Friday, September 25, 2009

HANDS ON: Tandberg Precision HD USB webcam -updated

Well I picked up a Tandberg Precision HD webcam yesterday and thought I'd share my experiences with it. The device is "optimized" to work with Microsoft's Office Communications Server platform and offers HD quality video (720p/24f).

Specifications for the webcam are as follows:
  • 16:9 wide format HD video
  • 1270x720 resolution at 30fps (MS only supports 24fps as per R2 TAP docs [this may have changed recently])
  • All glass optics
  • Auto focus and auto light adjustment
  • Ultra wideband mic
  • Privacy shutter
  • F-stop of 1.7
The camera's requirements are:
  • Windows XP or Windows Vista (also works ootb with Windows 7)
  • USB 2.0 interface
Overall first impressions are that the camera is well built. The hardware has that "Tandberg" quality feel to it. The glass optics make the device much heavier than a traditional webcam but if you're looking for a "1700 MXP experience" with native OCS/MOC and Windows, this is as close as you can get for a fraction of the cost. The USB cable is quite short and I would have liked to see at least a six foot cable attached. If your PC case is far from your monitor you'll need a USB extension cable guaranteed.

Image Quality, etc.
Since my laptop at work isn't a quad core CPU, OCS won't flip on the HD capabilities of the MOC client. With VGA quality video being my only option I have to say that the overall picture quality is quite good. The lighting and color representation is better than your typical home user's webcam. My comparison webcam is a Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 which also supports HD (2MP). I have found that the Logitech is washed out and doesn't provide the same color depth.

In terms of field of view, I prefer a camera which shows more background. The Tandberg Precision HD webcam is quite tight and needs to be positioned in such a way that you're not cutting off your head in the image. The Logitech is completely opposite and shows everything from top to bottom.

If you have the cash to spend on an executive-style webcam this is an amazing unit. As for the HD quality in OCS, I was finally able to test it. The difficult part though was capturing the image on the other side since my tester was in another city. He was kind enough to snap a digital photo of his TV (also used as a PC monitor). Check it out and see for yourself...

(Click on the image for a larger version)

As you can see there is a great amount of detail in the image. The focal length of the camera is noticable here as well with the foreground image in focus but the background blurred. Very very nice!


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  2. Hi Jason,

    Where did you purchase this hardware? I've been looking all over.


  3. I didn't purchase that unit. It was sent to me by Tandberg. I like it but considering other options out there and the cost, I wouldn't recommend it.

  4. Your advice is very useful. Thank you

  5. Thanks for your good website and for sharing your experiences.

  6. This is very helpful and informative blog....

  7. This is very helpful and informative blog....

  8. I have this exact camera right here, on my desk, testing it with Windows 7 now. I'm very curious about how well it does against a simple Logitech cam. Thanks for the insight.