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I have been using Creative Webcam 5 for last about two months and have liked it a lot. Mainly for its video quality and secondly for not having any troubles in installing and using it. Taking snapshots and recording video clips is a good bonus. Here are some details about it.. What you get in the package ======================= The cam itself with about two meter cord with USB connector, a quick start guide and a CD that includes driver, software for cam and some other software. About the Cam ============= Its mount lets you adjust the angle of its viewing. There is a focusing ring to focus the picture according to the distance of object (mostly you) from the cam. There is a button on top for capturing the picture (like a digital cam) being viewed. A green LED below the cam lens indicates whether the cam is 'ON' or otherwise. Cam is very light but still have enough weight to keep itself from falling down due to drag of the cord. Setup ===== Setup is very easy. Installation CD comes with driver, Cam Controller (software for using cam) and some other software. Instructional manual covers the installation procedure. You just have to keep in mind that 'YOU HAVE TO INSTALL THE CAM DRIVER BEFORE CONNECTING IT WITH YOUR COMPUTER'. You will need to install cam driver and cam controller from CD then you can connect the cam with USB port. Computer restarts once and you are on your way to transmit you through your cam to your friends and loved ones. Drivers are available for windows 98, ME and 2000. Picture and Video Quality ==================== In shortest words, 'Good Enough'. Like almost all other web cams, you need to arrange for better light conditions for a better quality video. Range of resolution in Creative web cam 5 is from 120 x 160 to 640 x 480 with the frame rate from 5
to 30 frames per second. Default setting are 320 x 240 resolution and 30 frames per second. You get a comparatively dark picture but a good refresh rate. But as you reduce the frame rate, video quality starts getting better and better. I have tried different setting and have found the frame rate of 15 frames per second as the best compromise. It gives sufficient enough video quality for transmission over the web. When you use the cam for snap shots, use even lower frame rate and you will get good quality snaps. When recording video clips, you will have to arrange some lights to keep the quality good as lowering frame rate will produce a bit jerky video clips. The recommended frame rate for video is 30 frames per second. Additional Features =============== You can use it for as a digital camera for taking snapshots. But wait, there are limitations. It got to be connected with your computer for taking snapshots. So use this feature indoor or keep a laptop with you for outdoor use. Record video clips of what ever it shows. The video, of course, is not of professional quality, but can serve to keep some cool memories at hand for future viewing. Software are included for editing of snapshots or video clips. Trouble Shooting ============== I have not had any troubles yet but did have a look at the manual (pdf format). It's a very comprehensive guide for usage and troubleshooting. They have given options like email and web chat for getting your problems addressed. Software included ============== Video Blaster Web Cam Controller. It lets you view the video, capture still pictures and video images. Has an album of captured videos and snapshots. Creative Web Cam Monitor. Used for web applications. It has a motion detection capability and you are away from your computer, it will email you if some one comes closer to your system by detecting motion. C
ool , isn't it? Ulead Photo Express for photo editing. Creative Oozic Player for creating animated clips for fun. Pixaround Pixmaker for stitching pictures together for interactive applications. Frankly, I have not used this software. So cant tell much about it. Some Little Hints for Using this Cam ============================ Install the drivers and cam controller software from CD before connecting the web cam with the USB port. Use frame rate as 15 frames per second to get the best combination of quality of picture and transmission, when using on the web. Use the lowest frame rate ( 5 frames per second), when taking snapshots. My Verdict ======== Go ahead. Price is about 25 - 30 £ .Good video quality, with snapshot and video capturing capability, its worth your money.