Microsoft LifeCam Cinema

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Microsoft LifeCam Cinema

Widescreen technology is everywhere these days, built into virtually every new notebook, desktop monitor and flat-panel TV, and today Microsoft Hardwa...

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Review of "Microsoft LifeCam Cinema"

published 03/02/2011 | Gooseydyoo
Member since : 08/10/2010
Reviews : 71
Members who trust : 108
About me :
Excellent
Pro High quality pictures and sound, small and inconspicuos
Cons Does not flatter
very helpful
Picture quality
Video capture rate
Resistance to colour bleeding
Colour sensitivity
Design

"How did they tuck all this quality into a 5cm tube?"

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema perched on the monitor

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema perched on the monitor

Introduction

All the Skype hype and my ever increasing phone bills got me thinking, when a friend of mine in Devon had been given a new laptop for Christmas with a built in webcam; and since we communicate fairly frequently, discussing ancestry research projects, by phone, decided that we should give Skype communications a try, to save on phone expenses. So off I went to purchase a webcam for my desktop.

Our local computer store, MicroBitz, had a good selection in stock, with a price range to suit every pocket.
After a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of each - they must cringe when they see me approach their shop - I bought the Microsoft HD Lifecam, priced at £47, which must surely have brought a smile back to their faces.
The Microsoft HD Lifecam

This webcam is compatible with Apple MacOS x 10.2 or later, Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7

The simple, see through packaging contained a matt black cylindrical webcam, 5.5cms in length with a diameter of 2.6cms.
Attached near the rear is a 2.5cm x 8.5cm flexible, rubber coated arm, which can be flexed to hold the webcam safely on top of a monitor, or bent into a stand shape to sit on a desk. Extending from the rear of the webcam, is a lead, approximately 1.5meters in length, with a standard USB connection at the end.

Positioned on top of the cylinder, is a small call button, for use when making a call using Live Messenger, and a suitably sensitive microphone.
Also include in the package, were the installation CD and a little booklet with simple to follow set up instructions.

The installation procedure was straightforward and took about 10 minutes, though I did not time it, so it may have been a little more or a little less. When instructed to do so, the webcam was plugged into the USB port.
Results

Once installed, a small, blue icon representing the webcam appears on the monitor. By clicking on this icon, a tiny blue light shines from the front of the webcam, indicating that it is on, then a screen on the monitor opens with a perfectly focused image of the scene in front of it. The webcam has a rapid auto-focusing facility, so that objects as close as three inches focus perfectly as do the objects ten to fifteen feet away.

At the bottom of the webcam screen, are three icons; a camera, a microphone and a camcorder.
Clicking on the camera icon enable you to take a still photograph, with the webcam, the picture is then automatically saved in a file, where it can be organised, shared, burned onto a disc, or deleted.

Clicking on the microphone allows you to voice record, whilst also recording background music from a radio or CD. This is also held in files.

Clicking on the camcorder icon allows you to record a video using the webcam; again this is automatically filed.

On the right hand side of the screen is a blue slit, with a white triangle, clicking on this will open, alongside the the screen, the Lifecam dashboard, on which are the Lifecam controls, allowing you to pan left and right or tilt up and down; small but useful movements for centralising the picture without moving the webcam.

At the top end of the dashboard are two more icons, one of which opens up a large selection of 'picture effects.' (I counted 48)
By clicking on one, the selected effect will be added to, or alter, the image displayed in front of the camera and moves with that image. One particularly clever effect is the one with big, coloured question marks, hovering and circling inches above your head. Others will morph your image, or add masks, hats, hair or animal noses and ears. These effects can be captured in a photograph or on video and can also be seen by the person you are contacting across the internet on Skype.

The other icon on the dashboard opens the controls for image resolution - from 160 x 120, giving an image of about 5cm x 4cm, right up to a resolution of 1280 x 720 where the image is about 25cm x 14cm.
The picture effects, however, can only be used on resolutions of 960 x 544, or less.
If you wish, you can alter the brightness, hue and white light etc, but this is really for experts in photography who wish to perhaps refine the automatic adjustments.

