Product: Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000
Provided by: Logitech (http://www.logitech.com)
Reviewed by: Alan Wong
Webcams are often regarded as vapid little white balls with a lens plunged into its center. Visually, the Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 does nothing to shake this perception. Despite its innocuous appearance, this webcam is not a knock-off; packing such features as high-resolution still-shots, a built-in microphone, and motion-detection software, the QuickCam Pro is nothing short of a high-end, we-cut-no-corners webcam.
Although many might think, based upon appearances, that the QuickCam Pro 4000 is like every other webcam, Logitech has come a long way from when they started making webcams. To show how far Logitech's webcams have come, I compared and contrasted the QuickCam Express (released June 22, 1999) with the QuickCam Pro 4000 (released August 26, 2002). Although the adage that newer is better holds in this case, the juxtaposition between the picture-quality of the two webcams is staggering.
This is one of the first webcams made by Logitech, the QuickCam Express.
Most of the camera is covered in silver. Other parts of the camera, such as the focus ring, microphone, part of the stand, as well as the snapshot button are in black. Enoguh about the looks, now lets start the testing….
Installing the QuickCam Pro 4000 was a breeze. All I did was plug in the USB cable into my USB port, and WindowsXP automatically detected it. However, to utilize the camera to its full potential (video recording, high resolution snapshots, etc), you would either have to install the included programs from the CD or download the latest drivers/software from www.logitech.com. After setting up the program, I rebooted, and after a few procedures in the installation software, I was able to start using the camera. I only took about 5 minutes.
Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro Motherboard
AMD Athlon XP 2800+ (Barton Core)
PNY GeForceFX 5200 8x
Patriot 512 MB PC3200 DDR400
Western Digital 200GB Hard Drive w/ 8mb Buffer (Model WD2000JB)
Lite-On LTR-40125W 40x12x48x Burner
PCMCIS 2008G ATX Case (300W)
QuickCam 8.0.3 Software (Very easy interface to use)
Direct X 9.0b
The microphone in the QuickCam Pro 4000 is built above the lens and right above the LED light for the camera. Contrasted to the traditional microphones that have long stretched necks, this one is built-in, and saves space. Also, unlike the traditional microphones, this one does not lose its performance when dust gets in it, since the microphone only consist of a small hole. It was exceptional: it can record at high volumes, and is so precise that one can record whispers when within two and a half feet. However, I do have one complaint: when you set the microphone to record at the maximum volume, there will be a moderately loud background fuzzy sound, but the intended recorded sound recording is still audible.
The microphone consists of the small hole, which is quite amazing, since it takes almost no space at all. Pictured above the microphone is the snapshot button, which I will explain in the "Other Features" part of the review.
The QuickCam Pro 4000 can shoot at up to1.3 megapixels (1280x960 pixels: 160x120, 320x240, and 640x480 modes are also available). Although the QuickCam Pro 4000 has a 1.3 megapixel resolution, the picture quality is still below that of a true digital camera (such as the Sony DSC-P71, set to 1280x960, which I used to see the differences). Considering the intended market, the still-picture quality is pretty good at its highest resolution. With regard to the lower resolutions, I opted not to test at 160x120 because it's so small. I used the zoom function with the other resolutions, and as it is merely a digital zoom, and not optical, the pictures come out considerably more pixilated.
On a lower level, the QuickCam Pro 4000 can also capture snapshots at 160x120, 320x240, and 640x480 resolutions. Since 160x120 is so small, I decided to not test the image quality, since it is difficult to see the quality of snapshots at such small resolutions. Also, there was a digital zooming feature, so therefore I utilized it while taking these pictures. When zooming in, since this is digital zoom and not optical zoom, the actual lenses does not move physically. It just magnifies the picture digitally. When enlarged, sometimes the snapshot becomes pixilated, meaning the quality became poorer, since the quality had to compensate for its enlarged size.
320x240 Resolution (500% Zoom)
640x480 Resolution (500% Zoom)
The QuickCam Pro 4000 also has a feature called "Face Tracking," which sets the camera to follow the movements of your face. Since the camera does not move physically to trace your face, it can only follow your face so far. It is a pretty advanced feature nonetheless, and I was quite impressed. The camera "follows" you, through the processes of zooming and cropping the picture and enlarging it. When your face gets too close to the camera, it zooms out. When you get a little far from the camera, it zooms in. Basically, if you are not too close or too far away from the camera, it won't do anything except sit still like a normal webcam.
Here are some pictures:
320x240 (No Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (No Zoom) Logitech QuickCam Express (No Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (260% Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (420% Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (No Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (260% Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (420% Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (No zoom) Sony DSC-P71 (No Zoom)
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 (No Zoom) Sony DSC-P71 (No Zoom)
For quality, you must give up performance and vice versa. When shooting at the maximum video recording resolution of 640x480, the Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 can only capture 15fps (frames per second). That means that the physical motions being recorded will no be that smooth. When recording at 320x240 resolution, it captures 30fps (frames per second), which means when recording motion, it is much smoother. So what this means is this: If you record a larger video size (640x480), it won’t look as smooth. If you record at a smaller video size (320x240), it will look smoother. For some people, you might not be able to tell the difference between how smooth the 640x480 runs and how smooth the 320x240 runs. In that case, I would record at 640x480. For those picky, sharp-eyed people, it depends on whether you want to focus on smoothness or video quality. I recommend recording at 320x240, since motion is much smoother and you can enlarge the video if it is not big enough. Enlarging the 320x240 video looks better than a 640x480 video, since the 320x240 one will look a whole lot smoother. Also, you can use the built-in microphone in conjunction with the video recording.
The QuickCam Pro 4000 also has a snapshot button, which can be used rather than having to use the software to capture images. This is useful for those that prefer to literally point and click.
Also noteworthy is that the webcam is extremely flexible; I was able to rotate it a full 360 degrees, and also tilts up a maximum of 45 degrees and down 45 degrees. Like most other webcams, it is compatible with MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger. When testing, the video was not smooth, but that is the fault of my internet connection, not the webcam’s. Most people that use the webcam to video conference will usually not have smooth videos, since it would take too much bandwidth to upload the video.
After running several tests, ranging from sound, to snapshots and video recording, I can attest to the Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 being well-rounded. With a built-in, high-quality microphone, high resolution snapshots, video recording, a convenient snapshot button, rotational head, and a sleek design, this webcam is top-notch. Given its small size, even while including a microphone, high-resolution videos and snapshots, it is my pleasure to give the QuickCam Pro a 8/10.
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