Epson P-3000 photo viewer and media player
The iPod for digital photography buffs?
Review Epson is probably not the first name that springs to mind when deciding which PMP to buy, and its P-3000 - a numerically and technically updated version of the company's well-received P-2000 - provides a slightly askew interpretation of what's traditionally expected from a portable media player.
Epson's P-3000: more picture viewer than video player?
Instead, the P-3000 is more a portable multimedia storage viewer, but PMSV doesn't have quite the same ring to it as PMP.
The smaller of two devices - the bigger sibling, the P-5000, offers an 80GB hard drive compared to the P-3000's 40GB - the P-3000 has received a total makeover from its predecessor, with a slicker and sexier design, better control system and much-improved display, more of which later. We plumped for the less capacious of the two simply because of the lower, more accessible price point: £350, compared to £500 for the P-5000.
The first thing newcomers to the Epson range will note is the P-3000's size and weight. This is no Archos 605 - reviewed here - in terms of svelte, pocketable brilliance. If you're carrying the Epson in your bag or (very large) pocket, you're going to know about it. Measuring 15 x 8.9 x 3.3cm, give or take, it weighs in at a hefty 426g.
Once the back pain has eased, however, and you take the time to examine it up close, you realise that the P-3000 has been endowed with a comprehensive and logical design. The 4in LCD dominates the front, but wherever there's an inch of space available you'll find control keys, connections or card slots aplenty.
Build quality is absolutely rock solid too, and the curvaceous new shape makes it extremely easy to grip and hold securely, with the raised and tactile buttons responsive and easy to use. For use 'in the field' or on the move, it's perfect.
One of the areas Epson has really concentrated on is the P-3000's screen - sorry, "Photo Fine Ultra LCD Viewer". It's certainly good enough for professional field use and supports most image files, including Raw, Adobe's DNG and JPEG files.
"And if you're still in any doubt as to the screen's quality, the P-3000 offers a 400 per cent zoom feature that holds up almost unbelievably well."
Eh? That's nothing to do with screen quality. That is only dependent on the resolution of the image you're viewing.
"It would have been nice to see...Memory Stick support."
No it wouldn't. We don't need silly and unnecessary proprietary formats.
"A video-out port is included for hooking up a TV"
Yes, but what sort of video-out port? Most of these devices are crippled with a composite connection. Maybe we can't expect component (RGB or YUV), but at least S-video would avoid all the PAL artifacts.
Xvid is supported
If it supports DivX, it'll support any Xvid with equivalent options to whatever Divx profile it supports. Newer Xvids will be compatible right out, but older ones might need the free tool Mpeg4Modifier run over them. Pretty much the same situation for mpeg-4 standalone compatibility in general.
I'd probably like this better if it had an even cheaper model that had no hard drive at all, given that I have so many 1-4G SD cards.
Why is this not a camera?
Why have this device *and* a camera?
Put a large high-res screen and hard drive in a good camera, add some media playback controls, and boom. No need for this product.
Does it have cartridges that soon run out and cost a fortune to replace?
RAW formats differ
Its all well and good saying it supports RAW, but since I upgraded my Canon Eos 350D to the 400D, I found that new RAW converters were required for Photoshop, even the older Canon software wouldn't read the new RAW format.
I'm presuming this unit being relatively new would support Eos 400D RAW mode but it's not a given.
Good question too about the USB, cos it'll need to support USB host mode to support capture from cameras, or of course you could just shift the memory card over to it. ;-)
I'm presuming the high costs are because of the greater colour display plus support for Adobe RGB and xvYCC. Also, 800x480 screens are appearing nowadays (The recent Archos?), 640x480 seems lacking for the price.
Interesting one tho.