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HP PhotoSmart 912

HP and Pentax team up to make a true SLR digicam with Pentax lens, HP color wizardry, and ample features.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 3/26/2001

2.24-megapixel CCD delivers up to 1,600 x 1,200-pixel photos.
SLR viewfinder shows you exactly what the camera sees.
3x optical zoom lens by Pentax delivers high-quality optics.
Flashpoint's Digita operating system adds programmability and lots of features.

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Manufacturer Overview
Hewlett Packard (HP) is one of the true giants of the information age. Their products range from scientific instruments to personal computers, to the most popular line of laser printers in existence. Along the way, they've developed a popular line of digital cameras, inkjet printers, and scanners intended to make digital imaging accessible to the home and small-office user. HP has apparently succeeded well in this, as the PhotoSmart 315 camera was the biggest-selling camera in the US in the 2000 Christmas season. In an earlier review, we were very impressed with the PhotoSmart S20 print/film scanner, which produced very high-quality images with virtually no tweaking or adjustment.

The subject of this review is HP's PhotoSmart 912 digital camera, a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) design developed in cooperation with Pentax Corporation, a well-known camera manufacturer with a longstanding record of experience and skill in optics and conventional film-based cameras. The SLR viewfinder allows you to look through the same lens the camera uses to take the picture, so there's none of the usual problems with "viewfinder parallax" to skew your framing. What you see is what you get! Aside from the SLR design, the PhotoSmart 912 is a full-function, 2.2-megapixel camera, with good color and image quality, and a lot of flexibility thanks to its Flashpoint Digita operating system. (Digita provides a platform through which users can actually program their own camera functions. Check for more information and links to the tools you'd need.) Overall, HP has created a very feature-rich SLR digicam, at a price far below what other true "optical" SLR digicams typically sell.

High Points

  • 2.24-megapixel CCD delivering up to 1,600 x 1,280-pixel resolution images.
  • Two-inch color LCD monitor that tilts up 90 degrees.
  • 36-bit color (12 bits per color).
  • Through-the-lens (TTL) optical viewfinder with data display.
  • Pentax 3x, 8.2-25.8mm lens (equivalent to a 34-107mm lens on a 35mm camera).
  • Digital telephoto up to 2x.
  • Manual and automatic focus control.
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and special preset exposure modes.
  • Manually adjustable aperture ranging from f/2.5 to f/11.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to four seconds.
  • One-shot, Continuous shooting, and Time-Lapse photography modes.
  • Audio recording capability.
  • Exposure lock, EV bracketing, and adjustable metering modes.
  • 25, 50, 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents.
  • Adjustable White Balance with five modes.
  • Built-in, pop-up flash with five modes.
  • Hot shoe for mounting an external flash unit.
  • IR Remote Control included.
  • JPEG and uncompressed TIFF file formats.
  • Images saved to CompactFlash memory cards (Type I or II), 16MB card included.
  • Power from four AA batteries (set of alkaline batteries included), or HP Li-Ion battery pack.
  • JetSend Infrared interface.
  • Flashpoint Digita operating interface.
  • Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compatibility.
  • Software CDs containing HP Photo Imaging Software, ACDSee Systems Viewer, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, and ArcSoft PhotoMontage.
  • USB interface for quick connection to a PC or Macintosh.

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