Purchased December 8, 2008 $93.99
I am impressed with this camera. Fantastic images. Great color. It even took my extreme daylight test with very little overexposure (clipping).
I want to compliment Microsoft for being totally honest with the camera specs. They clearly indicate on the side of the box that the lens is only sharp between 21 and 60 inches. All fixed focus lenses have an optimum focal range, but this is the first time I have seen anyone list the numbers.
Microsoft engineers have come up with an innovative mounting system with this camera. The camera body has a magnet (the lower round opening with a ring around it as seen in the above picture) that goes all the way through the body. Included are several mounting devices. A desktop stand that is about 11 inches high, a thin screen clip, and 2 self adhesive attachment disks (about 3/4 inch across) that can be stuck onto the front or back of a notebook. When the camera magnet is attached to the stands the magnet holds the camera in place. It is a wee bit low in griping strength, but I find it totally sufficient to hold the camera in place, unless the kid or cat is pulling at the cord. Swiveling the camera around this semi-sphere shaped mount, you can adjust the tilt, side to side swivel, and vertical swing enough to solve just about any non-straight issue.
While it doesn't specifically say so on the box, it appears the LiveCam Show is UVC (USB video class) so it works right out of the box with no drivers. When a camera is rated as UVC, it uses standard drivers built into Windows (XP service pack 2 and up) which seem to be much more efficient than many of the drivers installed by the cameras. So I was able to run several cameras simultaneously with them only using a fraction of my CPU's capability compared to other cameras.
However, be warned, I am finding many cameras can't be used in groups due to some conflicts within the drivers. Sometimes you can get several cameras working together, other times a second or third camera won't load the drivers. No way to know which combination will fail until you try it. Of course the vast majority of you will not be trying to plug 6 different webcams into the same computer at the same time. Does that make me a nerd? Also, on some cameras, you will not archive all the camera's features without the camera specific drivers or applications installed.
It has a fairly wide angle lens so it shows quite a bit of the room.
I get the impression this camera is aimed at the business person who wants to put on a live webcast or to project their image on a big screen during a lecture or teleconference. However, I think it makes a great camera for home use. It will definately become one of my favorite home cameras, although I probably will not use it for showing the outside due to it not focusing clearly for showing scenery.
|Sample images showing how this camera performs under different lighting conditions|
Image resolutions avaliable on this camera