June 2, 2005 - Amid a flurry of compact camera releases, HP United Kingdom launched two new 5.1 megapixel cameras in the form of the Photosmart R817 and R818. Both point-and-shoot cameras are touted for their inclusion of dynamic shooting modes, including panorama stitching, theater and video still printing, and both are expected to retail in Britain for the hefty price of $600-$700.
The Photosmart R817 and R818 both share 2-inch 153,000 pixel LCD screens, 8x optical zoom lenses, and include 32MB of internal memory. Both packages weigh in at 6.7 ounces including battery and media, spanning 3.5 x 1.2 x 2.2 inches in form.
HP is trumpeting the variety of shooting choices, offering up to 15 shooting modes in both the Photosmart R817 and R818. The various modes include action, landscape, beach, snow, sunset, and document, to name a few. HP also introduces theater mode which compensates for conditions typically found in concerts or auditoriums.
Additionally, both the Photosmart R817 and R818 provide what HP calls "In-camera Panorama stitching." This allows users to "stitch" together multiple shots of landscapes and sequences within the camera. Both models can stitch up to 5 photos together in the camera.
Video mode is one instance where the two cameras begin to differ. While the R817 can shoot video at 30 frames per second at a resolution of 320 x 240, the R818 increases the resolution to 640 x 480. However, in video mode both the HP Photosmart R817 and R818 can capture single images and print ‘stills’ directly from video footage. This can be accomplished without hooking the cameras up to a PC.
Both cameras features the HP "sculpted wave style finger grip" and stainless steel body. The Photosmart R817 body comes in a silver finish, while the R818 model comes with a dark midnight grey metallic finish.
The Photosmart R817 will retail in Britain for approximately $634 (USD) or £349, while the Photosmart R818 is expected to ship in August, retailing for roughly $700 (USD) or £399. Both cameras ship with the R-Series Docking Station.