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Old 6th September 2012, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default Advice needed on a PC webcam

I'm familiar with old-fashioned camera equipment but never used a webcam, and need to buy one to use with Skype. I'm a psychologist and need to talk to clients and look decent and professional while doing so. So looking for something better than just a cheap wide angle lens - something that would give a more realistic head-shot. This may mean mounting a camera a little further away to get a less extreme wide angle shot.

I'm open to any ideas. I have a Mac Mini. I could buy new or used, and could try to set up something like a GoPro or video camera for streaming. Quality on a budget would be nice. Right now I could do with a lot of basic information - I've never used a webcam!
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Old 6th September 2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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I've had a few cheap webcams and they were very ordinary. I Bought a logitech Pro 9000 a while ago and it is dramatically better! I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a non-wide angle webcam. By their nature they are usually placed on the monitor of the computer (which is generally close to the user) so they need to be wide angle to get the person in frame.

The pro 9000 is very sharp (though occasionally it can get confused with the autofocus) it also is very good with challenging lighting conditions. I believe that it is also skype optimised (though I've never used it with skype).

The only other thing I would say as a negative is that it has a pretty ordinary base so it can be unstable sitting on things.

Check for mac compatibility I have a vague recollection that there was a mac specific model.

Tony.
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Old 6th September 2012, 11:50 AM   #3
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I use one of these

CREATIVE LIVE CAM OPTIA VF0270 on eBay!

They're pretty cheap, and have manual focus (by rotating the silver lense thingy). IMHO, the manual focus is better than the autofocus that does, as noted above, get confused occasionally.

The packaged software also allows a variety of adjustments to the picture, but straight out of the box it works well.

I don't know about Mac compatibility, but it definitely works with Skype.
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Old 6th September 2012, 12:17 PM   #4
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Mac compatibility will be an issue with Creative - I found these posts:
Bought a Creative Live! HD non-AF for £40. Works a treat video wise, not tested the sound yet

I can't get Safari/Skype to recognize my old Creative Labs webcam.
Creative Worldwide Support > Web Cameras Drivers. not a single driver for OSX. They were all windows drivers.

At any rate after much more digging I was able to find a way to get it work. Thanks to the crew at sourceforge someone developed a component for quicktime (drivers <sort of>)... macam : USB webcam support for Mac OS X . They were developed by 3rd party since the manufacturer and dont technically support a lot of webcams. Download there file and copy the macams.component (or very similar name- only one **.component file) into ~library/quicktime. After that my camera started working right away.
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