[AI] Webcams with muscle

renuka warriar erenuka at gmail.com
Sun Apr 6 02:54:07 EDT 2008



Date:06/04/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/04/06/stories/2008040655761300.htm 
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Front Page 

Webcams with muscle 

Special Correspondent 

Bangalore: Webcams - those still-cum-video cameras that one stuck on top of the PC monitor - have always been poor cousins of dedicated digital cameras.
One spent as little money on them as possible - and increasingly portable PC such as the laptops and notebooks came with built-in webcams so one made the
best of what one got. 

This was fine till you needed to use the camera for some serious application such as web conferencing. One had to live with jumpy, poor quality visuals.
Perhaps not anymore. 

Switzerland-based Logitech, best known for PC peripherals such as keyboard and mouse, has lifted the lowly webcam to a whole new class by going for the
best - optics-wise. 

The company has partnered with Carl Zeiss and harnessed the superior optics of their Tessar lens and the autofocus capability that comes with it. The Hindu
has tried out the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 and the QuickCam Pro for Notebook - the specifications are identical except that the latter is easier to fit
on a portable PC. 

The software works with Windows XP or Vista and the camera is plugged in a USB socket. The webcam takes both still and video pictures and while the box
may speak of 8 megapixels. This is a bit of creative marketing since the basic resolution is 2 megapixels and the rest is made up by what is called interlacing.


Even 2 MP is generous for webcams and will give decent still print quality when most webcams out are usually good only for posting on the Web (at 72 dots
per inch). However, the Zeiss optics and the autofocus feature ensures that if you have the camera pointed at yourself it will show you bright and clear
even as you move around the laptop or PC. 

Perhaps the other breakthrough here is in the video capture quality which at 1,600 by 1,200 pixels qualifies as high definition. The QuickCam Pro is rightly
named; the video quality is something that only professional video conference services normally provide. 

Considering how much one has to pay for these, the investment in the QuickCam Pro 9000 in either version at Rs.6,495 might not seem too much. 



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