View Full Version : Webcams - What to buy? What not to buy?

14-06-2003, 10:31 PM
And now we enter a topic I know absolutely nothing about. :D

My dad wants to buy a webcam so that him and mum can talk to my sister and hubbie over in Oz. He knows nothing about them so he asked me. However I know about as much as he does about them (except I can probably understand the terminology better) so I'm asking here.

1./ Which one should he buy? $50 from Dick Smith or $250 from somewhere else or somewhere in between? Is there anything he should look for, or anything to avoid?

2./ He needs one capable of recording the video (my sister just had a baby a month or so ago) at least downstream, but if possible both directions (at the same time). Is this possible, and will he have to pay more for that sort of thing?

3./ He's only got dial-up and USB 1.1 - will that be an issue? Are there any non-usb webcams that'll work on an older PC like a P150 (his main internet PC) or would he have to get a USB one that'll run on the 700?

Is there anything else I should be asking?


Terry Porritt
15-06-2003, 09:37 AM
Well, I'll add a bit of what I know.
Originally I had a parallel port web cam, a small ball shaped thing. It was chronically slow and didnt give a very good picture. They are no longer available.

Then I bought an Asus combined graphics/capture card for Win95 and used an old video camera in PAL mode which worked quite well, later, upgraded to another Asus card a V3400TNT, for Win98, which I still use.

Then I bought a small globe shaped Genius USB web cam, under $100 at the time, but the picture wasnt very good.

Newer comms programs like Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger will only run with USB web cams, they wont recognise PAL, just get a messed up picture, (at least from what Ive tried).

Then recently I bought a USB Logitech ClickSmart 420 web cam/digital camera, 1.3 Megapixels. It gives quite a good picture in Yahoo Messenger, and it can be disconnected from the computer and used as a simple dig. camera for taking 80 snapographs, or 70 seconds of video with sound. This was $235.

Again you get what you pay for, but USB is essential these days.

15-06-2003, 10:14 AM
gidday Mike,

Its probably the old story, of you get what you buy really, the more
expensive web cams have more facilities than cheapys.

I have a logitech web cam which cost around $150 a few years ago, it allows saving of images etc, etc. I think all web cams now are usb connected. video is fairly jerky over a dail up connection, but images are clear. sound is usually good, although also can have its moments.

If you would like to see what video looks like over dail up, download a feebie program called paltalk. it is chat room based but supervised. it has test chat rooms that you can see web cams being used.

good luck,


15-06-2003, 10:34 AM
I have a Logitech QuickCam, its not too bad, picture is a bit jerky, but now i've realised that's due to having dial-up connection. It is not too bad - dial-up is alright, and Logitech is quite good, as compared to my old Dynalink webcam (the picture quality was awful as well as jerky).

I dont know anything about recording video etc etc but, from what i know, look at getting a Logitech webcam that can record video


15-06-2003, 11:12 AM
I have a Logitech Quick Cam as well.

The picture quality in OK, but nothing like the quality depicted on the box.

The bundled software is excellent. You can either take still pics, or capture the picture feed you receive as a video film.

As far as using it over the internet, you are probably best to use Yahoo, as the others seem more complicated to set up, and most people use Yahoo anyway. The program to transmit the cam is already installed with Yahoo messenger enyway, so there is no mucking about.

Summing up, I would recommend Logitech via Yahoo

17-06-2003, 09:15 AM
Yeah, after the above reply, I just remembered that trying to use webcams in MSN is really complicated. It connects my computer with the other person's computer, and then shows pictures (of us) for a few seconds before disconnecting.

Happens EVERY single time, so me and my mate went over to Yahoo, where it worked brilliantly...and picture seemed a bit better in terms of quality and jerkiness...


17-06-2003, 09:52 AM
I concur with the above,mine is a Creative Cam from https://www.computerfuture.co.nz/
great little snap shot cam as well as good web cam,no good getting anything too fancy with dial up connection,cost about $250.