We could never imagine that a Web camera could be such a cool device. The previous cameras that we've seen from the first days of the Internet usually showed a rough, grainy image and the quality was very poor. QVGA, or 320x240 was once considered as a good resolution. Creative Labs changed these odds with its Live Opti Cam AF camera.
AF stands for Auto focus and with the little help of face recognition software the camera will try to focus on your face and follow you across the room of office. This usually works quite well and it really makes quite a difference compared to cameras that don't feature AF.
The camera has an optical resolution of 1.3 Megapixels and the company picked the quality sensors for this small device. The camera will show a lifelike picture both in good and poor illumination. Usually, a lot of cheaper cameras will show a great picture in the daylight, but the picture quality will be heavily distorted and noisy during the night. Well Opti AF camera doesn't suffer from this problem.
With the help of interpolation the camera can calculate up to 8 Megapixel images but as this is purely a software feature, so the picture will look quite bad at 8 Megapixels.
The camera itself looks really good, it is designed well, it just looks great and it will fit on every LCD. The black color fits the camera and the blue illumination when the camera works is a nice touch.
The USB cable could be longer, but 1.5 meters should be enough for most of you. If you try to connect the camera at USB 1.1 port it will work, but the quality will suffer tremendously, so we recommend using it as a USB 2.0 device only.
The camera comes with Creative's stereo earplug headphones and a small microphone and the quality of both is really good. This cable is really long and it will be enough for everyone.
The camera takes a few seconds to boot and we would love if it would turn on faster. It especially needs a bit more time if you want to record Video.
The CD drivers are outdated and you will have to download new ones. The first revision of drivers under XP had a big issue with Skype but the new driver solves it. There is a vista driver available and it works really well.
The biggest plus of this camera are Video FX effects that the camera can do. It will render cartoon-like eyes, add cartoon-like glasses or make your face looks like that of a tiger.
The options are almost unlimited as you can go online and download even more of these plugins and make your conversations really funny.
These options works with both MSN Live and Skype and it's really fun. The only saucy thing about the camera is its price. It will cost about €70 and this is usually a bit more than you usually want to give away for a camera. Still, it is kind of a see it to believe it device and it will produce really quality pictures and at the same time it will add the fun part of communication. It will be good for both serious business people who are after quality and the young population who are after some fun.
This is the best Web camera that we laid our hands on. It has Auto focus that works really well, 1.3 MegaPixel native resolution and 8 MegaPixel interpolated, which will be good for anyone. It can record video, it has great sound and the most important has a great external design and the most fun Video effects we've seen so far.
We would like for it to boot a bit faster, as 2 to 3 seconds is a bit too long. You rather want to see your camera feed instantly when you click on it and we simply don’t understand why you have to wait for it.
It is quite an expensive camera, which will set you back over €60,- but this is certainly a Ferrari among Webcams and you will definitely get top quality for your money. You can find it here.
We can highly recommend it.