P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Started Aug 17, 2005 | Discussions
Robert Strom Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

I am very pleased to report that I have found an alternative to the P2000 for viewing my camera images in the field on a screen larger than my DSLR's LCD screen, but more manageable than lugging a laptop on location.

I just got a Dell Axim X50V PDA with a CF & SD card slot. (similar to the HP Ipaq 4700). The screen is just as big and just as high resolution as the P2000, but it has 2 advantages and 1 disadvantage.

Disadvantage: This is not a PSD.

Advantages:

  • With the installation of the free bundled Resco image viewing software, I can see thumbnails from my camera's 1 gig Sandisk Ultra II CF card in under 2 minutes and the access time to see an image full screen is about 2 seconds. (vs. 10-12 sec. access time on the P2000)

This is far faster than the performance I experienced with my P2000 (which I reluctantly returned because of the great image quality)

  • Advantage 2: For about 2/3rd the price of the 2000 I have a great PDA with all the neat things I can do with it (like GPS navigation... yes I have to spring for the $$$ for the hardware, etc.), and any other Pocket PC software.

As a professional photographer I will always take my laptop on the road for d-loading and critically viewing my images, but I almost always have my client looking over my shoulder to see my shots. Now I can pull out my PDA, load the CF card and let them see images much larger than the camera's LCD screen without having to load them into my laptop first.

PLUS: with the wireless capabilities of the Axim and the Resco software I can quickly re-size any image and e-mail it (given I am in a hotspot)

Bottom line: For me, the best of both worlds. I get to see my images big, fast and clear much faster than the P2000, and I get all the benefits of a PDA's array of fun and functional software for less cost than the P2000. If I need to d-load the images I can either use my laptop, or use the money I saved to get a bare bones PSD. I can also use my older, less capacity CF cards for programs and other memory needing applications on the Axim.

This solution is not for everybody, but it solves a dilema I have had for some time... how to see my images bigger, clearly and quickly for the least amount of money.

Robert Strom

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Ryanide Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

I see your point. I also have the same Axim, which I love. However, the axim does not have a hard drive to transfer the files to and I do not believe there is a way to plug one into it.

I can see using it for viewing, but it just doesn't do the same thing as a P2000 for portable storage- which I what I need.

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Ryanide Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Although, I think I read the Epson P2000 is 480 x 640 times three pixels, giving it 3 times the resolution at 212ppi vs the Axim at standard 480 x 640.

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OP Robert Strom Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

I don't know about the VGA specs, I just know that I have seen with my own eyes both screens and the Axim is every bit as sharp and clear with good color as the P2000.

I am also doing some research into attaching a self powered USB drive ro the Axim and x-ferring files that way. Even if not, I could by a no-frills PSD for storage and still have spent less than just buying the P2000.

for me, the speed at which the Axim accesses the card and pulls up photos is worth the price of admission. I stated yesterday that I could access the card, see thumbnails and start reviewing images in under 2 minutes. I was wrong. Last night I plugged in a full 1 gig card and the thumbnails started appearing in about three seconds. Flipping through the images at full screen mode was about 2-3 seconds each. I can set the program to cache the next file, so if I were to just look at an image for 2 seconds, I would have to wait a max of 1 more second to see the next image.

The fastest I could flip through images on the 2000 was 8-10 seconds. I am too impatient to waste that kind of time.

I am not knocking the 2000 but the Axim matches it for image quality and screen size, and blows it away in image access speed, which is all I am after.

Robert Strom

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eos Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

I wish the PDA makers would hurry up already and put a nice sized hard drive (or at least provide a hard drive add-on option to their PDAs (like Compaq was doing with their IPAQ sleeves.)) I know Palm is doing this already with their LifeDrive product, but let's face it, 4GB isn't going to get very far with photographers.

I think then we'll start seeing the highend PSD market (Epson P2k, Archos xxxAV) products starting to erode away in favor of these more general purpose devices. You'll be able to browse your photos, drag n' drop as many copies of your images as you'll want to make, and can use standardized development tools to create other utilities for doing stuff like file-level verification. The OS will already have the audio and video playback built into it, so you get that for free.

