Approximate time to read: 3 minutes
With the arrival of my Dell PC running Windows 7, I had to wave goodbye to my Logitech Quickcam Zoom webcam. I’d had it for many years but Logitech had stopped providing drivers before Vista, let alone Windows 7. For the time being I’ve been using my daughter’s Quickcam Express (she doesn’t need it as her new laptop has a 1.3 MP camera built in) but it’s low quality image looks appalling on video calls. Which is, to be honest, odd as both have a 640 x 480 resolution. I suspect the Zoom was simply a lot better quality.
As I recently complained about on Twitter, the usual sources of reviews (magazines, websites) rarely seem to review peripherals – keyboards, mice, webcams, etc. I therefore found choosing a new webcam difficult. After much looking around the lesser-known brands in Maplins, I decided to stick with Logitech (the Microsoft webcams, which initially interested me, seemed to have erratic reviews from consumers). Now, choices of webcam seem to veer between cheap low resolution versions and expensive high definition versions. The best price-point I found was the Logitech HD C510, which cost £37.99 from Play.com.
The C510 has 1280 x 720 video and an 8 MP still photo facility as well as a built-in microphone. The “stand” twists around to grip most monitors and laptop and as the camera itself twists on the case, the stand can be used to cover the front for travel purposes. My monitor is quite thick (it’s a relatively old ViewSonic) and it struggles a little to hold in place. With the stand opened up the main part of the camera is less than 7 x 4cm with a thickness of less than 1cm. That’s pretty compact!
I think I’m going to start a campaign against over-packaging. At least Logitech haven’t tried to make claims about their “greenness”. Never-the-less, the webcam, even open, is quite compact yet the box is way too big for its purpose (it could easily be in a box half the size). The box contains, apart from the camera, a small padded carry pouch, driver CD and a thick manual in 1001 different languages (okay, 14). The manuals come in plastic bags, as does the camera, etc. The camera even has an extra wrap of plastic around the stand for unknown reason. If you’re supplying a CD, why not include the manuals on that? Or, better still, as the drivers on the disk are usually out-of-date, why not include a single slip of paper which includes a URL of where you can go to download the drivers, software and manual?
Anyway, back to the camera. The supplied software includes the normal Logitech video software which I find excellent – it’s now improved with easier uploading to Facebook and YouTube. Additionally, they provide motion detection software and others that can be downloaded. Additionally, an on-screen controller can be configured to appear whenever the camera is in use. They also try and include their own video calling software, but with Live Messenger and Skype all providing the same, I can’t see why you’d want to.
I’d make a video myself using the camera but, I’ll be honest, I’ve more of a face for blogging than videos. Having said that, I did record a video and a still from that video can be seen in the gallery below ((yes, it is a bit messy. It’s a busy family house, what more can I say?)). However, a video demonstration would be nice so, until I pluck up the courage and start video reviewing properly, I hand over this part to Chris Pirillo, who has reviewed the product on YouTube, using the webcam to make the video.
[review]An easy to use camera with good software and excellent picture and sound quality. One mark off, though, for it’s high price.[/review]