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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Misc
Returning to the DARK SIDE (??!) - lol
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 3901
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr 2018, 10:10    Post subject:  Returning to the DARK SIDE (??!) - lol
Subject description: Camera-related carryings-on.....
 

Afternoon, all.

Those of you who've followed my ramblings over the years will be aware that the first decent webcam I bought for the 'big' Compaq desktop was an HP HD 2300, a few years ago. Last year, I decided to 'transfer' this permanently to ye anciente Dell lappie, and treat the Compaq to a new one - a Creative Live! Cam Sync HD webcam.

I had to modify the mount for this to give me 'pan & tilt' capability; originally it only had a 'tilt "hinge"'. I'd got an old Trust webcam sitting around which never worked in Linux; I binned the camera itself, but kept the mount, because the ball-joint had a screw-fitting directly into the top of it. Very useful, I thought.....and so it proved.

That was 7 months ago. Today, it simply quit working. I checked & double-checked all the cables and connections; not one Pup would recognise it any longer. Unplugged, re-booted, plugged back in, ran

Code:
lsusb


....nothing. Nada. Not a peep. The UVC kernel driver module just said there was nothing there. So I'm less than impressed with Creative, if this is any indication of their quality control.

--------------------------------------

Both of the above are UVC-compliant. I did my research before purchasing either, and came to the conclusion that any camera that was certified to work with the UVC kernel module should be hassle-free. And so it turned out. (Makes life so much easier!)

I had a scout around to find out what was available locally, referring to the UVC chip ID listings as I did so. The only two I could find locally that I knew should definitely work were the Logitech Pro c920 (a beautiful camera indeed, but at close to three figures, a bit out of my comfort zone, to say nothing of my budget!)





Which left one other 'contender'; the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000. It's been on the market for well over a decade now, and appears to be almost universally available everywhere you look. Reasonably-priced, and not bad-looking, TBH.





For some reason, I'd always shied away from this one, but I've read several blogs/forum posts in various places over the last 6 months where folks have been saying how it just 'works' in Linux w/out any problems. And it's certainly in the UVC device listings.....has been for a long time.





So; I took the plunge, and purchased one.

--------------------------------------------------------

I have to admit to being quite impressed with this thing! It's got an extremely sharp, clear, crisp picture; good resolution, too. In fact, it's got a larger range of resolutions available to it than either of the other two.....and it's the only one of the three which consistently maintains a 30 fps average all the time. Which makes for better video quality, as y'all know.

The others start off at 30 fps, but invariably drop away to between 8 and 13/14 fps. Just the point where it begins to get 'jerky'.

It doesn't have a 'snapshot' button, but Guvcview, my preferred cam app, has a software snapshot function anyway, so not an issue. (Same goes for the marvellous little VideoView, which watchdog provided to me a while ago, and which I turned into a .pet package, I was that impressed with it.) And, unlike the others, it also appears more responsive to the picture controls; brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, etc.

I've always maintained that there's no shame in mixing M$ and Linux apps; whatever it takes to maintain your work-flow, and get the job done. It appears the same goes for some of their hardware, too.

------------------------------------

I have no hesitation at all in recommending this thing to anyone who wants a USB webcam for use in Puppy. It's reasonably-priced, works extremely well, is literally just 'plug'n'play'.....can't fault it, really. As with everything in this life, you do 'get what you pay for'; one reason why I avoid 'el cheapo' gear from the Far East like the plague.

This one has Mike's 'seal of approval'! Smile


Mike. Wink

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jafadmin

Joined: 19 Mar 2009
Posts: 817

PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr 2018, 15:39    Post subject:  

just for grins, plug the Creative cam in and immediately run "dmesg | tail -25" from a console and see it anything shows up in the kernel ring buffer.
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p310don

Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 1201
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr 2018, 18:37    Post subject:  

Hi Mike,

I have been using the same cam for a while. TBH I don't use it much, it is just a toy for me.

How have you gone for getting sound out of it? It doesn't do sound for me. Except one time, in Tahr64 using it on Facebook chat in Chromium it had sound. But, I can't get sound in any other situation.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 3901
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Sat 21 Apr 2018, 06:31    Post subject:  

p310don wrote:
Hi Mike,

I have been using the same cam for a while. TBH I don't use it much, it is just a toy for me.

