EPSON PhotoPC 550
shutter button
timer light
Physical Dimensions
4.2 in (106.5 mm)
2.6 in (66.8 mm)
1.5 in (37.2 mm)
5.4 oz (153 g), without batteries
Safety Specifications
lens cover
macro switch
Conforms to FCC specifications.
FCC Declaration of Conformity on file.
front view (lens cover is open)
display panel
3 AA batteries (single-use alkaline,
lithium or rechargeable NiCd or
Optional AC adapter (B867038)
Battery Life
At least 300 pictures, including
download time.
Product type
CCD (charged coupled device)
still frame fixed focus camera
Image size
Super high, 640 × 480 pixels
(low compression)
storage card
slot cover
Standard, 320 × 240 pixels
hand strap
back view
image quality
S-Hi / Hi / S
erase button
timer button
top view
High, 640 × 480 pixels
(standard compression)
144 pixels per inch
Bit depth
16 million colors, 24-bit
1/3 inch progressive scan 640 × 480
Serial interface
2.5 mm mini terminal (to camera)
RS-232C compatible (to computer)
Up to 115Kbps
Internal memory
1MB flash memory
Optional expansion 3.3V SSFDC (solid state floppy disk
cards) or SmartMedia cards
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
Using Batteries
Operating: 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Non-operating: –4 to 140°F (–20 to
Installing Batteries
Operating: 30 to 90% (non-condensing)
Before you install the batteries, make sure the camera is turned
off (the lens cover is closed). Then follow these steps:
Non-operating: 10 to 90%
1. Turn the camera upside down with the back facing you.
2. Open the battery cover by sliding it in the direction of the
arrow, as shown below:
f = 6 mm F2.8/8 (equivalent to a 43 mm
lens on a 35 mm camera)
23.6 inches (60 cm) to infinity
3.9 to 21.7 inches (10 to 55 cm, macro
Equivalent to ISO 100
Exposure control
Program auto exposure
White balance
TTL automatic white balance
Automatic electric iris with mechanical
shutter, 1/4 second to 1/1000 second
Optical, with centering crosshairs and
edge border
Fixed focus
3. Insert all three batteries into the compartment, positioning
the + and - ends as shown below:
Frequency response 200Hz to 2.3Hz at –30DB
400Hz to 1.3Hz at –20DB
Optional AC Adapter
Physical Dimensions
1.97 inches (50 mm)
1.18 inches (30 mm)
1.85 inches (47 mm) including pins
3.74 inches (95 mm)
4. Close the battery cover and slide it to the right until it snaps
into place.
DC 7V/2.0A
110 to 120V AC, 50 to 60Hz
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
The battery icon flashes when your battery power is
completely out. At this point, you can’t take pictures until you
replace the batteries or use the optional AC adapter.
Handling Batteries
When your PhotoPC 550 batteries wear out, you can replace
them with any of the following:
You should use the battery icon only as a guide to estimate
remaining power. Several factors can affect battery life,
including the surrounding temperature and the type of
batteries you use. Low temperatures—especially below 50 °F
(10 °C)—drain your batteries faster.
❏ Single-use AA alkaline batteries (Energizer brand
❏ Single-use AA lithium batteries (longer life)
❏ Rechargeable AA NiCd batteries
❏ Rechargeable AA NiMH batteries
To avoid the danger of fire or explosion, do not mix different types of
batteries. Do not allow the battery contacts to touch metal objects
such as coins or keys, which could short out the battery’s circuits.
Read all safety and handling instructions before using batteries.
❏ Use the batteries that came with your camera only in
EPSON digital cameras.
Standard (S)
❏ Do not use manganese batteries.
Produces color images at 320 × 240 pixels, with standard
compression. The image size is smaller and includes less
detail when enlarged. This is ideal for web pages and walletsize pictures (the picture size is approximately 2.2 × 1.7 inches
[43.2 × 55.8 mm]). The camera holds at least 24 pictures in
this mode.
