Digital photography continues to bring challenges for the photographer in terms of how to store the ever increasing number of photos taken during a shoot. Not only are more photos being taken but higher megapixel cameras make for larger image files. This may not be an issue be for short holidays where a couple of large capacity memory cards are sufficient but for extended holidays it is most likely not cost effective to buy several memory cards.
The first thing I noticed when unpacking the Epson P-5000 was the lack of any user guide. I later found that the user guide manual was stored on the unit’s hard drive including the connection software. A powerful 2600mAh lithium battery powers the unit and took 3 hours for a full charge from empty. The P-5000 has provision for SD and Compact Flash cards via separate card slots neighbouring a mini headphone socket. Hidden under a panel was an audio/video socket, and USB2 Host and Device ports. The remaining socket was for the mains AC adaptor.
Transferring images from a memory card could not be any more straightforward. With the unit powered up, inserting a card automatically brings up a prompt to transfer all its data to the P-5000. I found that 2GB of photos took around 5 minute to transfer (Sandisk Extreme III 2GB SD card). Each memory card transfer is stored in its own date labelled directory. Highlighting a directory reveals thumbnails in the background as a way to confirm you have selected the directory you require before entering. Once selected, images can be viewed as a list, as very small thumbnails with no file names, or large thumbnails with file names.
The Epson P-5000 was such a simple device to control and navigate that I hardly ever felt the need to refer to the pdf user manual. The d-pad provides the necessary navigational control and dedicated buttons provide magnification, menu selection and display mode. Photos can be displayed with a histogram and EXIF data or flashing highlights and shadows. Photos can also be viewed in the form of a slideshow with pre-installed music playing in the background.
It has to be said that the 4" screen is very impressive. It renders very detailed and colourful images. It does not have the very wide viewing angle found on many LCD monitors but it’s still good enough. I felt confident enough to edit my photos in the unit rather than wait until I could transfer them to a computer. The ability to rate my photos from 1 to 5 stars and select which group to view based on their rating was very handy. It made better sense to edit all my photo shoot in the P-5000 rather than in the camera. The P-5000 can view jpeg files as well as a range of raw files. However, whereas jpegs can be magnified to 400%, raw files tend to be magnified to a maximum of 100% and some cannot be magnified at all. Both sRGB and AdobeRGB colour profiles are catered for to ensure accurate colour reproduction.
Transferring images off the P-5000 was straightforward. Connecting the unit to a computer with Epsons Link software initiated the download process. The image files get sent to a default location or one of your choosing. The files can also be dragged and dropped in the usual manner as the P-5000 appears as an external drive on the connected computer.
The P-5000 can act a card reader with both the SD and Compact Flash whilst connected to a computer. However, transfer speeds are not optimal (compared with dedicated card readers). It must be noted that the P-5000 cannot be recharged via the USB terminal which means when transferring large amounts of photos it best to have the mains adaptor plugged in to ensure the device does not run out of power and shutdown midway during a transfer. The unit will automatically remind you to do this when it detects it has been connect to a computer. Various power saving modes are incorporated to ensure that the unit shuts down when sitting idle.
I took the P-5000 with me on a month long holiday and found it invaluable. Not only could I view my photos but during the quieter moments of my holiday, like waiting for my flights, I could watch movies and play mp3s. The battery has enough strength to last a whole day and beyond if you are purely using the unit to save photos. Playing movies will shorten the battery life significantly if playing a video for more than 2 hours.
I found the Epson P-5000 a worthy tool to take on photo shoots. Its magnificent screen, the display modes, and the simple control layout ensure that this device will get plenty of use and reduces the need for a laptop. The Epson P-5000 is a modern device well suited to supporting the travelling photographer.EA