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Old August 13th, 2006, 05:46 AM   #1
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HD webcams

Hey,
just entered "HD webcam" into Google (why do I do this!) and found out about the new range from Logitech. Details at the moment seem sparse, but in brief:

Model = Logitech HD Quickcam Ultra Vision.
Sensor = 1.3 mgp.
Lens = plastic and glass elements (f1.6 for low light).
Microphone = built-in. Uses "RightSound" technology.
Price = $130 -- £80 or £100.
Availability = August (haven't seen it for sale yet though on any site).

Model = Quickcam Fusion.
Sensor = 1.3 mgp.
lens = ?
Microphone = built-in. Uses "RightSound" technology.
Price = $100 -- £70 or £80.
Availability = August (again, haven't seen it for sale yet).

The video format sounds vague: "support for HD video format"; "double SD webcams"; "widescreen HD". I am asuming datarate and format may be less than ideal, I know nothing about the sensor, and I also asume this is a USB 2.0 webcam. However, it might be a cheap basis to experiment with previously mentioned webcam mods, such as taking the sensor out and sticking it behind a real 35mm SLR lens for a better image. Or, it might be a complete waste of time! Other manufacturers must surely join in too, so there might be other "HD webcams" coming along soon...
John.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 02:55 AM   #2
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John, have a look on the last couple of pages of my technical thread, I have investigated this and posted threads on it. I have found raw uncompressed modifications to webcams used in astronomy.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=63837
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....&postcount=470
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=63677

I don't know what the current HD webcams do, but the Logitech ones I saw were 15fps, and I have been thinking I could just use a 50% transmission mirror, and use two cameras synchronised to get more than 15fps. The limitation might be the sensor, but I have seen encoding chips for these cameras restricted to 15fps. I expect this will change some day not to far away as 15fps is awful and newer broadband will do 20mb/s+ in the cities. I expect that high quality full speed webcam is totally desirable in future. Until then, would it not be better to use the Elphel, Zolt is on the thread getting a 353 camera prototype in a couple of weeks by the looks of it.

I did find another webcam camera that advertised 26fps I think, then 24fps, then the engineer told me it was a mistake and it was 15fps (?).

I have not been pursuing these bayer webcams, I have my eye on something else.

There is a $75 dollar handheld game system that would be good if the camera is mpeg4 or more (as it uses USB1.1). It could be attached to it's USB port and the video saved on SD card. Just saving and displaying a compress screen, and camera control does not require too much processing power. This is just a cheap option, plus cheap webcam. There might be something with USB2.0 around, as I just listed in the Elphel thread. Cameras with Wavelet 2D/3D compression are worth a look at.

http://www.gamepark.com/xgpkids.htm


Have you managed to contact Ben?


I wish you luck with this. If it is what you want to do and you can prove that it produces good performance, don't worry about other people, just go and do it. I might have a proposal for you, but I will have to think on it.


Thanks

Wayne.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 08:04 AM   #3
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Microsoft 1.3MP HD 30p video Webcam VX-6000

Well, here is what you are looking for, does 30fps, and I expect more cameras sometime. Hopefully the compressed quality will be good enough.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...337#post535337
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Old September 1st, 2006, 05:24 PM   #4
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Here's a review of the VX-6000 with some test footage. Even if it's downsized, the image looks blurry and interpolated (even though MS states that it doesn't interpolate to HD). I'm not impressed. I don't think that the bad lighting is the reason for the bad quality.

I get the feeling when reading the test that the reviewer doesn't know a lot about cameras. He discusses bandwidth use and other stuff and says that the image quality is great. Maybe for a webcam, but it still looks very bad for being HD.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 09:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Jakobsson
Here's a review of the VX-6000 with some test footage. Even if it's downsized, the image looks blurry and interpolated (even though MS states that it doesn't interpolate to HD). I'm not impressed. I don't think that the bad lighting is the reason for the bad quality.

