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Why are WebCams so poor?

J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform? Couldn't find any
for this one via Google. Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior to CCD?

Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10. At least I've got a
USB microphone out of it :)
 
G

Gibbo

Jan 1, 1970
0
Joerg said:
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform? Couldn't find any
for this one via Google. Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior to CCD?

Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10. At least I've got a
USB microphone out of it :)

Joerg if it's anything like the one I pulled apart it has plastic lenses
which isn't going to help.
 
A

Anthony Fremont

Jan 1, 1970
0
Joerg said:
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform? Couldn't find
any for this one via Google. Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior
to CCD?
Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10. At least I've got a
USB microphone out of it :)

Probably the lens.
 
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform? Couldn't find any
for this one via Google. Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior to CCD?

Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10. At least I've got a
USB microphone out of it :)


No two ways around it, you need to spend a few hundred dollars on an
actual stereoscope with real lenses.
Or if you want to take pictures after the fact, a bridge camera with
super macro mode is a good idea.
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Gibbo said:
Joerg if it's anything like the one I pulled apart it has plastic lenses
which isn't going to help.

Since their normal retail price is $50 I'd assume so :-(
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
No two ways around it, you need to spend a few hundred dollars on an
actual stereoscope with real lenses.
Or if you want to take pictures after the fact, a bridge camera with
super macro mode is a good idea.

No problem, it's just that I don't work well with microscopes and some
of the boards are too big to fit underneath. With 3x glasses it's no
problem down to 0402 and even smaller. But when you have to look up at a
scope in between it is a hassle.
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform? Couldn't find any
for this one via Google. Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior to CCD?

Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10. At least I've got a
USB microphone out of it :)


$10 doesn't buy a lot of optics. Get a Mantis... it will change your
life.

John
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
No problem, it's just that I don't work well with microscopes and some
of the boards are too big to fit underneath. With 3x glasses it's no
problem down to 0402 and even smaller. But when you have to look up at a
scope in between it is a hassle.



Hm, I don't know what you mean. Here's what we use:
http://www.carton-opt.co.jp/image/products/m3693.jpg
[/QUOTE]

You can work with those if you provide a pedestal for the board so it
can glide over that black base in the back. But besides not liking
microscopes that much I was also looking at something less monstrous.
The lab here at my consulting office isn't very big.

With an illuminator.

Light is key to all that stuff. That's why I've got pretty elaborate
halogen lighting here.
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
John said:
$10 doesn't buy a lot of optics. Get a Mantis... it will change your
life.

Normally it's $50 retail. But that still doesn't buy a lot of optics.
That's why I was asking whether a hack would work. IOW equip it with a
really nice lens. However, if the CMOS sensor can't hold up that would
be a waste of time (this camera is glued together as if prepared for the
next world war).

I had to use a Mantis at a client once. It's too wobbly IMHO, almost
made me sea-sick. Well, maybe because lots of people in the plane had a
hacking cough and I was working up a flu. But it was definitely to
wobbly for me.
 
T

TT_Man

Jan 1, 1970
0
No problem, it's just that I don't work well with microscopes and some of
the boards are too big to fit underneath. With 3x glasses it's no problem
down to 0402 and even smaller. But when you have to look up at a scope in
between it is a hassle.

Isn't that just a bitch.... I have the same problem....... Old age and too
much SM work :(

Martin S.
 
M

Marcus

Jan 1, 1970
0
Perhaps one of the "toy" usb microscopes from Toys R Us or equivilent would
work.

Mark
 
J

Jim Yanik

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform? Couldn't find any
for this one via Google. Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior to CCD?

Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10. At least I've got a
USB microphone out of it :)

they are not made for close focus.
Probably a minimum of 2 feet(or greater).
 
J

John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
What are you talking about?
I assume you don't mean:
http://www.commanche-creek.com/stor...d.aspx?sfid=102801&i=63653706&mpid=286&dfid=1

Only camera setup I saw via google was an experimental camera put on an
actual mantis.


