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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Gadget Bag: Multimedia Storage

Back up and review your images in the field with handheld media devices

Last summer at the Bronx Zoo, I overheard a seasoned professional photographer explaining his Epson multimedia storage viewer to a zoo employee. "I used to work with an assistant," he said. "Now I use this. Best part is, it never oversleeps."

Indeed, multimedia storage viewers can perform many of the functions formerly handled by human assistants.Most commonly thought of as an image repository, "a place to dump image files before reformatting a memory card—they’re much more than that. Multimedia storage viewers allow you to review images on a large, bright LCD screen and zoom in to check sharpness or delete bad shots as necessary. Use them to organize as well as store image files while on the road or create albums and slideshows to share with clients on the spot. They’re small, easy to use and as reliable as a notebook computer, and the recent crop is quite affordable.

Epson P-5000In truth, the various models on the market have more similarities than differences. But some have features that you might not notice unless you do some digging—features like video-recording capability or built-in speakers. OP did the digging for you.

Smaller than a paperback book, the Epson P-5000 allows you to download, view, organize, store and print thousands of digital image and video files while in the field, all without sacrificing much of the functionality you’d have if you used a notebook PC instead. Despite its small size and light weight (less than one pound), the P-5000 sports a large, category-leading four-inch LCD monitor that uses Epson’s exclusive Photo Fine Ultra technology and features the world‚’s first four-color filter system to provide Adobe RGB color support.

The P-5000 has an 80 GB hard drive and built-in memory card slots. It also has two Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports (standard and mini) and interfaces that allow you to connect to most TVs to display images, slideshows and movies. The P-5000 provides RAW file support and will print directly to any compatible printer (see the Epson website for a complete listing). You also can transfer images to and from a USB Flash drive—a handy feature for file sharing and for additional backup security. It’s Windows- and Mac-(OS X 10.2 or later) compatible. The Epson P-3000 is available with a 40 GB hard drive. Estimated Street Price: $699 (P-5000); $499 (P-3000).

Jobo GIGA Vu PRO EvolutionThe Jobo GIGA Vu PRO Evolution is a high-quality digital album with 80 GB of hard-drive storage, a crisp 3.7-inch VGA-quality LCD display and built-in memory card slots. It displays RAW files and many other formats and can be connected to a digital projector, plasma or HDTV.

The Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface provides a data-transfer speed of 1 GB in about two and a half minutes, which, according to Jobo, means you can download up to 25 GB of data on a single battery charge. The high-performance, 2.2 amp/hour, Li-Ion battery will keep you going through many download sessions.

The GIGA Vu PRO also offers Jobo’s exclusive "on-the-go" (OTG) USB connection, which allows you to transfer files directly between the GIGA Vu PRO Evolution and other USB devices, including digital cameras, MP3 players and portable hard drives. It also supports a WiFi-enabled CompactFlash card (not included). Estimated Street Price: $695 (80 GB); $895 (120 GB).

Apple iPodBest known for its musical talents, the Apple iPod offers a 2.5-inch color display and either a 30 or 80 GB hard drive. The 80 GB model will hold up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video—or thousands of image files. Pair it with the Apple iPod Camera Connector, and you can download images from your camera to your iPod via your camera’s USB cable.

The iPod features Apple’s patented Click Wheel for precise, one-handed navigation and is loaded with multimedia functions, including the ability to automatically download digital music, podcasts, photos, music videos, movies and TV shows onto the iPod and keep them up to date whenever the iPod is connected to a Mac or Windows computer. You can even play popular video games like Tetris, Texas Hold ’Em and Pac-Man.

One of the most intriguing features of the iPod is its small size—less than one-half-inch thick and small enough to slip into any shirt pocket. It weighs less than five ounces, but packs an enormous amount of power. The 30 GB model features up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback
and up to 3.5 hours of video playback; the 80 GB model delivers up to 20 hours of battery life for music playback and 6.5 hours of video playback. List Price: $249 (30 GB); $349 (80 GB); Apple iPod Camera Connector ($29).


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