How have you gone for getting sound out of it? It doesn't do sound for me. Except one time, in Tahr64 using it on Facebook chat in Chromium it had sound. But, I can't get sound in any other situation.


Hi, Don.

We-e-ell, now; my 'solution' to all that is a bit naughty. I cheat!

I long ago came to the conclusion that I don't like the sound quality generated by webcam sound cards. And, even back in my Windoze days, more often than not I found you have to raise your voice to get the darn things to pick up your voice clearly.....

My internal sound card gives very good audio reproduction. Moreover, I know how to get that to pick up sound from the microphone jack sockets; quite simple, just a matter of adjusting the sliders correctly in Retrovol.

So, I use a headset; earphones and mike combined into one. The webcam is always used purely for the video component; the audio component is generated by the internal sound card. I don't think I've ever even tried to get a webcam mike working in the last few years that I've been using Linux. And I like a headset, because you can set the mike as close to your mouth as you want; you can talk quite quietly, yet your voice is still picked up clearly.

I guess, if I was using a webcam on a daily basis, say for conference calls within a business, or something similar, then I would invest in one of the top-end Logitech cams; three figures-plus, with components to match. (I've drooled over some of the top-end Logitechs for years..! Laughing ) But for what I do, it's impossible to justify that kind of outlay. So, I always use a middle-of-the-road cam, along with a headset.

Which works for me. Sorry if that's not much help! You could see if you can select the cam's sound card in the Multiple Sound Card Wizard, or select it in alsamixer (I know it has that option), then take it from there, with Retrovol's controls.....see if 'Capture' responds. Really, I'm not an audio expert; you need advice from someone who is; watchdog, for instance.


Mike. Wink

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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 3901
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2018, 13:02    Post subject:  

I've already relegated the MyCrudSoft LifeCam to the old Dell lappie.

I've permanently 'lent' the HP to my old mate just up the road from me.....the old boy whose computer I look after. He's running Puppy anyway, but wanted to be able to chat with his daughter-in-law in Canada; so I've set him up with WIRE. He's chuffed to bits, it seems!

----------------------------------------------

I've been 'eyeing-up' the Logitech c920 HD Pro for some time now. This thing normally runs out anywhere from mid-50's GBP to almost £100, depending on availability and supplier. Logitech's own RRP is around £90.

Well, I had a wee win on the UK lottery this weekend, and PC World have just dropped their price for it from £69 down to £54.....which is as cheap as anything I've found on-line. There's a branch 2 miles up the road.....so Sunday morning, I popped down there and snagged one while they were still available. Bingo!

-----------------------------------------

This thing's unreal, compared to anything I've had before. Full HD @ 1080p, 15 mP still capture capability; stereo mike recording, auto-focus.....even auto-correction for low-light environments. The picture is razor-sharp, and crystal-clear.....as you would expect from a top-notch, five-element Carl Zeiss auto-focus lens. It even has a built-in standard screw-fit tripod connector on the underside, as used by most better-quality cameras.

And the best bit is, you plug it in.....and it just 'works'. Because again, it's UVC-compliant. Literally 'plug & play'.

I haven't tested the microphone capabilities yet, simply because I tend to use a headset when I converse online. I'm not very enamoured of the way most webcam audio cards sound. But the picture quality is out of this world. Very Happy

----------------------------------------------------

I've previously always resorted to lumps of 'Blutak' to hold my webcams in place. I don't need to with this. Logitech have paid a lot of attention to how this thing will sit on top of a screen, and have carefully designed it to work properly. It's heavy (for a webcam), physically quite large, the 'hinges' have a deliciously smooth 'firmness' to them.....and the 'grip areas' are made from an extremely smooth yet very 'tacky' rubber, which just sticks like the proverbial s**t to a blanket.

All in all, I'm quite impressed. If you can run to the expense of one of these, I really would recommend it. It takes things to the 'next level', and makes the whole process that much more enjoyable.


Mike. Wink

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