Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro


Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro

Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro

Some time back, I bought a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 for my Windows PC and ultimately moved it on to my Mac when that became my ‘main’ machine. It worked pretty well a few notable exceptions – the ‘intelligent face tracking’, RightSound and digital zoom features didn’t work (as these required the Windows software to work), and the camera’s built-in mike didn’t work with OS X’s speech recognition, although it worked fine with other OS X applications like Skype. Other than that I was pretty pleased with the results, and friends in Skype commented on how clear and sharp the picture was.

In the continuing story of Logitech realizing there’s a world outside Windows, they released the QuickCam Vision Pro which is essentially the exact same camera but for the Mac. In my usual way, I justified to myself that I could relegate the Pro 9000 back to my Windows PC and buy a shiny new Vision Pro with all it’s juicy Mac-goodness.

Now if I were a synical person I’d say that all they’ve done is put a new silver bezel on the front of the Pro 9000, changed the activity light from orange to white, and shipped it out without any software, so it should be slightly cheaper right? No, even without the extra features of it’s Windows sibling it costs the same, so is it a good buy?

What's in the box?

What's in the box?

Well the picture is as good as ever, naturally as the lens etc., is exactly the same. The RightLight feature adjusts the exposure to compensate for bright or dark situations pretty well, and the microphone while working fine with Skype, still refuses to work properly with the OS X speech recognition system. If you look in the Apple support forums you’ll see there are lots of users complaining about their Logitech cameras not  working with OS X’s built-in speech recognition. The other slightly worrying thing is that while the QuickCam Pro 9000 was actually recognized by OS X as a ‘Logitech Camera’, this Mac-specific version shows up simply as ‘unknown USB audio device’ – not terribly helpful, and perhaps indicative of what you’re getting.

So it boils down to two questions really – which one to buy if you’re a Mac user? Well if I’m honest, either one will serve you just fine. If like me, your webcam is going to sit on top of a monitor in a reasonably well lit room, then the RightLight technology is pretty much superfluous, and there’s little else to separate the two in everyday use. In fact if you own a Windows PC as well as a Mac then you can use the Pro 900 on either with good results. Similarly, if you already use the QuickCam Pro 9000 on your Mac is it worth changing to the QuickCam Vision Pro? In that case I would say it’s a definite ‘No’. The product smacks a little bit of Logitech just jumping on the Mac bandwagon by re-badging a Windows product. How difficult would it have been for them to port the face-tracking and digital zoom software feature across to the Mac? Likewise, had they ensured the built-in mike actually worked with OS X’s speech recognition feature, the camera would have been all the more useful.

No software required!

No software required!

I get the same impression with Logitech’s Mac version of the DiNovo Edge keyboard. It’s a Windows product that they’ve dumbed down and rebadged for the Mac community.

Still, I guess they’re showing willing which is more than some companies are doing.

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7 Responses

  1. Thanks for the insights on the 9000’s microphone issue with Apple’s speech software. Some web cameras use dual or noise-cancellation mics that might be at the root of that issue.

    Technically, the new Mac Vision Pro really is different under the casing: They’ve implemented RightLight2 and AutoFocus completely in HARDWARE rather than rely on the PC/Windows only software as with the 9000 Pro. While the 9000 largely works on the Mac – it’s auto focus does NOT, it simply behaves as a fixed-focus webcam. And many Mac users report really slow frame rates in low-light situations using the 9000.

    So there’s reasons to buy up to the Mac Vision Pro for ANY platform. Because it is a driverless UVC compliant webcam, even Windows and Linux users report great success with the Vision Pro’s hardware implementation. The only other webcam with similar features and top not performance at this point is the HP Elite Autofocus. These two webcams point to the future; someday all quality USB webcams will be UVC and implement focus and light management in completely in hardware.

  2. @DocMacPS – it’s a good point about auto focus. I never had a problem with the Pro 9000 on the Mac with regard to focus as anything up to about 9″ away was still relatively sharp, but yes anything closer would have shown up the weakness of the missing software feature.

    Normal daylight ‘Skype-ing’ with friends on various platforms also worked well with the Pro 9000 on the Mac, but again had I had video chat’s at night with subdued lighting I might well have been complaining more.

    Certainly as a UVC webcam it’s a step in the right direction, although perhaps a shade early if they can’t yet implement the features that Mac users will think they’re missing when looking at the features list of the Windows version? Mind you, not having digital zoom is probably a blessing in disguise for some of my chat-friends =;-)

  3. The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 is one of the better webcams I have had the opportunity to use over the years. Its stylish design fits easily on top of my LCD screen, while its functionality and features continue to impress.

    I found a free tool that will allow you to get the lowest and best possible price for the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 or any other webcam. I suggest you download this free tool called the Genie by going to http://www.gogeniesaver.com/ and save money on your purchase.

  4. Robin

    sorry guys, I’m not sure I agree and fear I’ve just wasted a pretty tidy sum on purchasing the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro. The problem using Skype is that my video freezes after about 30sec. This appears to be a common problem and as far as I can see no one has figured out a fix for it. Any ideas?

    Ben

  5. Ditto to the freezing issue with the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac – 30 seconds after connecting my image becomes a screen shot for my fellow Skypers. I am using a G4 powerbook 1.5 GHz Power PC with 768 MB memory. I have read elsewhere that I may not have enough grunt to keep the video active. It was also suggested that I quit all other applications when using Skype. Am yet to test this

    • I bought a Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac six months ago. It worked very well to produce a video for YouTube. After several months to collect materials for the series, I started to make the second video. IT DID NOT WORK! It freezes.

      QuickTime Player 7 runs from 5 to 30 seconds and then reports, “Recording stopped because there was an interruption in the input media. Try quitting applications or disconnect devises that are using resources needed for recording.”

      Also, on iChat and Skype the screen is jittery. I have turned off Time Machine and Skype with no effect on the problem.

      Any report on how you have had this problem and have solved it would be appreciated. I did have to restart the computer a couple of times to get it to work on the first video.

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