HP PhotoSmart 612 review: HP PhotoSmart 612

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Very easy to use; acceptable outdoor and flash images; comfortable design.

The Bad Mediocre picture quality; slow shutter response and shot-to-shot time; short battery life; poor low-light performance.

The Bottom Line Consider this no-frills, easy-to-use camera only if you're on a tight budget.

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A no-frills snapshot camera for families, students, and eBay denizens, the HP PhotoSmart 612 offers 2-megapixel resolution at a 1-megapixel price. The good news is that the camera is so simple that it has virtually no learning curve, but its lack of controls limits its usefulness for taking anything but daylight or flash pictures. With many 2-megapixel competitors falling into the same price range, the 612 is left trailing the pack. A no-frills snapshot camera for families, students, and eBay denizens, the HP PhotoSmart 612 offers 2-megapixel resolution at a 1-megapixel price. The good news is that the camera is so simple that it has virtually no learning curve, but its lack of controls limits its usefulness for taking anything but daylight or flash pictures. With many 2-megapixel competitors falling into the same price range, the 612 is left trailing the pack.

Simple and slow
With an ergonomically pleasing--if not especially compact--shape that fits nicely into your hand, the 612 weighs 11.5 ounces with four AA batteries and a CompactFlash card installed. The camera's control layout is very straightforward, with dedicated buttons for image quality, flash, and self-timer settings, as well as a nicely out-of-the-way power switch. Its bright optical viewfinder makes composing easy. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the dim LCD, particularly in outdoor light. In addition, the camera's poor playback display makes it difficult to judge picture quality. On the other hand, it's easy to navigate the minimal LCD menus with the jog wheel on the back of the camera.

Bare-bones is the only way to describe the 612's feature set. You can select from three picture-quality levels and four flash settings, but everything else is fully automatic. An internal 8MB of memory lets you save seven highest-quality images, and you can purchase CompactFlash cards to increase the camera's capacity. The lens zooms quickly through its small 2X range. Although it lacks a macro setting, we got usable images of subjects as close as 15 inches, with and without flash.

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Where to Buy See all prices

HP PhotoSmart 612

Part Number: C8908A#ABA
Low Price: $214.20 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 2 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 2.3 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.6"