Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Consumer Webcams With High-Quality Sensors?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-mandate-from-the-masses dept.

Input Devices 218

xmas2003 writes "Since 2005, I've had a live webcam watching my grass grow — another is currently watching a bird nest on my front door — five babies! While I appreciate the 802.11g wireless and Pan/Tilt/Zoom (10x optical) of the five-year-old D-Link DCS-6620g, it has issues, especially image quality. I've investigated getting a new webcam, but except for high-end/security-related gear from companies such as Axis, there doesn't seem to be much improvement in the consumer space, as most offerings are just cheaper and USB-connected for tethered video conferencing, etc." So where, the reader wants to know, are the high-quality, reasonably affordable webcams? (Read on below.)"I have an 18 Megapixel Canon 7D DSLR that shoots gorgeous 1920x1080x30p hi-def video. While I don't expect that in a consumer webcam, their recently released T2i uses the same chip and sells for $800. And heck, point-n-shoots are a couple of hundred bucks, and now many cell phones have cameras built in, so there're plenty of low-power, speedy CPUs in small packages these days to handle the signal processing. So why hasn't someone taken a sensor with good image quality, downsized to around 1024x768, and put it in a PTZ webcam package with 802.11n wireless for around $500?" Even if it's not that exact combination, what are the best options going these days for high-resolution webcams?

cancel ×

218 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Great question (2, Interesting)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103758)

Especially with the advances in storage technology, it would seem like higher resolution for security purposes could sometimes be handy, certainly enough to justify paying at least a modest premium over 10-year-old technology.

Re:Great question (4, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103936)

As with so many things, it's easier and safer for the companies to keep pumping out the same old products. Any innovations that do come about are pushed straight to the uber-niche end of the market where an extra few hundred dollars doesn't matter.

Luckily (and a little unusually), however, there are two pretty simple DIY option in this case. The first is to get a point-and-shoot for $200, load a custom firmware (I know some Canon models are particularly good for this) and write a quick script to take a shot every 'x' seconds, then throw in an Eye-Fi SD card to grab the pictures wirelessly. I haven't used an Eye-Fi card myself, so I don't know what happens when it gets full - maybe add another script in the camera to wipe the card every day or something.

The second is to get a firewire camera. No wireless on this option, but many consumer camcorders support firewire for control, not just for data transfer - I was using these years ago as extra high quality options for video conferencing, but I see no reason that they couldn't be rigged up for stills too.

Re:Great question (3, Informative)

spacey (741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104068)

From what I remember, the eye-fi doesn't delete content locally, it just uploads. so you'd have to play around with some way of having the modified firmware delete the oldest N photos or something.

Ahh... it seems that the newest cards will auto-delete: http://www.dpreview.com/news/1001/10010501eyefiprox2.asp [dpreview.com]

-Peter

Re:Great question (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104104)

I've researched the Eye-Fi units, and some of the newer ones claim to automatically clear off images once they've verified that the copy is complete.

About the only real issue is power. Most cameras in that class could take maybe a few hundred non-flash images (and the Eye-Fi is probably going to cut into that BIG TIME) and can't take external power supplies easily.

Still, a very interesting thought.

Re:Great question (2, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104332)

Most cameras in that class could take maybe a few hundred non-flash images (and the Eye-Fi is probably going to cut into that BIG TIME) and can't take external power supplies easily.

It might limit your choice of cameras slightly, but there are actually plenty of point-and-shoots that can run from AC adapters. The prefix that Canon uses for the kits is 'ACK [google.com] '.

Re:Great question (2, Informative)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104642)

The battery for the Canon SD1100 is pretty good, it can go for about 1200 no-flash shots with the display turned off, (and thats with the cheap dealextreme knock-off batteries) but the highest rate i can get for timelapse is about 1 shot every 4 seconds-and thats without a break to transmit the image to a computer.
The Canon point and shoots I've worked with all have an option for an external power supply, but its a hard to find proprietary adaptor that is way too expensive (can cost about as much as the camera itself)
The cover for the battery compartment should have a tiny hole with a cover (a door-within-a-door) The power adaptor is shaped like a battery which goes into the camera, and the wire goes through that little hole in the battery cover, and into the wall.

