Top positive review
48 people found this helpful
Great value and easy to use
on 23 November 2013
This is the first webcam I have owned and I bought it on the strength of positive reviews here on Amazon, as well as some video reviews of it on YouTube. It is small and the flexible stand feels a little flimsy, but it works well and the stand is very adaptable to different uses, from on top of your monitor to table top, or anywhere you can stand it or get it to grip on. The camera also can be rotated left and right a fair amount, while the flexi stand holds it in place. It isn't suitable for use anywhere that is subject to a lot of vibration as it is very light and that can also cause a few problems with the USB cable as if moved it will move the camera, but careful setup and placing of the camera will help minimise any problems, a bit of tape or a clip on the stand or cable works well. The camera can also be easily hand held and moved around while in use. The USB cable is more than 1m long, but that can also be extended with a USB extension cable.
Installation on a PC (Win7 64bit) was much like any simple USB hardware, but for full driver and free Microsoft Lifecam software visit the Microsoft website and download the software (no registration required) it only takes a few minutes with a good internet connection. It is fairly easy to install and very easy to use the software, but you may notice that Windows update offers several minor software updates related to background software soon after installation. Without the Lifecam software the picture quality will be limited to 640x480 - with the software you get 1280x720 HD and 4xHD photo capture for still photo snaps. Lifecam is very easy to use so you can set the camera how you want it, low resolution if you have a slower internet connection or HD if you have a faster connection - if you have the resolution too high for your connection speed it will cause the video feed to break up and jump about instead of being smooth. If you want to edit captured video or make mini movies then also get the free Microsoft Windows Essentials package (you can choose which bits you install) the Movie Maker software is what you need for simple video editing and upload or sharing options (it isn't included as a standard with Win 7, like it used to be with XP, but it is much improved over the old XP version).
If you want to capture time lapse or video triggered by movement or sound then you will need other software such as the free software iSpy. iSpy allows you to use a webcam like the HD-3000 to monitor your home from a remote location or be alerted to activity in your home, such as a break-in or pets activity when left alone. The software is totally free and open source (no registration or email required) and they only charge a small monthly subscription for alerts, if you want to use that service. iSpy allows monitoring and recording from multiple web or wi-fi ip cameras, and allows individual settings and triggers for each camera. iSpy is easy to download, but needs fairly careful setup, but a good help guide is included and there many users on the web too. ispyconnect.com
The only limitation of this webcam I have found so far is one that affects all webcams - when using the camera in a constant record mode with any of the software available it appears to be limited to around 2GB file size, which on full resolution is about 2 hours or so. Other than that I am very pleased and impressed with this very reasonably priced webcam - it may take me a while to discover all that I can do with it. I would recommend the HD-3000 for most standard webcam uses and a few non-standard ones too!