The HP Photosmart R967 has a big LCD, an antishake mode, and panorama stitching, but its battery life is skimpy.

The 10Mp HP Photosmart R967 is very similar to its predecessor, the 8.2Mp HP Photosmart R927 (read our review here). Like the R927, the HP Photosmart R967 is a point-and-shoot with a big, 3in LCD and a compact, sturdy metal body.

The HP Photosmart R967 offers an antishake mode and automatic red-eye removal, in addition to more megapixels. Also like it's predecessor, the R967 is well designed and delivers high image quality, but battery life is disappointing.

The HP Photosmart R967 took very sharp photos in our tests, and earned high marks across the board for its image quality, earning an overall image quality score of Very Good. The only exception was the HP Photosmart R967's score for distortion, which was below average.

The R967 is best suited for point-and-click photographers who don't need manual controls at their fingertips. There is no mode dial, and so the only shooting mode you can initiate via a dedicated button or dial is the macro mode; for all scene modes, you have to navigate the HP Photosmart R967's menus. The HP Photosmart R967 is also a bit on the heavy side at 200g; at 1in thick, it's not ultraslim, but nor is it overly bulky.

The HP Photosmart R967 puts a few other options at your fingertips as well. One button turns the flash on and off. Another launches the Photosmart Express Menu, which you use to print directly from the camera, as well as to access options for tagging images or buying prints from HP's EasyShare Gallery Web site. For these last two options, you need to use a PC and the included Photosmart software.

However, the R967's features aim to make a PC a rare necessity. Best among those features are automatic red-eye reduction and an antishake mode, both of which worked well in my informal testing. In addition, the HP Photosmart R967 offers a wealth of processing options that can let you add creative effects to your photos - such as subtle colour modifications, cartoon simulations, or watercolor effects - without your having to use image-editing software.

The HP Photosmart R967's more extreme creative effects seem like gimmicks that won't get much use over the long haul. But its more traditional color tone effects are a handy alternative to using editing software on a PC.

Applying the effects is a relatively quick process - it usually takes up to 10 seconds to apply one effect to a 10Mp image. Also, the HP Photosmart R967 performs in-camera panorama stitching for up to five photos; this process can take significantly longer than applying a routine effect - a three-shot panorama took half a minute to stitch.

A five-shot series took the camera over a minute, though we deliberately had not aligned a couple of shots precisely with the panorama mode's guidelines; these guides (a series of white hash marks) appear on the LCD to help you line up each shot, though it's not always obvious what they're depicting. You may prefer to perform these panorama functions on a PC using the included software, considering the HP Photosmart R967's poor battery life - its lithium ion battery lasted a mere 180 shots on one charge, which is almost 100 photos short of the average.

One potentially useful feature is the HP Photosmart R967's adaptive lighting mode. Its strength is its ability to adjust the intensity of the flash, which helped us get appealing results on indoor shots. If you prefer to shoot without the flash, however, it may not be as helpful. When using this feature while shooting in theatre mode (which suppresses the flash), we saw little difference in shots taken with and without adaptive lighting turned on.

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HP Photosmart R967 10Mp compact camera: Specs

  • 3in 230,400-pixel LCD
  • 10Mp camera
  • 1/1.8in CCD
  • supports SD (Secure Digital)
  • USB 2.0 port
  • HP Photosmart 6221 Premium Camera Dock with DC input connector
  • HP Photosmart 6222 Wireless Dock Base
  • HP Photosmart 6224 Wireless Picture Manager
  • HP Photosmart Software for Windows and Macintosh (requires Win 2000/XP/XP 64-bit, Apple Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later)
  • lithium (rechargeable) 1050mAH battery
  • AC adaptor with dock
  • 100 to 240VAC / 50 to 60Hz
  • 96x256x62mm
  • 0.21kg
  • focal length 7.8 to 22mm (35mm film equiv 35 to 105mm)
  • max aperture: (wide) F2.8 to 7.8, (tele) F5.0 to 8.5
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 10x digital zoom
  • white balance: auto (default), sun, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, manual
  • shutter speeds 16 to 1/2000Seconds
  • ISO 100/200/400
  • self timer
  • Jpeg (EXIF 2.2), MPEG1
  • 3in 230,400-pixel LCD
  • 10Mp camera
  • 1/1.8in CCD
  • supports SD (Secure Digital)
  • USB 2.0 port
  • HP Photosmart 6221 Premium Camera Dock with DC input connector
  • HP Photosmart 6222 Wireless Dock Base
  • HP Photosmart 6224 Wireless Picture Manager
  • HP Photosmart Software for Windows and Macintosh (requires Win 2000/XP/XP 64-bit, Apple Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later)
  • lithium (rechargeable) 1050mAH battery
  • AC adaptor with dock
  • 100 to 240VAC / 50 to 60Hz
  • 96x256x62mm
  • 0.21kg
  • focal length 7.8 to 22mm (35mm film equiv 35 to 105mm)
  • max aperture: (wide) F2.8 to 7.8, (tele) F5.0 to 8.5
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 10x digital zoom
  • white balance: auto (default), sun, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, manual
  • shutter speeds 16 to 1/2000Seconds
  • ISO 100/200/400
  • self timer
  • Jpeg (EXIF 2.2), MPEG1

OUR VERDICT

Easy-to-use menus and in-camera red-eye reduction are definite plus points for the 10Mp HP Photosmart R967, but that battery life is a real let-down.

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