=-eos-=

Ryanide Contributing Member • Posts: 744
What about RAW files?

The Resco Photo Viewer does not open RAW files, which is the only format I shoot with.

I agree that I'd be plenty happy to use my Axim rather than an Epson P2000 if only there was an external hard drive that I could copy the files to.

Let me know if you find anything. Thanks

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OP Robert Strom Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

I agree!

Before I bought the Axim I checked out a lifedrive at the local CompUSA store, but before spending $500.00 I wanted more than a in store demo from a poorly trained salesperson. Plus I had read from various reviews that there were hard drive "burps" that made me reluctant to become a "early adoptor" (read guinie pig) of the device.

I took the best cost/benefit/proven technology road and compromised my wish list:

  • Fully functional PDA with a great screen and software for viewing my camera's images

  • High capacity HD for d-loading my cards

  • Cost comensurate with s-ware/h-ware problems

There are enough professional digital photographers out there now to support such a device, but the wants always exceed the expectations in the time frame we could use them, so we either compromise, wait or buy the newest, greatest at the highest price only to be dissapointed because the designers are not really in touch with the market, only responding a day late and many dollars higher with marginal pacifiers.

Taking a load off, Robert Strom

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OP Robert Strom Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
Re: What about RAW files?

The best research I can cobble up right now seems to be to get a no frills PSD like the Nexto or a USB mini HD unit for d-loading my cards and using my PDA to view the images while still on location.

This seems like the best bang for the buck, but it also means using 2 devices when one combined unit seems so obvious to produce.

Right now the PDA/PSD producers are trying to catch up with the various RAW formats. I shoot with a Fuji S3 and it always seems to be the last RAW type the manufacturers get around to supporting.

Since my S3 is a sluggard at writing RAW files, and excels at jpgs I put up with the compromise, shoot jpg's and have settled on the best PDA/PSD combo that gives me great image reviews at a fast response time and a second unit to store my CF cards on.

Still waiting for the best of both worlds,

Robert Strom

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eos Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Robert Strom wrote:

There are enough professional digital photographers out there now
to support such a device, but the wants always exceed the
expectations in the time frame we could use them, so we either
compromise, wait or buy the newest, greatest at the highest price
only to be dissapointed because the designers are not really in
touch with the market, only responding a day late and many dollars
higher with marginal pacifiers.

Well I don't see pro photogs as strictly the market for such a device. All those people shelling out for portable media solutions would also be able to use it as well. I'm currently using my Axim for GPS nav and playing the occasional MP3 or video file (would probably be using it for more of this if it had a battery life comparable to my MP3 player.) If it had a hard drive, I would definitely be using it as a PSD as well. It's really all about assimilation of functionality and maximizing it's use in multiple applications.

=-eos-=

OP Robert Strom Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

"It's really all about assimilation of functionality and maximizing it's use in multiple applications."

Yes, you are right. It is about using technology to shrink and combine many applications into a killer device:

  • Long battery life

  • Great viewing screen

  • multiple applications that are not stripped of functions

  • Large storage capacity

Why are there so many individual products that only excel at one or two of the criteria?

I have an MP3 player capable of storing 10+ hours of music on only 256meg and battery life on 1 AA of 30 hours

A PDA that is a minature PC that only gives me 3-4 hours of batt life and very limited amount of memory (unless dedicating removable storage to the unit)

A laptop that has a large amount of storage, a great, large screen and only about 3 hours batt. life

I understand the limitations of battery drain on displays and HD's, but we are so close to a PDA that can deliver everything in a tiny package.

Guess I'll just have to wait until next year and see if the HP Lifedrive concept matures.

BTW: one of the reasons I bought the PDA instead of a Epson P2000 was for the PDA function and more specifically the GPS application. what mapping and antennae combo do you use? I would like to take advantage of the clear VGA screen and voice directions, plus easy to input routes and destinations.