That would be a fine solution (about $500 for camera, plug, and wireless SD card) for high quality (well beyond 1080p) stop-motion or timelapse footage, but I don't know if CHDK +Eye-Fi cards would work with continuous streaming video. At the highest quality, your 2 GB card only holds 17 minutes of 640X480 30p video.
You MIGHT be able to write a script to record video in 5 minute chunks, send, erase, record, etc. I'm not sure. I've only worked with BASIC scripts, more might be possible scripting in Lua. that might be better than timelapse, but it would still be intermittent video with long breaks between each scene.

We've all been there... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103778)

HQ, reasonably priced wireless webcams to be easily stashed wherever I please? I've had that dream as well......

Oh come on now. (2, Funny)

rachit (163465) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103780)

Watching grass grow? Watching birds? Tell us *really* what you are going to use the webcam for...

Re:Oh come on now. (4, Funny)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103822)

Hey, every growhouse needs a security/monitoring system. Gotta watch that grass grow and make sure no one steals it.

Re:Oh come on now. (2, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103830)

Welllll ... the webcam is also used to broadcast Halloween Decorations [komar.org] and Christmas Lights. [komar.org]

MY EYES!!!! (5, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104028)

The goggles do nothing!

that site (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103784)

can't be from 2005

Re:that site (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32105014)

Site changed, webcam did not?

trendnet IP-TV252W and IP-TV512P (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103788)

trendnet IP-TV252W and IP-TV512P are decent POE cameras at relatively cheap prices. one is a pan tilt dome the other is not. interfaces well with linux systems and work really well. not especially high rez but pic quality is decent for $250 or so..

Re:trendnet IP-TV252W and IP-TV512P (1)

cyprezzz (110690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103880)

Are these cameras stable? My experience is a little out of date, but last I used Trendnet cameras they needed to be rebooted every couple of weeks.

Re:trendnet IP-TV252W and IP-TV512P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103900)

yeah. mine are fine after 3 months or so uptime (did a fw update 3 months ago, no crashes).

Re:trendnet IP-TV252W and IP-TV512P (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104408)

trendnet also has a megapixel version :
http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?prod=170_TV-IP522P&cat=147
and a night version :
http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?prod=110_TV-IP301&cat=147
252 is only in non megapixel format but has low light capability with delayed shutter :
http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?prod=160_TV-IP252P&cat=148

Re:trendnet IP-TV252W and IP-TV512P (2, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32105062)

Does it provide video of enough quality that it would stand up in court as reliable evidence of the creeps who might break into my house again this summer? I'm shopping for a reliable camera rig & recorder for just that reason and I can't believe how timely this article is to me.

WiFi router with USB + external webcam (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103790)

Some routers have external USB ports (typically meant for storage); some of them have the possibility of using quite "normal" Linux, and hence all the drivers it has. So just connect a good quality webcam (note: you might need powered USB hub)

Or even connect Canon digicam with modified firmware [wikia.com] and/or use app or script (there are *nix CLI ones) which can control such cheap camera.

(cheap & energy efficient Atom nettop would be fine too, of course...but WiFi routers are somewhat closer to the "independent" webcams you mentioned)

Re:WiFi router with USB + external webcam (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103858)

I'm not the submitter, but I also want something like he describes. I happen to live on a road where we get a fairly large number of accidents during the winter - four this past season on my front yard.

I don't want to hack something up personally. I just want a plug-and-play webcam - it should require power only, after I've configured it. I'd put it in my window during storms and that would be it.

While hacking up solutions can be fun, they often don't make for low-profile, portable and ignorable devices.

Re:WiFi router with USB + external webcam (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104484)

I've been looking to set up some sort of ZoneMinder [zoneminder.com] system...and am also looking for some good quality wireless cameras that are compatible with this system.

I need lots of coverage...that isn't really good for wired units (2x story house, front, back, inside...etc). I saw a wiki once from their site, but not the main cameras that seemed to be good quality, are kind of $$.

he wanted a pan-tilt-zoom one (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104168)

Apparently you missed the fact that he's looking for one with pan-tilt controls as well as zoom.

Re:he wanted a pan-tilt-zoom one (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104438)

He only said he "appreciates" this feature in one webcam he has; but no mention when specifically asking for something better...and is pan-tilt really that usefull for watching grass and birds grow? (zoom can be certainly controlled, too)

Re:WiFi router with USB + external webcam (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104248)

note: you might need powered USB hub

You can get USB cables that have a third connector to supply additional power. Hook one of those up to a power adaptor with a USB output (get 'em on ebay, they're quite cheap these days) and no hub is required.

HAND! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103792)

Argh! a hand almost grabbed those birds!

