MicroSoft LifeCam Cinema HD Webcam - Good Things Come In Small Packages!
Takes video and audio clips, photos. Auto focus, 5x zoom, noise-cancelling microphone and more
None that I experienced
The Bottom Line:
For the price and size the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD Webcam is a powerful and versatile piece of technology.
I had been tossing around the idea for quite some time that I might want to purchase a webcam. I had an opportunity to do some video reviews; and a couple of the survey sites I frequent had asked if I had a webcam. I have a digital camera; but it’s very old and can only take videos of 15 seconds or less. Video reviews have to be at least one minute in length. I have seen videos on YouTube taken with a FlipCam; and they are excellent; but I didn’t want to have to spend over $100. After my usual in-depth research, I decided on the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD Webcam (H5D-00001). This is the best web camera in the LifeCam line. If I’m going to purchase a piece of technology, I know that it’s going to be outdated before it even leaves the warehouse, so I want to buy the best that I can afford.
When the package arrived and I opened the box, I was really surprised to see how small this unit is (approximately 2-1/8” long)! I grew up in a time when computers took up an entire room, so I’m still a little in techno-shock when I see how far electronics have come. Search as I might, there was only the webcam, an installation disk, a hazards pamphlet and a little red booklet that had just a few sentences of instructions. I just knew I was going to get stuck not knowing how to do something…but I was wrong.
Installation is not much more than installing the software from the disk provided, inserting the webcam connection into a USB port when prompted and positioning the webcam on the computer monitor. Very shortly I was looking at my ugly mug on my monitor's screen.
Auto focus - Takes shots at distances of 21"-60"
High quality glass lens for more true-to-life colors and sharper picture
Clear-Frame image-processing technology-16:9 widescreen (71 degree) 720p HD video at up to 30 frames per second. This feature provides detailed video, even in low light conditions. I was amazed at how well it works with just the light from a table lamp and without any graininess.
Digital 5x zoom
Digital, noise-cancelling microphone - It picks up sound extremely well for such a small unit.
TruColor Technology - Adjusts exposure automatically for the best and brightest color.
Windows Live Movie Maker - Edit, etc.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
Take photos at an amazing 8mp with one click and then share with family and friends or post on a social site.
Windows Live Call Button makes video calling simple.
Aluminum body construction for lightness and durability
Flexible stand - Get the best angle for your shot. Fits any notebook and desktop PC.
LifeCam Dashboard - Control all functions and add Special Effects. Special Effects include Alien, Wide Eyes, Small Head, Small Nose, Large Hair, Orange Monster and more. Want to entertain yourself for a few minutes? Click on some of the buttons and watch your image change.
With one click you can capture a photo, audio or video clip. Nowhere in the information provided or on line did I find anything that stated what the maximum video length could be. I called Microsoft and was advised that it was limited only by the free space on your hard drive.
You can also control the microphone volume, choose photo and video resolution, brightness, minimize image flicker, check on line for updates, zoom in or out and move the image up, down, right or left.
When you are done taking your video, for example, it will be in the bottom bar of the Dashboard. Hover the mouse over the clip; and it will give you three options: make a movie, send in e-mail or add tags and share. Click on the file folder on the Dashboard and your photos and clips will be displayed so that you can access them to save in another area of your computer, post on YouTube, etc.
I have taken a short clip of one of my dogs to show you how clear the video is and have posted it on YouTube. I adjusted the brightness up and down so that you could see the versatility of this function. The video is a little shaky and amateurish because I was holding the webcam in my hand. I was about 18 inches from the microphone. My dog was no less than 10 feet from me; and his image is relatively clear. I have put newsprint up to within a few inches of the screen; and it was clear. The specifications state that videos and pictures can be taken from a distance of 21”-60”, so I will not guarantee that it can do any better than that – I am only telling you and showing you my personal experience.
If you'd like to see the sample video, please copy and paste the following link to your browser:
This webcam is optimized for Windows 7 and Windows Live but will also work with Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Skype for messaging and video calls.
I couldn’t be happier with this webcam; and I know it will continue to serve me well for years to come.
Thank you for reading.