The Digital Photo Guy

Cool New Webcam

by on Jul.06, 2011, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Webcast

Microsoft LifeCam Studio Improves Video

After nearly 10 years, my ancient Intel CS430 VGA webcam has finally been retired. As a replacement, I installed a Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD cam with an integrated microphone. Don’t ask me what all that means, I just know that the image is clearer and sharper. This camera has autofocus so I don’t have to hold objects at an exact distance and it has better white balance.

  

In the screen captures above, the left is from the old Intel webcam while the right is from the new Microsoft HD webcam. As you can see, the resolution is vastly improved with the new webcam. With the Canon 7D on a tripod, the MS cam image would be sharp enough to read the screen.

Of course, there’s always a downside to everything and this is no exception. The video is so clear and the autofocus is so accurate that it captures every wrinkle on my face. For viewers of my webinars, the advantage is that you’ll be able to see demos like my dSLR sensor cleaning webinar much more clearly.

Sweet Home 3D Makes Quick Work of Home Design

Not exactly photography related but I’ve been using a free program called Sweet Home 3D to draw plans for for some extensive remodeling we’ve started in our Arizona home. Whether you’re just rearranging furniture in your home or knocking down walls, SH3D will make the planning stages much easier for you.

The program is pretty much drag ‘n drop. To create walls, simply click “Create Walls,” place the cursor at the start and drag to the end. If you want to change directions, click once to anchor the wall, if you want to end the wall. click twice. You want furniture? Just find what you want in an extensive library and drag it into position in your newly created room. You want Shaker instead of Contemporary Motel? There are scads of free libraries offering hundreds of different shapes and styles.

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