Thanks for any advice, Rob

Don't

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gmosc Veteran Member • Posts: 5,950
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Rob it seems like you´ve got a good combination.

One problem is that if you've downloaded to the PSD and then erased from the card, you can't use you PSA to see the file. Unless you've found a way yet to connect the PSD and PSA.
What do you think the chances are that that will happen?

I'm presently waiting for the PDX70 to get a firmware update that will allow copying files from PSD back to a card. It was mentioned that it could happen. If it doesn't then OK I´ll try something else. I actually haven´t had a NEED for it yet, so, I´m not complaining. The PSA and PSD combinations, could be reason enough for me to actually get a PSA (Yes I´m the last person in the world NOT to have one!)

Guy Moscoso

Simon Heath Regular Member • Posts: 473
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

gmosc wrote:

Rob it seems like you´ve got a good combination.
One problem is that if you've downloaded to the PSD and then erased
from the card, you can't use you PSA to see the file. Unless you've
found a way yet to connect the PSD and PSA.
What do you think the chances are that that will happen?

You can do it, see my posts here...
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=13656574

And here...
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=13602855

With the dell, you need the CF adapter.

I bought a PDA and got it linked over USB and the speed was acceptable. I was loving owning a PDA until I took it to the supermarket with shopping list on, fell out my shirt pocket and smashed the screen. Thankfully Credit Card covered it as it was within 100 days of purchase (actually 10 days). Given it's lifespan, I won't be buying another PDA. To risky to have all my data on and lose it like that.

Simon.
--
A black box recorder and a silver one

Loads of glass: A conservatory, a greenhouse, a set of 12 matching wine glasses, and a nice decanter to go with them.
A table and a whole bunch of other stuff.

OP Robert Strom Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

In my workflow, I have enough cards to get me through a day of shooting. I don't erase the card unitl I have it safely d-loaded to my laptop than made a CD backup.

The Axim will only be used when I am on location and want to be able to review the images with the client without having to break out the laptop, etc.

I still do not feel comfortable d-loading and erasing my cards until I have had a chance to look at them on a large screen (laptop or desktop) and confirming that I have a usable image.

Most people that I have read about who use a PSD are ones who need to travel light and need large storage in a small package and would rather spend their money on the PSD than enough cards to see them through their trip... which makes economic sense if you are going to spend more on cards than on a PSD given the number of images taken and the trip length.

I still feel more secure when I know I have both a HD backup and a CD double backup. I always store the CD's in a separate bag from my laptop when travelling so if one gets lost or stolen, the other one will have a better chance of making back with me.

Robert Strom

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Glenn W. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,428
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

So, did I miss where you actualy say what PDA you purchased? Have you done any tests and/or documented what kind of transfer speeds you get from the PDA to USB device (such as external hard drive)???

This whole subject really kills me. I just don't understand why someone has not built a decent PDA with good USB host capablitys... I went and read your posts on the other threads, and I've done a bit of research on my own... and it would seem that there are very few PDAs that actualy do USB hosting... and then those that do or did, are no longer around, etc... The Loox 720 has USB hosting, but it's merely USB 1.1... Now, while that's a start, why can't they do USB 2.0? How long has USB 2.0 been out now? surely long enough to be supported by any newly designed product....

USB hosting... it seems that this has been around for at least 3 years now... but it seems virtualy ignored by the PDA makers. Perhaps they know what they are doing, and there really is not much of a market for USB hosting, but I just don't see that. I personaly don't yet own a PDA, I've thought of buying one for some time now, but honestly I just don't see the real value in having what ammounts to a electronic day book... Now sure you can do other things with it theorecticly, but 4G or less of storage space just don't cut it for me... Now if I could connect it to my PSD and get reasonabl transfer speeds... I would have a huge desire to have a PDA...

Ahhhhhhh.... when will somone make a PDA that can connect to a PSD? Either that or, when will someone make a PSD with some wireless
interface so a PDA can communciate with it???

a wireless hard drive alone doesn't do much for me, cause I still need ot copy CF cards at high speed like my Nexto-CF does for me...