❏ Battery life varies depending on the battery type and the
Checking the Display Panel
The display panel shows the camera’s current settings, the
number of pictures remaining, and status of your batteries.
High (Hi)
Produces color images at 640 × 480 pixels with
standard compression. Pictures include greater detail
and are snapshot size (approximately 3.3 × 4.4 inches [83.8 ×
111.8 mm]). The camera holds at least 12 pictures in this
Super High (S-Hi)
battery status
Checking the Battery
Before you take pictures, check the battery icon on the control
panel. The icon shows how much battery power you have left,
in the following stages.
Full battery power (or AC adapter in use)
Battery power is decreasing
Battery power low (time to buy new batteries)
Battery power is almost out
Change batteries
When the battery power is low, image processing is less reliable.
PhotoPC 550 has three image quality (resolution) settings:
Standard, High, and Super High.
Press the image quality button on top of the camera to cycle
from one setting to the other. The image quality icons (shown
below) appear on the display panel.
Note the following when handling batteries:
Setting Image Quality
Produces color images at 640 × 480 pixels with low
compression. With less compression, Super High
images are better for pictures that will be enlarged. The
camera holds at least 6 snapshot size (approximately 3.3 × 4.4
inches [83.8 × 111.8 mm]) pictures in this mode.
You can switch between the settings and mix pictures of varying
quality in the camera. The camera’s capacity for storing images will
vary accordingly. Depending on the content of your pictures, your
camera may hold more than the numbers shown. As long as the
display panel shows a number other than zero, you can continue
taking pictures.
When you turn the camera off and back on, the image quality setting
is the last setting used. When you replace the batteries, the image
quality setting defaults to High.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
Taking a Picture
You can capture an image with PhotoPC 550 as you would
with any point-and-shoot camera: look through the viewfinder
and snap the shutter. Follow these steps to take a picture:
1. Make sure you are at least 23.6 inches (60 cm) away from
your subject.
2. Turn the camera on; the status light turns green.
If you set the camera down while it is processing a picture, make
sure you handle it carefully. The camera may lose your image if you
set it down too hard.
When the light stops flashing and turns green, the image is
saved and you can take another picture. Saved images remain
in memory for at least a year, even when the camera is turned
off and the batteries are removed.
Remember that the camera shuts off automatically after 60 seconds.
status light
Recording Messages With the
You can use the built-in microphone to annotate your pictures
with sound or record a voice message. Follow these steps:
1. Press the VOICE button until you hear the camera beep.
The voice icon appears on the display panel and the status
light flashes red.
voice recording
2. Hold the camera 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 cm) away and
speak into the microphone. You can record a message up to
six seconds long. When the recording time is up, the camera
beeps twice.
3. Look straight through the viewfinder and center your
subject within the cross-hairs.
After you record your message, the picture counter decreases
by one. The message is “attached” to the last picture taken.
Each message uses the same amount of memory as a highresolution picture and is stored as a .wav file.
macro crop marks
(see page 5)
If you don’t like the message you recorded, you can record a
new message by pressing the VOICE button. PhotoPC 550
automatically records over the last message.
4. Hold the shutter button halfway down to lock the focus.
The status light changes from green to orange.
You cannot erase a message only; you can only record over it. If you
press the ERASE button, you erase both the image and the attached
If you do not lock the focus, your pictures may be blurry.
5. Press the shutter button the rest of the way down to take the
If your camera is connected to your computer, you must use the
computer’s microphone to record messages.
Hold the camera still until it beeps and the status light starts
flashing red. The flashing red light indicates that the camera
has captured the image and is processing it. Processing takes
about 8 seconds.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
Using Macro Mode to Take Close-ups
Taking Pictures in Low Light
You can use the camera’s macro mode to take pictures as close
as 3.9 inches (10 cm). The macro range is from 3.9 to
21.7 inches (10 to 55 cm). Follow these steps:
1. Turn the camera on.
2. Slide the macro switch so it is above the macro icon.
You can use PhotoPC 550 in most indoor or low light
settings. There is no need for a flash because of the camera’s
highly light sensitive CCD. A good rule of thumb is if you can
read a book in the available light, you can take a picture with
PhotoPC 550.
