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Epson PhotoPC 3000Z

Epson's first three-megapixel design boasts great image quality and loads of "enthusiast" features

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Page 12:Test Results & Conclusion

Review First Posted: 10/01/2000

Test Results
In keeping with our standard policy, our comments here are rather condensed, summarizing our key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the 3000Z's "pictures" page.

As with all Imaging Resource camera tests, we encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the devices performed. Explore the images on the pictures page, to see how well the 3000Z performed, and how its images compare to other cameras you may be considering buying.

Overall, the 3000Z produced good-quality shots, with good color balance the majority of the time. The camera's white balance system did get tripped up a little with our Outdoor Portrait test, which is very high contrast, and produced slightly muddy colors in that particular image. Both of the automatic and fix white balance settings usually produced rather warm results, leading us to choose the manual setting in most scenarios. Still, color balance looked pretty good on our Davebox target, with the 3000Z distinguishing tough tonal variations and reproducing the large color blocks with a nice level of brightness and accuracy.

Resolution was a bit soft on the 3000Z, placing the camera among the average in the 3.3 megapixel category, with a resolution that we "called" as 600 lines per picture height in both the horizontal and vertical directions.

The 3000Z offers excellent exposure control, from a full manual mode to a manually adjustable white balance setting and control over ISO and metering options. The camera performed extremely well in our low light tests, producing bright, usable images as low as 1/16 foot candles (0.67 lux) at the 100 ISO setting, with little noise. We also shot with the 200 and 400 ISO settings, which did produce brighter images, but also increased the noise level with exposure times from four to eight seconds. (We direct readers to Mike Chaney's excellent Qimage Pro program, for a tool with an amazing ability to remove image noise without significantly affecting detail.) To put the 3000Z's low light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot candle.

We found the 3000Z's optical viewfinder to be very tight, showing approximately 85 percent accuracy at wide angle, and 82 percent at telephoto. (Note that we've changed our nomenclature on this to better reflect what you see when looking into the viewfinder. We previously would have referred to the 3000Z's viewfinder as "loose.") These numbers were consistent with all three image sizes. The LCD monitor turned in a much more accurate performance, showing approximately 97 percent accuracy at wide angle, and about 98 percent at telephoto. We did notice that images framed with the LCD monitor often resulted in an image shifted towards the top. Since we generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the 3000Z does a very good job.

The 3000Z performs very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of just 2.89 x 2.17 inches (73.51 x 55.13 mm). This is a slightly better than average performance among the digicams we've tested, and the filter threads and lens adapter allow you to capture even smaller areas with the accessory macro kit.

Overall, the 3000Z performs moderately well for its 3.3 megapixel class, providing excellent exposure control and nice image quality, although the resolution tends to be a bit soft. Still, the camera's fine macro and low light capabilities are excellent qualities.

Epson's 3000Z offers excellent exposure control, with the option for a full manual or full automatic setting to match any skill level. Good image quality and a very quick, timesaving user interface give this camera an edge over many in its 3.3 megapixel class. There's also the benefit of an uncompressed TIFF mode and an interpolated, 4.8 megapixel CCD producing 2544 x 1904 image sizes. Definitely deserving of consideration by anyone looking for a full-featured "enthusiast" camera in the three megapixel range.

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