That link doesn't work for me. But I think Joerg wants something to
work under, not necessarily a camera. The Mantis is superb for rework,
soldering, and inspection. It has brilliant lighting, sharp images
(billions of pixels!), super adjustable stereo effects, and lots of
working distance for soldering irons and tools. I was just now using
it to replace some 0805's (huge) and US8 ic's (really tiny) and it's
great.

I do take pictures through the regular Mantis, for eco's and such,
with a regular digital camera. I posted some to abse a while back.

John
 
J

Joerg

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim said:
they are not made for close focus.
Probably a minimum of 2 feet(or greater).

I held a lens in front of it and, actually, with that I could even get a
better picture for larger distances. But then there was lots of blurring
and smear with or without it. So I could hack the thing and put a top
notch lens in front but I don't want to go that route if in the end the
CMOS sensor isn't going to work right. I grew up with image sensors and
even designed a camera but these were all CCD.
 
A

AZ Nomad

Jan 1, 1970
0
On Thu, 29 Mar 2007 21:13:00 GMT, AZ Nomad


That link doesn't work for me. But I think Joerg wants something to
work under, not necessarily a camera. The Mantis is superb for rework,
soldering, and inspection. It has brilliant lighting, sharp images
(billions of pixels!), super adjustable stereo effects, and lots of
working distance for soldering irons and tools. I was just now using
it to replace some 0805's (huge) and US8 ic's (really tiny) and it's
great.
I do take pictures through the regular Mantis, for eco's and such,
with a regular digital camera. I posted some to abse a while back.

Could you give me a link to one? Or a brand name?
I searched on google for 'mantis camera' and got nothing.
 
M

MassiveProng

Jan 1, 1970
0
I held a lens in front of it and, actually, with that I could even get a
better picture for larger distances. But then there was lots of blurring
and smear with or without it. So I could hack the thing and put a top
notch lens in front but I don't want to go that route if in the end the
CMOS sensor isn't going to work right. I grew up with image sensors and
even designed a camera but these were all CCD.


Most webcams are CCD as CMOS arrays are NOT cheaper.

The better webcams are better in quality. Remeber that most are
keyed toward std 640x480 NTSC aspect ratio and array size. Mine is a
higher lever, but that also carries a higher bit rate and these things
are meant for live video streaming/conferencing applications.

My Olympus 3.5 (thereabouts) REAL digital camera hooks up as a
webcam/PC cam, but again, the data rates go up if one chooses a higher
array size.

So it all comes down to a compromise between desired detail level,
and useable bandwidth on a conference type connection.

I remember this being Billy's dream way back in the early NT OS days
when the protocol first came out. Failed miserably through servers
and firewalls though. NOW, with Vista, it is back, and it even work
very well on a good, high bandwidth connection connected to same.

So, so far, the makers have seen no need for them to be any more
fine grain than they are.

My Logitech tracks movement and everything, and was well worth the
$100 plus I paid. I have yet to actually use it though as it requires
me to turn off the firewall in my router/switch.

The "poorness" level is all a matter of perspective. You can't have
8Mpixel per frame "video" passing back and forth over the net... yet.

People just need a more correct perspective as to why, how, and for
what purpose these products are meant.
 
L

Lionel

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hello Folks,

Just got a web cam, the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate". Long story
short it certainly isn't good enough to aid in SMT soldering as I had
hoped for. Even the capture of scope screens produces blurred results.
Nothing to write home about. Ok, it's only 0.3MPixels versus the
1.2MPixels of the digital camera in the lab. But the difference is so
stark that even this doesn't explain it.

Is there a hack that can make such a web cam perform?
No.

Or are CMOS sensors simply too inferior to CCD?

No. The best digital cameras on the market use CMOS sensors:
Oh well, it was from an overstock sale, under $10.

You've just answered your own question. What sort of optical &
electronic quality would you expect from a device that costs a few
dollars to make?
 
L

Lionel

Jan 1, 1970
0
No problem, it's just that I don't work well with microscopes and some
of the boards are too big to fit underneath. With 3x glasses it's no
problem down to 0402 and even smaller. But when you have to look up at a
scope in between it is a hassle.

I use an ugly but cheap stereoscopic magnifying headset & plenty of
light.
 
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