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REVIEW #2
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last updated September 30 for October also.

HP315 Digital Still Camera

An Introduction to Bargain 2 Mega Pixel Still Cameras

I choose this camera because it has some good features and will not break your bank account. This camera uses a USB ported and will work on either: Windows platform or the Macintosh platform. We suggest that when buying a still that you look for a camera which can produce at the least a 2 mega - pixel image. A two mega - pixel camera will produce images excellant enough for email and web sites. You can also produce a printed image up to 8 by 10 at good quality and a 4 by 6 at excellent print quality.

Today these two mega - pixel cameras are concerderablly less costly than about one year ago. Roughly these cameras now cost between $200 - $400 dollars Canadian. Last year these same cameras would have sold between $400 - $600 Canadian. The price has dropped because newer five and six mega - pixel still cameras are being promoted as well as DV Camcorders with still capabilities. These cameras are selling between: $1,200 to $1,600 Canadian dollars.

These two mega cameras are a bargain offering those on limited budgets the opportunity to now own their own. These cameras are not top of the line but they are a great first user and offer you another way beside your scanner to introduce images into your computer. Most of these cameras come with an 8 MB of storage and will download their images by using a USB or serial port. Find a camera that uses a USB download because it is much faster. If your computer has an extra PCI slots, buy a USB card if you do not have one already. Most cards will run with Windows 95/98 and Macintosh OS 8.1 and up.

Why Hewelett Packard

Hewelett Packard is one manufacturer in particular that has potential to make an excellent still camera, since they have a strong background in digital imagery. They have a long history of selling top- quality printers and scanners, so it is of no surprise that Hewlett- Packard has chosen to adopt digital cameras as a major product line for themselves.

They have now been in this digital camera market for a few years now. HP has recently offered a camera line up to include the Photosmart series: 215, 315, 618, and 912. The Photosmart 215 and 315 cameras are catered towards families and other general - purpose users. The 618 and 912 are aimed at those who don't quite need a high- quality or high priced digital SLR camera, but need a more versatile camera than what a basic unit offers.

You may notice that these cameras share the same name as HP's Photosmart printers. These cameras and printers are designed to work together to facilitate both the input and output of digital images. Photosmart printers, are able to accept Compactflash memory cards from Photosmart cameras and as well as other digital still or digicams. Transfering images can also take place to these print via a wireless new Photosmart cameras via HP infrared.

This review focuses on the Photosmart 315 unit in particular, which boasts a native resolution of 2.1 megapixels, and an amazing suggested price of $299 (Canadian) a drop of $150 dollars from last year. These two features alone have been virtually unheard of until now, as most cameras priced around $300 offer only 1.3 megapixels or less.

HP 315 Digital Still Camera

 A quick glance at the specifications for this camera shows that aside from the aforementioned 2.1 megapixel resolution, there are a few other noteable enhancements made to the camera. For one, HP uses USB to transfer images from the camera to a PC or Macintosh. Considering 2.1 megapixel images are fairly large, opting for USB was a wise decision. As we'll see later on, USB enables this camera to download images very quickly, despite their large file sizes.

Other than that, the camera bundle is fairly plain. No AC adapter is included (though one is available from HP's website at a suggested price of $49.99). While this may be cause for concern, do take note that this camera uses standard AA batteries, which can be replaced easily when drained.

Perhaps the greatest cost-cutting measure used with this camera would be its limited zoom capabilities. Offering no optical zoom (the preferred method of zooming, as it maintains full image quality), the camera instead relies on a 2.5x digital zoom capability. Take note however, as HP is definately not alone in this regard. With only a few exceptions, most cameras priced around $300 lack this same ability. Even still, if HP had been able to cram an optical zoom lens into the unit, while maintaining it's already-low price, it would have been icing on the cake.

Features and Specifications
  • Resolution: 2.1 Megapixels
  • Max. / min. resolution: 1600 x 1200 / 640 x 480
  • Color Depth: 30 - bit (10 bits x 3 colors)
  • Exposure Rating: ISO 100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/750 to 2 sec
  • Lens system: 5 - element glass lens; f/2.8; TTL auto focus; 5.8 mm (38 mm equivalent)
  • Flash Built- i n flash with range up to 3 meters
    Flash modes: auto, auto with red-eye, forced on, forced off
  • Connectivity, Std: USB ver 1.1 to PC or Mac
  • HP Jetsend Infrared;
  • Standard tripod mount
  • Power Supply: 4 AA batteries (included) or optional AC adapter
  • Timer: 10 sec delay
  • Memory Interface: Storage 8 MB Type I CompactFlash
  • Photo capacity 10 to 80 jpeg images 10 superfine, 20 fine
  • Photo format: JPEG
  • Lens type autofocus
  • Zoom Type: 2.5 x Digital
  • Zoom Range: 1.0 - 2.5x in 0.5x increments
  • Software: HP Photo Imaging Software
  • Viewfinder LCD 1.8 inch, optical color with 71,760 pixels; 4x playback magnification; thumbnails or full screen views
  • Warranty One year exchange warranty
  • Dimensions: 128 x 68 x 33 mm (int.); 5 x 2.7 x 1.3 in (US)
  • Weight: 8 oz without batteries
    ·
  • Minimum System Requirements: Windows 98, 2000 Professional, Me, NT 4.0, 133 MHz Pentium processor or better, 32 MB RAM, 800 x 600; 16-bit color display.
  • Minimum System Requirements: MacOS 8.6 and 9x, 604 Power Computer but G3 or faster is better, 32 MB RAM, 800 x 600; color display.
    • Dimensions: (W x D x H) 5 x 2.7 x 1.3 in

    What Do You Get
    HP 315 camera
    wrist strap
    8 MB CompactFlash card
    4 AA batteries
    USB cable
    User manual
    Quick success poster
    HP Photo Imaging software
    Arcsoft PhotoImpression software
    Arcsoft PhotoMontage 2000 software
    Adobe PhotoDeluxe software

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