Record mode display (FullAuto & Program modes)

The PhotoPC 3000Z has three main record modes: FullAuto, Program and Manual. In each mode the seven buttons surrounding the LCD display perform a different function as summarised below. (Button layout is: 3 buttons along the bottom of the display, 4 buttons down the right edge).

FullAuto record mode, the only options here are to switch Auto Focus mode between Normal, Macro, Panorama and Digital Zoom to x2. The standard image quality mode and flash mode icons can be seen in the top left corner of the display.

Program record mode, more options are available in this mode, we can change exposure compensation, ISO level (100, 200, 400), White Balance and Auto Focus mode. The Program button switches between Normal, Sports, Portrait and Landscape.

Program Mode presets: Normal (Auto Exp, Divided Brightness Meter), Sports (High Shutter Speed, Auto ISO, Divided Brightness Meter), Portrait (Wide Aperture, Spot Meter), Landscape (Aperture Priority, Divided Brightness Meter).

Epson have done a good job of creating "beginner point-and-shoot, intermediate flexible and expert manual" record modes for the camera, despite the large number of buttons and the unconventional operating style it really works quite well and the buttons combined with on screen icons / text menus makes for quick and easy settings changes (I thought I'd hate it but I didn't).

Record mode display (Manual mode)

Manual record mode, in this mode we get full access to all camera settings, these are split over two "pages" of settings. The first allows for change of Exposure mode (Auto, Aperture Priority and Full Manual), Exposure Compensation and Auto Focus mode (Normal, Macro).

Manual record mode (page two), on the second page we can change ISO (100, 200, 400), White Balance mode (Auto, Fix and Custom), Metering mode (Divided Brightness, Spot), Focus mode (Auto Focus, Portrait, Group, Landscape, Macro1, Macro2) and Digital Zoom (x1 or x2).

Aperture Priority settings: F2.0, F2.3, F2.8, F4.0, F5.6 and F8.0

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

Manual Focus points: Portrait (1 m), Group (3 m), Landscape (Infinity), Macro1 (Macro 0.2 m), Macro2 (Macro 0.5 m)

Again, even in Manual mode settings can be quickly changed, you can shoot with either menu page displayed and tweaking settings between shots is simple and straightforward. I personally would have like to have seen more white balance modes and more manual focus flexibility but overall the Epson is fully loaded with enough manual features to keep even the keenest shutterbug quiet for some time...

Continuous mode display (Burst, Video capture & Time lapse)

Loaded with options the fun doesn't stop with still images, you have no less than three continuous shooting options to choose from:

Continuous mode, take shots in a burst (2 fps Standard Quality, 1 fps Fine Quality) for as long as the shutter release button is depressed, or up to the internal buffer limit - 37 images for standard mode and 3 images for fine.

Video Clip, record a video clip of up to 25 seconds with or without audio (press Sound button to toggle on or off). Total record time is limited by available SmartMedia space.

Interval (Time lapse), time lapse mode allows you to take a shot at set intervals anything between 10 seconds and 24 hours, once you press the shutter release the time lapse system takes over, LCD screen is switched off and the camera enters a standby mode, it will wake up and shoot until it's turned off or interrupted.

Typical record sequence

Framed scene, before shutter release is pressed. Green border indicates Macro Mode.

Half-press shutter release, camera Auto Focuses (if required) and calculates exposure which is displayed both on the main LCD monitor and on the top status LCD. A red "!" is displayed if the shot is outside current exposure settings, a green "O" if the exposure is ok.

Image Confirmation, displayed for about 2 seconds after you take the shot (can be interrupted by lightly pressing the shutter release or disabled completely through the setup menu). Press the "Play" icon (top right button) to review the image in more detail (zoom-in, delete etc.), Rec Sound. allows you to record a 10 second annotation and Delete to delete the shot.

Audio Clips

You can record audio clips (annotations) which are "attached" (have the same filename) to images, you can record an audio clip immediately after taking the shot when the image review appears or when reviewing images in playback mode, clips are a maximum of 10 seconds and recorded in WAV format. Audio clips can be played back using the cameras built-in speaker.

Record mode controls breakdown

As the number of controls on the PhotoPC 3000Z is extensive and the different shooting modes almost as complex the table below should give you a better idea of what control is available in which shooting mode.

Setting Options FullAuto Program Manual Cont. Video Interval
Image Quality Standard, Fine, Super-Fine, HyPict  
Flash Mode Auto, Anti Redeye, On, Off, Slow    
Self-Timer On, Off
Exposure Mode Auto, Aperture Priority, Full Manual          
Exposure Compensation +2.0 EV to -2.0 EV adjustment steps:   0.5 EV 0.2 EV * * *
Auto Focus Normal, Macro, Panorama * * *
Programmed Normal, Sports, Portrait and Landscape     *   *
ISO > 100, >> 200, >>> 400 (equivalent)   *   *
White Balance Auto, Fix (locked), Custom   *   *
Metering Divided Brightness, Spot     *   *
Focus Mode Auto Focus, Portrait, Group, Landscape, Macro1, Macro2     *   *
Digital Zoom x1 (off), x2 (on) * * *

* Settings must be made in still image mode (FullAuto, Program or Manual) before switching to Continuous / Video / Interval mode.

For clarity the captures below show how the LCD screen display changes when the camera is set to Macro, Panorama and Digital Zoom modes:

Macro mode (green border) Panorama mode (top & bottom cropped)
Digital Zoom x2 (yellow border)

The Digital Zoom mode is useful not just for taking shots with an artificial zoom but also for checking focus, it's cunningly positioned on the top button in each still record mode which means tapping it with your thumb to check focus is easy.. Tap again and you're back to x1 (no digital zoom).