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What Should I Consider when Buying a Computer Camera?

Price is always a factor when buying electronics.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A computer camera can provide many hours of enjoyment. With one, you can let your friends and family members see you, up close and personal, no matter how far away they happen to be. You can also take digital photographs and create your own videos. You can make clips to insert in emails and even participate in video conferencing via the Internet. To get the most out of a computer camera, however, you'll need to put some effort into selecting the right model.

Price is an important consideration when you're looking to buy a computer camera. On the low end, models are available for as little as $30 US dollars (USD). On the higher end, cameras may cost $100 USD or more. Generally speaking, a model with a higher price tag may produce higher-quality images. It may also offer more features.

You'll also need to consider the capabilities of your computer. Each computer camera has unique requirements for hardware and memory. If you have an older computer or limited memory, you may not be able to run the computer camera of your choice. If you are able to run it, you may have to deal with impaired performance, reduced speed, and maybe even software crashes.

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Resolution is another important consideration when it comes to buying a computer camera. You'll want to opt for a higher-resolution camera if possible, as higher resolution means better-quality images. Color is another choice you'll have to make. If you're planning to use your computer to chat with friends and family, you'll probably want a camera that supports color. However, monochrome may be okay for some videoconferencing and security needs.

A camera's frame rate, which is measured in frames per second, can have an effect on image quality. A higher frame rate can translate into higher image quality and less flickering. However, depending on the speed of the Internet connection and other factors, higher frame rates can also translate into longer transmit times.

Glass lenses beat out plastic when it comes to choosing a computer camera, as they provide for better-quality images. You can also choose between manual and automatic focusing, based on your preferences. However, some of the manual types may be harder to adjust than others. As such, it may help to go to a store that sells them and ask to test them before you buy.

Don't overlook the benefits of a good software package when selecting a computer camera. Some cameras come with a suite of software designed for everything from still-photo editing and video creation to photo and video email software. This kind of bundle can be an added bonus if you don't already own this type of software.

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