Need a webcam? Try the Microsoft VX-7000 LifeCam

Need a webcam? Try the Microsoft VX-7000 LifeCam

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Back in September, Nick blogged about two new LifeCams from Microsoft Hardware: the VX-7000 and NX-3000. Recently, I've been looking for a new webcam. I already owned the VX-3000 - but I wanted something a little more powerful and higher quality.  And the VX-7000 is just that! I went ahead and picked one up last week and thought I'd share some notes on my experience with it so far.

The VX-7000 LifeCam on top of a monitor

First off, let me give you a brief introduction to the device. The VX-7000 is the top-of-the-line webcam in the VX series of LifeCams from Microsoft Hardware. The VX series LifeCams are designed for desktop PCs while the NX series LifeCams are designed for laptops. The VX-7000 is a Certified for Windows Vista device so it is designed to work great with Windows Vista. All LifeCams are optimized for Windows Live - specifically being used with Windows Live Messenger for video calls. The VX-7000 comes with a pretty slick set of specs (you can also read the specs here from the Microsoft Hardware site):

  • 2.0 Megapixel Sensor for clear video
  • Built-in Microphone designed to capture crystal clear audio
  • Universal Attachment Base to fit on top and clamp on to most monitors
  • Auto-Adjustment for Low Light Conditions
  • 71 degree Wide-angle Lens
  • High Definition 8 Megapixel still digital photographs

Both video and still photos are shot at 1600x1200 screen resolution which is really nice.

The VX-7000 LifeCam Backside of the VX-7000 LifeCam The VX-7000 LifeCam with Attachment Base closed The VX-7000 LifeCam clamped to a monitor

The VX-7000 (and all LifeCams) utilizes the Microsoft LifeCam client where you can take photos and videos using the camera. You can download the Microsoft LifeCam along with the drivers here.

But what the VX-7000 is perfect at, I found out, is doing video calls with contacts in Windows Live Messenger. I used Windows Live Messenger's Audio and Video wizard (under the Tools menu) to set the audio and video up with the VX-7000. I then initiated a video call with a friend of mine and within seconds my friend could hear and see me via my VX-7000 webcam. And the quality was pretty good!

As I mentioned above, you can use the Microsoft LifeCam client to record photos and videos using the VX-7000 (or any LifeCam). And with Windows Live Photo Gallery - you can upload those photos you take to your Windows Live Space (or Flickr). Did you also know that with Windows Live Photo Gallery you can upload videos to MSN Soapbox as well?

I was able to take several videos I shot with the VX-7000 and use Windows Live Photo Gallery to upload them to MSN Soapbox.

Overall though I've been really impressed with the quality of the VX-7000 in general and it should certainly be looked at if you're looking for a new webcam.

9 Comments
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  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    my friend got this camera to anyone can recommend a super camera

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I just purchased the VX-7000 so my parents can talk with the kids and with video I get 30 fps. And the picture is great and seemless. If you want to spend 120.00 plus on a high end camera sure go ahead. I paid 60 bucks for the VX-7000 and is perfect for our use. I also bought a high end one to see the difference and it was not worth the 130.00 and the picture was exactly the same. Sure it had more toys and face track but that was something no one really needs sitting in front of a computer. If you want to see the camera picture let me know and I can get you my contact info for messenger or skype.

  • I have a VX-6000 Lifecam, and it would be really nice if Microsoft decided to properly support their products before they release them.  The cam works, but the software driver is anything but perfect.  It crashes often on my Vista x64 setup.  If I go to the properties for the camera, it crashes most of the time.  Also, I think Microsoft needs to learn a lessen from Logitech (whose drivers also aren't the bet) but at least I can report that when I plugged my Quickcam Communicate STX into the USB slot, it found and installed the software automatically.  The Lifecam didn't do this ... rather embarrassing, I'd say.

    The only thing the Lifecam has going for it (and the reason I chose it as a second cam) is because of the wide-angle lens.  Logitech makes better webcams, however, the Lifecam is a good choice for a wide-angle cam, if you need one.

  • Tesmond
    3 Posts

    Hi I have the VX-3000 I had the same problem as woodduck in Vista so I "downgraded" to Windows XP in order to run MSN Messenger properly.  Actually I found a work around which worked 50% of the time, which was to perform a "phone" call first and then activate video.  I was too annoyed that I had to do this multiple times to get it working so I went for XP where it worked!

    Also it has a "bug" if it becomes disconnected "accidentally".  I have twice accidentally knocked out the power to my USB HUB.  When I reconnect the power all the USB devices are detected again, but the NX-3000 fails to reinstall.  It says it cannot find the drivers, I have to uninstall the lifecam software and then reinstall it.  This is quite a protracted process as is slowly deletes 300mb...no other USB device I have has this failure to install problem

  • I ment that I have 4 VX-1000, and a NX-1000, sorry for the confusion

  • I have a VS-1000 (actually I have 4 of them purchased to keep in touch with the family), and none of them will allow the microphone to work with Live Messenger, running on Vista.  I have the most current drivers.  I also recently acquired a VX-5000 for my laptop but it has the same problem.  I works fine during the set up, but the mic just will not work when connected to a Video Call.  if installed in Vista.  They work just fine if installed in Windows XP.

    It works fine using Skype, but thats not what we want.

    I have e-mailed Microsfoft numerous times and left messages on a number of Newsgroups looking for an answer.  Do you have any idea?  If not could you point me to the correct person/group at Microsoft to ask, as I must have been posting/e-mailing to the wrong place.

    Thanks

  • mdouglass, this post was not intended as any sort of "review" rather just talking about my experience with it.

    Sure, if you are looking for a webcam that shoots high-end video this may not be the best camera for you.

    However, based on my experience - this webcam does great still photos (that look great shared on Windows Live Spaces) and also decent video that looks pretty nice being shared on MSN Soapbox with friends and family.

    For a consumer - this webcam works nicely for many of the basic things in sharing digital memories with friends and family. And this was the point I was trying to drive across.

    So let me ask you this: why don't you recommend a webcam to me? I'd love to hear what you recommend... and take a look at it. Maybe I can even go out and grab it and talk about my experience with it versus the VX-7000.

    - Brandon

  • hey,since you have owned the brand new VX-7000, so, how about give me your VX-3000? Haha..@_@

  • I'm sorry, I have the VX-7000 and I just can't let this review go by unchallenged.  If you are looking for a high quality webcam, then this camera is NOT for you.

    It does take an ok picture at those high resolutions, but if you try and get video you can't get framerates above about 10fps.  So sure I've got lots of pixels but my image is grainy and incredibly choppy.  Check the amazon.com reviews for confirmation:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000TG8T4Y

    Careful what you buy.