When taking pictures in low light conditions, be sure to hold
the camera still until you hear it beep. The shutter speed may
be as slow as 1/4 of a second in low light conditions. You can
use a tripod to hold the camera steady. See “Using a Tripod”
on page 6.
Taking Pictures With the Self Timer
Setting the self timer adds about a 10-second delay between
the time you press the shutter button and when the picture is
macro switch
macro icon
Follow these steps to take a picture with the timer:
1. Secure the camera on a flat surface or on a tripod. (See the
next section for information on attaching the camera to a
3. The macro icon appears on the display panel.
2. Turn on the camera and wait until the status light turns
macro icon
3. Press the SELF TIMER button. The timer icon appears on
the display panel.
4. Center the image in the viewfinder and press the shutter
button to capture it.
self timer icon
macro crop
4. Press the shutter button. The timer icon on the display
panel flashes slowly for about 8 seconds. Then the icon and
the timer light (on the front of the camera) flash rapidly for
about 2 seconds before the shutter is released.
actual image
area captured
When centering your image, be sure to leave space around the image
to compensate for any parallax shift (the difference between what
you see in the viewfinder and the actual image captured).
5. To turn off macro mode, slide the macro switch to the left.
The macro icon disappears from the display panel.
The camera beeps when the image is captured. The status
light continues to flash red as PhotoPC 550 processes the
image. When the status light stops flashing and turns green,
you can take another picture.
The timer automatically turns off after the image is processed
or if you turn the camera off and back on.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
Using a Tripod
Connecting the Camera
For portraits or other studio pictures, you can attach your
PhotoPC 550 to a tripod. Follow these steps:
Note the following before you start:
❏ If you have the optional AC adapter, you can conserve
battery life by using it when you connect the camera to your
1. Assemble and set up the tripod by following the
manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the tripod is wellbalanced on a flat surface.
❏ The camera’s auto shut-off feature takes place after
5 minutes of inactivity when the camera is connected to
your computer. To turn the camera back on, close the lens
cover and then open it again. (You can change the auto
shut-off time period if you want.)
2. Find the opening for the tripod screw on the bottom of
your camera. Carefully place the camera on the tripod.
Screw the camera on until it is firmly in place.
❏ When you connect the camera, make sure your system is
not exposed to sources of electromagnetic interference, such
as stereo speakers or the base units of cordless telephones.
tripod socket
Make sure you have the serial cable that came with your
camera. Before you start, turn off the camera and your
computer. Then follow these steps:
1. Locate a serial port on the back of your computer. You may
have two serial ports labeled COM1 and COM2, or the
ports may be labeled with icons. If you have two serial ports
available, use COM1 (port 1) to connect your camera.
3. Adjust the tripod to view your subject as desired.
If you have a 25-pin serial port, you can use a 9- to 25-pin adapter.
Erasing Pictures
2. Line up the serial connector on the cable with one of the
serial ports on your computer, and insert the connector.
Then tighten the screws.
You erase the last picture taken (along with any accompanying
message); you can also erase all the pictures in the camera at
You cannot erase a message only.
To erase the last picture taken, hold down the ERASE button
for 2 seconds until you see the erase icon on the display panel.
The icon flashes and the status light on the back of the camera
is red while the picture is erased.
3. Open the connector cover on the side of the camera.
erase icon
Be sure to press the indentation in the center of the ERASE button.
You may need to press it with your fingernail instead of your finger.
serial port
To erase all the pictures in the camera, hold down the
ERASE button and then press the SELF TIMER button for
2 seconds or until you see the erase icon.
