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Excellent. For such a small lens, the video quality really is excellent, outputting a widescreen resolution of 1280x720 pixels at 30 progressive frames a second (meaning a full frame of pixels, rather than interlaced, which is a half frame of pixels twice as often), this camera has quality images which are able to easily translate into quality footage.
One annoyance about this camera, is that it is fully automatic, and does not like fluorescent tube lighting. Due to frequency differences in the light and the frame rate of the camera, lines appear to be scrolling down the screen. Admittedly I have gotten used to this, but it still gets on my nerves from time to time. Also the automatic features of the camera means that when it gets slightly confused as to your depth (you may be blending with the background due to lighting or colour), it alters the focus, blurring you until you move about a bit. Annoying features, both of which are brought on by the lighting conditions in my room, if your room has good, clean lighting, then you will not experience these problems.
Webcams have a beautiful cinematography all of their own, you know when you are looking at a webcam picture, and it evokes memories of pixelated conversations with close friends and family. Maybe I am only addressing the youth here, but that feeling is continued on even into the HD age. Do not get me wrong, this webcam produces high quality stills, but they are high quality stills with soul.
I use the microphone on the webcam in preference to a headphone one when on Skype or MSN, because it gives the feeling that I am in the same room as the person due to the distance, positioning, and shape of the microphone. The quality is very high, although you may notice drops in some programs which practically turn the microphone off when there is little sound, this is not the fault of the microphone.
A simple USB connection is all that is required, installing the software is very easy, and even fun to mess about with.
The camera works with all major forms of communication such as Skype and MSN, the included software practically guarantees compatibility.
A rugged rubber grip attached to the bottom of the camera works in a similar way to a Gorilla Pod, being able to clamp onto things instead of clipping, so positioning on monitors is very convenient and worry free. It is also flexible enough to become a stand which can just sit on your desk, a very handy feature.
Positioning of the camera is entirely up to you, but I would recommend placing it above where you will be looking, to achieve the best sound, and give the impression that you are face to face with whoever you talk with.
Anything to be aware of?
You can always tell if it is off or on by looking straight at it; a small blue light below the lens means it is on, and no light means it is off.
The USB cable is also very long, and so it is easy to move the camera around freely without breaking things. Virtually showing people around your room is very easy, a handy little extra for all those students away from home, to stop mum worrying, show her the inside of your fridge, stock it up first though.
I bought this webcam to replace the one that's built into my laptop.... I wanted something a bit clearer to use over Skype.... and I found it with the lifecam....
The camera produces pretty clear video, even in low light. and it adapts well to changing conditions, for instance turning a lamp on or holding up something that glows... certainly it works 10000x better than the 1.3MP camera built into my acer.
*HIGH (DEFINITION) QUALITY VIDEO; Microsoft claims that this camera produces full HD video, im sceptical, certainly compared to a HD video camera this webcam produces nothing i'd go shouting about... BUT for a webcam it produces the sharpest video i've ever seen, and, not only is it sharp, but its also well adjusted... The video looks like what I look like.... not excessively dark, or light, or a different colour
*PRICE; This could realy be said for most webcams, but certainly, compared to Logitech models of similar calibre, this one has a comparitively small cost.... I picked it up online for around £16....
*COMPATABILITY; Microsoft product... Microsoft computer... no hassle what so ever... Worked like a charm unlinke some other products. Even works with windows 7 hassle free.
*SIZE; the webcam is a bit on the big side compared to some, and doesn't really have an ergonomic shape.... Logitech produce nice pretty things that clip neatly to the top of your screen..... the lifecam looks a bit strange.
Overall i'd suggest giving it a try. If you're using it for Video calling or Vlogging it would work perfectly...... producing consistently clear video.
This webcam is easily the best I've ever owned, having used my laptops built-in 1.3megapixel webcam for years I decided it was time to invest in a new high quality webcam.
I picked up this webcam for £35 online which is quite cheap considering you get HD quality footage and a really nicely designed and built product. It could probably be £5 cheaper but no one really is going to notice an extra £5 on their monthly debit card bill.
Anyway setup was incredibly easy, simply plugging it into my computer it was immediately detected and the required drivers were installed. To my surprise they also work on a Mac but the additional features you get via the included software won't work.
The quality of the camera is great; it truly is a HD webcam so uploading videos to Youtube or chatting over Skype will leave your viewers with a great quality picture. The sound could be better so if you want to do serious chatting or skyping I suggest a separate mic as the included one isn't the best quality and listening to it over long period of time could get annoying.
All in all I'm very happy with the product, a great quality camera that made a welcome change to my existing webcam.
All the Skype hype and my ever increasing phone bills, got me thinking when a friend of mine in Devon had been given a new laptop for Christmas, with a built in webcam; and since we communicate fairly frequently, discussing ancestry research projects, by phone, decided that we should give Skype communications a try, to save on phone expenses. So off I went to purchase a webcam for my desktop.
Our local computer store, MicroBitz, had a good selection in stock, with a price range to suit every pocket.
After a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of each - they must cringe when they see me approach their shop - I bought the Microsoft HD Lifecam, priced at £47, which must surely have brought a smile back to their faces.
~~~~THE MICROSOFT HD LIFECAM~~~
This webcam is compatible with Apple MacOS x 10.2 or later, Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
The simple, see through packaging contained a matt black cylindrical webcam, 5.5cms in length with a diameter of 2.6cms.
Attached near the rear is a 2.5cm x 8.5cm flexible, rubber coated arm, which can be flexed to hold the webcam safely on top of a monitor, or bent into a stand shape to sit on a desk. Extending from the rear of the webcam, is a lead, approximately 1.5meters in length, with a standard USB connection at the end.
Positioned on top of the cylinder, is a small call button, for use when making a call using Live Messenger, and a suitably sensitive microphone.
Also include in the package, were the installation CD and a little booklet with simple to follow set up instructions.
The installation procedure was straightforward and took about 10 minutes, though I didn't time it, so it may have been a little more or a little less. When instructed to do so, the webcam was plugged into the USB port.
Once installed, a small, blue icon representing the webcam appears on the monitor. By clicking on this icon, a tiny blue light shines from the front of the webcam, indicating that it is on, then a screen on the monitor opens with a perfectly focused image of the scene in front of it. The webcam has a rapid auto-focusing facility, so that objects as close as three inches, focus perfectly as do the objects ten to fifteen feet away.
At the bottom of the webcam screen, are three icons; a camera, a microphone and a camcorder.
Clicking on the camera icon enable you to take a still photograph, with the webcam, the picture is then automatically saved in a file, where it can be organised, shared, burned onto a disc, or deleted.
Clicking on the microphone allows you to voice record, whilst also recording background music from a radio or CD. This is also held in files.
Clicking on the camcorder icon allows you to record a video using the webcam; again this is automatically filed.
On the right hand side of the screen is a blue slit, with a white triangle, clicking on this will open, alongside the the screen, the Lifecam dashboard, on which are the Lifecam controls, allowing you to pan left and right or tilt up and down; small but useful movements for centralising the picture without moving the webcam.
At the top end of the dashboard are two more icons, one of which opens up a large selection of 'picture effects.' (I counted 48)
By clicking on one, the selected effect will be added to, or alter, the image displayed in front of the camera and moves with that image. One particularly clever effect is the one with big, coloured question marks, hovering and circling inches above your head. Others will morph your image, or add masks, hats, hair or animal noses and ears. These effects can be captured in a photograph or on video and can also be seen by the person you are contacting across the internet on Skype.
The other icon on the dashboard opens the controls for image resolution - from 160 x 120, giving an image of about 5cm x 4cm, right up to a resolution of 1280 x 720 where the image is about 25cm x 14cm.
The picture effects, however, can only be used on resolutions of 960 x 544, or less.
If you wish, you can alter the brightness, hue and white light etc, but this is really for those expert in photography who wish to perhaps refine the automatic adjustments.
~~~~ THE USE WITH SKYPE~~~~
As far as image and sound quality are concerned, the Microsoft HD Lifecam works extremely well. However, because of the distance between myself and my friend's residence, the Skype connection frequently failed, either the sound or vision kept fading. This was down to other factors, like internet speed and number of people using the internet at that time; nothing, I am assured to do with the quality of the webcams.
We did find though, that if neither of us used the video part of the Skype connection, we could both natter, with very little disruption, but using both sound and vision together resulted in a very irritating intermittent communication system. So yes, my phone bills will be reduced now.
In Summary, I have say I am very pleased with the Microsoft Hd Lifecam ,it's a great addition to my PC with more uses than just for real-time communications across the ether.
December 2013 update: It is still working very well, no problems so far, none expected.
My first problem when receiving this through the post was its lack of compatability with macs. This didnt suprise me too much, but I was a bit dissapointed so I turned on my PC ready to get started. It was easy enough to get out of its packaging; no excess plastic that required endless cutting to get into so that was a bonus.
I plugged it in, and within a minute my PC had installed required drivers and it was a case of clicking on the onscreen istructions and I had it all loaded up in less than 5 minutes!
I turned the camera on and I must say I was very impressed. The picture was very clear, and even on large view maintianed this. I would't say it was of 720p HD quality, but my monitor isn't the best in the world, but was the best live image I have ever seen on my monitor. The picture was very sharp and bright in colour and maintained most of the quality when using the 4X digital zoom, however, a slight drop in quality was noticeable.
The only problem I would say is that the price is quite high at the minute. I would only really buy this if I was a serious user, or otherwise I would wait until the price has dropped.