Customer Reviews: Epson P-3000 40GB Multimedia Storage Drive, Viewer, and Audio-Video Player w/ 4-Inch LCD
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on May 15, 2007
I've tried to go the cheap route when it comes to backing up my digital photos in the field, such as combining the (awful) Aleratec Copy Cruiser Plus with a large-capacity (16G) USB pen drive, and using an adapter and my iPod to offload the data from my CF cards. The latter solution works OK in a pinch, but has several limitations, including the iPod's small screen, the slowness of the process, and the very narrow functionality of the interface (great for music, not quite adequate for viewing, judging, and copying photos).

The Epson was designed from the ground up for duplicating digital photos (JPEG and RAW formats) on the road, a necessary task for photographers who prize their images as well as their sanity. It should fit nicely into any photo professional's 'out-of-doors' workflow.

The device works very well (and pretty fast: for instance, I just copied 322 Mb worth of data -- that's 100 JPEG photos taken with a 10-megapixel camera at the highest-quality settings -- in just over 60 seconds). The 4-inch screen is bright and draws beautifully detailed images. The controls, while not the latest in ergonomic excellence (the 'back' button in particular could have been better placed), are easy to press and a cinch to figure out (I never even had to crack the manual).

Like my Apple computers, the Epson multimedia viewers stand out for their plug-and-play elegance and simplicity. Push a CF card into the slot, or an SD card in a different slot next to it, and the viewer offers to let you browse the files on the card or copy the data to the P-3000's hard drive. You can also copy data to or from a USB device such as an external hard disk or a thumb drive. Want more? You can hide and password-protect folders; play slideshows with or without visual effects and with or without built-in music files playing as a soundtrack; give your photos a one-to-five-star rating to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff; look at EXIF data, blown highlights, and a histogram for each image; use an AV-out cable to show your images on a TV screen, and on and on.

Of course, when viewing a photo, you can zoom in (up to 400 percent) to check details and sharpness,

Later on, when you're ready to copy your images to your computer, just run the supplied USB cable from the Epson to your Mac or PC and the viewer shows up on your virtual desktop as a standard USB 2.0 drive. After a big job such as a wedding, this obviates the need to copy three or four or more memory cards to your computer via an external card reader. With the Epson viewer, all the backed-up data are already in one easily 'copyable' location.

The Epson also lets you copy and play back video footage and MP3s. I have little use for the latter (that's what my iPod is for), but the video-player capability, though hardly crucial for my purposes, makes the P-3000 a pretty sweet and versatile road tool.

I can't think of an actual feature that I'm missing -- OK, maybe wireless capability -- though that's not to say that this is a perfect product. The viewer is slightly unwieldy (about the size of the average automotive GPS unit); I have to think that top-notch engineering could reduce the dimensions a bit. I would have liked some kind of built-in protector that you can fold or draw shut over the fairly vulnerable screen. Speaking of missing hardware, the Epsons really should come with a stand that lets you angle the unit for optimal viewing. Also, it's a bit annoying that the device won't copy data to your computer's hard drive unless the unit's power adapter is attached, even if you have a full battery.

Still, other than my cameras and lenses, this is the best photo tool I've bought in a long time. If you're a professional photographer who, like me, doesn't like to lug a laptop around but could do with fewer backup worries after you're done shooting a big assignment away from home, the Epson P-3000 or P-5000 will bring both pride of ownership and peace of mind.
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on November 7, 2006
First of all, Amazon came through with all stars on this order. Cheers to them for the screaming-fast processing that got me the product when I needed it.

As for the P-3000, I needed something like this bugger as I photograph models in outdoor settings using available light. Thus, it's a hassle to lug around the laptop, and when I do, the laptop takes too long to dump my 2-gig CF card. The viewer is another necessity because I like to know if I missed any shots due to lack of focus, etc. I screw up sometimes and the screen on my D-200 doesn't always show my errors.

The P-3000 dumps a full 2-gig CF card in 5 minutes, as per tests I just conducted this evening. With 126 .NEF images on the card, a mere 5 minutes was a miracle compared to my laptop. When I'm out in the field, this will be an invaluable tool.

Is it expensive? I don't think so, but I did think the 80-gig unit was more than I want to spend. Furthermore, I'm only using this as a dump drive for location shoots, not as a storage device...I have other drives for that. I thought the price was reasonable, so far I have no problem with the interface and I can rest easy knowing if I have a 1-day shoot that requires 2,000 RAW .NEF images to be shot (that would wear me out) that the P-3000 has room for them.

