Epson PhotoPC 3000Z Review
With a fairly traditional design the 3000Z has the right look to attract the "prosumer" customer. A nice chunky hand grip means that holding / carrying the camera in one hand is easy, unfortunately Epson chose to use plastic as the primary material for the camera which does give it a cheaper feel than some of the competition. That said most of the controls feel nice and tactile and clean, the mode dial on the top of the camera clicking cleanly between the various camera modes (power button inset into the mode dial in a similar way to the Olympus C2000Z).
The lens surround features a thread into which the supplied lens adapter can be fitted allowing 49 mm filters / lenses to be added to the camera. The rear dominated by the LCD and surrounded by no less than seven unlabelled buttons, at first this design seems a little over complicated but once you get the hang of the various controls related to screen icons it's simplicity itself and actually considerably quicker than scrolling through menu systems.
Top Information LCD
The top LCD on the 3000Z gives an instant reference to the current camera settings, everything from ISO (sensitivity), White Balance and Image Quality to Exposure compensation value, F-Number and Shutter Speed when you half-press the shutter release.
Rear LCD Display
The rear LCD on the 3000Z is clear and bright enough, fairly standard stuff. Unlike other digital cameras Epson chose to surround the LCD with seven buttons, each of which has a multiple function depending on camera mode and menu setting.
Through the setup menu we have access to five different LCD brightness levels (+2 to -2) which help to compensate for the current ambient light level (it would have been nice to have a simple gray scale chart on-screen when changing this level). Power save (LCD off) can be set between 10 secs and 5 minutes.
Fairly standard digital camera optical viewfinder with a dioptric adjustment, window on the front is in line with the lens which means you won't get horizontal parallax errors but you will get vertical (as it's located above the lens). According to the Epson manual the viewfinder is 83% accurate (which concurred with our tests) meaning that when using the viewfinder to frame a scene an extra 17% of image area will be captured ("around" the scene you frame). View through the viewfinder is a simple cross (+) indicating frame center and auto focus / spot meter area.
Interestingly the 3000Z has specific viewfinder record and LCD record modes instead of an LCD on/off button. This different approach is logical and simply ensures that if you have the camera switched to viewfinder record you don't have to worry about the battery draining LCD...