Slashdotting in 3... 2... 1 (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103794)

Since you've just posted a link to your site containing large jpegs, I must assume that either you're not paying for bandwidth, or that you're really, really new around here! Or, quite possibly, you are attempting to test the performance of your server under heavy loads.

Re:Slashdotting in 3... 2... 1 (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104162)

On the flipside the little birdies are cute and i enjoyed the buzz light-year doll.

Re:Slashdotting in 3... 2... 1 (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104680)

Well, the worst that could happen is that visiting the site will feel like watching paint dry [watching-paint-dry.com] .

Tech used by upskirt peeps might be what ya need (1)

irreverant (1544263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103798)

I don't want to be crass, but some of the video technology those guys sometimes girls use are high quality tech.

I think I just found a time machine (5, Insightful)

Mabbo (1337229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103802)

I think I just found a time machine to 1997.

Re:I think I just found a time machine (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103998)

geocities is back... with a vengeance!

Re:I think I just found a time machine (3, Interesting)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104044)

Nah, his scam [ethicsscoreboard.com] was a little more recent than that. I knew I remembered that site from somewhere.

Re:I think I just found a time machine (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104174)

Very interesting, and a good catch. Looks like /. is going to feed him some more advertising revenue.

Ethics HERO three years later (4, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104264)

Followup three years later from the Ethics Scoreboard [ethicsscoreboard.com]

Alek O. Komarnitsky
(December 2007)

This is a first: an Ethics Hero who emerged from the shadow of an Unethical Website designation. Back in 2004, Alek O. Komarnitsky received national attention for a whimsical holiday website that allowed people all over the world to turn his Christmas lights on from their home computers. Everyone had fun, which was clearly Alek's design. Still, when it became known that his site was a hoax and that the lights going on were only an illusion, the Scoreboard weighed in with the opinion that perpetrating such a large-scale deception was wrong, no matter how well-intentioned. Alek objected, and has maintained a spirited defense of his stunt in e-mail exchanges with the Scoreboard. But you can't keep a Christmas spirit down. At a significant cost in time and money, Alek figured out a way to really let people all over the world turn on his lights, at http://www.komar.org/cgi-bin/christmas_webcam---the [komar.org] very same site that the Scoreboard previously deplored. He has done this for a couple of years now, but has added a new feature in 2007. To quote Jolly Old Alec himself "There are three live webcams and X10 powerline control technology system so web surfers can not only view the action, but also *control* the 17,000 lights. Heck, you can even inflate/deflate the giant Elmo, Frosty, Santa, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer SimpsonWhile people around the world (157 countries last year) enjoy seeing the lights ON, environmentalists will be happy to know that they can turn the lights OFF with a click of the mouse. Better yet, this is the 4th year I'm using 100% Wind Energy and even though that is "clean" energy, I even did a Carbon Offset contribution for the 0.61 Tons of CO2 for the ~MegaWatt-Hour of power consumed; that's about the same as one cross-country airline trip. Finally, by providing viewing via webcam, you don't need to burn fossil fuels by driving around to see Christmas lights - Al Gore would be proud! But HEY, the $3/day in electrical costs are well worth the joy it brings to people (especially the kids) when they see the display in person and/or on the web. And new this year is a Hi-Def option, so gather your family around the large screen" The website, Alek reminds us, is free, and also exists to raise awareness of Celiac Disease,which afflicts his two sons as well as many others. He says his lights have raised nearly $20,000 for the cause. I've visited Alek's site, and it is fun, and you can turn the lights on and off, as well as inflate and deflate Homer. You win, Alek! The Scoreboard hereby pardons www.komar.org, and declares you a true Ethics Hero, and a damn persistent one, I must say. Thanks from all us kids, and a very Merry Christmas to you! You've certainly earned it.

Wow, bad website design... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103806)

Aaaggghhn...

Oh dear. My eyes. I'm going to have a lie down.

Re:Wow, bad website design... (2, Funny)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103902)

Your eyes? What about your ears! MIDI music on a website from 2005, imagine that.

Simple. Don't use a webcam. (4, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103808)

I have a 3CCD camcorder with a USB webcam mode. The image is stupid-high quality. Of course, it wasn't cheap and that's not why I bought it but it's a nice added feature. Just about any mini-DV type camcorder will produce a better quality picture than any webcam and many of them are in the $100-200 range. Find one with a webcam mode and you're set.

and what do you do for pan-tilt? (3, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104192)

The original poster is looking for a replacement for a camera that has pan/tilt/zoom controls.

