Epson Introduces Its Most Powerful, Versatile and Advanced Digital Camera -- the PhotoPC 850Z

Epson America Inc., a leader in high-quality, award-winning digital imaging products, Monday unveiled its two-megapixel USB zoom digital camera, the PhotoPC� 850Z. Packed with features such as 3x optical zoom, a hot shoe for external flash units and manual controls, the PhotoPC 850Z is ideal for photo enthusiasts and serious business photographers.

The camera also includes Epson's revolutionary HyPict(TM) image enhancement technology, which provides consumers with 1984 x 1488 pixel resolution. This high-quality resolution, combined with the camera's versatile and convenient features, makes the PhotoPC 850Z one of the best digital cameras in the market today for under $800.

``The PhotoPC 850Z provides a higher level of digital photography with its advanced features and zoom capabilities,'' said Lisa Dempsey, assistant product manager, digital cameras, Epson. ``This camera is perfect for anyone whose work requires high-quality, professional digital imagery with the flexibility of a high-end 35mm SLR film camera.''

The PhotoPC 850Z is equipped with a 2.11 megapixel CCD sensor and Epson's HyPict image enhancement technology to enable images to be captured at an impressive 1984 x 1488 pixel resolution. At this resolution, images look great, even when printed at 11 inches x 14 inches. This technology has been successfully incorporated into previous Epson digital cameras, such as the PhotoPC 750Z and the PhotoPC 800, and is now part of the PhotoPC 850Z's powerful package.

This technology offers a superior process when compared with other image enhancement technologies because it occurs inside the camera, before JPEG compression. This ensures that all the original pixel information collected will be utilized to enhance the image and provide stunning results.

The PhotoPC 850Z also features a high-quality lens system with 3x optical zoom, which is equivalent to a 35 - 105mm lens on a 35mm camera. For shooting photos with a flash, the PhotoPC 850Z contains a first for Epson -- a built-in hot shoe -- for adding optional external flash units. The camera's standard built-in flash supports red eye reduction and slow synchronized flash. The camera also offers add-on lens capability for optional 49mm close-up, wide angle and telephoto converter lenses, as well as filters.

More Convenient Advantages

An especially compelling feature for business professionals in real estate, law enforcement and insurance fields, is a convenient built-in microphone and speaker. This feature allows consumers to record messages up to 10 seconds in length and actually play them back right on the camera or on a computer.

Included with the PhotoPC 850Z is an 8MB CompactFlash(TM) card that stores up to 120 standard resolution images. For power users, the PhotoPC 850Z will support cards up to 96MB for expanded storage capabilities. Additionally, the camera contains a Type I and Type II CompactFlash card slot for added flexibility. Also included with the camera are four money-saving, rechargeable AA NiMH batteries and fast charger that will recharge the batteries within three hours.

To save battery life when using the camera outdoors, the consumer can take advantage of the two-inch LCD monitor with Solar Assist(TM) panel that lights the LCD in direct sunlight.

In addition, with the PhotoPC 850Z's USB compatibility, customers can download a two-megapixel image in about three seconds to iMac(TM), Power Macintosh(TM) G3 and Windows 98 computers. For legacy computers, a serial cable is included to download images to Windows and PowerPC computers. The PhotoPC 850Z offers many features made popular by Epson's earlier digital camera models.

Among these features is the ability to direct print to several EPSON Stylus� Photo printers and the EPSON Stylus Color 740 and EPSON Stylus Color 740i. A Direct Print cable and Direct Print software are included with the camera.

Advanced Features

The PhotoPC 850Z contains many features that professional and advanced photo enthusiasts demand, such as manual exposure, shutter priority and aperture priority. The camera offers three different modes of digital photography: manual, programmed and fully automatic.

The manual setting is the ideal mode for more experienced consumers with its adjustable aperture, shutter speed, focus and spot metering settings. The programmed mode is the perfect setting for sports, portrait and landscape photography. It incorporates exposure adjustment, sensitivity settings and white balance. The fully automatic mode for ``point-and-shoot'' picture taking contains macro, digital zoom and panorama settings.

The PhotoPC 850Z offers a Quick Shot mode that enables consumers to snap a picture approximately every second to ensure a perfect shot won't be missed. Epson also supports industry standards with its inclusion of Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF) and Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) file formats on this camera.

Outstanding Software Bundle

The PhotoPC 850Z's software bundle includes everything needed to help the consumer get up and running with the camera immediately. This full-featured assortment of software includes Sierra Imaging Image Expert(TM), an excellent package for retrieving, organizing, enhancing and printing images. Also included is the EPSON Photo!3(TM) TWAIN driver and standalone utility driver, EPSON Photo File Uploader, EPSON Program Uploader, Print Mark and Direct Print driver.

Image Authentication System

A useful and innovative option for the PhotoPC 850Z customer is Epson's Image Authentication System(TM) (IAS). This system provides consumers with image validation technology for applications in areas such as law enforcement and insurance. When a picture is taken, the IAS uses a digital fingerprint to verify the integrity of the picture. This software is an option for the PhotoPC 850Z, as well as the PhotoPC 800, PhotoPC 750Z and PhotoPC 700. The IAS is currently available for an estimated street price of $99 through Epson resellers and national distributors.

Rebates and Promotions

Epson offers a complete digital photography solution to its customers with two attractive mail-in offers. Customers who purchase any Epson digital camera and any Epson ink jet printer will receive $50 back by mail. In addition, any customer purchasing a PhotoPC 850Z through the end of December 1999 will receive a free package of Epson 4-inch x 6-inch Photo Paper. To receive the paper or $50 back by mail, customers simply need to fill out and mail in the coupon provided in the PhotoPC 850Z box.

Pricing and Availability

The PhotoPC 850Z will be available in early October for an estimated street price of $799 through computer and office superstores, camera retail outlets, mail order and other major retailers. Carrying a one-year warranty, the PhotoPC 850Z is supported by the EPSON Connection, a fully automated customer support and technical assistance line.