If you want functionality, sleek design and a decent interface, buy this unit. If you feel it's too expensive, buy a unit with no display, as that will knock down the price. In my business though, I like having the'll save me a lot of time and anguish.

So far, so good. Buy with confidence, this is a good brand and a fine product. Bravo, Epson!
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on July 18, 2007
On the plus side, the screen is beautiful and the best I've seen compared to say a SmartDisk (but the SmartDisk is less than half the price of the Epson, even after rebate). On a recent trip to Katmai, an acquaintance showed me a SmartDisk's view and the image was quite pixelated; he was quite impressed with the Epson's display. Four inch is quite big and usable for decision making such as delete. The transfer rate from card to the P-3000 is acceptable, though I didn't time the rate. The P-3000 acts as an external harddrive and the saved files can be easily read by Windows Explorer; that means no additional software is needed, which none was included.

On the bad side, this device at $500 for the 40GB is very, very expensive; Dell has a cheap laptop for only $450! I wonder if Epson realized the high price and played with rebates. If going out to the wilderness is not your idea, then it would make much more sense to get a small form factor laptop instead.

At $500, the quality should be much better. I checked for bad pixels against a black image and found too many that are always on. Some on pixels can clearly be seen when viewing a typical image.

Usage is not intuitive, especially when deleting an image. To delete an image, you have to dig into the menu and go into delete mode as oppose to simply deleting it. So there are a normal view mode and a delete mode and you'd have to navigate between the two. The worst part is that zooming works fine in normal view mode but is disabled in delete mode. It makes sense that when you delete something, you'd want to zoom in, at least for sanity check.

I save my files both RAW and jpeg. In the view mode, there's no option to view only RAW or jpeg so you'd have to view both. Obviously, viewing both can be annoying and wastes battery juice.

The device can play mp3 and video. If you're going out in the wilderness, it doesn't make sense to waste your battery juice with these options. Since the device is (I think) designed for the wilderness, these two extras are useless unless you have access to an outlet.

The screen, though pretty, only has a soft pouch to protect it. The device at 1.3" thick, it's quite bulky. It's not designed for your pocket because of the thickness and bulkiness.

I would have liked to be able to return it for a refund but the place that I bought it from only gave me 7 days, which doesn't work when you're on a two week wilderness trip. I am at least can exchange it so I will do that, mainly because of the pixel defects.

This device serves its main purpose well and the display is beautiful. If you can spare some battery juice, it's nice for viewing your photos in your tent while waiting for the rain to stop. I would recommend it if you'll travel to where an outlet is not available for at least a few days and a laptop is too bulky and heavy for you; if you don't care about the display, then the P-3000 is too expensive. However, I would not recommend it to anyone who at least have access to AC outlets at your destinations. It's hard to justify spending that much money so you can show your friends your photos. At $500, a laptop option is much better and you can do much more with a laptop, even use the internet at my friends' places.

********** USEFUL HINTS **********
If you like Epson's storage viewer but want a larger HD, then I suggest buying the P3000 and then upgrade the HD later. Doing so will save you at least $150 off the 80GB version. I replaced the HD with a Fujitsu 120gb MHV2120AH, same HD manufacturer, bought on Ebay for $50. Works perfect after the upgrade. Search for "upgrading p-3000 hard drive" for the easy to follow instructions. I cannot provide a link as doing so has already caused Amazon to mess up my review.
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VINE VOICEon October 27, 2008
OK, I'll grant you it's pretty expensive, and the use of it isn't immediately obvious to anyone who doesn't already own one. But let me explain: I'm a semi-pro photographer, and given today's travel restrictions and airline weight limits it isn't always practical to carry a laptop computer with a bulky charger in order to back up and view photos I take on the fly. The Epson P-6000 isn't much larger than maybe 4 decks of cards stacked together, and it weighs only about two pounds. (The charger, a standard 9 volt with a transformer, weighs a couple of ounces.)

BE AWARE, though, this unit ONLY ACCEPTS COMPACT FLASH (CF) AND SD CARDS. NOT MINI-SDs; NOT xDs; NOT SONY MEMORY STICKS. This makes it perfect for Nikon users and the many point-and-shoot camera units utilizing SD cards.

