Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000
- Excellent image quality in outdoor environments, impressive integrated microphone, easy to set-up and use
- Average image quality in office environment, below average in dim lighting, little expensive
The Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 is a mid-range webcam that suffers from the same pitfalls as most mid-range cameras on the market. When the lighting is anything but optimal, the image quality suffers greatly.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
The Microsoft LifeCam LX-6000 is a mid-range webcam with a 1.3Mp sensor and an integrated microphone. It has image quality issues in some lighting environments resulting in poor colour reproduction, pixelation and image noise.
We tested the LifeCam in three lighting environments to gain an overall impression of its versatility. The first was a well lit office under Fluorescent lights. The camera had problems under these lighting conditions. While the image was usable, it was rife with discolouration, noise and jagged contrast stepping. The discolouration was green, undoubtedly from the fluorescent lights, and detail like hair was lost in a sea of black. Compared to other 1.3Mp webcams we have tested, the LX-6000 was slightly below-par when used in an office environment.
As you can imagine, when used in a dimly lit bedroom under incandescent lights, the results were a little worse. The green discolouration was gone but replaced with an orange hue while the stepping and image noise remained.
The best image quality we received from the camera was in an outdoor environment. Under sunlight, the image quality was excellent. There was no discolouration or image noise and the contrast issues were gone. While most people probably won't use a webcam like this outdoors, this test is still valid as it suggests a way to improve the image in the office and home environments. We would recommend you use a desk lamp with a 40-60W daylight balanced bulb to add illumination to the subject being captured. In addition to giving the camera extra light to work with, the daylight bulb should theoretically remove any discolouration too.
The integrated microphone was able to pick out voice over environmental noise quite easily. The audio quality was excellent and clear without becoming muffled or lost in the background.
Setting up the camera is very simple. It comes with an installation CD which needs to be installed before the camera is plugged in. After a short installation process, the camera need only be plugged in and you're away.
Since this is a Microsoft product, it is designed to be used with Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces for online blogging. There is a dedicated button for these features on the top of the device, but all it does is open a fairly superfluous software package that does what can easily be done within Messenger at the click of a button.
The included webcam software also allows for face tracking which attempts to keep your face in the centre of the frame at all times. While it worked reasonably well, it was not perfect and even when working well, we found it to be distracting.
The Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 is a mid-range webcam and shares the same problems as most mid-range webcams we have reviewed. However, its price is a little excessive when you consider the superior 2Mp Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks is the same price.
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