Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Great screen, 80GB of storage, Media playback capabilities
- Expensive, Quite chunky
The Epson P-5000 is a great device for professional photographers. While the high price tag means it is far from a mass market product, those who are regularly on the road taking pictures will really appreciate the extra storage.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
Epson's P-5000 storage device is a continuation of their line up of hard disk based media players designed to compliment digital cameras. With an 80GB capacity, this unit is the ideal companion for a Digital SLR camera and while it is a little chunky, it is perfect for those road warrior photographers who are constantly on the move.
The best thing about this device is the incredibly high quality screen. The 4in display is slightly larger than on the previous model, and while it only has a resolution of 640 x 480, it is more than adequate for a display of this size. Everything looks fantastic, with rich colours and crisp, sharp edges. Pictures that look mediocre on your camera's LCD, jump to life on this screen. Assisted by a larger colour range, the P-5000 supports the full Adobe RGB colour spectrum, allowing the screen to display more colours than a standard sRGB screen. This is an impressive feature as it allows for superior vibrant images with accurate colour reproduction.
The unit is simple to use. You plug your memory card into one of the provided slots (although only Compact Flash, SD and MMC are supported), fire it up, and you are greeted with a plain, yet intuitive, menu that allows you to manipulate your media easily. You can copy data across from the card to the hard drive, browse media from either location or even back up data from your camera directly via a USB connection. Data transfer is relatively quick, although not exceptional, but as it has a fast boot time, this isn't a huge issue.
Files can also be copied from the P-5000 to a PC using the USB 2.0 port. The unit is supposed to be plug and play, and for the most part it is. We had a few problems connecting with some older desktop PCs, but plugging it into a modern computer corrected the issue and everything worked flawlessly. All the drivers are preinstalled on the device, meaning no installation is necessary. The unit is recognised as a removable drive and you can drag and drop data from it to your hard drive and visa versa.
The 80GB of storage is more than enough for a long trip full of photographs, and should prove invaluable for professional photographers. However, due to the high price tag, it will be prohibitive for every day users.
Aside from simple storage, the unit can also act as a portable multimedia player, although since the price is a high, it is not advisable as a standalone media player. The high quality 4in screen is certainly up to the task of video playback and our test videos looked stunning. Meanwhile the audio quality, while not exceptional, is more than adequate for the occasional bout of music listening. It supports a 3.5mm jack, which is useful as it allows you to tailor the quality of your music by using high quality 3rd party headphones.
All the file formats you'd expect are supported, including JPEG and TIFF for images, WMV, Divx and MPEG 1, 2 and 4 for video, and MP3, AAC and WMA for audio. RAW formats from most major camera companies are also supported, which is a great addition, and a necessity for many professional photographers. Overall, the media playback, while not a key part of the device's functionality, is a nice touch and will help during those boring and length trips between shoots.
The unit's design is also well suited to those regularly on the road. The rugged metal exterior is hefty and quite solid and feels as though it can take a knock or two. Meanwhile, the screen also feels quite sturdy and remained scratch free during our testing.
The Epson P-5000 is powered by a standard lithium-ion battery and has quite reasonable battery life. During our tests, it lasted about seven and a half hours wile performing a variety of functions and roughly three hours when playing back nothing but a slideshow of photographs.
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