The array of media the P-5000 supports is impressive overall, but is left a little wanting on the photographic side. It will quite happily load JPEG and RAW files, (with limitations, see specs) but surprisingly there is no support for TIFF files, or any other still image format for that matter. Video formats on the other hand include most MPEGs, DivX, AVC, Windows media video, Motion JPEGs and even the new H.264 format.
On the audio side there are the standard MP3 and AAC, plus Windows audio. Memory card support is limited to two slots, one Secure Digital and one Compact Flash. But in actuality you can use SD/SDHC, Multimedia, Compact Flash, and Microdrive formats. Other cards can be used, but only with an appropriate adapter. The only limit is on the Multimedia card, which is restricted to one gigabyte.
To ascertain an accurate view of comparative speeds, I conducted a series of read/write tests, the results of which are displayed here. To be honest, I was a little disappointed at the outcome. Admittedly there isn’t much in it as you can see, but if I’m going to spend a little under five hundred quid on a dedicated unit like this, I would expect at least similar results to those from my home PC or laptop. The tests involved reading and writing half gig chunks of data, one with numerous small JPEG files, one with several large video files, and one more with an average mix. I didn’t anticipate much difference between the two considering they’re doing the same job in both cases, transferring data to and from a hard drive and a memory card.
The data speaks for itself though, the P-5000 performed slower in every test, with the solitary exception of the Microdrive which wrote faster in all three tests. If you’re not too worried about access times or if you don’t have access to a computer, then these figures won’t mean much, after all they are only comparative, but since you can get a decent laptop for not much more than the cost of the P-5000 it’s worth thinking about.