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Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Brisbane, Australia
Insane since: Apr 2001

posted posted 08-12-2003 23:17

I need to purchase a web camera but I have some rather bizarre requirements for it and was hoping some of the inmates could shed some light on this matter for me.

I'll be using the camera for an interactive installation work. Capturing the camera feed in my authoring environment isn't really a problem, but my budget for this is.

What I need is a cheapish USB web cam that can sustain a decent frame rate (decent being above 10 fps, higher if possible) at any resolution from 160x120 or higher. I picked up a Swann VersaCam for $70 AU and well, it sucks. I told the sales rep what I wanted to use if for before I brought it and he said that if it wasn't what I wanted I could bring it back for an exchange/refund so I'll be returning it tomorrow.

The problem is, there isn't really any way of knowing how the camera will perform unless I've tested it. The specs for the VersaCam said 640x480 @ 15fps and 30fps for lower resolutions but, it barely reaches 5 fps in any resolution even as low as 160x120!!! The only time it comes close to 15fps is when the camera is pointing at something *very* plain, like a blank piece of paper and even then any contrasting changes (like a moving shadow) slow it down to a crawl again.

So, I was hoping that some of the inmates here would have some experience with various web cams and how they perform. Know of any or own any web cams that can sustain a frame rate of 10-15 fps and above? Like I said, resolution and image quality isn't an issue here as I'm only using it to capture and analyse shadows cast onto a wall. But I need to do this all in real-time so the frame rate of the camera is the key issue here.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. =)

Edit: Just caught a webcam on eBay for next to nothing and I've dropped in a bid for it. It's a D-Link DSC 350. -- Performance: WebCam: 30 fps @ VGA (640x480), 32 fps @ QVGA (320x240). I've heard D-Link web cams should work well for the kind of stuff I'm trying to do, but even if this doesn't meet my needs, at least I won't have wasted much money on it. Anyone else used a D-Link camera before?

Edit 2: Been playing with the VersaCam a little more. Managed to get the frame rate up, but it'll only reach a usable level if the overall light level is quite high. Seeing as I'll be using this in a rather dark room (but not too dark) it still isn't going to be of any use to me. This isn't a common problem with all webcams is it -- the frame rate dropping to a horrid level when the light levels drop?... god I hope not.

[This message has been edited by Dracusis (edited 08-12-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Dracusis (edited 08-13-2003).]

Maniac (V) Inmate

From: California
Insane since: Jul 2003

posted posted 08-13-2003 07:41

I've been using an Intel PC Camera Pro for the past year, and I have to say that it's one of the better webcams I've used. It takes good quality snaps, but seeing as I use it only to take quick pictures, I can't say how well it performs with video.

Intel claims VGA (640x480) resolution, and 30 fps on the specs page, but, ahem...

*** Actual results and image quality may vary.

... so yeah.

Hmm, I'm not much help at all... You'll have to experiment.

[This message has been edited by ozphactor (edited 08-13-2003).]

Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Charles River
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 08-13-2003 08:28

I cannot help also.
My only experience with webcams was to use my cheap camcorder to set up a webcam. Although it's a cheap camcorder, it's obviously too expensive for a webcam. But it worked fine.

Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: KC, KS
Insane since: Nov 2002

posted posted 08-13-2003 13:50

I think there have been a few questions related to this in the past. Maybe browsing the archives will turn something up.

Personally I've had 3 different cams in the past. 2 have been Logitech and the other was an IBM. The IBM was a terd, I couldn't stand it. The Logitechs have always made me happy though.

I bought my current Logitech on a recommendation from Doc (unfortunately I'm on the road at the moment and can't give you the model) and it's a very solid cam. It wasn't too expensive either, I think it was around $80 but that was almost 2 years ago. The framerate is great and the picture is very good. I think it would be perfect for what you're trying to do.

Do some searches because I know I've named the model in the past. Good luck.


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