So... what PDA did you buy? and how fast can you transfer data to it from a USB external drive?

Simon Heath wrote:

gmosc wrote:

Rob it seems like you´ve got a good combination.
One problem is that if you've downloaded to the PSD and then erased
from the card, you can't use you PSA to see the file. Unless you've
found a way yet to connect the PSD and PSA.
What do you think the chances are that that will happen?

You can do it, see my posts here...
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=13656574

And here...
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=13602855

With the dell, you need the CF adapter.

I bought a PDA and got it linked over USB and the speed was
acceptable. I was loving owning a PDA until I took it to the
supermarket with shopping list on, fell out my shirt pocket and
smashed the screen. Thankfully Credit Card covered it as it was
within 100 days of purchase (actually 10 days). Given it's
lifespan, I won't be buying another PDA. To risky to have all my
data on and lose it like that.

Simon.
--
A black box recorder and a silver one
Loads of glass: A conservatory, a greenhouse, a set of 12 matching
wine glasses, and a nice decanter to go with them.
A table and a whole bunch of other stuff.

LF New Member • Posts: 3
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Hello,

you can use USB whit a "Ratoc CF USB Host card" http://www.ratocsystems.com/english/products/subpages/cfu1u.html on every PDA (the most) whit a Cf Card Slot.
I own a Dell Axim x50v and it work very well

So i do some preview whit my Sandisk 1GB on the PDA (Dell has a CF-Card and a SD-Card slot)
After preview i load the card on my Imagetank (Digimate 2) whitout my pda.

Whit my Ratoc USB Card i can connect the dell to the Imagetank and have access to all my pictures

With the PDA Software "PocketLoupe" http://www.glasslantern.com/index.htm you can see also Raw-Files

I am really happy whit my toys

Leo

gmosc Veteran Member • Posts: 5,950
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Rob,

You have a very sensible way of going about this. It´s refreshing to hear that the professionals know what they are doing so we don´t get those horror messages... "I lost all my images when my one computer crashed" (or PSD or card or Microdrive etc etc...)

I'm a profesional musician and last week when I got to a very big gig with a TV comedian, and the supplied amplifier I was supposed to use didn´t work, I had my own as a back up in the car. No problem! And all my cables are easily swapped out because they use common standards. That´s the way it should be. The only horror stories we need to be passing around are the ones like: The bride or groom was so drunk that...etc etc.

And having enough cards to allow you to not delete before you have proven your double backups work is the way to go. Being an amateur gives me the luxury of deleting and if I screw up, it doesn´t affect me more than getting bummed out.

It's cool to see one of the "tricks of the trade" of not allowing them to see your pics on the laptop. It totally makes sense. You´re there to take photos and they can see the finished products later- no need to do collective "chimping" when you got photos to to take. This PDA solution fits perfecty into that kind of a work flow and appeases the customer enough.
While we are sharing tricks..

Here´s a music studio trick..... On the mixing board you should always have a large important looking fader that isn´t connected to anything but has an important name like "acoustic harmonic phase shifting". When the producer starts trying to tell you what to do in a totally useless way, adjust that fader. Sometimes he will hear a difference and each time he doesn´t know what to say to fix, he will ask for you to give the mix more of that fader.

Guy Moscoso

Glenn W. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,428
Re: What kind of transfer speed?

What kind of data transfer speed are you able to get using this setup?

