Epson – PhotoPC 700 review

digital still camera
Photo of Epson – PhotoPC 700
£400 + VAT

Apart from the change in colour, from silver to black, the Epson PhotoPC 700 looks very similar to its predecessor, the PhotoPC 600. It is roughly the same size as a conventional 35mm film camera, with the hand-grip section doubling as the battery compartment. The camera takes four batteries, which won’t last particularly long (as is the case with any digital camera) if you use the built-in LCD panel too much. That 2-inch panel acts as a viewfinder for use when taking photographs, and also as a playback medium so that you can decide whether or not to keep the photographs you have taken. Fortunately, there is also an optical viewfinder, allowing the PhotoPC 700 to be used in the same way as any conventional camera, which will help to prolong battery life.

With an image capture resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels, from a 1.3 mega-pixel CCD, this camera is capable of taking some of the highest-resolution pictures of any digital camera currently available. Images are captured in 24-bit colour depth (16.7 million colours), and are stored in the camera’s 4MB of internal flash memory or on optional CompactFlash cards, where they will remain even if the batteries are removed. Depending on the image compression level chosen (and therefore the image quality), either 42, 13 or 6 images can be stored in the internal memory.

The camera’s settings are adjusted using the various buttons located on the back and top panels, in conjunction with the LCD screen. There are plenty of options to adjust, with the PhotoPC 700 having multiple settings for colour and monochrome, standard, panoramic and macro photography. Various different types of flash can be used, and the camera also has a built-in timer and the ability to display images on a television set. There’s a zoom function, too, but this is digital, rather than optical, so the same effect can be achieved in any image editing software on the PC.

On that topic, the package includes a PC connection cable and the software that allows you to not only download pictures from the camera to the PC, but also upload them in the other direction. You can also upload new programs to the camera, with the built-in program allowing users to print images directly from the camera to one of Epson’s Stylus Color or Stylus Photo printers. Connection cables are supplied for PC and Macintosh users.

Company: Epson

Contact: 01442 261144

This is a proper camera, not a toy, so it doesn't have as much 'pub cred' as some of the smaller, more gadgety devices available. But it does produce outstanding digital images, has good PC and Macintosh connectivity, and the ability to print directly to supported printers. With cameras such as this, digital photography will soon be a truly viable competitor to conventional film photography, although at the moment you still have to pay for the privilege.