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Digital Zoom

The 3000Z features a 3 x optical zoom and 2 x digital zoom, beware however, digital zoom is simply cropping (selecting the mid part of the image) and sampling-up, the only advantage in doing digital zoom inside the camera is (a) if you don't have any photo software to magnify (and interpolate) the image or (b) to digitally zoom without zooming the JPEG artifacts. Digital zoom never adds detail, you can't create detail you didn't capture.

Full optical zoom (102 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)
Full optical zoom + 2 x digital zoom (204 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)
Full optical zoom + 2 x Photoshop Bicubic resample

Here I've included a Photoshop 2.0x Bicubic image, simply resampled 200% then cropped to 1856 x 1392, results are fairly close to the in-camera interpolation.


Manual Focus

The 3000Z is fairly limited in the manual focus department, in normal focus mode you have just three selectable focus distances and in macro focus you have two. We've listed them below.

Manual Focus position Distance
Portrait 1 m (3.3 ft)
Group 3 m (9.9 ft)
Landscape Infinity
M1 (Macro) 0.2 m (7.9")
M2 (Macro) 0.5 m (1.6 ft)


Aperture Priority exposure

Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed, if the exposure is outside of the cameras range (either over or under exposing) the aperture will flash on the LCD screen. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot).

The 3000Z offers six apertures from F2.0 to F8.0 (or F2.5 to F10.1 at full zoom) this means you can at least have some control over depth of field (although we found diffraction setting in above F6.9 - softening the image).

  • Wide: F2.0, 2.3, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0
  • Tele: F2.5, 2.8, 3.5, 5.0, 6.9, 10.1 (although the display still shows wide apertures)

Aperture Priority exposure can only be accessed with the camera in manual mode. A basic example of aperture priority is shown below for more read my digital photography glossary:

Exposure: 1/52s, F2.4 Exposure: 1/14s, F4.7
 
Exposure: 1/4s, F9.5  

As you can see in this example we've managed to increase the depth of field slightly, unfortunately digital cameras tend to be limited to fairly large (by SLR film camera standards) apertures (F10.1 as a maximum on the 3000Z) this limitation is due to the relative size of the imaging area (CCD) and focal lengths used.


Manual Exposure mode

Now you're thinking, ok what about Shutter Priority mode, well Epson decided we didn't need it.. Not sure who took that decision but it's kind of confusing as I'm sure it's a fairly simple part of the camera firmware (especially if you're offering aperture priority and manual exposure). In manual mode you have choice of the same apertures as above plus a HUGE (and I mean it, I've never seen so many shutter speeds on a digital camera) range of shutter speeds all the way from 8 seconds up to 1/750 second.

Manual Exposure settings: (Apertures as above), Shutter Speeds: 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/12, 1/15, 1/18, 1/22, 1/27, 1/30, 1/35, 1/40, 1/48, 1/55, 1/60, 1/70, 1/80, 1/90, 1/100, 1/110, 1/125, 1/150, 1/165, 1/180, 1/200, 1/225, 1/250, 1/300, 1/350, 1/400, 1/450, 1/500, 1/600, 1/675, 1/750

Set the aperture and shutter speed and half-press the shutter release, the camera will display it's calculated optimum exposure in yellow in the top left of the LCD monitor, if your exposure is more than 2 EV off that optimum a red "EV !" (as above) will show indicating that the image is likely to be very over or very under exposed. Neat, and works fairly well, I would like to have had some kind of on-screen meter (like we've seen on the Nikon Coolpix 990).


Panoramic photos

Much in the same way an APS camera does the 3000Z has a cropping Panorama mode, when selected the top and bottom 25% of the image are cropped away so you can only see an 8:3 ratio image (2048 x 768 standard or 2544 x 952 for HyPict). So, without further ado here's a panoramic photo:

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