As an avid photographer, I wanted a photo storage device which would allow me to safety keep a back-up copy of all of my photographs - as well as to view them when I was traveling. The Epson p7000 160 GB Multimedia Storage Viewer was highly recommended to me by several renowned professional photographers at the annual In-Focus exhibition - and so I decided to take their advice.
****Basically, what is it?****
Basically it is a multimedia storage device which is intended primarily for the storage of photos for the professional photographer or serious amateur. Essentially it is a hard drive specifically for photographers. You can upload your photos to it and then, if you should so choose, you can view the photos you've upload and examine them more closely.
As the word "multimedia" would imply, it also stores other types of media data. It allows the uploading of Motion JPEG video files and MP3 audio formats to it and I certainly know people that combine the usage of the device in this way. However, I don't tend to use if for this as I don't take videos and I feel that the sound system is inferior to the iPod for audio playback.
It is something that I carry round in my photography kit all the time and has become an invaluable piece of equipment which I would struggle to do without simply for convenience.
My camera uses Compact Flash which can be slotted directly into a port on the device to allow a speedy transfer. This can also be done with SD and SDHC cards - and apparently you can also but adapters to support XD and Memory Stick. Alternatively you can connect your camera via a USB cable to the device and upload photos in this way. Similarly, you can then transfer photos from your viewer onto your computer in order to do further viewing and / or editing.
I've not had any problems transferring photos and I've found it quick and efficient. Transferring the files takes time although I feel the file transfer is quite quick for a portable device. To transfer 6.1 GB's of photo data from my Compact Flash card to the P7000 it took approximately 11 minutes.
When you connect your card or camera, you can view all of the photos stored on it and then either opt to browse and select specific photos to transfer to the P7000, or you can select to backup all photos on the card to the viewer. I tend to do the latter and then go through the photos later and delete any I don't want to keep.
It is possible to store the photos in JPG and RAW file formats, although the RAW does take up a significantly more amount of the storage capacity.
The screen takes up most of the front of the display and is a 4 inch LCD screen in a widescreen format. According to the data, the screen is able to display practically identical RGB colour space to that of Adobe, with a pixel density of 212 ppi. This means that the images are very sharp and clear and are of a similar quality to that which would be seen on the large screen of a decent desktop computer.
I have to admit that I've been very impressed by the quality of the image display. I've used it to begin editing of my photos almost immediately by being able to view my photos and delete the ones which are substandard.
When you're viewing your images on the screen there is the option of zooming in to look at the photo in more detail. The viewer can zoom in up to 400% and while zoomed in you can pan across the image and examine the fine details. In addition, you are able to look at the shooting information (i.e. file size, exposure etc) and a histogram.
I do find it difficult to see images on the screen when in bright sunshine and so tend to save viewing to when I'm indoors so that I don't have to deal with any glare.
****How much storage space does it have?****
Ummmm 160 GB's - which is a lot of photos! Basically, if you assume that an average good resolution photograph is about 12 MP's, 160 GB's would allow you to store approximately 14,000 photos. Obviously for photos that are a smaller size than this, you will be able to store even more photos.
If you are also planning to use this device to store music, it has been estimated that 160 GB's is the equivalent to about 40,000 songs!
The device has a function where you can check how much of the storage space has been used so that you should never be caught short.
Its small size at just D 3.3cm xH 8.9cm x W 15cm and weighing only 430g makes it easy to cart around with you. Its obviously preferable to lugging around a laptop with you - and the image quality is just as good.
Of course it also means that you don't have to buy countless camera cards because you can simply upload and then reuse.
The battery lasts about 5 hours for uploading photos and reviewing photos - although I have found this to be less in extreme temperatures. For this reason I have purchased and extra battery. The battery is rechargeable and so you simply plug into the mains to charge it up.
You can organize your photos into files and subfiles and input appropriate numerical or alphabetical headings.
***And the all important cost?***
Its worth shopping around because prices do vary quite widely. I managed to get my p7000 for £499 from www.WarehouseExpress.com.
***Would I recommend it?****
Absolutely! I know its not cheap....but tell me anything about photography that IS cheap!! If you're serious about your photography you need a storage device which allows you to store, view and organize your images as you want them. I've been using mine avidly for almost 2 years and its never let me down.