crop above left, there is minor edge enhancement from the camera visible. Still, results are pretty good. (Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.)

Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears. The crop above right shows major noise suppression artifacts across the board from the HP R927, while noise is still rampant in the scene.

ISO & Noise Performance
Moderately high noise with significant blurring even at the normal sensitivity setting, and very high noise at the highest level.

ISO 100 ISO 200
 
ISO 400  

Noise levels are high in the HP R927's images, with moderately high noise even at ISO 100. The noise pattern increases in brightness as the ISO setting increases, becoming very high at ISO 400 with significant blurring.

Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
High resolution with strong overall detail, though high noise and limited shadow detail. Good low-light performance, capable of capturing bright images under average city street lighting and much darker conditions.

Default Exposure +0.3 EV +0.7 EV

Sunlight:
Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)

The HP R927 produced slightly high contrast with deep shadows under the harsh lighting of the test above, though overall results are still pretty good considering the lighting. The camera's low contrast setting did a pretty good job of taming contrast, and the Adaptive Lighting (low option) also evened out the exposure slightly. However, in the case of Adaptive Lighting, the entire exposure appears just a bit too bright. There's a fair amount of image noise here, which interferes with detail definition, especially in the shadows. I personally felt the default exposure was best, though some readers may prefer the shot at +0.3 EV, which is slightly brighter. (In "real life" though, be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown above; it's better to shoot in the shade when possible.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
100
Click to see R927LL1003.JPG
2.63145 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL1004.JPG
5.51568 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL1005.JPG
13.1906 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL1006.JPG
16 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL1007.JPG
16 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see R927LL2003.JPG
2.15384 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL2004.JPG
3.80112 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL2005.JPG
6.60804 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL2006.JPG
8.35501 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL2007.JPG
8.35501 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see R927LL4003.JPG
1.08277 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL4004.JPG
1.92542 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL4005.JPG
3.17114 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL4006.JPG
4.1775 sec
f2.8
Click to see R927LL4007.JPG
4.1775 sec
f2.8

Low light:
The Photosmart R927 captured bright images down to the 1/8 foot-candle light level (about 1/8 as bright as average city street lighting at night) at all three ISO settings. You could argue for the images captured at the 1/16 foot-candle setting, which are just a hint dim. Overall color looks good, without any strong shifts in color balance. The camera's autofocus system was able to focus on the subject down to just below the 1/4 foot-candle light level, with or without AF assist, meaning you'll need to employ manual focus in darker settings. Do keep in mind though, that the very long shutter times necessary here absolutely demand the use of a tripod or other camera support to get sharp photos. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)

NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) For such applications, you may have better luck with a digital SLR camera, but even there, you'll likely need to set the focus manually. For information and reviews on digital SLRs, refer to our SLR review index page.

Flash

Coverage and Range
A powerful flash, with bright results and good coverage. Our indoor shots required much less positive compensation than average.

35mm equivalent 105mm equivalent
Normal Flash, Default Exposure Night Portrait Mode, +0.3 EV

Flash coverage was only slightly uneven at wide angle, though results at telephoto were more uniform. In the Indoor test, the Photosmart R927's flash exposed our subject surprisingly well at its default exposure setting. Some readers may prefer the slightly brighter image at +0.3 EV, but I find the brighter highlights a bit unnatural. The HP R927's Night Portrait mode also performed well; but in this case, I preferred the exposure at +0.3 EV. In both modes, the longer shutter times resulted in an orange color cast from the background incandescent lighting, with stronger blue tints in the normal flash mode.

Flash Range: Wide Angle
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft
Click to see R927FL06W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL07W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL08W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL09W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL10W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
16 ft
Click to see R927FL16W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100

Flash Range: Telephoto
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft
Click to see R927FL06T.JPG
1/125 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL07T.JPG
1/125 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL08T.JPG
1/125 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL09T.JPG
1/125 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
Click to see R927FL10T.JPG
1/125 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
16 ft
Click to see R927FL16T.JPG
1/125 sec
f5.0
ISO 100

 

Flash power at both wide angle and telephoto remains fairly bright out to 16 feet. Hewlett Packard estimates the R927's flash as powerful to about 15.6 feet at both zoom settings, which falls in line with our findings.

Output Quality

Print Quality
Good print quality, good color, good 13x19 inch prints at low ISO. ISO 400 images are soft but usable at 5x7 and lower.

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon i9900 studio printer, and on the Canon iP5200 here in the office. (See the Canon i9900 review for details on that model.)

With the HP R927, we found that it had enough resolution to make decent 13x19 inch prints. The aforementioned color and luminance noise even at the lowest ISO was quite evident at this size, though not terrible; it just has a tendency to flatten out shadows and blacks, and fill them with chroma noise even at ISO 100. At ISO 400, image noise levels are so noticable that we'd only recommend printing the images at 4x6 or 5x7 at the largest. The HP R927's high resolution does a little to make up for all that noise if you keep your prints limited to 8x10 at ISO 100.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Hewlett Packard Photosmart R927 Photo Gallery.

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Hewlett Packard Photosmart R927 with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!

Hewlett packard R927

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