Steve's Digicams

Review posted 11/10/99

Epson PhotoPC 850z

The much anticipated two-megapixel Epson PhotoPC 850Z creates gorgeous 1600 x 1200 images and is loaded with "real camera" modes like shutter speed priority, aperture priority, full manual, programmed AE and fully automatic exposure. It's got a 3X (35-105mm) optical zoom lens, a fast USB up/download port, adjustable ISO speed (100, 200, 400) and a CompactFlash Type II card slot.

Want more? It's got it. Hot shoe flash to allow the use of more powerful external clip-on strobes. Manual focus, 10-sec audio notes can be attached to your images, included lens adapter allows you to use 49mm filters and add-on lenses, matrix or spot metering option. Epson's revolutionary HyPict TM technology boosts resolution to 1984 x 1488 pixels for printed images as large as 11" x 14". Builtin Solar Assist TM LCD panel extends battery life by using the sun to light the LCD in direct sunlight.

Epson PhotoPC 850z

The 850Z has a big 2" LCD display to frame or review your pictures. There's also an optical viewfinder so you can use it like an ordinary camera and save the batteries by switching off the LCD. It may look like there's a myriad of controls to learn when you see all these buttons but there's easy to follow prompts on the LCD as to what they do and when to use them.

Epson PhotoPC 850z

Looking down on the top of the camera you can see the hot shoe flash that allows you to use more powerful, external strobes. The camera has a setting that disables the internal flash when using clip-on strobes. The zoom lens control is located on the outer ring of the shutter release.

Epson PhotoPC 850z

Epson PhotoPC 850z

Closeup view of the top LCD data display. The 3 stars and an "H" indicate the highest quality mode which is the Hypict (interpolated) 1984 x 1488 mode. The ISO speed, white balance, flash mode and EV settings are always displayed. The "Star" button is used to change the image size and quality. The "Lightning Bolt" button is used to change the flash mode and the lower button is to enable the selftimer.

The command dial has a small pushbutton lock to keep it from being accidentally turned on. Positions on the dial indicate Continuous, LCD-assisted and regular Record modes, Off, Playback, Direct print and Information/Setup modes.

Of special interest is the trap door below the LCD, this is what directs the sunlight into the SolarAssist color LCD display. When you're outside in the bright light you flip that small lever on the right which opens the trap door and turns off the backlight.

Epson PhotoPC 850z

Located conveniently on the side of the large handgrip is the access to the CompactFlash card slot. Epson includes an 8MB CF card.

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Epson PhotoPC 850Z Specifications

CCD Sensor

1/2" color CCD with 2.11 million pixels

Image Quality

Resolution modes:   
  HyPict™: 1984 x 1488 pixels  
  Superfine: 1600 x 1200 pixels (low compression)   
  Fine: 1600 x 1200 pixels (medium compression)
  Standard: 640 x 480 pixels

Picture modes:   Quick shot, macro, continuous shoot, interval shooting, 2x digital zoom and panorama

Color modes:  24-bit color and monochrome

File format:   JPEG (EXIF); DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) and DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compliant

Built-in Microphone and Speaker

Capable of recording a voice message
(3 sec., 5 sec., 10 sec.)
Listen to the voice message on the camera or through the computer.
Audio file formats: WAV (PC), AIFF (Mac)

Solor Assist LCD Monitor

2" low-temperature poly-silicon TFT color LCD; illuminated by direct sunlight
1/30 second refresh rate
Supports instant preview, playback, delete and power save mode

Storage Capacity

Super Fine:

8MB CompactFlash™ card included
Average number of images stored on 8MB:
120 images
24 images
12 images
10 images
Removable Storage Cards Any CompactFlash Type I or II card

EPSON ClearOptics Glass Lens

Lens type: 8 elements in 6 group construction
Focal length: 6.5mm-19.5mm (equivalent to 35mm-105mm lens on a 35mm camera)
Lens adapter included for optional 49mm lenses and filters

Auto-Focus Range

Macro mode: 8" to 20" (0.2 m - 0.5 m)
Normal mode: 20" to infinity (0.5 m - infinity)
User adjustable: 3', 8' and infinity
Aperture F2.0 - F11 (wide), F2.8 - F11 (telephoto)

Optical Viewfinder

Real image optical viewfinder with power zoom and diopter

Shutter Speed

Auto iris electronic control shutter and mechanical shutter
4 to 1/800 second
Automatic and shutter priority

White Balance Modes

Auto/Fixed 5200 K/Custom

Exposure Control

Program auto exposure with manual +/-2.0 exposure value adjustment (.2 steps); sports, portrait and landscape modes; spot metering

Built-In Flash

Range: 2.6' to 12.1' (0.8m-3.7m) wide
2.6' to 8.5' (0.8m-2.6m) telephoto

Modes: Auto Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Synchronized

Hot shoe for adding optional external flash units


Equivalent to ISO 100/200/400

Easy Touch Controls and Display

User selectable controls and LCD status display

Direct Print

Supports direct printing to EPSON Stylus Photo, Photo EX, Photo 700, Photo 750, Photo 1200 and EPSON Stylus Color 740 ink jet printers without a computer

Minimum Systems Requirements

CD-ROM driver, 32MB RAM, 30MB of available hard disk space, VGA monitor minimum resolution of 640 x 480 with 16 colors, 16-bit sound card and speakers (for voice annotation only), mouse or pointing device

Windows: 486/66 or higher processor
Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 or later with serial communications port, Windows 98 with USB or serial communications port

Macintosh: System 7.5 or later, PowerPC with serial communications port, Power Macintosh G3 or iMac with USB or serial communications port

Data Communication Interface

USB, DOS/V serial, Macintosh serial

Video Interface

Provides NTSC or PAL video output signal

Enviromental Requirements (Operating Range) Temperature: 41 to 95 F (5 thourgh 35 C)
Humidity: 30% to 90% (non-condensing)


Includes 4 EPSON AA NiMH rechargeable batteries and charger
Accepts 4 AA sized batteries (alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd and NiMH)
Optional AC adapter


EPSON PhotoPC 850Z digital camera, 8MB CompactFlash card, serial, USB and Direct Print communication cables, video cable, neck strap, lens adapter, User's Guide, 4 AA rechargeable NiMH batteries and charger

Software on CD-ROM: Sierra Imaging Image Expert™, EPSON Photo!3 TWAIN driver and standalone utility driver, EPSON Photo File Uploader, EPSON Program Uploader, Print Mark and Direct Print software

Camera Dimensions and Weight

Dimensions (WxHxD): 4.92" x 3.15" x 2.76"
Weight without batteries: .71 lb


One year limited Camera
90 day limited NiMH batter™s and charger

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