by August 9, 2003 0 comments



A webcam perched on a computer evokes no awe today. Usability has finally started to define how good a webcam really is. 

We take a look at four popular Logitech QuickCams–easy-to-install, USB-based webcams. All four cameras come with ImageStudio, a software that gives basic webcam functionality. The software has an interesting animation feature that takes a photograph continually, say every second, and then animates them. It also has the now standard motion-detector feature with adjustable sensitivity that starts
recording video if there is movement in the camera’s field of view.

All the webcams, except the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks, have an adjustable manual focus, a good quality microphone and a top-mounted shutter release button. The QuickCams offer resolutions of 640×480 and 320×240. All except the QuickCam Messenger also give the stamp-sized 160×120 resolution.

DESKTOP WEBCAMS
Desktop webcams are becoming standard accessories for computers. Logitech webcams, though priced on the higher side, are good performers.

QuickCam Zoom 
The name Zoom is somewhat of a misnomer, as there’s no optical zoom lens in this camera. Instead, ImageStudio allows you to zoom in, albeit with a loss of resolution. The webcam gave exceptionally smooth video with sharp image quality and an acceptable 15 fps frame rate at the maximum resolution of 640×480 and sustained 30 fps at 320×240 and lower resolutions. There was some banding in low light conditions. The camera has a stable base and good build quality. 

QuickCam Messenger
The Messenger was an average performing camera. The video was smooth though grainy, giving 15 fps at 160×120 and 320×240 and a low 10 fps at 640×480. Its base is stable although the camera-base joint is
difficult to adjust. 

Notebook WEBCams
Though desktop cameras may be used without any modification on notebooks, manufacturers add a few cosmetic features like clips and smaller form factors and repack the products as notebook webcams. They also come with much shorter cables making them less messy to carry and work with.

QuickCam for Notebooks Pro
This is a tiny (8cmx3.5×2 cm) notebook camera with good image quality and consistent exposure. The camera seems to have been built on the same electronics as the QuickCam Zoom and gave similar frame rates and the same high-quality images and smooth video. Its notebook clip is well designed and safely perches the camera on the notebooks LCD. The clip doubles up as a lens protector and can be placed in a small box that comes with the camera. This was the only webcam that came bundled with MGI VideoWave SE 4.0 and MGI PhotoSuite SE 4.0 image editing software.

QuickCam for Notebooks
This camera has average video quality and suffers due to lack of a manual focus. The images are blurry and it maintains only 15 fps at 160×120 and 320×240 resolution and 10 fps at 640×480. It failed to display images at low light levels where other cameras did so. Also, its tripod clip is prone to slide off the notebook.

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Price : QuickCam Zoom: Rs 7575; QuickCam Messenger: Rs 4975; QuickCam for Notebooks Pro: Rs 8975; Quick- Cam for Notebooks: Rs 6950
Key
Specs
: Easy to install, come with ImageStudio
software
Contact : Rashi Peripherals, Mumbai
Tel : 28260256-9, 28221013/1024.
E-mail : ho@rptechindia.com 

Manas Mittal

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