LF wrote:

Hello,

you can use USB whit a "Ratoc CF USB Host card"
http://www.ratocsystems.com/english/products/subpages/cfu1u.html on
every PDA (the most) whit a Cf Card Slot.
I own a Dell Axim x50v and it work very well

So i do some preview whit my Sandisk 1GB on the PDA (Dell has a
CF-Card and a SD-Card slot)
After preview i load the card on my Imagetank (Digimate 2) whitout
my pda.
Whit my Ratoc USB Card i can connect the dell to the Imagetank and
have access to all my pictures
With the PDA Software "PocketLoupe"
http://www.glasslantern.com/index.htm you can see also Raw-Files

I am really happy whit my toys

Leo

LF New Member • Posts: 3
Re: What kind of transfer speed?

its just USB 1.1, i dont know the exat rate.

with the resco photo viewer http://www.resco.net/pocketpc/photoviewer/screenshots.aspits ok for me to se the tumbs

Leo

Glenn W. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,428
Re: What kind of transfer speed?

Could you do a transfer and time it? If you've got room on your PDA... perhaps you could copy a couple hundred meg or something and time it... just so we could have a rough idea of how it actualy proforms... I might be interested in a simmilar setup, but if it's Not much better then 1.5M or so, I'd have to think two or three times about such a purchase...

LF wrote:

its just USB 1.1, i dont know the exat rate.

with the resco photo viewer
http://www.resco.net/pocketpc/photoviewer/screenshots.aspits ok for
me to se the tumbs

Leo

Bruce M. Regular Member • Posts: 474
Re: P2000 vs PDA image quality, etc.

Its amazing to me that the ideal (using what was available) PDA viewer WITH transfer storage onboard is STILL what I put together three years ago and can't be bested still!

Inspired by the info at Glasslantern.com I put together an iPaq 3955 (fast and great screen) with the dual slot sleeve for CF card insert and 5GB PCMCIA hard drive in 2nd slot to receive transfers. The sleeve has a double power auxiliarary battery for actual 8 hours run times. A nice custom case makes the "brick" nice in the hand, transfers work perfectly, AND one can actually open and display the transferred files for 100% confirmation. The tiny PCMCIA hard drives can be swapped for more transfers and stored safety separate from tempting gear. Stick the hard drive in laptop's PCMCIA slot for no wires transfers.

Downside? Oh yeah. The transfer to hard drive, even using cool Pixer (nearly automates the transfers from CF with a few taps and with total detailed progress input on the process, no blinking dots here.) software is really, really slow by PDX70 standards. About 12 minutes for 1GB CF card. But, shooting with the second 1GB card, does the transfer time matter? Pixfer even will shut down the PDA when finished, so it can be totally unattended.

PocketLoupe is incredible viewing software, lightning fast seeks and display, 100% scrollable detail with a stylus tap. I've never seen anything even close. Full screen to 100% is literally instantaneous. Next image as fast as one can swipe the stylus. First to last image in a second.

The 320x240 resolution is entirely adequate for its field viewer use. Not to slide show color tweaked up snaps, but to review critical expressions, details, sharpness (at 100%) in business use. I have side-by-side compared the 3955 displaying the same image on a good laptop and the closeness of reproduction is amazing, even those greyscale and Macbeth acid tests. Not perfect, but close enough to make intelligent field decisions. Remember, the Leaf 1st generation digital backs used the very same iPaq 3900 for their choice of captures review displayer. At those prices the PDA had to be the best available (at the time two years ago).

And, my iPaq has dozens of other incredible applications, PDA functions, games, library of books, makes a great MP3 player with superb audio reproduction, the 1GB SD card holds hours of music, plays MPEG videos all with a very stable and fast OS with instant navigation running eevrything. Pocket PC 2003 is a very good little OS.

If one doesn't mind being retro-chic the 3955/dual sleeve/PCMCIA hard drive combo still can't be bested yet. 3955's go for well under $200 used now, the rare dual sleeves still command a premium $100 and the 5GB PCMCIA drives (never got bigger sizes offered) run $100 new with a Google. So for well under $400 (plus the really needed glasslantern.com software to make the process a pleasure to do instead of clunky, slow and aggravating) the sort of ideal viewer/transfer portable can be had. I still love mine, even though a PDX70 tempts. But I'm so used to actually opening transferred files I'm not sure the smiley icon would suffice before erasing the CF.

Good deals/good people for used Pocket PC's and accessories at For Sale forum at http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com

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