by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2007
I first looked at a device such as this under the guise of the Epson P-2500 a couple of years back, but decided there were a number of shortcomings which significantly compromised its usefulness in a professional photographer's eyes - the largest of these being its lack of viewing of the RAW format - this has now been addressed in the latest models from Epson, the P-3000 and P-5000. A full review of these devices with all the technical stuff can be found with a simple search on the web so there is no point in going into an in-depth technical review. Needless to say the P-5000 now meets my criteria for a photo viewer.
I have now been using the Epson P-5000 device on assignment for a number of months and found it to be resilient, accurate and, as a bonus, a superb device for showing off to clients with! A number of clients have loved the fact that they can view the downloaded images from cards while I have continued shooting and have also been able to give the images which interest them a star rating 1 to 5 (in some ways similar to Bridge in Photoshop)
Ok, 'so why not just use a laptop then?' I hear you ask. Well it's all down to portability, ease of use and speed. My P-5000 sits in my camera bag, next to my Nikon lenses and from initial start up, which takes you directly to the memory card section in six seconds, you insert your memory card (CF or SD) and 'hey presto' approximately two minutes later (for a 1GB card) your images are downloaded into a folder, with the date and card number starting at .001 for that day together with the total megabyte size of the images contained within. You can set the device to 73 32 delete the images from the card after download, but personally I prefer to do this in the camera when I'm about to reuse the card, so I have this function set to 'off' - I usually carry enough cards to enable me to use fresh cards as I shoot during the day and therefore I have all of the images backed up on the P-5000 and all the images still on my cards at the end of a long days shoot. Because of this, it is possible to copy the same card across twice when it is given a consecutive number (for example 26062007.001 and then 26062007.002, etc.) What I am saying is that you should be very sure that you are consistent in your backup routine. Although I will take a laptop to a routine shoot, much of my work is either at inhospitable locations or up on rigs of various sorts, where a laptop is a liability.
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