Re:and what do you do for pan-tilt? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104536)

I'll admit I didn't read the entire summary. Too many of them wordy things. But there are pan/tilt tripod heads. Gotta be some that can be controlled thru the entarwebs. Or MacGuyver a camcorder to the pan/tilt mechanism of his existing camera.

Stop being obsessed with pan tilt (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32105080)

Professionals don't use it nearly as much as they used to these days. They use high resolution and wide angle lenses instead, and do PTZ in software. PTZ was important when your video frame was 480x320 or suchlike. Now you shoot 5 megapixels and pan and zoom digitally.

Re:Simple. Don't use a webcam. (1)

Mirar (264502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104904)

I checked for that some year ago. None (!) had a webcam mode. Best they could do was to play the DV tape over USB. Maybe the market is different here... :(

Your website is so awesome..... (3, Funny)

TheReverandND (926450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103838)

It has crashed my browser (Chrome) 3 times. Congrats.

Re:Your website is so awesome..... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103892)

That's what you get for using a shitty browser.

Actually, his website IS awesome. It can handle slashdotting with no problems. Nice bandwidth and low resource usage web app :)

Re:Your website is so awesome..... (3, Funny)

MarbleMunkey (1495379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104222)

In soviet Russia website slashdots you!

Re:Your website is so awesome..... (1)

irreverant (1544263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104064)

Chrome?! Now that's funny!!!

Re:Your website is so awesome..... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104366)

Ha Ha. Your browser sucks. All it did to me was freeze my browser for 30 seconds while I feverishly pounded on the close tab key. Two seizures and a puddle of vomit later, the window closed and the browser stayed up. Thank you, Firefox!

Re:Your website is so awesome..... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32105044)

Opera handled it OK. The site even popped up a Javascript window letting me know that it knew I was using Opera.

quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103842)

Get an Axis, it is well worth the difference in price. And in addition the Axis cameras run linux :-)

Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103856)

1995 called. It wants its website theme back.

Re:Ugh (0, Troll)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103916)

1995 called. It wants its website theme back.

Indeed. The eye-bleed quality of his web site design brings into serious question the validity of the poster's inquiry.

Your question is your answer (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103864)

I guess the market has not grown because of the tiny percentage of people (not including corporations) using pan/tilt/web-addressable web-cams, most are not really concerned with high-end image quality. They just want to watch birds or use it for home monitoring. A guy in my office has one watching the river behind his house (it floods often). The people who really do want/need the high-end stuff are more than willing to pay big money for it.

Logitech (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103872)

Logitech has some webcams with a pretty decent sensor. Don't remember the model name right off the bat, but you might check out their product line.

Re:Logitech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104100)

Yeah, the QuickCam 3000 for business is fairly recent and much better (relatively speaking) than most webcams I've used. I mainly like it for the way it filters out fan noise rather than image quality, but it's a hell of a lot better than older ones in the latter respect as well. Very cheap OEM.

Re:Logitech...NEVER FORGET (3, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104370)

Sure, current Logitech webcams are rather decent (though at most quality levels you can get something cheaper usually (*)); but don't forget that Logitech, being the longtime "leader" of webcams, is almost single-handedly responsible for their stagnation which lasted almost a decade and was interrupted only recently. For almost 10 years they sold to people the same entry level (and most people will of course pick that one) basic design, price and poor quality. Leaving people disgusted with what can be "achieved" by their new webcam...

(*)unless of course you want to use Skype HQ; which is, with willing cooperation of Logitech, restricted to only few webcam of the latter; which only makes things worse in my eyes. Otherwise it's often a safe bet that, say, a Creative webcam will have better quality/price ratio (and understand fully what it means for me to recommend something from Creative - I will never forgive them for Aureal)

no market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103874)

So why hasn't someone taken a sensor with good image quality, downsized to around 1024x768, and put it in a PTZ webcam package with 802.11n wireless for around $500?

Because the market for what you're asking for is miniscule. Any company that did that would probably sell a few thousand units over the course of a year.

Re:no market (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103918)

Because for $500 I can get all that and a phone with Android OS installed...

Probably a trivial way to access it over the internet, too...

