Logitech Orbit AF – Review

Recently I have gotten into playing around with  Ustream. This is a pretty cool 4826_1_0 service that lets you stream video for free across the Internet. If you visit the Ustream.TV site you can watch people producing live shows for your viewing pleasure.

My home office webcam is a few years old and I wanted to upgrade to something a little better. I have always had good luck with Logitech so I went out to their site to see what was available. After going through all of the camera’s I settled on two. The Logitech Orbit AF for my office and the Logitech QuickCam Pro for when I travel.

I am going to focus on the Orbit AF for this review. This is a very different looking camera. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The camera itself is4822_1_0 encased in a plastic sphere atop a nine inch thin black arm. this arm attaches to a base. The nice thing about this is that you can remove the arm and attach the camera to the base for a more conventional looking webcam. However the base is great to use if you want to be eye level with the camera.

What really makes this camera unique is the ability to track you. I know that most webcams will do this but the Orbit does it mechanically. The camera actually rotates, pans, and tilts within the sphere. The little servo that moves the camera makes this whirling noise that lets you know the camera is moving. It is not loud enough for the person you are talking to to hear but you know the camera is moving.

Picture quality is really good. the AF has three video resolutions: 160×120, 320×240, and 640×480. It also sports a built-in microphone and supports both USB 2.0 and 1.1. including brightness, contrast, gamma, and color saturation. the software that comes with the unit allows you to manually adjust the exposure and the white balance or you can let the software automatically adjust it for you. The AF has a 3X digital zoom similar to the type that is standard to the digital zoom on a standard digital camera.

While recording the Mobility Today Podcast last night I tested the camera and Ustream service with Dave and Mickey. Both thought that the quality was good especially since I was using it in very low lighting.

The only drawback to the camera is the face tracking. In low light situations it does not always work that well. But for me that is not really a big concern.

All in all this is a great device for the home or home office. It works very well, it is easy to install ( on both XP and Vista), provides good quality video, and easily integrates with Ustream and skype.

The logitech Orbit AF retails for $129.00 and when I purchased mine at Circuit City there was a $20 mail in rebate.

Camera Specifications:

  • Carl Zeiss® optics
  • Autofocus system
  • Ultra-high resolution 2-megapixel sensor with RightLight™ 2 Technology
  • Color depth: 24-bit true color
  • Video capture: Up to 1600 by 1200 pixels (HD quality)
  • Frame rate: Up to 30 frames per second
  • Still-image capture: 8 megapixels (with software enhancement)
  • Built-in microphone with RightSound™ Technology

For more details visit Logitech.com

Disclaimer: Logitech did not provide these cameras as review units. Ther were purchased by the author.

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