Looking for an HD webcam, but don't want to spend a lot of money?The .95 (direct) Microsoft Life Cam HD-3000 attempts to deliver much of the same high-definition goodness as the Life Cam Studio (, 4 stars), but at less than half the price.Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a service Amazon offers sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's warehouses, and Amazon directly does the picking, packing, shipping and customer service on these items.
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You really need a fast machine at the higher resolutions, like true 720p HD.
This is to be expected, but if you're doing to record 1280x720p you're going to need a multi-core machine (basically a machine that's newer than 3 years old).
That doesn't make the camera useless for regular video calls, but it is something to think about if you're getting this primarily for its HD abilities.
That said, it's still fantastic at 480p and my laptop handles it fine.
To get started, you'll need Windows 7, Vista, or XP (with Service Pack 2), and at least a dual-core Intel PC running at 1.6GHz or faster.
720p video requires a 3GHz dual-core Intel PC and 2GB of RAM.
I've owned just about every Microsoft Life Cam there Microsoft makes. It also has a nice little feat of engineering on the USB cable - a cable tie that actually works! Here it is mounted next to my existing Life Cam VX-7000 for size reference: The VX-7000 has a 2.0 Megapixel Sensor with a maximum video size of 640x480.
My first was the Life Cam NX-6000 and I've been upgrading ever since. I called my friend using Office Communicator and did a standard video call and had him take a screenshot. The older webcam is on the left and the newer Cinema HD is on the right. Both calls are effectively 640x480 calls as there's no built-in 1280x720p HD in Office Communicator (yet, I assume.) However, it's clear that the contrast of the Cinema HD is far superior and oddly, it's just clearer.
On the top is the microphone, slightly less pronounced than the one on the Cinema HD, and a button that lets you get on with the video chat pronto.
Out of the box the Studio comes with a software suite that enables tuning the cam's settings (full manual control is available) plus recording video or capturing snapshots.
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