Review Of 5 Best Webcams
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Review Of 5 Best Webcams

Logitech HD Pro C920

Design and build quality

It is hands down the sleekest webcam I have ever seen and definitely adds a professional touch to any computer setup you choose to accompany it with. The device itself is made out of a durable high quality material and even features a high-precision Carl Zeiss glass lens. Its glass lens and CMOS sensor offer crystal-clear resolution. While the glass lens makes it heavier than many other webcams, it's easy to see the high quality of this Skype camera's build. It uses rubber tips on the stand to make it grip to surfaces, and it is compatible with most tripods. At 6 feet long, the cord has plenty of extra length for you to mount your webcam on top of a television or on a full tripod. Besides, the C920 utilizes a dual microphone, which creates a stereo recording of your voice and minimizes background noise. While some webcams require a headset and many others use a single microphone, this HD webcam offers sound that is as full as the image.

Image Quality

Image quality is excellent with the C920. When we reviewed the C910, we were bugged by a drop in framerate when switching from 720p mode to 1080p mode. Thankfully, Logitech has put that right here, so the framerate in the C920 stays the same whether in HD or Full HD mode. In fact, it remains at 25 fps in a well-lit room, which makes for a perfectly smooth image.

The C920 is much clearer and crisper than the laptop’s own HD webcam and a 2 year old Logitech webcam. Once the discreet and stylish blue LED’s on the sides of the lens light up, you know you’re looking as good as possible. The included Logitech Vid HD software also allows for extra fun features like the ability to make a “mask” out of any image file, or to turn your webcam into a security motion detector that will wait for something in the room to move, then start recording until the motion stops. It’s not going to keep your home safe, but as a feature it’s a nice afterthought and can be put to use at home or in the office. The video is also very crisp while using their own Logitech software or Skype, but when we used the YouTube webcam recording software from YouTube’s website, the audio was scratchy and the video was not as sharp. This is also replicated when using Google+ Hangouts, although we use a different microphone setup so the sound is just as clear as Skype.

However, it tends to move every so slightly any time I type when the webcam is sitting on the laptop’s screen. During our net casts, that is pretty common. But because of the tripod mount, we can mount the webcam off to the side and even off the table and the shaking camera ceases.

Features

Autofocus

This webcam is very easy to use thanks to features like autofocus. When you are hundreds of miles away from your family and want to speak to them immediately, you want a webcam that will work correctly right away.

Face tracking

The C920 uses face tracking to find your face and then stays focused on you while you use it. In fact, you can move around and the camera will still autofocus on you quickly. This is also helpful if you are an animated talker, as many autofocusing webcams will blur when faced with a lot of motion.

Five element design

Logitech and Carl Zeiss offer five-element design focusing light onto the sensor with maximum detail and minimal distortion. It uses rubberized bumpers on the clip to hold it securely to the monitor or laptop.

MICROSOFT LIFECAM HD-3000

Hardware and Design

Unlike the sleek aluminium finish of the LifeCam Studio, the HD-3000 is made from shiny black plastic. Both webcams do, however, have a similar flexible rubber-finish stand which can be easily stood on a desk, a CRT monitor or an LCD monitor. However, this webcam doesn't have a vertical tilt function. You can therefore angle the webcam to the right or the left, but not up or down, which means you'll either need to tilt your computer screen or bend the stand to make sure you're in shot. The LifeCam HD-3000 has an autofocus function and a 720p sensor that can film at up to 30 frames per second. The HD-3000 also has a mono microphone with a noise-reduction filter. It can be attached to a laptop, tablet or desktop PC and works with almost any instant messaging service including Windows Live Movie Maker for direct uploads to a video sharing site.

