Zoom VideoCam

PCQ Bureau
New Update

VideoCam videoconferencing camera and software

Offers resolutions of 352x288 at 7.5 fps and

176x144 at 15 fps. It has a 50-degree field of

view, and manual focus.Useful videoconferencing

camera with reasonable quality video and audio

over LAN. Allows you to connect to Web servers

for video conferencing across the Internet.

Targeted at home and small-office users.

Rs 13,900 Vendor: Adroit

Technologies, F-128 Mohammedpur, Bhikaji Cama

Place, New Delhi 110066. Tel: 6191353, 6191553

The Zoom VideoCam is

a small, lightweight video conferencing device with host

of features. Based on CMOS array technology (rather than

the CCD technology we see on digital cameras), it offers

reasonable video quality at frame rates up to 15 fps. We

tested the Zoom under a variety of conditions–from a

10 Mbps LAN to a direct modem connect over a 28.8 kbps

line, and with online services, such as Four11 and


The VideoCam is a compact

unit that comes with an ISA card for your PC. If you

already own a Zoom video-ready fax modem, you are in

luck, as you can simply plug the camera into its S

Video-in port (and return the video capture card for Rs

1,000 rebate). Installing the card is a no-fuss

affair–simply plug it into an ISA slot, and it is

auto detected and installed under Win 95.

The camera has a pivoting

feature that allows you to set it up on the monitor.

There is an adjustable focus for fine-tuning the lens,

but once set to the default focus of about 24", it

provides a depth of view from 8" to infinity and a

50 degrees field of view–sufficient to take in a

whole room.


The Zoom

uses a CMOS device instead of a CCD. CMOS technology

allows creation of almost a whole camera on a chip,

significantly cutting costs and power consumption. CMOS,

however, still cannot compete with CCD’s image

quality. With video- conferencing, however, still-image

quality is not of prime importance, and CMOS chips are

becoming more commonly used for applications, such as

security and surveillance cameras.

Accompanying the camera is

a CD-ROM that contains a videoconferencing program called

VideoLink. It is H.323/H.324-compliant, which means it

can be used to connect with any software that uses the

same protocol, such as CuSeeMe and NetMeeting. Also on

the CD-ROM is a trial version of CUSeeMe and other

videoconferencing software.

VideoLink allows you to

setup direct conferencing over a TCP/IP network, or even

from modem to modem. We tested it over our office

network, and results were quite satisfactory. However, it

never came anywhere close to 15 fps, giving around 8..12

fps when there was little movement, and 3..4 fps for a

constantly changing scene. The software on the whole is a

little confusing to use at first. The manual recommends

that you install both the 16- and 32-bit versions of

VideoLink, even on Win 95, as some features are not

supported by the 32-bit version. The camera also has a

resolution of 352x288, but you can only enable it by

using the Video Test application. Unfortunately, even if

you stumble across this application by accident, you will

find that none of your video applications display a

picture anymore, so you have to go back and set it to

either of the two lower resolutions. However, that’s

just one minor irritant with the camera.


VideoLink Mail, another

component of the software, allows you to create

self-executing video clips that you can e-mail. The files

it creates are huge–about 35 kB for every second, so

it’s not of much use unless you have a fast link.

Also, you can’t save video files in any common video

format, such as AVI or MOV, but only in a proprietary smv


The Zoom has possibilities

as a surveillance camera in shops or even homes, and as a

means to communicate with children abroad. Its inability

to record large volumes of video, however, restricts its

use. A TV-out port would greatly enhance its usability,

as would the ability to record video in standard formats.


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