Epson entered the 3 megapixel race with a truly interesting camera. The PhotoPC 3000Z is Epson's first viable attempt to go after the big boys in the digital camera market. Fitted out with a 3x zoom, big diameter, fast F2.0 lens (I have a theory on the origin of this lens) and (probably) Sony's 3.34 megapixel CCD. Solid and chunky the 3000Z certainly looks the part and has a feature set that puts it up amongst the best 3 megapixel digital cameras.

Epson have also implemented their HyPict interpolation algorithm on the Epson PhotoPC 3000Z which means that over and above the standard (CCD native) 2048 x 1536 resolution you can also have a HyPict image of 2544 x 1904 or a HyPict Panorama of 2544 x 952.

The Lens

After receiving the 3000Z I put it on my desk next to a Sony DSC-S70.. That's when it struck me, it's the same lens. No, really, bear with me. They're both 7 - 21 mm (F2.0 - F2.5) lenses, size, extension speed/mechanism and internals appear identical.. Which is kind of confusing because Sony put a Carl Zeiss badge on theirs, yet Epson simply say "Epson Digital Camera Lens". Interesting, yes?

Lens from Epson PhotoPC 3000Z Lens from Sony DSC-S70

From the images above you can clearly see the lenses are identical even down to the aperture diaphragm, which begs the question is the lens in the PhotoPC 3000Z a Carl Zeiss design? We may never get an "official" answer to that but on this evidence it would stand it in good stead by at least having a high quality lens before even crossing the starting line.