P-2000 and Digital Camera Buddy

Introduction

Digital-camera resolution is increasing at a steady rate, and five-megapixel or higher cameras are now commonplace. This is great, but it also means file sizes are growing rapidly. High-end cameras that use the RAW format produce even bigger files, and that makes for storage problems. Memory-card capacity is keeping pace with needs and the prices are falling, but they remain fairly expensive in the highest capacities. Here are two solutions to the problem – they mean you’ll never run out of space for your images. The Epson P-2000 and the Digital Camera Buddy from USBTech both offer portable hard-drive storage to offload your camera card data.

The main difference between the two devices is that the Epson includes a large colour screen to view images. The Digital Camera Buddy has a simple LCD interface to facilitate copying images to the hard drive. There is no way to view the images in the Camera Buddy, but that’s no big deal; it costs almost £200 less than the Epson device.

Having noted the price difference, what you get with the Epson is appealing despite the extra cost. First, it’s beautiful: it’s designed well and the screen is sharp. The interface is easy to navigate, and everything is just where it should be. Epson obviously spent a lot of time thinking this device through.

There are some extra features on the P-2000 that might not be so appealing: it works as an MP3 player, but it’s unlikely to replace your iPod. It also plays MPEG movies, but it isn’t an ideal movie viewer. There’s also the problem that you can’t legally rip movie DVDs.

In contrast, the interface on the Camera Buddy is austere, but then it only does one thing, so there’s no need for any fancy stuff. A single button-push offloads your images onto the hard drive, and that’s all there is to it. The design of the device itself is also quite plain and functional, but unlike the Epson model, users won’t be handing it around to onlookers. The fact that it looks plain doesn’t detract from its usefulness.

The Epson has a 40GB drive, while the Camera Buddy is available with a 20GB, 40GB, 60GB or 80GB drive. Depending on the size of your images, even the 20GB device should be plenty for most. It’s good to have higher-capacity options, but I suspect few people will need them. Of course, an 80GB hard drive in your pocket is pretty handy for transporting other files.

The Epson works with CompactFlash and SD/MMC cards (including Microdrives). The Digital Camera Buddy is more flexible working with those formats, plus Memory Stick and SmartMedia cards. The computer interface on both is USB 2.0, and though compatible with USB 1.2, it would be painfully slow.

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