Microphone

The Microsoft HD-3000 webcam includes a built-in microphone of reasonable sound quality that may be better than the internal mic in laptop computer. It is excellent at picking up voices from a distance, though we found that sound quality wasn't as good as the Logitech HD. It is perfectly adequate for Skyping, but it picked up more background noise. HD-3000 claims to be noise-canceling. Noise-canceling is a popular term for microphones that you see it a lot in Bluetooth headsets, where it's very important to pick up only the caller's voice and not the noise in the background. The HD-3000 certainly has a sensitive mic, and this probably won't be an issue if you're using the webcam in your home. But it's something to consider if you'll be using the device in a noisier environment where ambient noise could pose a distraction.

Performance

You can record 16:9 widescreen video in 720p at up to 30 frames per second and share it via social networking sites like Facebook. Recording 720p video files was as simple as an on-screen button push to begin recording. But there was a bit of a lag when shooting in 720p. If you are truly bothered by it and don't require HD video, you can always drop the resolution down a bit. The webcam comes with seven preset resolutions. After recording, we played the recorded files back smoothly. We also found that the image quality was nearly identical. The video quality, as a whole, is fantastic, with even minor details reproduced brilliantly. The colours are very natural, bright and accurate, especially skin tones, and the quality is maintained even in low-light, and I receive adequate lighting from a single window and an overhead light. Also, this LifeCam model can eliminates Auto Focus -- a main point of contention with the HD-5000 and the lens in this webcam handles colours well without any software enhancements. Although quick-moving objects in front of the camera don't cause the HD-3000 to constantly refocus itself, they do trigger the device to shift the displayed lighting. The excellent video quality does make up for this, but if you want a webcam to double up as a microphone for voice calling and recording, then the LifeCam HD-3000 might not be enough.

Webcam Features

The Microsoft HD-3000 or Mac webcam mount apparatus is kind weird: A bendy-flexy-foldy 1-piece design with a stiff but rubbery texture to attach it to your MacBook display or atop a desktop computer monitor. Unfortunately it doesn't have a standard camera tripod mounting screw hole. If this otherwise impressive camera has a drawback, it's the 'iffy' design of the clip.

Logitech HD Webcam C310

Design and build quality

Logitech C310 looks good and has solid build quality. It features fixed focus plastic lens unlike the high-end Logitech C910 which uses Carl Zeiss optics. But for this price you can’t complain about it. The C310 USB camera mounts interchangeably between a laptop or a desktop, and the basic design consists of a small oval Web camera attached to a swiveling plastic base mount. With two swivel points directly at the foot of the camera and on the heels, it sits comfortably on a thick desktop flat-panel monitor, but the limited range of horizontal movement could be a nuisance for laptop users. I wish it had some better stand. You can move the webcam up and down but there is no way to rotate it left or right. This can be a deal breaker for some users.

Performance

Image

Image quality is pretty good, on the whole. Logitech HD Webcam C310 can capture photos in different resolutions. Its native still photo resolution is 1.3 MP. The particular webcam can take photos with up to 5 mega pixels per image. For those who are who are unaware, 5 mega pixels is actually a great quality for your pictures. As a result the quality will be poor. I’ll recommend selecting 1.3 MP resolution to get the best result. Most of the time still photos contain noise and lacks sharpness. And with Logitech’s RightLight technology you’ll discover that your images are almost perfect each time whether or not your in low lighting or not. Photos can be captured in widescreen resolution. However, there are a just few small problems, including slightly overexposed whites in low-light conditions and minor difficulties in reproducing some shades in the grey scale.

Sound

Another great thing about the video calling will be that this webcam comes with a built in microphone. This is actually a high quality microphone which includes Logitech’s noise canceling technology. The best thing concerning this is that men and women will be able to hear you even if you are in a room which has a lot of noise in the background. You’ll find that Logitech has positioned the microphone on the front of the model so you will be able to record the best clearest sound possible

Features

RightLight and the RightSound technologies

Logitech webcams like this one are equipped with Logitech RightLight 2 technology and Logitech RightSound technology. These built-in features enhance video chatting and video recording to provide the sharpest image and sound possible. We were able to walk around the room while video chatting and the built-in microphone would still pick up our voices as clear as day. Also, the web cam’s built-in microphone was able to pick up our voice while discarding others from a distance of up to 3 meters. We also tested the video chat in really low lighting, and the RightLight and the RightSound ones compensated for low exposure, adjusted the distance from the camera to our face and the hues based on ambient light, optimized the exposure and audio when we encountered poor light and erased background noise.