This item will store pretty much all the photos I can throw at it over the course of a two-week visit virtually anywhere. It files items where I can find them easily (it helps to back up photo cards as you use them, since the backups organize by date). It also hooks up to any television and to my desktop computer with ease for instant slideshows for friends and family, and - nearly best of all - it'll play the MP4 movies I download to the same memory cards I use to store photos. This is a real lifesaver for the 10+ hour plane trip, such as the one I recently took on a third-world airline with no in-flight entertainment.

You can buy replacement batteries for around $65, and they're also not huge and bulky, maybe the size of two AA batteries end to end and slightly thicker. Each battery lasts from two to three hours, depending on how heavily you're accessing the memory. Although the P-6000 is lightweight, the image quality of the screen is nothing short of really fabulous. It's sharp and not pixellated. At the same time the metal casing of the unit is pretty sturdy - I wouldn't drop it on a cement floor just for fun, but you get the sense it could take a fair amount of jostling and abuse without coming apart.

The unit doesn't overheat and I've had zero problems getting it to connect to my Macintosh G4 computer for transfer of photos for longterm storage. (It shows up in Finder as simply another external drive, allowing me to transfer files to and from with ease.) This is lucky, because the computer interface program that comes with the Epson is not very well designed. Among other issues, it'll try to make you download movies straight to the Epson using a very, very time-consuming conversion process - when you can simply convert the movies from DVD to MP4 using a faster program like Handbrake, and then plop them in and out of the Epson using either a CF or SD memory card.

Another mild issue - the manual for the Epson isn't great. I didn't realize until some lengthy trial-and-error that movies I tried to watch wouldn't play because the maximum MP4 image size the Epson will read is 640 x 480.

More positive issues: The backups run pretty quickly - I can move 4 gigs of photos off a CF card in about four minutes; the Epson doesn't take forever to generate thumbnails so you can view your photos; and the user interface on the device itself is very intuitive. I'm told older versions of the Epson photo viewer made it difficult to batch delete photos; not so with the P-6000. It's also easy to lock photos, to prevent yourself from deleting them accidentally.

Also, the Epson can be plugged into either 110 or 220 volt outlets, enabling you to carry it around the world without toting a bulky step-down transformer. (You *will* need an adapter to make the U.S. two-prong plug fit the, say, two round pin outlets found in places like Europe and Africa, though.)

If it weren't so expensive and did it not have a few problems with the software interface and instruction manual I'd rate this a full five stars. Should anything happen to mine, heaven forbid, I'd replace it like a shot. Along with my IPod and Garmin GPS unit, I am never without this item on a trip I take anywhere.

Oh, and the unit I purchased from an Amazon vendor worked great. The one I bought straight from Epson needed to be returned due to a faulty power supply. Just another data point.
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on September 17, 2007
This product is invaluable for anyone who is serious about the security of their digital photos. The bonus is that the Epson 3000 does so much more! What a great surprise to find out I can download my music onto it. I guess I am one of the few that hasn't bought an ipod yet... the other incredible bonus is that it will show your photos as a slideshow & you can use your own songs as a background! WOW!!! I created a file of an unbelievable sunset I shot on my Canon 5D from beginning to end. I shot for about 45 minutes & took about 40 shots. The slideshow was about 20 minutes & is great on the viewer. I found out I could buy a camcorder AV plug & plug it into my television. OMG!!! I stood in my living room & cried. I could not believe how awesome it was to see my photos with my music on my TV!!! My camera is still blowing my mind & now I have a great way to share the photos without having to learn new software on the computer.
The Epson P-3000 isn't as complicated as I thought it would be. The viewer is a good size & is hard to see outside in sunlight, but that hasn't been a problem. It's also a great little viewer to show people your pics. I'm happy!! Just have to figure out how to get the slideshows on a cd or dvd. I took the advice of Scott Kelby The Digital Photography Book on some of his recommended items. I bought the P-3000 right before going on vacation as a means to backup my photos while away from computers. I never had to worry about filling up my card. I occasionally shoot weddings & this is a great way to ensure that you don't lose any shots because your card went bad.
I am very pleased.
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on October 10, 2008
This product did not work well for me. I wanted an easy and lightweight backup for photographs to take on trips. This unit is relatively heavy. Transfer is slow.

More important to me: The interface is clumsy and non-intuitive. For example, it took a lot of trial
and error to create a folder of a few pictures to show to a dinner group.

But the killer was that this unit froze twice during the trip, i.e., responded neither to the touch interface nor to any manipulation of the on/off switch. Leaving the unit unplugged until the battery ran down and then
restarting it did work. I don't believe any pictures were lost, but I've lost my confidence in trusting the unit for important backups.

