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HP announces two new cameras with a host of new features for point and shoot users

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HP today announced two new additions to its Photosmart digital series: the HP Photosmart R507 (spec sheet) and M307 (spec sheet), respectively sister and cousin cameras to the Photosmart R707, released in February 2004.

The Photosmart R507 is equipped with 4.1 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom, with an additional 7x digital. The R507 contains a 1.5 inch 120,000 pixel LCD, 32 MB memory card, in-camera red-eye reduction and burst mode to go along with eight shooting modes, movie mode and sound capabilities. The R507 is also packaged with a lithium rechargeable battery.

The R507 incorporates a variety of new modes and options for mid-level digital camera consumers. An internal panorama mode allows users to preview successive panorama shots slideshow-style on the cameras LCD, and included HP photo editing software 'stiches' saved shots into expansive panoramas. HP�s Photo Advisor internally analyzes users� photos and suggests improvements, such light or focus.

The R507 looks like a promising new camera for point-and-shooters, offering instant corrections to potential lowlight and red-eye problems. The R507 contains red-eye reduction technology and the Adaptive Lighting mode illuminates selected dark areas in high contrast photos to �reveal details normally lost in the shadows, giving more true-to-life shots,� according to HP press materials.

The less expensive M307 is directed more towards the beginner market, with limited manual control options for the more advanced users.

The M307 has 3.2 megapixels of resolution and 3x optical zoom with an additional 5x digital zoom. The M307 is stocked with 16 megabytes of internal memory, a 1.8-inch, 130k pixel LCD screen, rapid shot mode and audio and video capabilities. It weighs 5.5 oz. without battery or memory card.

Both cameras retain the metallic look and feel of the R707, though the M307 is a bit smaller and stretched horizontally. Like the R707, the front of the R507 camera is bead-blasted aluminum and the back is sturdy, grippable plastic.

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With the announcement of the R507 and M307, HP also introduces two optional digital camera docks, each designed specifically for the HP Photosmart R or M series. The docks use HP�s Instant Share technology to send thumbnails to 34 programmable email or website destinations without connecting the camera to a computer. The R series can also play slideshows to a connected television. The cameras are also compatible with HP Photosmart printers and select HP office equipment, allowing for pictures to be printed directly from the camera.

The HP Photosmart M307 retails for roughly US $234, while HP has not yet announced the projected price of the R507.

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