Re:no market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104968)

Brilliant. Pay a large monthly fee to "trivially" access it over the internet. (No, not really. You're going to have a hard time finding the right IP address to connect to. And you will probably be firewalled out)

A SERIOUS SOLUTION (2, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104590)

Re:A SERIOUS SOLUTION (2, Informative)

Nalarik (181576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104796)

The BB series are considered Commercial IP Network cameras, but are excellent, used them at a pervious employer.

Would recommend checking out the Residential IP Network Cameras from Panasonic, most of those run around 200$.

yikes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32103882)

I can't believe I clicked on that grass grow website.
That was awful!
The colour scheme almost gave me a seizure and that retarded lawnmower/cursor made me want to stop using the internet completely.

I don't know (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103908)

Why "security" cameras(ie. webcam and some sort of TCP/IP speaking computer in the same box, often with goodies like 12/24 volt tolerant GPIO, POE, and weatherproof housings) have largely lagged; but the situation isn't nearly as dire if you are willing to do a touch of DIY.

Between the substantial increase in the number of ~$100 webcams that actually work with UVC drivers and have image quality that doesn't suck, and the availability of highly capable SBCs like the Shivaplug for not much more, you can get an ugly; but surprisingly functional, setup going for ~$300 and a little linux fiddling.

The other option with good price performance punch is taking advantage of all the DV video cameras that are being upgraded by their owners, or have shot tape-transport mechanisms. All but the ghastliest DV cams will outclass virtually all webcams in terms of optics and sensors, and they all connect via firewire in a standard way. A bit bulky; but if you go after stuff being dumped by "HD" enthusiasts, or hardware with broken tape parts, you can get fairly serious image quality for peanuts.

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema (1, Troll)

vbraga (228124) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103912)

Take a look at Microsoft LifeCam Cinema.

http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/digitalcommunication/productdetails.aspx?pid=008 [microsoft.com] .

Re:Microsoft LifeCam Cinema (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104006)

Personal experience : The equivalent Logitech camera is way way better than the Microsoft one.

Re:Microsoft LifeCam Cinema (2, Informative)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104126)

I second this. The Cinema HD is head and shoulders above the old Lifecam's, and better than anything else I've seen on the market (to date). Catch it on sale you'll pay $50. (And it's easily disassembled for hacking/repurposing.)

Re:Microsoft LifeCam Cinema (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104856)

I've just watched three youtube videos recorded with this camera, and the audio quality is terrible. It sounds tinny, and worse still, there's this high pitched noise over the audio that hurts your ears. Also, I'm not particular impressed with the white balance. The colors are too cool.

incorrect terminology (2, Informative)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103914)

A "webcam" is typically a USB camera you attach to your PC to do web (video) conferencing.

An "IP cam" is what you're thinking of, which attaches directly to the internet without a separate host.

Now, someone will probably follow up and tell me that "IP cam" is an overloaded term as well.

DD-WRT and a higher-resolution USB webcam? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103928)

For example: http://www.everythingusb.com/microsoft-lifecam-vx-7000-14105.html [everythingusb.com]

Or use a point-and-shoot with a webcam mode.

That said, you'll likely have to massively trade off frame rate for image quality, particularly when you're dealing with an embedded CPU doing the compression.

Roll your own (2, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103934)

I've had some of those expensive Axis/Canon PTZ webcams for work. Pretty sweet what you can zoom into.... we could read license plates off cars in the parking lot outside the office building windows.

I think your best bet would be to attach a $100 USB Logitech Orbit to a $200 nettop, perhaps running off an SD card. There are fairly good Linux drivers (including rudimentary PTZ) and fairly decent optical quality for the Logitech webcams (compared to those D-link webcam things, which I've also learned to loathe). So you could get 1280x960 stills at low frame rates (sounds good for what you're doing) and also 30fps 640x480 video, plus audio. If you stick it on a beefier machine, you could even do mpeg4 encoding and streaming using VLC or something.

Re:Roll your own (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104516)

If you really need the pan/tilt features, an Arduino and a pair of servos could give you those features for under 50 bucks.

USB + disposable laptop? (2, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32103942)

Has anyone tried the linksys N [google.com] ?

Other than that, I've attached a QuickCam Pro [google.com] to a dedicated $50 laptop, and left it running. The whole setup cost about 130, and provided decent low-light performance for the time.

To infinity and beyond. (1)

ardyng (973980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104002)

Ahhhhh! Buzz light year!

