I’ve been testing out one of Epson’s newest multimedia storage viewers—the P-3000—for the past couple of months, and like its predecessor, the P-2000—this latest iteration is becoming one of my favorite digital gadgets to take on location shoots. The P-3000 features a four-inch LCD, featuring Epson’s Photo Fine Ultra technology. Rather than utilizing the standard three-color LCD technology, the P-3000 uses four colors: red, blue, emerald green and yellow green to display more than 16.7 million colors. The high quality of the LCD is amazing—the best I’ve seen yet. I will admit that I said that about the P-2000 after using it, but that’s because Epson knows what they’re doing when it comes to LCDs. And the two newest models, the P-3000 and the P-5000 (with an 80 Gig hard drive) support the Adobe RGB color space.
The unit features CompactFlash and SecureDigital media card slots, but a new addition on this unit is a USB port so you can also download data to or from a USB flashdrive to the P-3000. This is in addition to a USB 2.0 port for downloading to PC and Mac computers and video-out port. When the unit is connected to a Windows or Mac computer, it acts as a portable hard drive. Just as with its predecessors, photographers or enthusiasts shooting with cameras that utilize miniSD, the different types of Memory Stick media, SM, RS-MMC and xD-Picture cards can use a CF adapter to download files to the P-3000. Note that the SD slot supports SD and SDHC cards up to 2GB, and MMC and MMCplus cards up to 1GB; whereas the CF slot supports CF Type I/II up to 8GB and Microdrives up to 4GB.
The P-3000 can playback a wide range of file formats, including digital still JPEG and various RAW file formats as well as EXIF data; MP3 and AAC audio files; and MPEG4, Motion JPEG, and DivX video files. New features also include the capability to zoom into many of the RAW file formats, to check for sharpness—something that wasn’t available on the P-2000 model. With a 40 Gig hard drive, the P-3000 has plenty of room to store images on location, even if you’re shooting with a high-megapixel camera such as I usually shoot. I’ve been shooting with a 6MP camera and a 10MP digital, and have yet to fill up the space on the drive while on location. In fact, I’ll often take just five or six 1-2GB cards and the P-3000 with me when shooting, and not even pack a laptop. Having been using Epson’s multimedia storage viewers for a few years now, I fully trust the units to store my images until I’m back at a computer for downloading and archiving them properly.
The large four-inch LCD can also be a help when showing your images to others—instead of having to hand your camera over to someone else for them to view your photos. And for anyone who owns or uses multiple camera models or brands, it’s a real lifesaver for viewing images and checking cards to see if you’ve backed up files before you reformat—since not all brands will be able to read the files written to media cards by other digital camera brands.
For those of you who own or have used Epson’s P-2000 multimedia storage viewer, you’ll notice a slight difference in the navigation on the P-3000, but it shouldn’t take long for you to get used to it. The P-3000 also features a new, faster microprocessor for faster copying of files.
Battery life is really good, I’m usually able to download multiple Gig cards per day and run through the images a number of times before the battery level drops even slightly. According to Epson’s specs, the battery life is three hours running slideshows constantly, and six hours when listening to audio only.
Epson includes its Link2 software with the P-3000 for file transfer, playlist support, and video file conversion.
Whether you’re a photo aficionado, or a professional shooter, Epson’s P-3000 multimedia storage viewer definitely has a place in your gear bag. I know I don’t like to leave home without one!