Cheap Web Cam?

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Looking for a cheap web cam that I can use for Skype on my desk top.

Here is the tricky part, the wire(s) need to be at least 5 ft long.

Re: Cheap Web Cam?

On 10/28/2011 11:28 PM, Ron wrote:
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There's cheap and there's inexpensive.  I find that buying the cheapest
thing has a high probability of wasting your nominal investment.  I
bought one of these relatively inexpensive webcams for about the $24
it's going for now:

...and have been happy with it.  Unfortunately, I cannot accurately
measure the cable at this moment, but the specs say it has a 5' USB
cord.  At any rate, you can buy extensions for a few bucks at monoprice.

Re: Cheap Web Cam?

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Thanks. Looks like a good choice.

Re: Cheap Web Cam?

Ron wrote:
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You can extend the reach of USB with hubs and wires. Depending
on the web cam power consumption, it might be done with a passive
hub (for 100mA electrical loads) or an active hub using a power
adapter (for 500mA electrical loads). So there are ways to extend
a product to the desired cable length. Using a powered hub ensures
it never lacks for power. A passive cable of 5 yards in length, plus
a powered hub, means you can be 5 yards from the computer (but still
constrained on being within wall adapter reach of an AC power socket).


A more important question, is whether there really exists a webcam,
that gives a decent picture.

I spent $100 on a webcam. It offered 1280x1024 resolution and claimed
30 frames per second. But it turned out, those were mutually exclusive.
If you select 1280x1024 resolution, it slows down to 5 frames per second.
And under low light conditions (which is most of the time with web cams),
it is also around 5 FPS. This hardly makes for a very comfortable
interactive session. Under high illumination (50W halogen near my face),
I might see 640x480 at 30 FPS. In other words, getting decent performance
from the camera, is not a casual thing - it takes preparation. And
lighting you, without blinding you, isn't easy either.

So you'd be looking for a webcam that advertises "low light", but you
might still be illuminating your face with a halogen lamp, to get
better performance (so that Skype is the limit, rather than the camera).
You would likely be better off with a camera with fixed 640x480, as
there are fewer driver issues and resolution selection issues if the
resolutions offered are more fixed.

Due to the "profit incentive", there is no interest in the manufacturers
using a decent sized sensor in webcams. Perhaps some other kind of camera,
has a webcam operating mode, and that would allow a better quality experience.

But based on wasting $100.00, I will not be buying any more webcams !!!

So unless you can find a reviewer who promises stellar results, from
some new miracle camera, don't waste your money.

Even if a camera has infrared LEDs on the faceplate, and promises to
illuminate your face for you, this is not a solution to "Crappy Webcam"
performance. It's still going to be crappy, only with an overlay of
uneven illumination from the LEDs. You'll just look a bit more
blotchy to the person on the other end of the line.


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