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A while ago, having a webcam was considered a luxury; nowadays, with VoIP technology and the instant messenger boom, the peripheral ceased to be considered superfluous and became almost essential in this world of social networking, online dating and virtual meetings. Gone is the time of sphere-shaped webcams that blurred the user’s face – now the market has some pretty advanced choices, like the top tier option from Logitech, the QuickCam Pro 9000. Among its several advanced features, it captures high-definition video and compensates for poor lightning. Let’s first describe the product and then proceed to our test.
The camera itself has a horizontal body, with the Carl Zeiss lens to the left and the mic on the right. There’s a button beside the lens to manually take pictures and an illuminated circle around Logitech’s logo to indicate that the QuickCam Pro 9000 is on. The support apparatus is made of a two-hinged structure that bends in odd shapes so the user can either let the webcam stand up on the table or secure it to a CRT or LCD display (with the help of a small ledge bellow the first hinge). The tip of the support structure is rubber-coated to allow for a better grip. Due to its unconventional setup, you can pose the camera like a contortionist artist.
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You need to run the installation software before plugging the camera to the PC. The application will tell the user the right moment to do so. After that it’s only a matter of adjusting the contrast, color and brightness levels and the QuickCam Pro 9000 is ready to be used with instant messengers like AIM and MSN and VOIP applications like Skype. The Logitech application has advanced features like capturing HD videos and adding effects to them.
The capture screen allows for both taking pictures and shooting video. The user can either take a photo by software or pressing the button beside the lens. You set the picture resolution along these values: 320×240, 640×480, 960×720 (video), and 1, 2, 3, 4, or 8 megapixels (photos). There’s a menu for advanced settings like autofocus selection, face tracking, zoom and macro values, and the RightLight technology that compensates for poor ambient brightness.
There’s also a visual effects feature that personalize the image transmission with face accessories (like a pig’s nose or a king’s crown) and some other bells and whistles like CGI avatars. The user can download a few effects options from Logitech’s website.
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The test in itself was simple, to tell the truth. No matter how many advanced features it has, a webcam must transmit a pristine image and clear sound. Boasting a 2 megapixel Carl Zeiss lens, the QuickCam Pro 9000 made us ashamed of our pre-historic 2001-model webcam. Every friend we contacted through instant messaging attested the high quality and sharpness of the image received. But it was during a session of VOIP conversation using Skype that the webcam really shone. Since Skype allows for full screen video transmission, the QuickCam high resolution came in handy: no image noise or artifacts during the session. The RightLight corrected any brightness fluctuations and optimized the picture. The microphone worked great, delivering our voice intelligibly to the listener. For those hooked on YouTube, the HD recording feature allow the user to be an amateur filmmaker and register those precious moments of pets and small children raising hell in the household.
The only gripe we had was with the way you secure the webcam to the display. The small ledge bellow the main hinge doesn’t allow a stable mounting and the camera can tip over or sideways if the user is not careful enough. The QuickCam never fell due to an unsteady balance but we think it could have presented a more reliable mounting. The unconventional design may not please everybody.
The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 main specifications are:
- 2 megapixel webcam
- Carl Zeiss lens with autofocus system
- Integrated microphone
- Color depth: 24-bit true color
- Video capture: Up to 1600 x 1200 pixels; 30 frames per second
- Still image capture: 8 megapixels (with software enhancement)
- More information: https://www.logitech.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 113.00
* Researched at https://www.shopping.com on the day we published this review.
- High quality picture
- Efficient microphone
- Autofocus system
- Zoom e macro functions
- Works flawlessly with instant messaging and VoIP applications
- Unstable mounting for LCD displays
- Unconventional and big support apparatus design