Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 Review
By Sandy Berger on April 5, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

You can buy a webcam for USD 20, so why would you pay USD 99 for the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000? We set out to do a detailed review to answer that question.

As shown in Figure 1, the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 comes in an unassuming plastic and cardboard box.


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Figure 1: The Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 in the box.

Inside the box is the camera with USB cable attached, a software disk, and a Quickstart guide.


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Figure 2: The box contents.

Set Up & Hardware

The included Quickstart guide gives the setup in 11 pictorial steps. The instructions are in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Setup consists of installing the software, setting the camera on top of the monitor, and plugging in the USB cable. The instructions then walk you through testing and adjusting the camera. Although you can adjust the lighting and other settings, we found that the auto-adjust worked well with every computer and every environment that we tried.

During the installation you will be asked if you want to install the Logitech VID software. This is Logitech’s answer to easy video calling. You simply install the software, create an account and snap a picture of yourself with the webcam. Then you type in the email address of another VID user. That name goes on your contact list along with their picture. To call them you simply click on their picture. There is no video chat or other complicated features.  If you are already using Skype, Gmail, or some other video calling software, you don’t need VID, but if you are a newbie with a limited list of contacts you might find it very useful.

The Webcam Pro 9000, as shown in Figure 3, has three sections. The camera and microphone itself are on the left with the USB cable coming from that section. The middle area is attached to the camera with a flexible hinge and the back section, which consists of a tongue-like flap that holds the camera in place, is also hinged.


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Figure 3: The Webcam Pro 9000.

While the front of the camera is finished in shiny black plastic, as shown in Figure 4, the rest of the mechanism is dull black. The lip in the front and the tongue in the back are rubberized to provide a better grip on the computer. Because of the adjustability and the grip of the rubberized parts, the camera can be easily adjusted to the proper position. The best thing is that once you have adjusted the camera, it stays in place quite nicely.

We found that the camera worked well on both a laptop, shown in Figure 4, and the LCD from a desktop, shown in Figure 5.


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Figure 4: The Webcam Pro on a laptop screen.


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Figure 5: The Webcam Pro on a desktop screen.

The Optics & Audio

After calling some friends on our 3-year old webcam, we placed the same calls with the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000. The results were amazing. We didn’t have to mention the new webcam to anyone. Everyone’s first statement was, “Wow, you do look great!” So we placed two computers together, one with the old webcam and one with the 9000. Then we placed a video call between the two. The results were amazing. The clarity of the new webcam was remarkable. We switched the two cameras to make sure that the computers weren’t making a difference. The results were the same. The Webcam Pro 9000 has the best picture of any webcam we have tested or used.

The Webcam Pro 9000 has 2-megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss optics. A close-up of the lens is shown in Figure 6.  It is a new twist on a very old Tessar lens design. It works well because it delivers a sharp image in a compact, lightweight form. It creates a widescreen video at a resolution of 1,600x1,200. This webcam takes HD video at a 30 frames per second.  It can also take snapshots at various resolutions up to 8 megapixels. You get to choose to take photographs at the resolution of your choice: 320×240, 640×480, 960×720, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 8 megapixels. While the lower resolutions up to 2-megapixels are crisp and clear, don’t expect perfection from the higher-megapixel still shots. The 3-to-8-megapixels shots use software interpolation, which degrades quality.


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Figure 6: The lens.

We were especially impressed with the autofocus which did an admirable job in many different circumstances. The autofocus automatically tracks your motion and refocuses the image without any noticeable bluring. It also did a good job of focusing when you hold something up to the camera to give the remote viewer a closer look.

Logitech used a technology they call RightLight 2 to adjust the image in a dim or poorly lit area. We found that this, like the auto-focus worked very well.

The microphone is built into the camera and produces good results.  You can see it on the right side of the camera in Figure 3. The microphone has a noise cancellation feature that helps blot out background noises.

Using the Webcam Pro 9000

Once you setup the webcam it is available immediately. You may have to set it as the default camera and microphone in the software that you are using, but that is all you have to do.

Working with the Pro 9000 is extremely easy. Although the auto-focus and lighting work well, you can manually adjust the settings if you like. Logitech also gives you some fun filters, video masks, and special effects. You can add a filter like neonize or fish eye, put a pig noise on your face, and create a video mask like a lion or the Mona Lisa. You can also get more filters and special effects at the Logitech website for free.

When the camera is on a red light appears around the Logitech logo in the center of the camera, as shown in Figure 7. There is also the choice of a privacy shade that can be chosen through the software.  When the camera is on, the software appears as a long strip of icons on the screen, as shown in Figure 8. Choices include, from top-to-bottom: VID, Record video or Take a photo, Video effects, Privacy shade, Settings, Video calling applications, and Help. At the bottom of the strip are icons to mute the audio and turn off the video.


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Figure 7: The video camera is on.

 

 
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Figure 8: The software strip.

Using the Record video or Take a photo option you can not only choose the photo and video options that you want, but you can look at all the photos and videos that you have recorded. You can send them to friends by email, upload them to YouTube, or you print them right from this area. Beginners will find this very easy to do and even hard-core webcam users will find it convenient.

Windows users will be happy with the uncomplicated software. Although the webcam will work with the Mac, the software is not optimized for the Mac, so Mac users will miss out on much of its good functionality.

Main Specifications

Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 main specifications are:

Conclusions

The LogitechWebcam Pro 9000 is a well-designed and easy-to-use device. Best of all, the Carl Zeiss lens, autofocus, and Logitech's RightLight technology combine to produce HD video that is  spectacular for a webcam.

When taking photos or videos with a digital camera, you want to be able to adjust the settings to your liking and change the settings based frequently. When using a webcam, most of the time you just want it to work quickly and easily. The auto settings on this camera make this possible. If a call comes in early in the morning or late at night, you don’t have to fiddle with the settings. The camera gets it right.  The flexible stand works on both desktop and laptop. The software is uncomplicated yet feature-laden.

Yes, this webcam costs a little more than most, but it is a worthwhile investment for anyone who make regular web calls.

Pros:

Con:

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Logitech-Webcam-Pro-9000-Review/963


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