21 May 2007

An autofocus webcam for PCs

When Apple introduced the iSight, I was impressed by its nice design, but moreso by its ability to autofocus. PC webcams of the era were still primitive manual-focus numbers that had not evolved far beyond the first black and white eyeball shaped Quickcams.

I figured some Taiwanese company would make a PC clone of the iSight and I'd finally have a modern webcam.

Well, years went by, and while PC webcams added some pretty silly features (like the ability to put fake sunglasses on your face), none of them did autofocus.

Until recently. In April, 2007, Creative introduced the LiveCam Optia AF. Here's the Creative LiveCam Optia AF product page and also an article on the Optia AF at i4u. It's a $130 (list) two megapixel (2MP) camera with 1600x1200 resolution. And it does autofocus.

EverythingUSB adds that the camera has a 63-degree field of view (due to USB 2.0 limits) can only send uncompressed video at 960x720 at 24fps.

I haven't tried it yet. If you have one, please let me know whether it lives up to the hype.

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