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DC port
EPSON PhotoPC 550
3. If you chose Copy all images, click OK to copy your
pictures to an album named with the current date. Or, type
a new name for the album and click OK. Your pictures are
transferred one by one. They appear in a strip of thumbnail
4. Insert the other end of the cable into the camera’s serial
5. Turn on the camera and your computer system. The
connect icon appears on the display panel.
connect icon
Downloading Images and Sounds
PhotoPC 550 provides several different ways to transfer your
pictures from the camera to your computer.
Make sure you’ve installed the PhotoPC 550 software,
following the instructions in the User’s Guide. Then connect
the camera to your computer as described in the previous
section. You can download your images using Camio Viewer,
Image Expert, or the TWAIN driver.
Using Camio Viewer
The Camio Viewer, which runs only under Windows 95 and
Windows NT 4.0, is a quick and easy way to get pictures from
the camera. You can transfer all images and sounds to your
computer, or just display the pictures in the camera. Then you
can drag a picture directly into a presentation or document.
Follow these steps:
indicates audio
4. If you chose View images in the Camera, click OK. Your
pictures appear in a strip of thumbnail images (see the
illustration for step 3).
5. Open the application and document where you want to use
the picture.
Dragging and dropping an image with the Camio Viewer works only
with OLE 2.0-compliant applications running under Windows 95 and
Windows NT 4.0.
You cannot drag and drop sound into your document.
1. Double-click the camera icon on the right end of the
Windows 95 Taskbar. You see the Camio Viewer Startup
Options dialog box.
2. Choose one of the following options:
❏ View images in the Camera
Displays a filmstrip of your pictures.
6. Click the picture you want to use. Without releasing the
mouse button, drag the picture to your document. When
your pointer is over the location where you want the picture
to appear, release the mouse button. The picture is
downloaded from the camera, and it appears in your
❏ Copy all images from the Camera to the Computer
Transfers your pictures and sounds to an album (folder)
on your hard disk drive.
❏ Copy all images and delete them from the Camera
Transfers your pictures and sounds to an album (folder)
on your hard disk drive and deletes them from the
If you want to edit or modify the picture, double-click it to
bring up the Image Expert menus and toolbar. For more
information about the Camio Viewer, choose Quick Tour
from the Image Expert Help menu in Window 95 or
Windows NT.
When you drag and drop with the Camio Viewer, your picture is
embedded into your document and also automatically saved to the
default Image Expert directory under the current date.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
3. Click View Pictures in the Camera. You see a window
displaying “filmstrips” of your images. (If you see an error
message instead, follow the instructions on page 9.)
Using Image Expert
Image Expert lets you view small thumbnail images of your
pictures, and then quickly transfer them to an album (folder)
on your hard disk drive.
Although these instructions and the accompanying illustrations show
Image Expert running under Windows 95, you can follow the same
steps on a Windows 3.1 or Windows NT system.
Click to start
your pictures.
indicates audio
1. Start Image Expert. Under Windows 95, click Start, and
then point to Programs, PhotoPC 550, Image Expert.
If you’re using Windows 95 and Windows NT, you see a
Quick Tour screen like the following:
4. Click Get All to transfer all the images. You can also click
an individual image to select it. The Get All button changes
to Get Selected.
To select a range of images, hold down the Shift key while you click.
To select several images individually, hold down the Ctrl key while
you click on the images.
You see a Select Album window like the following:
Type here if you
want to rename
your album.
If you’re using Windows 3.1, skip to step 3.
2. Click on any of the topics for an animated demonstration of
what you can do with PhotoPC 550 and Image Expert.
To skip the tour and download your pictures and sound,
click Close. You see a window like the following:
Click to see
the pictures
in your
Image Expert will automatically create an album (folder) for
your pictures with the current date as its name. You can
type a new name for the album or choose an existing album.
To open Quick Tour again, select Quick Tour from the Help menu.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
5. Click Open to begin transferring your pictures. A window
like the following appears to show you the progress of each
4. Click Retry. If you see the Connection Failed message
again, click Setup.
