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March 7, 2008

Need a webcam? Try the Microsoft VX-7000 LifeCam

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 1600×1200 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.