eSource: Choosing a Webcam

Handy tip or trick

Webcams are useful with communication programs such as Skype, Google Talk, Oovoo, Windows Live Messenger, and CENTRA. Follow these steps to choose the webcam that's right for you.

1. Consider your budget. An excellent webcam can be found for as low as $50 and a merely functional one can be bought for less than $20.

2. Look for good resolution. Most webcams will have either 320x240 or 640x480. Megapixels are for stills and have little effect on video.

3. Understand frame rate. Thirty frames per second is typical and will deliver a good picture.

4. Look for low light quality. Most webcams cannot be used outside because there is too much light and cannot be used in a dark area. Light settings will have to be adjusted no matter what.

5. Look for extra features. Pan, tilt and manual focus are features that will let you frame the best shot. These features are particularly useful when you do not have a lot of space at your computer desk or workstation.

5. Make sure your computer can handle a webcam. Most webcams have minimum system requirements listed on the box. Some webcams are not compatible with certain operating systems (Vista, XP, etc) so be sure to check those specifications.

6. Make sure that the cables are included with the webcam, and that your computer supports the camera’s connections.

Submitted by: Admin ACES Technology Help Desk
Date submitted: 05/20/2009, last modified 10/04/2012
Categories: Computers and Technology