A professional's device at a professional's price
For professional photographers covering media or sporting events, devices like the Epson P-6000 offer a quick and easy way to transfer images from memory cards to a portable hard drive without the hassle of booting up a laptop. For the casual user, however, it’s little more than an expensive toy.
- Ergonomic and solid design, simple to use, USB host capabilities
- Very expensive, heavy
For the professionals who can afford it, the Epson P-6000 is a good tool for storing photos between shoots. For other users that don't need to quickly switch between cards, however, it's just an unnecessary and expensive toy — especially when the price of laptops is so low.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
Before we go any further, we should state one thing clearly: the P-6000 is a very good device. With a 4in screen and an 80GB 2.5in hard drive, it’s well-engineered, easy to use and all in all a good bit of kit designed to allow users to quickly plug in data cards or USB sticks, transfer files to the hard drive and access them.
The main thing that lets it down is the lack of value and hefty price tag of $899, with Epson’s P-7000 costing only $100 more for double the hard drive space.
As soon as we spotted the P-6000, we knew it was a tool, rather than a toy. It can't really be compared to other personal media players as it's much more than a mere PMP. It lacks the flashy good looks of other PMPs such as the Archos 605 WiFi or Creative’s ZEN X-Fi; it feels far more solid than either one thanks to firm hand grips and a weight of 400g.
Using the device is a simple affair, with an ergonomic design and a simple and useful control method. The 4in LCD screen sports a native resolution of 640x480 and is excellent for viewing images and watching movies, although it does have reflectivity issues when used under bright sunlight. When the “display” button is pressed while viewing movies, images or listening to music, the file’s histogram and metadata is shown; being able to quickly analyse ISO speed, shutter and aperture differences is always useful.
A CF/Microdrive card slot sits on the top of the PMP next to a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCPlus), and both are effective, with a handy pop-up menu that offers browsing and backup options as soon as a card is inserted.
Also handy is the USB port which lets users transfer files from USB sticks. Unfortunately USB devices that need external power, such as portable hard drives, will be unable to properly connect. Pictbridge compatibility means that the unit can connect and print direct to suitable printers.
The user friendliness continues in the operating system, with a no-frills and logical menu system controlling the unit. Photos, videos, music and data backed up from cards each have their own folders.
Hard drive aside, a key point for purchasing this product is the ability to edit the images. The P-6000 offers a range of automatic filters that can be applied to images, such as Night Scene, Landscape or Monochrome, as well as the ability to edit attributes like a photo's brightness, contrast and sharpness. Unfortunately the editing options available are simply not advanced enough to account for the high price.
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