Quick Capture

Once your Logitech Webcam software is installed you are presented with features such as Quick Capture (which basically allows you to take videos and pictures and saves them to a folder), Motion Detection and web controller, which both allow you to adjusting your camera settings by allowing you to zoom or follow your face etc. The Quick Capture offered the possibility to take a photo of ourselves and our friends in a photobooth-like way; we easily controlled exposure, contrast, resolution, color intensity and much more in order to get the best photo possible. The webcam can move and at the same time center on your face while you move around it with the help of the Follow My Face feature.

Disadvantages

This Logitech web camera can’t capture a full 360-degree view while sitting atop your computer monitor. It doesn’t offer audio effects either, or fold into a compact size. Also, some of users reflected that the left side of the image was always slightly out of focus while the right side of the image was well focused. As a result, the very nice lens system just could not get the entire picture right. This focusing flaw was not so noticeable at iChat’s low 640 x 480 resolution, but if native resolution images were captured using other webcam capture software, the left 1/3 of the image was clearly out of focus. However, we like this model for the quality of its video and audio.

D-Link Day/Night Surveillance Camera

Performance

The camera’s resolution is pretty grainy, even for an IP camera. Logitech’s Alert cameras are among the best I’ve tested and deliver resolution of 960x720, but they rely on power-over-ethernet. Compare with NetCam, both the NetCam and the D-Link record in 720p and both use H.264 video compression, though the final video resolution will depend upon the speed of your Wi-Fi connection. The NetCam can only produce up to 25 fps (frames per second) while D-Link can produce 30 fps.

The DCS-933L’s video feed is also very susceptible to being blown out by strong ambient light sources, including lamps. The DCS-933L is outfitted with infrared illumination, so it works in both daylight and in the dark, but its image quality is even worse under those conditions—especially when light is leaking in from another room.

Features

Motion Detection

Motion detection settings give you the ability to mark areas of the image to watch for changes. You can set this up using your browser or the included mobile app, which has a free and paid version. The screen will be divided into 25 equal-sized rectangles. By clicking squares on the grid, the software will keep an eye on those specific spots and will notify you via email when motion is detected. Alerts can then be sent via push or email notification. You can set it up to send you one image or have it send 3 images before the motion was detected and 3 images afterwards.

Built-in microphone

The built-in microphone is also a great tool for monitoring your property. The camera can be set to email you when it detects motion, which is handy, though it might make you a little paranoid.

Night Vision

The DCS-932L switches from day to night mode automatically depending on light levels, or you can force it to stay in full-colour day mode or to always use its infra-red LEDs for black and white night vision. It has 4 Infrared LEDs which are supposed to allow for up to 5M visibility, and in practice they seemed to have a visible effect, but also produced very noticeable scan lines which did reduce the quality. We found this did an amazing job in a pitch-black medium-sized room – everything in the room was recognisable, and we could make out most details on a person, such as height, clothing, hairstyle and whether they were wearing glasses, but true facial detail was only discernable at around two metres.

Pan and tilt option

The Pan and Tilt feature is the ability to move horizontally and vertically in order to change the camera’s view. It’s a very useful feature when you want to check in on an alert. Nothing is more frustrating than worrying about your place and being confined to stare at one small area of space.

The D-Link can pan or rotate to give you a full 360 degree view and is backed by 10x digital zoom. It can also tilt or rotate vertically 20 degrees below the center and 100 degrees above. That’s 120 degree tilting angle power. D-Link’s Pan and Tilt feature can be controlled by the app or browser. The app includes a directional keypad on the left side of the screen. You simply press up and down for tilting, or left and right for panning. You can even change the speed of movement by configuring your app settings. On top of that the camera offers a 92 degree diagonal field of view.