Device driver (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104018)

Watch the device driver support, I port a cheap Net cam, only to find it didn't support Linux or XP 64 which are all I use. The cam was useless to me.

bad comparison (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32104030)

your little page compares a web cam to a DSLR. In other news, a Corvette smoked a Ford Focus on I95N today, film at 11.

astro or machine vision? (1)

BabaG1 (1613555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104042)

what about looking into something made for either machine vision or astrophotography? there are some very nice, very simple cameras for those purposes.

Buzz Lightyear (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104052)

I saw that. didn't grab a screenshot in time tho...

i'll be waiting...

NOT: Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 (2, Informative)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104074)

I'd love to know also. I bought a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 for about $100 to test out for my White Dots (www.whitedots.org) project, but it had very disappointing performance in low light levels (the only ones that matter for me). Distant planes disappeared in a sea of multi-colored noise.

ahem... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104982)

project

performace

low light levels

Distant planes

Would you mind giving some of your identifying information to that kind gentleman in the suit who is standing over your shoulder?

Correction - you will give your identifying information to that kind gentleman over your shoulder.

Re:ahem... (1)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32105098)

Yes, that occurred to me too. I just have this feeling that if I ever get this project truly off the ground, somebody's going to use it to spot UAVs in Afghanistan and I'll suddenly be a terrorist.

3 steps. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104092)

1. Buy a smallish, cheap digital camera that has good resolution and a USB connection. 2. Buy a tripod. 3. Attach camera to tripod, attach camera via USB cord to computer.

Step 4 -- the software on the PC (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104208)

Is there some software/standard which gets cameras to snap a picture?

100Mbps (1)

NU11B (1600097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104146)

So, if my math is right, you have a 100 Mbps and each image is near 35KBytes. So, with 1k users streaming that puts your total usage at 17.5 MBytes/s, 40 Mbps over your cap... Inc overages!

Canon VB-C60 (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104172)

I like the VB-C60 by Canon.. PTZ, 40x zoom, low-light, etc. http://nuspectra.com/ [nuspectra.com]

Re:Canon VB-C60 (1)

ekgringo (693136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104786)

Wow, the picture quality and responsiveness looks awesome. Unfortunately it's $1429 or I'd be all over it (even though I'm not currently in the market for one).

USB limit (1)

Mooneyj (1563525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104186)

Surely there is a limit to what can be sent over usb. Assuming 20fps, 60MBytes/s max (usb 2.0 transfer rate, 480Mb/s), 16bit colour. We have 2bytes per pixel, 3 MByte available per image, so 1.5Mpixel limit to video.

How do I turn off your sound? :) (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104292)

I realize it's unrelated to your search for a webcam, but ... how do I turn off the sound on your page!?

dslr as web cam (1)

digibud (656277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104308)

Unless I'm mistaken, Canon dslr's won't allow you to leave them on 24/7 and would not work for a continuous-on camera, which is a typical requirement of a web cam.

Get a generic UVC 2MP webcam and a long USB cord (5, Informative)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104356)

Not completely appropo, but sometimes you can find what you're looking for by trying out the not-so-obvious solution.

First, go to your local computer store and get a few generic UVC webcams.

While you're there get a few long USB extension cords. You can get an active one that will let you put your camera a few hundred yards away if you like, or a passive one that will get you to thirty or forty feet.

Now go home and plug in all your cameras, one at a time. You can plug in as many as you have USB ports, and, don't worry, no drivers needed.

For Windows, visit this site to download the "MJPEG Surveillance" program: http://www.brooksyounce.com/ [brooksyounce.com] . Install it and run "MJPEG Recorder," click the right mouse button, and choose "Add New DirectX Camera." This program will let you adjust most of your camera's parameters including frame rate, and even motion detection and how long to record after motion stops. Jack up the resolution to the highest your camera will support since you're not going to want to record full-motion video in a surveillance situation. Be sure to set the JPEG quality to an acceptable level and put a time stamp in the corner, too, that you can read and won't get smudged by the JPEG compression.

A couple of gigabytes of free space is more than enough to record days of 1280x800 at 85% JPEG quality and 1 FPS. Experiment. The motion detection is key.

For example, at my local Micro Center, you can get a typical, generic UVC 1280x800 webcam for $25 or less. Try the WinBook WB-7144 HD Webcam 2-Pack for $40 or $25 for just one camera. In any case you should not pay more than $25 for a UVC webcam. These cheap units do 1280x800 at 30 frames per second and have autofocus, too, which is unbelievable at this price point. For discretion you may wish to disable the LEDs by disassembling the camera (they pop apart after unscrewing the base) and with a needle-nose pliers remove the two LEDs.

