Point, shoot and download – Canon Computer Systems’ PowerShot 350 and Epson’s PhotoPC 500 cameras – Hardware Review

Point, shoot and download – Canon Computer Systems’ PowerShot 350 and Epson’s PhotoPC 500 cameras – Hardware Review – Evaluation

Catherine Greenman

Canon PowerShot 350

RATING: ***

WIN 95 / WIN / MAC

Epson PhotoPC 500

RATING: ** 1/2

WIN 95 / WIN / MAC

The problem with taking photos is having to wait for the images to be developed. Even when you use an instant camera, you’re still many steps away if you use an instant camera, you’re still many steps away if you plan on incorporating the images into any electronic document, such as a flier or Web site. that’s where digital cameras, with their LCD viewing panels and ability to download images onto your pC, become appealing. But digital cameras have a way to go before they reach the image quality of

even disposable cameras. The two we reviewed, Canon’s PowerShot 350 and Epson’s PhotoPC 500, create high-resolution (640 by 480 pixels) images for uploading to your Web site, but when printed, the results are less than spectacular.

The Canon PowerShot 350 stores up to 11 images in fine mode at an optical resolution of 640 by 480 pixels. Its LCD panel lets you set up and frame a shot before capturing the image and review and delete shots you’ve already taken. We had to download the images to our PC to clear its 2MB Compact Flash card. Epson’s PhotoPC 500 can store up to 30 high-resolution images (640 by 480 pixels) or 60 standard-resolution (320 by 240 pixels) images in 24-bit color. Like the PowerShot, the PhotoPC offers autofocus and a built-in flash with red-eye reduction. The PhotoPC does not come with an LCD panel, but you can purchase an LCD module that fits on the side of the camera for about $200.

Although the PowerShot’s memory card will store images in three different levels of JPEG compression–47 images in economy mode, 24 images in normal mode, and 11 in fine mode, we recommend taking pictures only in fine mode. You can buy an extra 2MB or 4MB memory card, but we wished it held at least 24 images in fine mode, as the PhotoPC does.

Both the PowerShot and the PhotoPC connect to your PC via a serial cable, and both ship with image editing software. It took about 20 seconds for our PC to grab an image from the PowerShot in fine mode and about 15 seconds for the PhotoPC. We found the PowerShot’s high-resolution images to be sharper and finer than those taken with the PhotoPC, but images shot in normal (or standard resolution) mode were virtually equal. We liked the Ulead Photo Impact image editing package bundled with the PowerShot better than the PhotoPC’s proprietary software package.

We loved the PowerShot’s adjustable LCD panel and the sharpness of the high-resolution images. The PhotoPC holds many more images than the PowerShot, and we also liked its more traditional camera-like shape. The PowerShot’s rather clunky square shape left us feeling uncomfortable. At times we felt as if it would slip out of our hands and drop to the floor.

If you need to store a lot images before downloading, the PhotoPC is the best choice. But for a couple of hundred dollars more, you’ll get sharper high-resolution images, a built-in LCD panel, and better image editing software with the PowerShot.

Canon PowerShot 350

Manufacturer: Canon Computer Systems 714-438-3000, 800-848-4123, www.ccsi.canon.com

Est. Street Price: $700

Configuration: 2MB Compact Flash card LCD panel, built4n flash, serial cable (Macintosh adapter), three AA-rechargeable NiCad batteries

Epson PhotoPC 500

Manufacturer: Epson, 310-782-0700, 800-GO-EPSON, www.epson.com

Est. Street Price: $500

Configuration: 2MB Compact Flash card. built-in flash, serial cable, four AA alkaline batteries

OUR RATINGS

The one-to-four-star ratings are based on performance,

features, setup, ease of learning and use, availability,

warranty, support, documentation, and price.

**** EXCELLENT

*** GOOD

** FAIR

* POOR

COPYRIGHT 1997 Freedom Technology Media Group

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group