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Epson's P-1000 photo viewer. Courtesy of Epson, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Epson announces a luxury-class photo-viewer: A hands-on report.
(Friday, January 9, 2004 - 14:28 EST)

Epson's P-1000 photo viewer showcases their advanced LCD technology in an unusually capable photo viewer… for a price.

Portable photo storage/viewing devices aren't exactly big news anymore, given the range of them currently on the market. On the face of it, Epson's new entry into the field isn't exactly earth-shaking. The basics are all there - A 10GB hard drive, an LCD screen, and a CompactFlash card slot, and a video-out jack. (It supports MMC/SD cards, Memory Sticks, and SmartMedia cards through a third-party adapter, and can output either NTSC or PAL timing.) It's the details that set the P-1000 apart though, most notably its amazingly beautiful LCD screen.

Epson is a major manufacturer of LCD displays, supplying them to a wide range of other manufacturers, for inclusion in PDAs, cell phones, and even digital cameras. So it should probably be no surprise that the P-1000's LCD display clearly sets a new standard of excellence for resolution and image quality. The specs are impressive enough, the 3.8 inch display having a resolution of 212 pixels per inch (ppi), and the capability to display 262,144 colors. The specs didn't prepare me for the incredible clarity of the P-1000's images, though. I was literally amazed at the degree of detail I could see in the images. Particularly impressive was that I could squint about as hard as I liked at the screen without seeing pixels (and I'm pretty darn nearsighted, so that's saying something). In fact, the 212 ppi spec is only part of the story, since Epson counts each red/green/blue triplet as a single pixel. (In most digital camera specs, the manufacturers count the red/green/blue pixels separately, so the resolution of the P-1000's display is actually 3x higher than it would seem, when compared to typical digicam LCDs.)

At any rate, the bottom line is that the P-1000 crams essentially full VGA resolution into its 3.8 inch LCD, providing incredible detail and delicacy in its images.

Epson's P-1000 photo viewer. Copyright © 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

Given Epson's position as a leading maker of photo printers, the P-1000's printing capabilities likewise should come as no surprise, with the ability to print directly to several Epson printers including the EPSON Stylus Photo 820, Stylus Photo 900, Stylus Photo 1280 and Stylus Photo 2200. The P-1000 also supports Epson's PRINT Image Matching II and the new open Exif 2.2 (Exif Print) standard for maximizing print quality. As an added bonus, the P-1000 can also control a USB-connected CD-R/RW drive to archive images while still in the field. (This would be fantastic for extended vacations, as the P-1000 and a compact CD-R drive would be all you'd need to view and safely archive your photos as you went.)

Don't expect to see huge numbers of the P-1000 in the marketplace though. When queried about probable distribution, Epson said that the photo viewer was really meant as a technology showcase, and as such wouldn't be likely to appear in any mass retail channels. - Interested readers should stay tuned to Epson's own site, as this will likely be the only (or at least the major) sales venue for the product.

On the downside though, all this imaging excellence comes with a fairly steep price, the P-1000's price pegged at $599, a good $100 or more above competing products. Another limitation that I found puzzling was that the P-1000 apparently can only display images of 6 megapixels or less. Given that there's already at least one 8-megapixel camera on the market (and a number of others waiting in the wings), it doesn't make sense to limit an obviously high-end photo viewer to images of 6 megapixels or less. (On a positive note though, the P-1000 is said to support raw file formats for "select SLR cameras," although I haven't yet heard which cameras will be part of that "select" group.)

If you're in the market for a photo storage/viewer/archiving device, and display image quality is important to you, the P-1000 clearly leads the field in that regard.

Original Source Press Release:

The Epson P-1000 Photo Viewer is the Ultimate Digital Camera Companion; New Portable Photo Viewing and Storage Device Boasts Beautiful 3.8'' LCD Panel Designed by a World Leader in LCD Technology

LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 5, 2004--Digital photographers will welcome the arrival of the EPSON P-1000, a new device for viewing, storing and sharing photos that incorporates a high quality Epson 3.8" LCD screen for the best image quality. Digital photography is evolving and changing as are many photographers' needs. Epson is helping to address these changing needs with the EPSON P-1000 photo viewer. This device gives photographers the ability to view details of their images with an LCD screen that sets it apart from any other product of its kind. Epson is a leading producer of LCD modules and has incorporated this technology expertise into devices such as AV projectors, digital cameras, cellular telephones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). With Epson's introduction of the first LCD digital quartz watch over 30 years ago, to recently becoming the world leader in cellular telephone LCD displays, the EPSON P-1000 is a logical extension of this long heritage of LCD technology.