I get the feeling when reading the test that the reviewer doesn't know a lot about cameras. He discusses bandwidth use and other stuff and says that the image quality is great. Maybe for a webcam, but it still looks very bad for being HD.
Thanks Carl, but could you post the link.

I heard assertions that it was basically the same camera as the 3000. It could be VGA, unfortunate, but until I see what sort of interpolation it uses I cannot be certain. It is not just poorly done Bayer interpolation?

The camera is only a starting point, for most of us a good webcam, for some of us it might be programmable to much better quality. Unless a better camera turns up, or it turns out that there are reasons that make it a poor choice, I am interested in getting it. So, any review link will be most appreciated.


Thanks

Wayne.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 03:48 PM   #6
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How stupid, I deleted the link when editing an error in the text... I'll try to find it again, the reviw was writte by a guy in an army suit. Meanwhile I keep searching for it, you can have a look at this review, also with clips
http://www.everythingusb.com/microso...m_vx-6000.html
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Old September 5th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #7
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Existign cmaera, and new Artray 5Mp camera.

The footage doesn't tell too much. It is compressed at around 3Mb/s, so looks terrible. Even when the guy blinks there is major blocking, and hardly anything else is moving. There will be a 20mb/s Internet service rolling out locally sometime (and speeds do reach something like 36mb/s on some services). So, 3mb/s is relatively low for what 50% of US/AU (and probably many others around the world) people will be able to achieve shortly.

The latitude seems down, but it could be from the codec. Signal to Noise is probably down, as the shadows show noise. Interpolation, could it be because of the compression? More samples will be able to tell more.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, as it doesn't tell use what can be done. It could be like most USB2 cameras we use here. For me I suspect that it is workable to a good camera, though the coloring leads me to believe that possible the Bayer colors are not pure.


New Artray Camera

I was emailed yesterday about another USB camera that will have SATA interface. 5Mpixel and respectable frame rates. I suspect the price may be closer to $1K though. it is still under development.

http://www.artray-ap.com/download/AR...I-brochure.pdf

Re-edit: current USB2.0 version (which is not suitable because of low frame rate) is around $750, similar to what the Elphel will do. The SATA version, would be more.

The Future

I haven't been able to raise John here, or by email, so I suspect he has lost interest (or never got my email). So, who is goign to do any of this. I am prepared to keep examining cameras, and see if anything nice comes up, but with my disability I am cutting it too close to do much more.

John

Last edited by Wayne Morellini; September 5th, 2006 at 12:19 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 01:30 AM   #8
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Hi, Sorry to ask this silly (or even stupid) question. But what has webcam or security HD camera got to do with mini35 adaptor? I read alot of this on this and other forums but I am still trying to catch the drift of it. Please enlighten me if anyone care to. Thanks in advance.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 12:14 PM   #9
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Well the Alternative imaging forum includes all sorts of alternative imaging devices. I've said that Mini35 adaptors need their own sub forum, but it hasn't happened yet. Unfortunately, a sub forum for alternative Digital cameras would be unsustainable given the current laps in interest this year.

What it is about is putting together our own cameras (preferably at a cheap price) that will offer better picture and compression quality then all normal video cameras under $15K. This makes a nice picture that is suitable for new HD Disk formats,high end TV formats and cinema. Unfortunately everybody concentrated on film, which is an ideal, but not the reality for most people, then something that could match and beat ENG video cameras. This Webcam stuff (if possible, and I am even looking at buying a Sigma camera, or a number of other things instead) is just an interesting project to see if we can get better than HDV camera quality. The Webcam would need a 35mm adaptor of sorts.

This sort of stuff is goign to die down even further unless Elphel or the Web cam comes through. The current camera from these projects is the Silicon Imaging one in the SI sub-forum.

