Image Size / Quality

The PhotoPC 3000Z offers five resolution / image quality combinations, including an interpolated "4.8 megapixel HyPict mode" (good for marketing blurb anyway..) and a TIFF mode at 2048 x 1536. I was surprised to see that the highest quality JPEG mode weighs in at around 800 KB which is much more aggressive compression than the competition would normally use...

Standard Test Scene

To give an impression of what each combination of image size and quality produces the table below is a cross reference of image size against quality with an original image available for each, all images were shot within seconds of each other of the same subject. Please note that the TIFF images are VERY large (6 MB zipped) please only download these images if (a) you really need to and (b) you have the bandwidth and intend to fully download the image, otherwise you're wasting bandwidth.

Crops below are of a 200% zoomed 240 x 100 area of the image.

2048 x 1536

9,226 KB
(zipped 6,664 KB, or re-saved in Photoshop as a high quality JPEG 1,656 KB)

817 KB

431 KB

2544 x 1904 (HyPict interpolated mode)

1,068 KB

640 x 480

83 KB

The PhotoPC 3000Z's JPEG compression seems a little over aggressive, although the ~800 KB mode (***) is useful it would have been nice to have something between it and TIFF (maybe around 1,200 KB) which would have completely eliminated any JPEG artifacts. The HyPict mode does a lot more than simply interpolating it also appears to apply a strong contrast filter, the image being much "stronger" (probably some kind of internal histogram stretch) which is a pity because really all the images should look the same... Not sure when you'd use the 640 x 480 mode as it's way over compressed.

ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment

The 3000Z offers three sensitivity levels, these can be set manually (when the camera is in Manual mode) or vary automatically in Sports Program mode. The three shots below were taken with a measured light of 6.4 EV (about 1/15s @ F2.0 @ ISO 100). Camera settings: +0.2 EV compensation, aperture priority F2.4, quality JPEG ***.

ISO 100, 1/13 s, F2.4
ISO 200, 1/26 s, F2.4
ISO 400, 1/48 s, F2.4

The 3000Z handles higher ISO's quite well, although noise is certainly visible in the ISO 200 and 400 images it's not distracting to the overall image, colour saturation is less at ISO 400 (as we expect) but overall a good performance. I could imagine the Program Sports mode (with its Auto ISO control) working quite well for shooting casual sports events (although obviously the 102 mm top end zoom would limit that).

Black & White mode

The 3000Z only features one "picture effect" and that's black & white mode, so just for completeness of the review you'll find two samples below, the first shot in normal colour mode and the second in black and white... Epson say... "Go out and be artistic!"

Normal Colour mode Black & White mode