The use with Skype

As far as image and sound quality are concerned, the Microsoft HD Lifecam works extremely well. However, because of the distance between my friend’s residence, and me the Skype connection frequently failed either the sound or vision kept fading. This was down to other factors, like internet speed and number of people using the internet at that time; nothing, I am assured to do with the quality of the webcams.
We did find though, that if neither of us used the video part of the Skype connection, we could both natter, with very little disruption, but using both sound and vision together resulted in a very irritating intermittent communication system. So yes, my phone bills will be reduced now.

I have been using this for a year now, and discovered that Microsoft automatically inform the user when free updates are available.

In Summary, I have to say I am very pleased with the Microsoft HD Lifecam, it’s a great addition to my PC with more uses than just for real-time communications across the ether.
It is a webcam, camera, camcorder and voice recorder, all in one little tube.

Originally posted on Dooyoo under name of goosey

Community evaluation

This review was read 2294 times and was rated at
62% :
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very helpful

Comments on this review

  • jillycat published 20/05/2011
    A great review with lots of useful information
  • cha97michelle published 29/04/2011
    Tells me everything i need to know about this web cam.
  • Juliet101 published 17/04/2011
    Great review. This seems like a good web cam but expensive.
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

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Product Information : Microsoft LifeCam Cinema

Manufacturer's product description

Widescreen technology is everywhere these days, built into virtually every new notebook, desktop monitor and flat-panel TV, and today Microsoft Hardware sets a new standard for webcams with the launch of LifeCam Cinema, the first consumer webcam on the PC to offer widescreen video with a native 720p sensor. The timing couldn't be better, with more and more people going online to share videos with friends and family; in fact, more than 10 million videos are uploaded each month to Facebook alone. LifeCam Cinema webcam's 720p widescreen sensor will deliver clear, quality videos - without leaving anyone out of the shot.

Product Details

Product Description: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema - web camera, Microsoft LifeCam Cinema for Business - web camera

Device Type: Web camera

Audio: Yes : built-in microphone

Connectivity Technology: Wired

Camera: Colour

Max Resolution: 1280 x 720

Focus Adjustment: Automatic

Interfaces: USB 2.0

Manufacturer Warranty: 3 years warranty

Microsoft Certification: Compatible with Windows 7

Environmental Parameters (operating): 0 °C - 40 °C ; 5 - 80% (non-condensing) relative humidity

Features: Skype compatible, TrueColor Technology, ClearFrame Technology, 720p HD video calls

Weight: 95.3 g

Dimensions (WxDxH): 4.6 cm x 5.59 cm x 4 cm

Optical Sensor Type: CMOS

Packaged Quantity: 60 (specifications are for single item)

General

MPN: H5D-00003, H5D-00015, H5D-00001, U9D-00002, H5D-00002, HSD-00003, U9D-00001, 6CH-00002, H5D-00014

Device Type: Web camera

Audio Support: Yes : built-in microphone

Connectivity Technology: Wired

Weight: 95.3 g

Height: 4 cm

Depth: 5.59 cm

Width: 4.6 cm

Packaged Quantity: 60 (specifications are for single item)

Localisation: Asia Pacific, Europe

Camera

Type: Colour

Max Digital Video Resolution: 1280 x 720

Still Image Capture Resolution: 2880 x 1620

Features: Skype compatible, TrueColor Technology, ClearFrame Technology, 720p HD video calls

Lens Construction

Focus Adjustment: Automatic

Interfaces

Computer Interface: USB 2.0

Expansion / Connectivity

Interfaces: 1 x USB 2.0 - 4 PIN USB Type A

Miscellaneous

Compatible with Windows 7: "Compatible with Windows 7" software and devices carry Microsoft’s assurance that these products have passed tests for compatibility and reliability with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.

Compliant Standards: UL, VCCI, ISO 9001, GOST, cUL, ICES-003, ISO 14001, WHQL, CB, EMC, FCC, KCC, WEEE, REACH, UkrSEPRO

Cables Included: 1 x USB cable - 1.83 m

Software / System Requirements

OS Required: Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 8

Additional Requirements: USB port

System Requirements Details: Windows XP/Vista/7 - dual core processor - 1.6 GHz - RAM 1 GB - HD 1.5 GB

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support: 3 years warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - 3 years

Image Sensor

Type: CMOS

Environmental Parameters

Relative Humidity (operating): 5 - 80% (non-condensing)

Max Operating Temperature: 40 °C

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

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