|Creative Live! Motion
|First posted Dec 20, 2005|
Last update Feb 5, 2008
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Creative Live Motion,|
Purchased December 9, 2005, $149.99
My first experience with this camera was terrible. I found the last one in stock at a Circuit City store near me and was excited because I had been unable to find it anywhere else. After opening the box and removing the camera, I began reading the manual. The first page contains drawings of the camera labeling 2 components, I quote...
"USB cable, Connect this to your computer's USB port.
Below that is a warning telling me not to physically turn the camera head as damage may result, or it may change the lens head's default position. I found it almost impossible to pick up the camera without the base moving at least a little, and there was no way to get it out of the box without quite a bit of turning.
Having seen that first label on connecting to my USB port, I had to fight my instinct to plug the camera in, instead I continued reading the manual. The next page tells me Not to plug the camera in before installing the drivers. Now there's an instruction manual that seems to be designed to quadruple the work load on technical support. All other cameras I have opened recently have had some type of sheet, plainly visible, with big letters telling me to install the software before connecting the camera.
After installing the drivers on my big computer, I was instructed to plug the camera in at which point the computer instantly shut down and rebooted itself. As the computer began to boot, I got just past the Starting Windows screen when the operating system halted, displaying the catastrophic failure screen. Repeated attempts to reboot resulted in the same system halt. Unplugging the camera, I was able to get he computer to boot. All further attempts to reboot with the camera plugged in resulted in a system halt. Now I have to admit this computer is rather screwed up due to all the things I do with it, but a system halt with the camera plugged in says something about the lack of thorough testing for stability of the camera drivers.
By booting first then plugging in the camera I was able to get into the camera control screens. Now is when I had trouble with the default centering problem due to the camera head being moved while taking it out of the box. Trying to follow the instructions in the manual on re-centering the camera did not help. The camera would revolve to one side then back but always ended up centering at about a 45 degree angle from the front. I finally got it centered by physically turning the head past the reset position.
I tinkered with the camera controls for a bit, then tried to use my webcam program. Of the several programs I use, none were able to find the camera. Eventually I gave up. I was later able to get the camera working on another machine with Windows XP Home Edition, but that machine only has a USB 1 port so I was not able to test the camera to its fullest capacity.
I found the auto face tracking did not work for me. The camera insisted on looking at the open door several feet to my right. So I gave up on that feature. The software buttons, which allow manual control of the panning motors, tend to move the camera a bit too much on each click to be able to point the camera exactly where I wanted it. It overshot every time, backing up did the same thing in the other direction.
The camera has a wide angle lens and a 640x480 image sensor, much smaller than the less expensive Logitech QuickCam Orbit MP. The image is pretty good in bright light, but in low light the image became quite fuzzy and grainy. In the very low light level tests, the image was useless.
The box talks about the included free SiteSpeed video conferencing software, and Orb2 software, but does not explain that these are subscription services. In the case of Orb2, a remote access system that allows you to access your home computer, the sign up process indicated that the first year of service is free. I did not utilize either of these services. The pictures on the box that describes the wide angle lens leads one to believe this camera produces a wide screen image, which it does not. The packaging also makes it appear that the camera will cover a 200º horizontal view, 105º vertical, but does not explain clearly that this is obtained by adding both the panning and wide angle lens features together.
The camera includes a very nice small headset which fits nicely, adjusts easily, and, in my option, is well designed.
At $149.95, this is the most expensive camera currently available within the general use home type cameras. Unless you are a dedicated Creative fan, my recommendation would be to go with the Logitech Orbit MP instead. The Orbit MP is less expensive, has a much larger image capability, and better quality images too.
See a 640x480 image taken under plenty of light