The M537 showed sluggish results in our tests. The camera took an arduously long 4.1 seconds to start up and capture its first image. Shutter lag measured 1.1 seconds in our high-contrast test and a full 2 seconds in a low-contrast test, which mimic bright and dim shooting conditions, respectively. The camera took 2 seconds between shots, a wait that jumped to 3.2 seconds with the onboard flash enabled. Only its burst mode showed impressive results for a camera in its price range, yielding full-resolution JPEGs at an average rate of 2.1fps.
Photos from the M537 also fare poorly, with muddled color and softened details. As with many snapshot cameras, photos shot under incandescent light look very warm when using automatic white balance. Unfortunately, the M537 has only automatic white balance; it lacks the manual and incandescent white-balance modes found on most other snapshot cameras. This means that your indoor shots--assuming you have incandescent lights inside--will tend to have a funky yellow tint. Besides the color, image artifacts also tend to soften and obscure fine details. We also noticed fringing and oversharpening along the edges of some objects.
The HP Photosmart M537's myriad of onboard image manipulation features might appeal to artistic snapshooters, but its almost nonexistent exposure controls and disappointing performance and image quality make it a poor choice, even among budget cameras. Consider instead the similarly automatic Olympus FE-230, a solid budget camera that stays in same price range as this HP.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)