Pros: USB 2.0
basic surveilance for neiborhood dog and nanny cam
Cons: no night vision
no auto focus
web interface for remote viewing
As the title suggests, this was extremely easy to set up, once I found the correct driver and read through the manual for Windows 7 found on Logitech's website.
I am using Windows 7 Ultimate and the package recommends WinXP/Vista so I was hesitant to open the box.
Windows 7 proved to be an asset when automatically finding drivers for my old video capture hardware (Pinnacle dc10 ), so i felt it would be fine to use this newer USB device.
I installed the driver and capture software from the above URL(50mb)and during the installation, it asks you to connect the webcam. Once it was connected the software installation was a breeze and no reboot was technically required to start using the software and webcam.
I am not one for video chat, so the main reason for this device was to monitor my yard to find out which dog in my neihborhood is doing its business. The last thing I need is my 16 month old to play with the mess left behind.
After my smooth installation, I toyed around with the settings and the camera itself. The webcam sports a 1.3mp camera for both still and video. The best looking video is taken at 320x240. When increasing the capture size, it looks as if the software just performs a digital zoom and seems more pixelated and less clear. Be sure to focus the lens first!
The still capture can be done with a click of the mouse within the software or by pressing the button on the webcam. The stills are of 1-2mp and up to 640x480 vga quality like you would see on an older cell phone. Be sure to focus the lens first!
The options for the webcam are pretty robust for a consumer webcam. One, for instance, is the ability to record up-side down and mirror the capture. I used this function, since the only way I could mount my camera to monitor my yard is up-side down. The activity light has a green LED and can be turned off.
I think the best option aside from auto white-balance and lower light enhancement is the motion sensing ability. This allows you to record only when something is moving in front of the camera and not fill up your hard drive by recording all day. The motion sensor is adjustable to allow the webcam to start recording with a small bit of movement or when there is a lot of movement. When using VLC for playback, a motion sensing option is available to see what motion is visible.
Although I have not tested its functions with the IM applications, it supposedly works with skype, Yahoo, MSN, etc. I use Trillian, so I will test that when I can get a chance. The Audio/Video mute allows you to choose a personal photo or a default photo to display in your absence and the Video Effects only work while in a chat session.
Audio only works within 3ft. of the camera, so if you are sitting further than that away from the webcam, good luck capturing any audio. With the included Headset/Microphone, this shouldn't be an issue.
Saving is a breeze when you choose custom folders for your stills and videos. Theoretically, if you are connected to a network/website share as a mapped drive on your PC, this would allow you to view your image/video repository online throughout the day.
I would include an option to allow for night vision and charge an extra few dollars for the "upgrade". There is an online tutorial on how to modify your out-of-warranty webcam for night vision.
Although manual focus has it's benefits, autofocus would be a nice feature that could be controlled by the software.
Computers keep becoming smaller and smaller and it would be nice to have seen a built in interface for remote viewing/control even with an "upgrade" charge.
The manual is extremely limited and I am unable to find detailed information about the full functions of the software.
Overall, this is a very handy webcam and reasonable in price ($20-$34). The functions should show that Logitech did a great job in it's design and usability for the common user. I will be recommending this to my friends that do chat.