Audio

This wireless security camera also provides audio which is very useful if you’re going to use it to monitor a child’s room. It’s also useful if your pet happens to be out of range visually. This means if they’re making a noise that sounds like they might need medical attention, you can hear it.

Drawback

The main drawback of this D-Link camera is that it does not record videos for you to watch at a later date. The flip side of this is that you do have access to live/remote monitoring via the Cloud which is accessible on any PC or mobile device with an internet connection (no additional fees). Also, if you set the motion detector, you will have snapshots of the triggering event. More importantly, it doesn’t have any means of storing files, so it can’t capture a snapshot or record a video clip when sound or motion is detected.

The IPEVO Point 2 View USB Document Camera

Design and build quality

This Ipevo webcam is a plug-and-play device. Simply connect it to a USB port on your computer and install the accompanying software from the included disc by following the prompts and you're ready to go. The video web camera draws power from your computer, so you'll never need to worry about batteries or power outlets. The Point 2 View is used by attaching it to the included weighted, adjustable base. It is 9"x5"x3" and weighs 1.5. Because of this weighted base, you can telescope it way out from the base to show an item if you need to. It stays very sturdy and does not shake. Finished in a silver-painted plastic with chromed lens ring, the IPEVO P2V itself is very light, perhaps half as light as the USB cable it is attached to. Build quality is average, with the plastic housing showing a prominent center seam and eliciting a few creaks when torqued and squeezed. The chromed lens ring encircles a matte black lens surround, with an absolutely tiny lens in the center. By tiny we mean about 1.5mm in diameter.

Image quality

For the price, customers are pleasantly surprised by the image quality produced by the IPEVO camera. A two-megapixel sensor may be overlooked by some, but users with Point 2 View experience report that the quality is magnificent. As for the picture quality, the IPEVO Point 2 View sports a 2-megapixel camera that includes autofocus for up to a 2-inch extreme closeup, and a dedicated “snapshot key” for taking stills with relative ease. Some have gone as far as to say that it competes with more expensive models. While the IPEVO only offers up to 1,600 X 1,200 pixels, the auto-focus function ensures that every one of those pixels is as sharp as possible. Another user was impressed with the clarity of the image at the closest limit of focus, although it does seem to "focus hunt" more than the other models, even when stationary. As if in response to this very issue, the only other switch is a slider which changes the focus mode from "continuous" to "single" mode, which eliminates the "hunting" issue.

Compatibility

This camera is compatible to work with other chat application software’s like Google Talk, Skype, Y messenger, AOL messenger, Windows Live etc. You could capture image for Picasa, Quicktime too and the videos are stored in mov or wmv video file formats. As the captured image/video follows on 1600�1200 resolution, you could print the images on larger screens to show quality presentations.

COther features

IPEVO's Point 20 View USB camera includes a lot of the great benefits seen in more expensive cameras: auto-focus, exposure control, live video, 6X digital zoom, and more. It also is compatible with video recording software that not only allow users to enjoy live video at 30 frames per second but also to save it. There’s also a monitor clip so you can use the camerahead as a webcam, though it’s worth noting that the unit lacks a built-in mic. The software is clean and simple. It lets you select from six levels of resolution ranging from QVGA to UXGA and six levels of digital zoom up to 3x. There’s a mirror function for flipping around the image orientation, a full set of standard image quality controls, and a capture menu for saving stills. There’s no split screen function nor is there video capture, though video recording is possible through various third-party apps.

Furthermore, there are three webcam connection pins on the stand. This feature allows for the flexibility of the document positioning on the table. Of course, you can still detach the main body from the stand to achieve maximum flexibility.

Drawback

There are few drawbacks in this webcam. First, the stand is barely tall enough for iPad in portrait view so may need to put the stand on top of something else to raise it up a bit. Second, No built-in mic in IPEVO Point 2 View USB Document Camera. Also, it is not great in low light, but shouldn't be a problem shooting a lit display of a device.


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