Pros: inexpensive, easy to use, good introductory point-and-shoot digital camera
Cons: shutter lag, downtime between photos, some bad exposures
Nothing more than a basic digital camera for point-and-shoot photo takers, the HP Photosmart 635 does an adequate job taking snapshots with its 3x zoom lens and 2-megapixel resolution.
The HP Photosmart 635 is a budget digital camera for anyone who wants a simple point-and-shoot camera without many of the bells and whistles of todays digital cameras. Image quality is generally good and prints up to about 5x7 from the 635 are very good. The HP Photosmart 635 isnt go to win any awards, but at roughly $150, it a great deal for people looking to start pointing and shooting with a digital camera.
Whats in the HP Photosmart 635?
The 635 is a 2.1 megapixel camera that cam take photos as jpegs (no other image types) in two different resolutions and in two different compressions. Depending upon your ultimate use of the images, the differing resolutions and compressions should provide you with what you need.
Shooting at the highest resolution, prints are possible up to 8x10 inches though some pixelization is evident in an 8x10 print depending on the type of photograph. With a 5x7 print, youd be hard pressed to notice any problems.
The lower resolution modes are useful if the pictures will be used on websites or on email the resolution is simply too low for quality prints, but is good enough for these formats.
The 635 can also capture 320x240 MPEG video files with sound. The length of these movies is limited only by the amount of memory you have in the camera.
Size and Weight
The 635 measures about 4 inches wide, 2 ? inches high and a little over 1 ? inches deep. It weighs in at about half a pound (8 ounces) with the 2 AA batteries that run it. The 635 is definitely not heavy or bulky and its not all that large. Its comfortable to hold in your hand and shoot pictures with and light enough that you wont notice that much weight when carrying it.
Viewfinder and LCD Screen
The 635 offers an optical viewfinder that is clear, but small and the 1.6 inch LCD panel on the back of the camera measures offers acceptable resolution, but refreshes slowly and can be hard to look at in bright sunshine.
SD/MMC (secure digital, multimedia card) cards supply storage capacity for the 635 with capacities up to 512 megabytes. The 635 also has a built in 16-megabyte storage.
Because this is only a 2-megapixel camera, memory space will not fill up as quickly when capturing photographs. With the built-in 16 megabytes of storage, you can get about 12 pictures at the highest resolution and 85 images in the lowest resolution.
Most users will probably want to have at least a 64-megabyte SD/MMC card (to hold roughly 50 pictures at the highest resolution) and might consider a 128-megabyte SD/MMC card, or multiple 64-megabyte cards if they will be on a longer trip where they will be unable to download the photographs for a length of time.
The 635 is USB 2.0 compatible and can be connected to your computer through the USB port where the pictures will be downloaded. Pictures can also be downloaded directly from the SD/MMC card if you have a card reader.
There is also an available camera dock that can be purchased separately that allows you to place the camera on it and directly download the photographs.
The 635 can also print directly to compatible HP printers without a computer by hooking the camera directly up to the printer with the included cord.
The 635 offers a 3x optical zoom. On a 35mm camera this is comparable to a 40mm to 110 mm lens. The lens does a decent job at staying clear throughout the entire zoom. Autofocus generally does a good job at focusing at all zoom lengths.
Pictures can be taken in black and white, color, and sepia.
Exposure, Shutter Speed, Flash, Macro, White Balance, Focusing, and Timer
The 635 offers both auto-focus and auto-exposure capabilities, with no option for manual controls for these settings. Color saturation levels can be adjusted, as can the ISO settings, from 100 to 400 (but only set at 100, 200 and 400). The color saturation and ISO settings can also be left on auto, to make it easier for the user who is uninterested in changing them. White balance can either be adjusted automatically or manually through different pre-set modes (these modes are for different kinds of standard lighting). Shutter speeds cannot be manually adjusted on the 635.
The 635 has an automatic built-in flash that provides different modes that include auto, red-eye reduction and nighttime. The flash works for subjects up to several feet away.
There is a built-in self-timer that can be used to take self-portraits or to take photographs without any shutter shake.
The area where the 635 stumbles the most is in performance. Startup is an average 4 ? seconds, but the shutter lag for the 635 between pressing the shutter button and the camera taking the pictures is about 1 ? seconds and then theres a delay of almost 6 seconds between being able to take multiple shots there is no burst mode to take multiple shots.
For basic users these kinds of delays might not pose a problem, but for people used to a film camera with no delays, this could be a frustrating aspect of the 635.
The 635 runs off of 2 AA batteries. Battery life in the 635 is decent you can get about 500 shots or so out of one set of batteries (less if you frequently use the flash). Frequent use of the LCD screen also reduces the battery life.
Cost and Included Accessories
The list price for the 635 is $149. The 635 includes a wrist strap, 2 AA batteries, a USB cable to connect to a computer, a USB cable to connect to a printer, a software CD (HP Photo-Imaging Software), a lens cap, and a manual.
The 635 is inexpensive not many other 2-megapixel cameras of this quality level can be found for $150 or less. For that money you get a basic point-and-shoot digital camera that should provide most introductory users with a fairly satisfactory photographic experience.
You wont be printing out 20x40 enlargements with the 635, its designed for basic point-and-shoot functionality and has enough resolution for web/email usage or at most, 5x7 prints.
Image quality from the 635 is okay with fairly accurate colors, details and sharpness. However youll probably notice that many pictures are improperly exposed, bad highlights and overly warm skin tones. These faults probably arent that much of a problem for the average user, but it is something to keep in mind. Out of the shots I have taken with this camera, a handful of them have had very noticeable problems and more than not, most have required some touch-up. I printed the images on an HP Photosmart and print quality was good with prints up to 5x7. An 8x10 print starts to have noticeable imperfections and pixelization. Anything larger than an 8x10 wouldnt be worth printing from this camera.
For most point-and-shoot users who are looking for photographs to view on their computer or want prints that are 5x7 or smaller, the HP Photosmart 635 should be more than enough. There arent many extras on the camera and few manual controls, which makes it perfect for people who are really just interested in capturing photographs.
So if you just want point-and-shoot simplicity in an inexpensive package, then the HP Photosmart 635 is worth checking out.
Olympus C-4000 Digital Camera / Olympus D-460 Zoom Digital Camera / Minolta Maxxum 300si (35mm SLR) / Polaroid PDC 640 Digital Camera / Kodak EasyShare CX4300 Digital Camera / Canon Elph LT APS Camera / Olympus Stylus Infinity Zoom 35mm Camera / Casio Exilim Ex-Z4U Digital Camera / Fuji FinePix F700 Digital Camera / Pentax Optio 33WR Digital Camera / Kodak EasyShare 6490 Digital Camera / Canon ELPH Z3 / Olympus Trip AF 30 / HP Photosmart 635 Digital Camera
Books and Magazines:
Shutterbug Magazine / Popular Photography Magazine / PC Photo / Outdoor Photography / Photography Outdoors / American Photo