3.0 star rating

HP Photosmart M547 Review

$109.00
Pros: Low price; Supports 8GB of storage; Compact size; Good image stabilization
Cons: Poor indoor shots; Short optical zoom; Smaller LCD; Low video frame rate
The Verdict: The M547 offers a slight megapixel bump and more storage, but it doesn't measure up to its predecessor.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

HP has issued a refresh to the Photosmart M line with the new M547. The upgrade purports to improve on the already solid M537, but we're seeing more in the way of tradeoffs than enhancements. While the M547 does offer a slight bump in megapixels--from 6.0 to 6.2--and supports larger-capacity SDHC flash cards, buyers will have to compromise with a smaller 2.4-inch screen and some degradation in picture quality.
Article Continued Below

 
At 3.8 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches and 4.8 ounces without batteries (6.4 ounces with batteries), the M547 felt solid without weighing us down. The 2.4-inch QVGA screen was bright indoors but tended to wash out in very bright sunlight. The interface is simple and lacking in manual controls, but that shouldn't be a problem for most bargain hunters. The Power and Shutter buttons occupy the top of the camera; Delete, Flash, and a mode switch sit atop the LCD screen. Zoom, Menu, Back, and directional buttons occupy the right side.
 
The 3X optical zoom proved fine for indoor shots and close-range outdoor shots. HP's Steady Photo feature worked superbly even when we were intentionally shaking the camera during our test shots. On our tests, most pictures were sharp, but colors were inaccurate, especially in less-than-optimal lighting conditions. Pictures taken at the normal and best setting (6 MP) were subject to a slight bit of noise and artifacts; the medium setting (4 MP) produced much better results.
 
Like the M537, the M547 supports multiple scene modes, including Close Up, Steady Photo, Theatre, Landscape, Portrait, Action, Night Portrait, and Sunset. The Close-Up mode greatly reduced red-eye, and when it did show up, we were easily able to remove it right on the camera. Action mode made catching a diving shortstop mid-frame easy and accurate, but even with the Night Portrait and Sunset settings engaged, low-light conditions produced noisy shots. We would have preferred manual ISO settings; instead, the M547 automatically switches among four levels depending upon the shot (100/200/400/800).
 
The Burst mode worked well. We were able to snap two to three pictures per second until our memory card was full, and the half-second shutter time proved quick enough to catch a fleeing rabbit from under some wooded brush. The M547 comes with only 16MB of built-in memory, but HP's support for SDHC cards means you can pop in an 8GB card for more space.
 
The M547 uses ordinary AA batteries as well as rechargeable NiMH batteries, so while you can't plug into an AC adapter, you can grab some AAs at the drug store in a pinch. Lack of a lithium-ion battery is an acceptable tradeoff for the low price.
 
Video certainly isn't this budget digicam's strong suit; it records low-res 320 x 240-pixel footage at only 24 fps. You can't change the 4:3 ratio, which looked awkward on a widescreen laptop. Video was also grainy and choppy on our tests and didn't compensate well for quick movements. On the plus side, transferring videos to a laptop was easy using the included Photosmart Essential software.
 
While the M547 keeps the same rock-bottom price point as the M537, many of the "upgrades" simply weren't necessary. If you're in the market for a quality budget camera, we still recommend the M537 over this one.


Suggested Stories:
Pick the Perfect Digicam
Ten things you should know before you buy a digital camera, plus a guide to the top picks, from budget digicams to digital SLRs.

Ten Quality Cameras You Can Afford
Want good-looking pictures without breaking the bank? We put the latest crop of digicams under $150 to the test.

More Digital Camera Reviews
Check out all our digital camera reviews, complete with star ratings.

Tags: HP Photosmart M547, Hewlett-Packard Company, budget cameras, Digital Cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, reviews, Digital Cameras and Camcorders

Technical Specifications
HP Photosmart M547
www.hp.com


Megapixel6
Camera TypeBudget Cameras; Point-and-Shoot
Internal Memory16
Size3.8 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches
Weight6.4 ounces with batteries
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE