I got the Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000 free from the Royal Bank of Scotland after signing up to join their student account. I didn't use the camera for a few months until recently when the webcam built into my laptop was no good. This being no good for when trying to scan in items on Music Magpie, however I then plugged in my VX-3000 and it was a simple plug and play, and unlike other webcam's does not come with built in annoying software that slows down the usage of the camera.
Its sleek design made it look fantastic and it also has a little turner on it to ensure a clearer, more focused picture. The only flaw with the webcam is although it does secure well onto of my desktop pc's monitor is has an annoying flip down securer which does not 'clip in' far enough to secure onto my netbook monitor. This is not a great problem for me as I just use it to scan barcodes on Music Magpie, however if a consumer was to use this for a webcam they may find this a great annoyance.
Being one of the cheapest webcams out there, I thought I had nothing to lose by investing in this: and I was not wrong. This was the first webcam I had bought so I wasn't really sure what to expect. The camera itself looks good. It is very light weight. I could easily position mine on the top of my monitor just by using a small piece of blu tack. I used mine to chat to friends and family on instant messenger and it did the job just fine. It is very easy to set up, the CD guides you through installation and it takes very little time.
The quality of the video is pretty good. I've seen much better but for casual chats to friends its more than adequate. The base swivels round and it can be tilted up or down to allow you to get the perfect angle. It also has a manual focus that allows you to get the clearest picture. One extra feature that I found useful was the ability to take still images at one click. This is so much easier than taking a photo with a digital camera and having to upload it.
My previous webcam to this one was very old, and therefore the picture was extremely fuzzy. I used it for quite some time, but then I decided enough was enough; it was time for an upgrade!
I had a search on Play.com and found this camera on offer. I think it may have been £18 reduced from £30 or something similar. After reading a few reviews, I decided it seemed like a good purchase.
After ordering the VX-3000, I waited a few days before it arrived. I opened it up and was pleasantly surprised by how compact the webcam was. It looks very cute and isn't bulky, therefore doesn't get in the way.
When setting up the webcam, I noticed the stand folds out into a sort of clip. This allows the webcam to easily latch on to the top of your monitor. I thought that perhaps it would do the same as my old webcam, and keep falling off; however the clip seems fairly strong and has kept the camera stable on top of the monitor.
Once all was set up and good to go, I tested my webcam by hosting a video conversation over msn. Not only was I was very pleasantly surprised by how clear the picture was, but the built-in microphone seemed to work very well also. I don't have to lean in and shout into the camera for the sound to be picked up, although sometimes I do have to speak quite loudly. Also, I would imagine that others who want to place the camera a longer distance away may have trouble with the microphone feature.
The installation process for the webcam also included a Microsoft LifeCam software application which allows you to take pictures, videos and make recordings with. It also gives you a load of fun effects to play around with, such as making your eyes appear huge onscreen, or making a rabbit nose and ears appear over your face. I'd imagine these features are probably more for the younger users.
I'm very pleased with the purchase I made, but perhaps the microphone could be a little better at picking up my natural speaking-volume.
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Webcam gets 8/10 from me!
Since the late 90s at work, we have always used webcams to provide the photo identity for our ID cards. We have never had any preference to a particular make meaning we have tried 3Com, Creative and Logitech in the past. Now it was Microsoft's turn in the form of the Lifecam VX-3000. This camera was supposedly a middle of the range camera at its time of release, higher in spec than the VX-1000, but lower than the VX-6000.
===In the box===
Considering the size of this webcam and the fact there wasn't a user manual included in paper form, I found the box to be very bulky. In typical Microsoft fashion the box was big and bold and was definitely the brainchild of the Microsoft marketing department as a box half the size would surely have been sufficient. Along with the webcam was a quickstart guide and a CD containing the drivers, application software and a copy of MSN messenger. The quickstart guide was a single sheet basically showing you how to plug the camera in. I appreciate that somebody who had never bought a webcam before might find this useful, but in reality, once you've plugged any USB device into your PC/Laptop, you would know how to connect this webcam.
Installation of the software is very simple. On inserting the disk, it will autorun and start the process going. You will then get prompted for what you would like to install, the choices are, driver only, driver and application software or full install.
For us, the driver software alone was sufficient as we would be capturing images with our own in-house software. For the home user, I would definitely suggest installing the Lifecams own application too as this allows you to snap your own photos and record video. Personally, I wouldn't entertain installing MSN from the CD. You can easily get MSN (now Windows Live Messenger) as a free download off the internet and the one that ships with the CD is now out of date anyway.
Once you have made your choice, its time to sit back and watch the Microsoft installer go about its business. I would advise against watching the progress bar during this installation as it cycles about 3 times. This is most disconcerting as it takes an absolute age to get to the end of the bar for the first time, there is no textual indication of what is going on either so you are left wondering just how long the install will take.
When the software has finally installed, you are prompted to plug the camera into a free USB port, this is where the diagrams on the quickstart guide may be useful to a total novice. The software will now detect the camera is plugged in and take you through a couple of screens to calibrate the screen display and the built in microphone settings.
===Using the camera to record video and still images===
The VX-3000 takes decent enough photos for sending to your friends. The webcam will take photos at 1.3 megapixels so the quality of these photos will not be as good as you would get from all dedicated cameras and most mobile phones on the market today. Using the application software that comes with the webcam, you will be able to add sceneries and props to your photos such as a lovely flowery garden or a divers mask which adds a bit of fun to the photos but this soon wears off.
Video footage is saved in the standard avi format, meaning it will play in applications such as Windows Media Player with the minimum of fuss. The video is captured in 640 x 480 resolution which looks fine in a small window but looks very distorted if you want to play the video in a full screen. If you have set the microphone up correctly, you can also record sound in your videos meaning that this could be a useful tool if you want to record a message for a friend or family member who you do not normally see.
===Using the camera with Instant Messaging===
In my experience most people who buy a webcam appear to buy them mainly to use with instant messaging (IM) software. Instant messaging software allows you to have real time conversations with people all around the world who use the same IM client. In recent years webcam and voice support have been added to these clients making them a great way to hold video and voice conferences with your friends. I have borrowed one of the works VX-3000 webcams on numerous occasions to use at home to chat to friends and family (normally my kids in the next room to be honest) and have had vastly different experiences with the 3 IM clients I have used it on.
MSN Messenger - As you would expect, the Microsoft webcam worked perfectly on the earlier versions of messenger. The picture was clear and voice content was crisp and easy to understand. There was the occasional freeze for a second or so but this seemed to be generic across the board and wasn't specific to the VX-3000.
Windows Live Messenger - Again, the camera performed very well on Windows Live Messenger, which to be honest was MSN messenger with bells on it. However, Microsoft in their wisdom, released an update to Live Messenger in the spring of 2009 which has given me all kinds of fun and games since then. More often than not, Live Messenger does not even detect the existence of the camera which I find annoying and frustrating. The only way I can get the camera to work when Live Messenger is in one of these moods it to click the camera icon with the camera unplugged and to then plug it in after the communications with the other person have already started.
'Yahoo Messenger - Video and voice streaming work perfectly from Yahoo Messenger. There is very little, if any lag, making for great conversations with friends and family alike. I find it amazing that the camera works better than in the Microsoft versions bearing in mind it is a Microsoft webcam.
This webcam does the job it was intended for without being spectacular. I wouldn't rave about it particularly but it is a very capable device. The VX-3000 retails for around £25 so it is reasonably priced and compares well with other similarly priced webcams. It is probably the highest quality camera we have used over our years of producing ID badges. If you wanted this camera for Windows Live Messenger, I would consider purchasing a different brand as it is not worth the hassle trying to get it to work every time you want to use it. All other cameras I have tried with Live Messenger have worked first time. If Microsoft can sort out this problem then the VX-3000 is an attractive buy.
Having recently purchased a budget laptop for my daughter i have been looking at purchasing a webcam for her so she could speak to her nan and grandad who have rcently moved away.My first instinct was to purchase a cheaply priced model off ebay,bargain one webcam purchased for £5.It was a shortlived celebration as i discovered that the laptop did not have a built in mic and neither did the webcam (budget laptops can be a pain).So back to ebay and a slightly more expensive webcam with built in mic,hooray i think not it was a brand that was alien to me and i just couldn't figure out how to configure the damn mic to work.
With quite a nice collection of webcams and a smaller bank balance i decided to go against my principles and opt for a Microsoft webcam after all it had to be easy to install and use.
The vx-3000 is a member of the microsoft lifecam range which is touted as being exceptionally good at relaying life like high quality images and excellent quality audio.It also claims to install and function seamlessly and quickly with windows and especially windows live messenger.Bold claims considering my past webcam experience but just what i was looking for (fingers crossed).
I am just going to list the main features here as i could bore you to death with those listed in the manual.
640 x 480 pixel video resolution
Automatic Face-Tracking Software
Optimized for Windows Live Messenger
2X Digital Zoom
Easy to use versatile base
Six foot flexible USB cable
Installation and use,
The installation was a dream and so easy i had the product installed and the software up and running in under 20 mins.The integration of the product with windows live messenger was fast and easy and the handy button on top of the webcam allows quick one touch access to the software via windows.
On running the video and audio setup wizard i was impressed with both the quality and clarity of both audio and video.The video is clear and crisp even in low light conditions and the ability to capture high definition photo's is impressive.The audio is clear and we have experienced no distortion.The face tracking software works well at keeping you in the centre of the frame giving a better view of yourself when in use.
With plenty of software features and the abilty to pan tilt and zoom the image my daughter is having lots of fun when communicating with her nan and grandad (they were so impressed they have purchased the same model).
The webcam is easy to use both when fixed on to the laptop or sat on the computer desk and the one touch activation of windows live messenger makes its use so much easier for my daughter (and me).
This is an excellent product that is very easy to setup and use.It has exceptional performance and the features and software make this a versatile and must have product.Iam not sure on how i should perceive having converted a large portion of my family to the Microsoft brand but this truly is a king of webcams.So this is a recommend from me and i am not ashamed to sing the praises of Microsoft on this occassion. I purchased mine for £17.99 and i must say it was well worth the money and showed fantastic value.
This revie is listed on ciao under the user name phensh
The LifeCam is a relatively compact webcam.
The LifeCam is presented well, with a black and silver finish.
LifeCam Overview :
Takes High Definition photographs
A built in microphone
Windows live call button
Universal attachment base
Pan,tilt and zoom.
How the Microsoft LifeCam works :
Used in conjunction with the Windows Live Messenger Programme,the web cam can bring conversations to life ..literally !..its possible to chat with friends and family from all over the World with the aid of the LifeCam.
The LifeCam has a built in microphone,which automatically picks up your voice.
The LifeCam will capture high quality still photographs at 1.3 Mega pixel resolution.
To start an online conversation you simply select the online contact and then press the Windows Live Call Button.
The LifeCam is very easy to fix to any computer,it also has a pan,tilt and zoom function,so the picture can be as large or as small as you want.
Why I bought my Microsoft LifeCam :
We have a son who works in the Emirates and by far the most economical way to keep in contact with each other is by using a webcam.
At first we thought that it may be either difficult to install or use,but those fears were soon laid to rest !
The LifeCam is easily installed and easy to use.
Not only we enjoy hearing him and getting his news,but we can see him at the same time !!
The quality of the sound and picture is fine,though the camera does time out on the odd occasion.
A good investment for anyone who has a family member living far away from home.
The Microsoft LifeCam is priced around £27.00.
So you're chatting to your friends on Windows Live Messenger. Perhaps you feel that talking to them on an instant messenger is no match for talking to them face-to-face. That's where Microsoft's Lifecam comes in!
With Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000, you can chat to your friends and family in person (well, almost) from the safety of your computer chair - and at the press of a button.
And that's not all it does - with the handy dashboard, you can take pictures, record videos, add effects, upload images to your Live Space and more - all in one convenient place.
If you're just looking for a webcam for your instant messaging, Lifecam VX-3000 is perfect. However, the pictures and videos produced by the camera are by no means perfect, so don't expect this to be a replacement for your digital camera!
That said, this is a great webcam for instant messaging, and is clear enough to make you feel like your actually talking directly to your friends and family!