posted 10-29-2002 01:10 PM PT (US)
People have frequently asked me that question and I don't know the answer. However, I've got four webcams which I'll give little reviews on:
3com HomeConnect Webcam
Smacks (Crank) did lots and lots of research before choosing the 3com webcam and then recommending it to me. It's an awesome webcam and the best that I've seen.
* It's a low light cam which will make it appear that your room is completely illuminated, even if it is pitch dark other than the light coming from your monitor - and the colors will appear correctly.
* It's fairly inexpensive, I think - it cost around $125 when I bought it at least 2 years ago.
* It seems to me that it has an excellent picture
* It uses it's own drivers - it doesn't use " Microsoft WDM Image Capture " - so it and other webcams can be accessed at the same time on the same computer.
* 3com changed their business strategy to only focus on business related products, not home products - and they've stopped making the cam and have dropped all support. There are no drivers for WindowsXP.
* Because it's a low light camera, it adjusts to the light - and to do that quickly you need to have the camera software ON TOP of your other windows. Unfortunately, if you cycle cameras, this camera will have to start adjusting to the light each time you cycle back to it - which means that it's going to start dark and require the software to be on top in order to it to get the light right. Oh well.
Intel Pocket Camera
The Intel Pocket Camera doubles as a cheap digital camera and it takes short videos. That's kind of cool. Unfortunately (I think) some quality is lost in the photos to make up for the increased features. Other similarly priced Intel webcams that do NOT double as digital cams have MUCH better pictures, even in low light.
* About the same price as the 3com
* It seems to take a pretty good picture, but nowhere near as good as the 3com
* It doesn't focus well close up.
* It's not very good in the dark
* Intel doesn't make their drivers or software available for free download - if you lose your disk, you're scr*w*d.
Logitech Quickcam Pro 3000
Not the best image in the world, but it does OK.
* Under $100
* Look at the photo, judge for yourself. :0)
CompUSA No Name Brand
This cam I bought just because it was inexpensive - I thought that having a cheap cam would be better than no cam at all (when I get my network back up, I'll have a cam on each computer on each floor of my house).
* Inexpensive: $19.99!!!
* You have to ask?!
I have to admit, the Intel seems to give the best pic in the above photos, and it does tend to give nicely colored pics if the light is high enough, but I'd recommend staying away from Intel, simply because of their software policies.
If anyone knows of a webcam, other than the 3com, which does NOT use the "Microsoft WDM Image Capture" driver (or whatever it is), please click the "Contact Us" link at the bottom and let us know what it is, eh?
ps: I was chatting with Smacks while posting this - he's put his 3com in the closet and uses his Intel PocketCam now. Go figure.