Philips Consumer Electronics
Philips have brought out two new web cams and this model, the Vesta Pro (PCVC680K) is the superior and more expensive model of the two. Both cameras use a USB connection, so installation is quick and easy.
Web cameras are primarily used to make small video clips, or to videoconference with friends and family or to make snap shots. Snap shots are great for web pages and little pictures but do not match the quality of one of the latest digital cameras.
So why is this camera called the Vesta Pro? It is down to the speed at which it captures video. The Vesta Pro captures video at 30 frames per second, compared to the Vesta which can only manage 15 frames per second at its top resolution of 640 x 480. This makes a difference to the final videos, which appears smoother with less jerky movement. However this comes at a price; higher frame rates mean bigger files. So this function should only be used when creating "home videos". When conferencing over the Internet or sending files to friends or family via email it is better to select 15fps, these smaller files transmit quickly over the internet.
You can videoconference using Microsoft NetMeeting, which is included in the bundle. NetMeeting lets you to converse with other web cam users anywhere in the world via the Internet. Unfortunately the Internet isn't perfect and the quality of the video and the audio will depend on your Internet connection.
Included with the camera is Ulead's PhotoExpress 2, which lets you take still images with the camera, in true optical resolutions up to 800 x 600, unlike the Vesta which has a top optical resolution of 640 x 480. You have to remember that these are video cameras and aren't designed for taking perfect still pictures, but the quality is still good.
Philips has included video editing software in the form of Ulead's Media Studio Pro. This software will allow you to create your own home videos, by joining various clips together and producing your own little productions.