Christmas came a little early in the form of the LifeCam Cinema computer camera. This thing is pretty sweet. This camera replaces my old VX-3000 camera. The long cylindrical design is a refreshing change from the standard round cameras you typically see. With style aside, the real improvement comes in the form of the video and audio quality. Its not quite full HD, 1080P, but the 720P sensor is definitely an upgrade from the usual 640×480 resolution.
I used to Skype to do some real world tests with the camera. During the first call the other person saw a significant improvement in video and audio quality. During the second call the other person said that the video wasn’t improved much, but the audio was much better. One thing to keep in mind is that Skype will degrade the quality of the video if the connection is slow. This kind of explains the second call because it was over a slower connection than the first one.
As expected when recording locally the video and audio is significantly better. I used the software that came with the LifeCam to do a recording and it was like moving from standard definition tv to high definition tv.
One issue came up during the Skype calls, at close range the auto focus was being a little funky. It would continue to change focus and aperture and never settle on a good setting. When I moved back from the camera it stopped acting wacky and was really good for the rest of the call. This seems like a software setting that might just need to adjust, but it was pretty annoying. Could be a software bug too. We’ll have to see if it gets resolved with a new release of the LifeCam software.