In addition to its high-resolution screen, the sleek and sophisticated looking EPSON P-1000 has a 10 GB hard drive and can print directly to select Epson printers. This convenient product enables photographers to simply take their CompactFlash memory card out of their digital camera, pop it into the EPSON P-1000 and download and print the images with ease.

"The Epson P-1000 is a breakthrough product for Epson that sets the bar extremely high for other portable devices of its kind," said Daniel Oey, senior product manager, digital input products, Epson. "The screen resolution is simply amazing and allows photographers to see the details of their images clearly and easily without having to download them and view them on a computer screen. Whether shooting for work or play, this is a convenient viewing and storage solution for a variety of people."

Viewing and Sharing Photos on the Epson P-1000

Epson is continuing to build on its reputation for incredible image quality with the Epson P-1000 and its 3.8" VGA Epson LCD screen. This portable product displays every detail of downloaded images with vibrancy and clarity, unlike the viewing panels on most digital cameras and other viewers, which provide a smaller and less clear visual of what the photo actually looks like. The difference is that the EPSON P-1000 display offers three colors per individual pixel and a higher density of 212 pixels per inch (PPI), compared with one color per pixel and 100 PPI on a typical digital camera display. This gives the EPSON P-1000 the ability to display an impressive 262,144 colors and a remarkable, high resolution image.

To make viewing photos even more convenient, with the EPSON P-1000 the user can zoom in and rotate images to inspect them closely. Users can even play back the images as a slideshow for viewing and sharing quickly and easily. If the user wants to share images on an even bigger screen, the photo viewer has a video interface--NTSC or PAL--that can connect directly to a television, monitor or projector with video input.

Storing and Preserving Photos with the EPSON P-1000

The EPSON P-1000 is equipped with a 10 GB hard disk drive for storing thousands of images at a time, including images as large as 6 megapixels and it supports both JPEG (Exif 2.1 and 2.2) and raw file formats for select SLR cameras. With this large amount of storage, the customer can copy photos to the EPSON P-1000 from the memory card and clear the memory card immediately to begin taking more pictures. When all of the images have been downloaded to the photo viewer from the memory card, the viewer can then be connected to a computer or even to an external USB CD-R/RW drive to back up the images to ensure they are saved.

With its built-in memory card slot, the EPSON P-1000 is compatible with most digital camera memory types. It offers native support for CompactFlash Type I and II, and IBM Microdrive(TM) and can support Memory Stick(R), Smart Media(TM), Secure Digital and Multi Media Card with an optional third-party adapter (sold separately).

Printing from the EPSON P-1000

The EPSON P-1000 wouldn't be a complete photographer's tool without the ability to print directly to an Epson printer. This versatile product offers the capability to print directly to several Epson printers including the EPSON Stylus Photo 820, Stylus Photo 900, Stylus Photo 1280 and Stylus Photo 2200. The EPSON P-1000 also supports PRINT Image Matching II and Exif 2.2 (Exif Print) for achieving the best looking prints possible.

Additional Features

When connected to a Windows or Macintosh computer, the EPSON P-1000 acts as an external, portable USB hard disk drive.

The device is lightweight and easy to travel with and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and AC adapter.

The EPSON P-1000 also ships standard with a carrying case for added protection and a product stand for either viewing slideshows with others or simply just keeping the unit securely in place.

Pricing and Availability

The EPSON P-1000s will be available by early January through distribution, mail order and on the Epson retail Web site (www.epsonstore.com) for a price of $599. The product carries a one-year warranty and is supported by the EPSON Connection(SM), a customer support and technical assistance line. For more information on Epson and its products, call 1-800-GO-EPSON (1-800-463-7766) or visit the company's Web site at www.epson.com.

About Epson America, Inc.

Epson offers an extensive array of award-winning image capture and image output products for the consumer, business, photography and graphic arts markets. The company is also a leading supplier of value-added point-of-sale (POS) printers and transaction terminals for the retail market. Founded in 1975, Epson America, Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, a global manufacturer and supplier of high-quality technology products that meet customer demands for increased functionality, compactness, systems integration and energy efficiency. Epson America, Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif.

About the Epson Group

The Epson Group increases its corporate value through its innovative and creative culture. Dedicated to providing its customers with digital image innovation, its main product lines comprise information-related equipment such as printers and projectors, electronic devices including displays, semiconductors and quartz devices, and precision products such as watches. Epson products are known throughout the world for their superior quality, functionality, compactness and energy efficiency.

The Epson Group is a network of over 88,036 employees in 111 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and to the communities in which it is located. Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., which is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Group had consolidated sales of 1,322 billion yen in fiscal 2002.

Note: Epson is a registered trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation. Third party brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holder.

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