- Author: Michael L. Poe
Need a webcam for Breeze? Why would you?
Besides having your face appear on the other party's computer there's another thing it provides. A webcam with a built-in microphone eliminates the need for a mic on a stand or attached to a headset. It's one less thing to carry around. There are some really cheap (less than $30) webcams that don't have built-in mics, but they tend to include a headset with a mic.
This link is CNET's review of webcams sorted by Editor's Rating: http://reviews.cnet.com/4566-6502_7-0.html?sort=edRating7 desc
You'll note that the highest ratings are for older webcams. I have purchased for my office these since September 06 (all have built-in mics and their bases are designed to hang onto a monitor or laptop lid):
Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000 (for my desk)
Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 (for two desktops and two laptops)
and also a Logitech Quickcam Communicate Webcam (for a desktop)
At home I use:
Logitech QuickCam Communicate STX Webcam (my wife's laptop) and a Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 for my desktop.
The bottom line--they all work. The Logitech webcams are higher quality but they had a bad driver in early '07 and there were compatibility problems. That's been cleared up by a new driver release. The Logitech 5000 is a bit big to carry around with a laptop. All of the Logitech webcams have the same body style, but vary in size. I prefer the Microsoft LifeCam or the Logitech QuickCam STX for mobility. They are both smaller and easier to pack.
If I were to buy a webcam today just for a laptop I would get the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe.
The Microsoft webcams above work with all our Windows machines very well, but the ones we have do require manual focus. In some reviews, that's considered a plus. But it is hard to do with a webcam on a desktop display that may be beyond an arm's reach. If you lean in to turn the focus ring, your face (the thing to focus on) is no longer where it will be when you are using the camera.
None of these compare to real digital cameras for stills or camcorders for video, but someday the resolution will improve enough to be useful in that way, but not yet.
Some of the ratings are based on "video effects." I've found no use for any of them except for a few minutes of fun upon installation. I haven't found any use for them professionally.