View the cameras as the back end of a 35mm Adaptor for a complete package.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #10
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Wayne -- sorry, been busy and haven't looked in on the thread lately. Can't remember what email address I joined DVInfo with but you can get me on <spottidog10@hotmail.com>. I so admire the fact that you keep on keeping on, rooting out unconventional imaging solutions, or unrelated combinations of technology which can give no-budget directors the chance to make better images by making their own cameras! I was going to reply to Alex but you've put it so well already. As for me, I'm getting a computer built to make a short film with the Sumix M73 (using uncompressed Bayer RAM recording), and will keep abreast of the situation with these latest $100 HD webcams which, with some mods, might become serious tools -- or simply an ultra cheap way to make unique "impressionistic" movies. I also try to keep an eye on the video recording capabilities of cheap digital still cameras (and their continuous shooting speeds) since they have good lenses. You said you are "even looking at buying a Sigma camera" -- do you mean their DSLR with the three-layer chip? You are right: the target for much of this quest is "better than HDV". When DV first came out it was so exciting (so much better than what you could buy before, better than it had a right to be, and digital), but I was never convinced by HDV. To be a camera outsider can be a rocky path, but much of what I've read on Alt Imaging has saved me from buying an HDV camcorder and feeling that I've somehow let my film down!

Regards,
John.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #11
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Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the response. I now know what you mean. I have infact seen the HD camera being mounted on the MPIC device created by DAN. Its small and easy to handle. Much smaller than the MPIC. I think this is going the way of more professional film making and I think it is good cos this sort of thing will definitely drive down the cost of HD devices and make it available to the masses. It should be that way. Keep up the good work guys. And thanks to John all the same.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
As for me, I'm getting a computer built to make a short film with the Sumix M73 (using uncompressed Bayer RAM recording)
Sumix originally were to make a three chip compressed camera head suitable for our purposes, then nothing. Did you hear anything in correspondence with them? Everybody that I have talked to, that has had bought Sumix cameras and talked to them, clams up about this.

Quote:
You said you are "even looking at buying a Sigma camera" -- do you mean their DSLR with the three-layer chip
Yes, I am hoping the new camera has HD recording like the cheap Sanyo, but preferably at least H264 18MB/s+. I am interested in stills as well. It is possible, the chipset is cheap, and at the price of a the DSLR, and given their format, it is not really competition for the HDV/AVCHD cameras, so I am hoping it is possible. I would hope that they had a RAW video mode too, because the pricing is well in the realm of Industrial cameras anyway.

Quote:
To be a camera outsider can be a rocky path, but much of what I've read on Alt Imaging has saved me from buying an HDV camcorder and feeling that I've somehow let my film down!
I have a luxury of what to do, but if you got a job at the moment, then a Sony HC1 is better than nothing. At 35mb/s and H264, I believe things have come of age. Next years Panasonic 100Mb/s H264 Intra, I expect will be a step down from visually lossless, but good for most purposes.

Don't anybody out there wait around like me, past the delays, obstructionism, and other negative stuff of manufacturers, my circumstances are unique and I can afford to (barely). The industry has been dragging it's feet as each manufacturer has it's go at carving out a market niche. The cameras I was waiting for never appeared, one at a time, and that is the real reason for the delay, a lack of really suitable cameras.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 12:52 PM   #13
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I originally joined because of the alternative imaging section. It is a shame it has been so quiet recently.

The microsoft HD webcam does up to 1.3Mpixel video at up to 30fps. But I have the sneaking suspicion that is does not do 1.3Mpixel video at 30fps.

Can anyone allay my fears?
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Old September 7th, 2006, 04:49 AM   #14
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At 3mb/s, it doesn't matter. But I am interested in the max quality settings, and if RAW is available. I am especially interested in PAN/Tilt for some applications.

With the forum, it is just a matter of refinement, and more products for completeness. So, 35mm adaptors, better adaptors, different types of adaptors, different adaptors, more camera equipment (like follow focus) cameras, more production equipment. Quiet a lot can still be done.

A FAQ here, or Wiki, to accurately and completely record all the information and technical variation, using a tree like structure with hyper links. This cuts out the need for a lot of repeat question and traffic, and makes it easy for people to find. People can do an entry about something they found, and start a thread to discuss it.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 05:08 AM   #15
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Another WebCam...

http://www.akihabaranews.com//es/new...lo+webcam.html
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