You see the following dialog box:
download status
of current picture
5. Select another port if necessary. In most cases, it is best to
leave the Port setting at Auto because Image Expert can
detect the camera connection automatically.
download status of
all pictures selected
If you have a serial device connected to one port and an
internal modem on the other, you can try setting the Port to
COM3 or COM4.
Click if you want to stop
transferring images.
If you select only one picture to download, there is only one status
6. When you’re finished, close the filmstrip window. You see a
message asking if you want to delete all the files in the
7. If you want to make room for more pictures in your camera,
click Yes.
Your pictures are displayed in an album of thumbnails. You
can double-click an image to open it in Image Expert. You can
display your images one by one; edit, print, and copy them to
diskettes; or place them in your documents and presentations.
You can also use the Help menu for more information.
What To Do if You See an Error Message
When you click the button to view images in the camera, you
may see a message like the following:
6. Select a slower speed. Image Expert automatically chooses
the fastest speed that works with your system, but this may
actually be too fast for the configuration of your port. If you
are using Windows 95 or Windows NT, try lowering the
speed to 57600. If you are using Windows 3.1, try lowering
the speed to 57600 or 38400. You may need to experiment
to choose the best speed for your system.
7. When you are finished, click OK.
Getting Images Into TWAIN Applications
If you use Photoshop or other TWAIN-compliant
applications, you can transfer your pictures directly into your
program from the camera. Follow the steps below.
If your images have audio messages attached to them, you must use
Image Expert to download them. TWAIN does not support audio
1. Start your application.
2. From the File menu, choose Import, then Select
TWAIN_32 Source (or Acquire, then TWAIN_32 Select
You may need to select TWAIN instead of TWAIN_32 in some
applications, especially those in Windows 3.1.
Follow these steps to make sure your camera is connected
3. Choose PhotoPC 550 as the TWAIN source.
1. Make sure the camera is turned on and has not shut off
automatically. If it has, turn it off and then back on again by
closing and opening the lens cover.
2. Check the cable and make sure the connections to the
camera and computer are secure.
4. From the File menu, choose Import, then TWAIN_32 (or
Acquire, then TWAIN_32 Acquire).
5. The PhotoPC 550 Twain Driver window appears, with
“thumbnail” images of your pictures, as shown below. (If
you do not see the Twain Driver window, it may be in the
3. Make sure your batteries have enough power or your
AC adapter is connected.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
background. Minimize your application window to see the
Twain Driver window. If you see a message that says The
Camera Is Not Responding, see the following section.)
Click to transfer
your picture(s).
6. Select a slower speed. You may need to experiment to
choose the best speed.
7. Click Test Connection again. If you still don’t see your
pictures, see your User’s Guide for more troubleshooting
Using SmartMedia Cards
SmartMedia cards increase the camera’s picture storage
capacity as shown in the following table.
Number of pictures (minimum capacity)
6. Select the picture you want and click Get Selected to
transfer the picture. Or, click Get All to transfer all the
Some applications import only one picture at a time.
Image Quality
Internal Memory
2MB Card
4MB Card
Super High
When a SmartMedia card is installed in the camera, images are
stored on the card instead of the camera’s internal memory.
7. If you want to delete images from your camera, select the
image and then click Delete
Installing a Storage Card
8. If necessary, click Close to exit and return to your
Before you start, make sure the camera is turned off. Then
follow these steps:
You see the imported picture or pictures in the work area.
1. Open the storage card slot cover on the side of the camera.
What To Do if the Camera Is Not Responding
When you try to acquire pictures from the camera, you may
see a screen like the following:
Follow these steps to fix your camera connection:
1. Make sure the camera is turned on and has not shut off
automatically. If it has, turn it off and then back on again by
closing and opening the lens cover.
2. Insert the card all the way into the storage card slot.
2. Check the cable and make sure the connections to the
camera and computer are secure.
3. Make sure your batteries have enough power, or your AC
adapter is connected.
4. Click Test Connection. If you see the same screen,
continue with step 5.
5. Select another port if necessary. In most cases, it is best to
leave the Port setting at Auto.
