Toy Box: HP's camera printer set

The stylish HP Photosmart C850 is a joy to use. The only thing I found lacking was a manual focus control. It apparently has normal manual and macros focus but I couldn't find the control for it.

My baby girl will make a great reviewer one day. She helped unpack the giant box that arrived from Hewlett Packard this week, immediately taking the CDs and manuals and frisbee'ing them under the couch. Luckily I kept her away from the hardware.

The box contained a digital camera, the stylish HP Photosmart C850, and a teeny tiny photo-quality printer, the Photosmart PS130. If I'd had the manuals I probably would have made better use of the printer, but as it was I got to test out the plug and play capability of my ageing Compaq PC at the same time.

The camera is a joy to use. The only thing I found lacking was a manual focus control. It apparently has normal manual and macros focus but I couldn't find the control for it.

Half-pressing the shutter button made it focus on the subject (which should have been sitting still but was reaching under the couch for something, dammit), and so long as they don't move too far, you're good to go for the actual photo. The only problem with that as an idea is that the red light that beams out to focus the camera is very attractive, so taking the photo immediately is a better idea. Of course that means quite a shutter delay. Lots of photos were taken of a blurry on-the-go co-reviewer.

Still, it's all digital, so the blurred were immediately consigned to the trash heap and the clear were gorgeous to look at. The 4.13-megapixel resolution and zoom capability (claimed 56x total, being 8x optical and 7x digital) make for a nice camera, and having everything stored on the memory stick was great.

If only I'd paid more attention to the printer I would have seen the memory stick port on the side and I would have been happily printing out copies immediately, but instead I had to copy all the photos on to the PC and then hook the printer up via my scanner's USB cable. Fun and games. I couldn't get a print preview view of the photos in question so unfortunately I stuffed up the pics completely, but they were good quality, dry ink stuff-ups, so that's OK.

The camera costs a recommended $1499 including GST, which almost seems reasonable. The printer, from Dick Smith, is around the $372 mark.

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