The quality is good for daylight, and rather grainy at nighttime. At these prices, experiment and have fun!!

Videoconferencing cameras (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104380)

There are pretty good HD cameras used in videoconferencing that are affordable.

Try this company (2, Interesting)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104398)

I have several infrared high resolution closed circuit security cameras at my home from this company which works well for me www.supercirucits.com. They have some high resolution webcameras that you can see if it works for you http://www.supercircuits.com/search?keywords=ip [supercircuits.com]

Re:Try this company (2, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104562)

"I have several infrared high resolution closed circuit security cameras at my home from this company which works well for me www.supercirucits.com. They have some high resolution webcameras that you can see if it works for you http://www.supercircuits.com/search?keywords=ip [supercircuits.com] "

Do they work with Linux?

Wireless Webcam? (1)

Gnubman (1595653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104432)

My question is well related to the original one posted: I'm currently looking for a way to use a webcam wireless for our conference room. Currently we have are using a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 with a long extension cable. We video conference with Skype, Adobe Connect, and Microsoft Office Communicator. The USB cable has to go. We tried a wireless USB hub, but it doesn't support webcams. Having a battery powered solution would be great, but if we can get our webcam stream back to the PC wirelessly, our engineering team tells me they can come up with a battery solution. I'm open to just about any solution that will work with the programs above. Keeping this below $500 would be good as well. Thanks!

Switchout the wireless... (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104466)

If you want High quality you're not going to get it with wireless.

Switch to Firewire or traditional capture cards and zoneminder ( www.zoneminder.com [zoneminder.com] ) bluecherry.net sells capture cards that are compatable with zoneminder and the alternatives, and even have their own distribution of Linux for zoneminder.

You will be glad you did, and wonder what you did without for so long.

- Dan.

Re:Switchout the wireless... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104604)

"If you want High quality you're not going to get it with wireless.

Switch to Firewire or traditional capture cards and zoneminder ( www.zoneminder.com ) bluecherry.net sells capture cards that are compatable with zoneminder and the alternatives, and even have their own distribution of Linux for zoneminder.

You will be glad you did, and wonder what you did without for so long. "

I posted earlier about wanting to do a zoneminder project.

My problem is...running THAT much wire all around a large house/yard to the one server in my office.

I was looking for a wireless solution for that if possible?

What lengths of wire, and how many cameras do you support with your setup?

Just Ordered A LifeCam Cinema (4, Informative)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104492)

After scouring the web for reviews I ordered the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema this morning for $50 from Amazon. It shoots (widescreen) 720p high definition video, is manufactured with all-glass lenses and performs great in low light situations. I was wary of buying a Microsoft product, but the camera is UVC and works out-of-the-box with Linux. Can't wait to get it.

Use a Mini-DV camcorder (2, Informative)

Thurmont (712483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104564)

While using Skype one day I stumbled upon the fact that my nearly 6 year old Panasonic Mini-DV camcorder (PV-GS120) will function as a webcam when it's connected via Firewire. It provides picture quality at or better than an expensive USB webcam, functions well in low light, and has zoom and infrared auto-focus. Turning the built-in LCD around towards the front provides a "view my video" function freeing up my monitor to just display the other party. True, it's not "HD" quality but it serves a new purpose using an outdated camcorder I just had sitting around.

vivotek (1)

nblender (741424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104580)

Similar to the Axis cameras, I have 2 Vivotek IP7152's streaming video to zoneminder running on an Ubuntu box in my basement... One is across the street in my neighbor's garage window facing my house, and the other in my livingroom window facing my neighbor's house. Across the street I have a Yagi pointing at my house and in my entry way, I have an omnidirectional antenna hooked up to some LMR-400 leading to a DD-WRT access point downstairs. The two cameras talk to that.

Performance is pretty good except at night... I have the cameras set to switch to 'night mode' at night which means B&W and no IR filter... Unfortunately, if someone walks past, across the street from one of the cameras, all I get is a few frames with a blurry person in various stages of walking... Night is when I want clarity... My guess is I need a better lens or at best, more clue.

Horrible website (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104708)

Seriously, what's with that annoying moving lawnmower following my mouse cursor around?

Ahhh watching grass grow (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 4 years ago | (#32104726)

I have spent many an engineering lesson on watching-grass-grow.com. Maybe I need to go outside more?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>