Toolbox: Photo & Multimedia Viewers
Portable viewers provide a big screen for review and backup storage while on the go
Many digital cameras are now sporting large, high-resolution LCDs, which are terrific for composition and limited review of images. We're glad to see these larger screens, but for an even better mobile viewing experience, multimedia viewers are hard to beat. Smaller and more portable than a laptop, these viewers include the ability to view all types of media, including photos. Some have built-in card readers and ample internal storage for backing up and reviewing images as you shoot.
With sharp resolutions and preview functions like zooming and panning, multimedia players provide enhanced visual inspection. This can help you check details like exposure and focus with better clarity than on the camera's LCD—before you find out too late that you've missed the shot. Images that pass the review are then safely archived for convenient transport, and multimedia players can even function as a redundant backup.
Also, with one small gadget, you can have an entire portfolio of your work to show to friends, family and business prospects. Many players offer slick slideshow presentations for such occasions, often with the ability to output to televisions as well. Plus, the multimedia features allow you to take some entertainment along with you too, all in one handy device.
REVIEW AND ARCHIVE TO GO
These devices all feature both a card reader and internal storage, ideal if you want the ability to back up images in the field and free up space on your memory card. They also allow you enhanced review capabilities to check focus and exposure.
The bright 4.0-inch LCD display of Epson's P-5000 multimedia player sports high-resolution 640 x 480-pixel playback in either sRGB or Adobe RGB color spaces and incorporates the four-color filter system of Epson's Photo Fine Ultra LCD technology to provide more than 16.7-million colors. RAW support is also included, and a histogram and highlight warning ensure exposure accuracy. The built-in memory card slot supports CompactFlash and Secure Digital cards, and an included USB cable transfers data from any attachable USB 2.0 device to the internal 80 GB storage. The P-5000 also features slideshow and video playback and can display on TVs or projectors through an optional A/V cable. Direct support for PictBridge-enabled printers is included.
As a bonus, Epson now provides a Storage Viewer Travel Pack free with the purchase of the P-5000, which includes a protective carrying case with accessory pockets, a dual battery charger, a car charger, a portable viewing stand, a microfiber cleaning cloth and a protective film for the LCD screen. List Price: $699.
Digital Foci Picture Porter Elite
Support of the RAW format means unaltered image backup, and with a broad range of support for popular RAW files, as well as JPEG, TIFF, GIF and BMP, Digital Foci's Picture Porter Elite is an excellent sidekick. Able to copy a full 1 GB card in less than five minutes, the built-in memory card reader supports CF, SDHC, Memory Stick and xD cards. Once loaded, extensive preview abilities abound, with the ability to rotate, zoom, pan, see EXIF information, view a histogram and play back picture slideshows (even in RAW) on the 3.6-inch LCD screen. The Porter Elite also functions as a voice recorder and can capture video from NTSC sources like televisions or DVD players. The Porter Elite supports music and text documents, and prints can also be made directly on any PictBridge-enabled printer. List Price: $349 to $499 (40 GB to 160 GB).
JOBO GIGA Vu PRO Evolution
The JOBO GIGA Vu PRO evolution features a large 4.0-inch LCD display for big playback of JPEG, TIFF and video files downloaded from your CompactFlash card. There are numerous modes for pros reviewing in the field, including display and decoding of RAW files, a Full Zoom mode for full-sized image previews, separate red, green and blue color channel viewing, an exposure histogram, batch renaming and a unique dust detector that analyzes images to alert D-SLR users when there may be dust on the camera's sensor. The PRO evolution also offers a TV-out for displaying single images or slideshows on televisions or projectors. In addition, the PRO evolution offers on-the-go file transfer between the PRO evolution and other USB devices—even hard drives-for data backup and file storage without the need for a computer intermediary. It's also PictBridge-enabled for direct printing. List Price: $495 to $895 (40 GB, 80 GB and 120 GB).
Wolverine ESP Multimedia Storage Player
The Wolverine ESP line of multimedia storage players features an alphabet soup of media and format support. The built-in 7-in-1 Memory Card Reader imports JPEG, BMP, TIFF and RAW files from virtually every popular memory card. For entertainment on location, music files can be played in MP3, WMA, AAC and other formats, and the video player also supports WMV9, XviD, MPEG-1 and MPEG-4. Broadcasts from the integrated FM radio can be recorded as playable files on the hard drive. There's also a microphone for recording external audio and output for TVs, projectors and stereos. With the optional Cradle, the ESP can even record video directly from a variety of sources. List Price: $349 to $649 (80 GB to 250 GB); ESP Cradle System ($69).