Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000: Sale: (29%)

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Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000

By LF Shooter "Ted" (Pasadena, CA USA) - See all my reviews As a Linux user, I bought this particular model after reading several reviews & other info I found on the net that said it was Linux-compatible. I can say that it works just fine with Ubuntu Linux v8.04 ("Hardy Heron") and Ubuntu v8.10 ("Intrepid Ibex").

The easiest way to test the webcam is with Ekiga, the webcam-VOIP application that's bundled with Ubuntu (and is downloadable for other distros). I also subscribed to this (free) service, which also works just fine (and is supposed to be Windoze-compatible, too -- good thing, as my sister is a die-hard Vista-phile). Stepping through the Ekiga setup panels (subscribing isn't necessary to do this) allows you to configure and test the audio & video streams the webcam produces. Plus, once you've gotten that far, using it in Ekiga is sorta slam-dunk. I have no plans to use it with Skype; Skype uses a proprietary protocol, whereas Ekiga uses an 'open' protocol.

Note that under Linux, you will not need (and cannot use) the enclosed CDROM of Windows/Mac software. This webcam is UVC-compliant and works automatically with V4L2 (Video For Linux v2). Ubuntu 8.04 & 8.10 are both V4L2 compatible, so no holding your breath wondering if it will work. Boring old "plug-and-play"... You just connect the USB cable and Ubuntu automatically configures it for use. No drama.

Note that in order to configure Ekiga, et al, you will have to refer to the webcam's audio & video streams by their '/dev' (device) handles. To do this, you'll need to know which audio & video devices the webcam is using. To find out, open a Terminal window and enter "ls /dev/audio*" and "ls /dev/video*" and note which devices are already in use. Then connect the webcam, allow Linux time to discover and configure it, then repeat the "ls" commands. The new devices that show up are the streams that the webcam uses in your Linux. Write these down -- you'll need to enter these whenever you test, configure Ekiga, or otherwise need to configure something to use the webcam feeds.

As far as the product is concerned, the image quality is fine, the audio pickup is sensitive -- sometimes too sensitive, as we had feedback problems initially. You will probably have to move your speakers away from your monitor and turn them to point away from the webcam to eliminate this problem. The mount is somewhat funky, but it seems to work reliably, as it holds the webcam steady on different style monitors; it could probably be used as a stand itself. When used with Ekiga, all the controls "work", including changing the contrast, brightness, color tone, white balance, etc.

I have no need for all the "googie" features written for Windoze users, so that's no loss to me. I need a good, solid webcam that works p-n-p with Linux -- and this does the trick. Yet it would be nice if it had a zoom feature... Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to

By Martin A Hogan "Marty From SF" (San Francisco, CA. (Hercules)) - See all my reviews
My Dell laptop has a built-in web cam, but the resolution is only 640 X 480, which is fairly standard. It's a bit blurry and the color is off. It fine for basic communication, but I wanted something better. A friend has a `Logitech Quick cam Communicate STX' and I was surprised at how clear and non-blurry it was. I like Logitech, but wanted something a little sleeker that would just fit on my screen. The Pro 9000 is the answer and its easily rests on top of your screen or on its own stand.

Instead of the typical 640 X 480, the High Definition Video resolution is 1600 X 1200 (pixels) which is very good quality and much clearer. That's 30 frames per second! Now when you move about quickly, there is some minor blur, but for just sitting and chatting, it's great. The settings are easy to work and you can adjust the color, hue, white balance, etc. to your liking or your room lighting (fluorescent lights mess with the colors). It even has a `focus' feature that will follow you as you move around. A red square in the settings focuses on your head and if you move your head down to your keyboard or from side to side, it actually follows you. There is also a cool zoom feature that will zoom in and out on your face automatically. The auto-focus is very clear and the lense is made from an established company called Carl Zeiss - I guess they've been making lenses, telescopes, etc. for decades.

For still shots, the camera takes photos as high as 8.0 megapixels (like my camera). There are also a lot of extras that I don't use, like the avatars (shark, stick figure, etc.) that calibrate to your face. You can actually become a shark and it moves with your real movements. I think kids would like this. There are also filters to personalize your camera for viewing or for prints.

The best part is that it's easy to set up and use. Remember though, that the quality of the video transmission is only as good as the lesser of the two viewers. If you're talking to someone on a lower end laptop, the transmission quality is less. However, two of the same web cams will give you both the same quality. The extras are okay for kids, but it's the quality of the video that I was after. Plus the price is good.

P.S. I use 'SKYPE'.

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