The HD Pro Webcam C910 from Logitech works great for recording and posting HD video or making HD calls with third-party collaboration software.
With high-definition video support becoming increasingly
common among video conferencing solutions, high-quality HD Webcams like the
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 become more intriguing for both home and office
use. Released in August, the C910 costs $100 (or $150 for two units) and comes
with a suite of software tools that allows the user to take still photos or
record HD videos, easily post content to YouTube or Facebook, and place HD
video calls to other users of Logitech's video calling software, Logitech Vid
The C910 has an unobtrusive profile, measuring around 95 millimeters long, 32
mm tall, and 25 mm deep. It doesn't have a clip, instead using a weighted arm
and two hinges that can be used to easily prop the Webcam with relative
stability atop an external or laptop LCD monitor. Much of the width is used for
a pair of microphone pickups, one on each side of the camera, used to provide
stereo sound input.
Logitech uses Carl Zeiss optics for the camera lens, and the lens can record 720p
video for both recordings and video conferencing applications, as well as 1080p
video for recordings only, using the included Logitech Quick Capture tool. The
camera can also capture still pictures with resolution of up to 10 megapixels, but
that resolution is software-enhanced as the camera only has a 5 megapixel lens.
The lens has limited pan capabilities, probably no more than about a 20 degree
pan radius, which I could control using Logitech's Webcam Controller software,
which offers zoom controls and auto-focus. I could also enable the Follow My
Face feature, which uses pattern recognition to pick up my face and follow my
movement from side to side and back and forth. The manual pan and zoom controls
won't work with Follow My Face enabled.
With the Advanced settings, I could control exposure, gain, brightness,
contrast and color intensity-or simply enable Logitech's RightLight to automate
those settings. In my office, which is typically on the dark side, I found
RightLight generated too rich of a blue shade in the background with overly red
hues on skin, although adding more light in the office resolved those quirks.
Logitech's Quick Capture tool let me easily record up to 1080p resolution video
(360p, 480p and 720p resolutions are also available). I did find that when
using the C910's built-in microphones, I needed to crank the input level all
the way up to be able to hear recorded audio when speaking in my normal voice,
even though I was sitting only about 2 feet away and directly in front of the
The recording software includes tools with which to easily upload recorded
video from the PC to Facebook or YouTube. In case the video needs a little
editing, the software includes a link to a free download of Logitech's Magix
photo editing software, which I did not test.
For 720p video calling or 1080p video recording, Logitech recommends that the
PC have at least a dual-core 2.4GHz processor and 2GB of RAM,
and be running Windows 7 or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit) or Windows XP Service Pack
2 or SP3. My Windows 7 x64 test system fell a little short of this
qualification, with a dual-core 2.0GHz processor and 4GB of RAM,
but I found 720p video calling typically worked with third-party applications. Using
Logitech's software for 1080p recording also worked, but it completely maxed
out the processor, causing a problem most often when my security suite tried to
scan a file or update itself.
Logitech's Webcam software picks up the presence of some video conferencing
software on the PC, presenting those applications for use from the Webcam
software itself. This allowed me to fire up Skype and Google Voice and Video
Chat directly from the Webcam software, and should also work for Yahoo
Messenger and Windows Live Messenger, although I didn't test these in
conjunction with the C910.
In my tests, I found the C910 worked seamlessly with Skype 5.0 and Nefsis
smooth, clear 720p video with each.
Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.