DigitalCameraReview.com
HP Photosmart M22 Digital Camera Review
by d-roC -  8/7/2005

It is not often that I get to come to this side of technology and review cameras; but since Brian and Ben offered me the chance, I have taken some time to hone my photo taking and editing skills to this side of the technology equation with the HP Photosmart M22 digital camera.

The HP M22 is most definitely a camera for beginners. Starting at under $150 (at many places online), it is a great camera to have if you are not too into photography but want to take some good pictures.

Spec Highlights

Features
Probably the most impressive feature of the M22 is its size. I have a Canon Powershot A75 that is my usual camera, but the M22 is MUCH smaller, and feels just as good in the hand, as it does in my pocket.

As with the R717 HP Photosmart, the M22 has an Adaptive Lighting setting. The results are also quite similar to the R717 in that pictures usually appear warmer and with a slightly higher contrast than without the Adaptive Lighting setting.

Besides Adaptive Lighting, there is also a zoom feature (digital zoom), flash, macro, and multiple shutter settings. In my first days with the M22, I actually found and used all of these settings without referencing the manual or quick start guide. Good job to HP for making a camera very simple to set up and get snapping.

The M22 uses Secure Digital (SD) and Multi-Media Cards (MMC). I was able to use my 1GB SD card from my PDA and it worked just fine. Larger photos loaded slower, but after you went thru the pictures once, it seemed that the camera had no problem keeping up with scrolling thru pictures and videos.

Image Quality
For the most part, I was pleased with image quality. Pictures with larger amounts of blue and green seemed to have a bluish cast to them when the Adaptive Lighting setting was activated.

HP Photosmart M22
[larger]

HP Photosmart M22
2x zoom with Adaptive Lighting off [larger]

HP Photosmart M22
2x zoom with Adaptive Lighting on [larger]

One of the parts that I really liked about the M22 was the quality at which it took videos. Using my Palm T5 as a part time movie viewer, I was able to get a good idea of the quality of videos. If you have a steady hand, things will come out very well, and the microphone picks up the sounds that you intend to pick up. Of course, the length of the video is determined by how much space you have internally or on your SD card, so choose that length wisely.

Desktop Software
As stated in the beginning of this review, the M22 is designed for the novice photographer, or the person who just wants a simple digital camera for vacation shots. The HP Photosmart desktop software assumes this and leads you with well designed menus for all aspects that you would want to do with your photos, including editing, printing, and emailing photos.

Conclusion
I really liked this camera. And in the family members and friends to whom I took pictures of with the M22, they liked it as well. They spoke a lot about its size and the quality of the pictures. In my mind, that makes for a very easy sell. The M22 is best used for those who are occasional photographers, or those who really want to play Photoshop games with a summer graphics class. It's a very attractive model for a very attractive price. Not much to go wrong with here.

Pros
Compact, easy carrying size
Very good price
Easy to use out of the box
Menus and buttons well designed for all types of finger sizes

Cons
Larger pictures take time to load when viewing on the camera
Limited internal RAM for photos
Sometimes a delay when taking pictures