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The Hardware

For this project, I’m going to need a microphone and a webcam.  So, why not both in one?

Doesn't Completely Suck

I bought a pair of these cheap-o webcams with mics at Office Depot a few months ago, because they were cheap and small and I thought that maybe I could use them to build a 3D video camera of some sort.  Since that time, they’ve been sitting on the floor next to my computer, under a TV tray holding an Odyssey 2 system that I haven’t put away since I wrote about K.C. Munchkin! and Pac-Man a while back.

I finally opened up one of them today and plugged it in and was fairly amazed that the camera didn’t completely suck.  In fact, it seems to be the best quality webcam I’ve ever bought.  Maybe there’s been a sudden leap in webcam quality over the past few years that I haven’t been aware of, but the previous ones I’d bought, even the one that was supposed to be good, were merely producers of 320×240 blurriness.  This thing can take 1.3 MP pictures that turn out better than the first digital camera I had.

The picture above was taken using it.  It’s pretty good, even in these non-optimal lighting conditions.  Previous webcams would only be a blur without a 17 million candlepower halogen lamp melting the face off the subject.

Of course, it’s still a webcam…  This thing won’t hold a candle to my Canon SX10.  But still, for a bargain bin impulse buy, I’m impressed with it.

At least, I’m impressed at the moment.  As I use it an discover that it has some annoying limitation, I may change my mind.


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