If you have a serial device connected to one port and an
internal modem on the other, you can try COM3 or
10 - PhotoPC 550
3. Close the storage card slot cover.
EPSON PhotoPC 550
4. Turn the camera on. The card icon and the number of
pictures you can store in the storage card appears on the
camera’s display panel.
Using a PCMCIA Adapter
To use the PCMCIA adapter, your computer must be
equipped with a PCMCIA slot. Refer to the instructions that
came with your adapter or follow these steps to use an adapter:
1. Insert the storage card all the way into the adapter:
storage card
When a storage card is installed, you may notice a delay between the
time you press the shutter button and when the camera beeps. To
avoid blurring, make sure you hold the camera still until it beeps.
Removing a Storage Card
Make sure the camera is turned off. Then open the cover to
the storage card slot and gently pull out the storage card.
2. Insert the adapter into your computer’s PCMCIA slot:
When you are not using your SmartMedia card, always store it
in its case or inside the camera to avoid damaging it.
Never remove the card while the camera is accessing it. Data in the
card may be lost or damaged. Avoid using or storing the card in dusty
places, in direct sunlight, or in places that become extremely hot or
To remove the storage card from the adapter, press the eject
tab at the end of the card.
eject tab
Getting Images and Sound From a Card to
Your Computer
There are two ways you can transfer the pictures on a
SmartMedia card to your computer:
❏ Use the serial port on your computer (this is the same
method as transferring pictures stored in the camera’s
memory; see the User’s Guide)
❏ Use a PCMCIA adapter
A PCMCIA adapter allows you to access images stored on
SmartMedia cards directly from your computer.
Formatting a Storage Card
Most SmartMedia cards are already formatted when you buy
them. If you are unable to add images to your SmartMedia
card, you may need to format the card. Follow these steps:
1. Install the storage card in the camera.
2. Hold down the ERASE button and then press the
S-Hi/Hi/S button for 2 seconds or until the pictures
remaining number changes.
If you are unable to format a Simple Technology card, contact the
Technical Support Department at (800) 4-SIMPLE.
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EPSON PhotoPC 550
Optional Accessories
Cleaning the Camera
EPSON offers several options for the PhotoPC 550.
❏ Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the camera free of dust.
❏ PhotoPC AC adapter (B867038) for use with any
110/120V electrical outlet
❏ Don’t use harsh or abrasive cleaners. Don’t use liquid or
aerosol cleaners.
❏ PhotoPC NiMH power pack (B818051)
❏ To clean the lens, first blow off any loose dust or dirt. Then
breathe on the lens and wipe off all moisture with a soft,
lint-free cloth or lens cleaning tissue. To avoid scratching
the lens, don’t press too hard.
❏ If necessary, clean the battery contacts with a dry cloth.
❏ PhotoPC NiMH battery pack (B818061)
❏ 3.3V SSFDC or SmartMedia storage cards
You can contact EPSON Accessories at (800) 873-7766 (U.S.
sales only). In Canada, please call (800) 873-7766 for dealer
referral. SmartMedia storage cards and adapters are also
available from Simple Technology  at (800) 4-SIMPLE.
Storing the Camera
❏ Keep the lens covered (power turned off) and store the
camera in a carrying case or bag when you’re not using it.
Related Documentation
❏ Avoid sudden temperature changes, which can cause
moisture to condense on the camera. Keep the camera in a
case or bag if you need to move it from a cold environment
to a warm one. Allow time for the camera and its optional
accessories to adjust to temperature changes before using
❏ When the camera is not used for long periods of time,
remove the batteries and store them at a low temperature in
a dry location. This prevents camera damage from battery
leaks or corrosion.
Do not store the camera in the following locations:
❏ Where it will be exposed to direct sunlight, for example, on
a car dashboard
❏ Near bright sources of light or high humidity
❏ Near heat sources or in a closed car or trunk
❏ In areas of excessive dirt or dust
❏ Where it will be exposed to strong vibrations or magnetic
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PhotoPC 550 User’s Guide