The unit has a huge amount of space. It may just suit the needs of other users. My unit may be defective.
So don't write this off if it meets your needs.
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on July 11, 2010
I have an older model of this device and have used it for a number of years. It is an excellent product.
However, the buyer must understand how to really delete a file. I was under the impression that if I deleted on the Epson by hitting the delete button that the file would be gone. It is not. It is still there but you cannot see it.
I realized this when my Epson had no memory left and I had no files on it. You have to hook up the epson to a computer and then empty the trash bin on the computer. That procedure actually removes the files from the device and your memory space is restored.
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on June 27, 2011
I received an Epson P2000 photo storage unit for an anniversary and was very pleased with it. It was the perfect answer for leisure travel with 40GB of storage, a beautiful 4" screen, simple interface and card slots for CF and SD.

Here's the warning: When the next model came out, Epson stopped supporting the old model's firmware and when I bought my Sony A700, the unit was unable to manage the RAW files. Communication with Epson netted a suggestion that I purchase the latest model for $600 to fix the problem. Prior to our next cruise, I did some research and bought a netbook. I loaded Picasa on it to manage my photos and never looked back. What I have now is a $300 photo viewer that loads images many times faster than the old one, has four times the storage (and can host an external drive of any capacity or a DVD burner), a 10" screen and gets support for new formats regularly. It allows me to view the day's images, do batch renaming and organize with a real keyboard and familiar interface. I regret the lack of support on Epson's part since I really liked the P2000. If your camera is currently supported and you never plan on shooting RAW or replacing your camera the Epson viewers are elegant (if somewhat pricey) little devices that do what they do quite well.

Caveat emptor...
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on January 26, 2007
The P-3000 delivers on all fronts. Crisp, clear, vibrant colors, both for pictures and movies. It's easy to use. The menus are straightforward. Moving your pictures from your memory card to the P-3000 cannot be easier. With the 40GB disk drive included, I have plenty of storage when I'm on vacation, eventhough I sometimes take up to 200 pictures in a day (each RAW pic 6Mb). The P-3000 reads and quickly renders the Nikon RAW format on the screen. It's a real pleasure to review the pictures at the end of the day. It's also very convenient to show travel pictures to family and friends. Everyone to whom I've shown my pics on the P-3000, without exception, was really impressed with the screen quality. Just to show off a bit, I loaded up and showed the movie "Finding Nemo". It really looks good on the P-3000 screen. One feature not tried yet is the music playback.

At 500U$, it's a bit pricy but it's worth every penny in my book.
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on July 18, 2008
This device is absolutely wonderful. Not only does it work as a digital photo viewer but it also enables the user to listen to music files, watch older quicktime videos and can serve as an external hard drive.

With respect to the digital photo viewer options, the well lit 4" screen has superb resolution and reads most RAW files. The device permits user to not only review pictures but also delete those considered undesirable (unlike machines such as Sans Digital and Digi-Photo). That way one can delete pictures while returning from the field and upload only good ones to PC for printing. With respect to uploading pictures, it can upload from all major cards (i.e., SD, compact flash, etc.) at a reasonable rate (i.e., at about same rate as most other similar devices). This device, however, has big advantage over many of its competitors in that it can also upload pictures from other hard drives (via USB), flash cards and many other memory devices. It should be noted that these devices need to be FAT32 formatted. In addition, unlike many competing products, it can also download contents of its hard disk to another stand alone hard disk. The stand alone hard disk must be formatted as a FAT 32 however. For hard disks larger than about 30 gigs this can only be down using software such as Norton Utilities. By doing this you increase your ability to download more pictures. Carry a small portable hard disk with you and download as you fill the Epson p-3000 up and you will effectively have an Epson p-3000 with a much larger hard disk.

As a music player you can listen to mp3 amd wav files. The interface is intuitive and the software that comes with the machine makes this easy. You can also watch older quicktime videos (quicktime 4 and before). Quality of music and videos is quite good.

Last but not least the machine can be used as a portable hard disk (via USB cable).

Hence with the purchase of this product you not only get an extraordinary digital photo viewer/editor but also a music and video viewer and portable hard disk. All this for about 25% more than the price of an upper-end Ipod.

Update (as of September 2011):

Epson has been still providing support for this product so a user can still get updates for Windows 7 (both 32 and 62 bit versions) as well as Link 2 software which permits the user to convert most commonly used video and audio codecs to formats that can be used on the P-3000. This software is easy to use and permits the user to download such files to the Epson for use on it.
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