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Webcam image bleach-out

K-Alpha1
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

I've put my Philips NC200 webcam outdoors (looking at a doves nest) but it cant cope with bright sunshine. Images bleach out in the high brightness areas even though it is set to 'auto brightness/contrast' mode. I've tried tacking a piece of polarising film (old sunglass non prescription lens) to the front which helps but not totally cured the problem. 2 lens's, one on top of the other makes the image flat and the camera then gives dark images when the sun goes in. Auto Brightness is working but the camer does not seem to have the ability to cover a wide range of light intensities. Is this a common feature of low cost 'indoor' webcams. Can anyone recommend a more suitable webcam for outside/bright sunshine use. It doe not necessarily have to be weatherproof. I can sort that out, athough the NC200 does seem to be sensitive to temps below 10C. The video stream seems to freeze from time to time in these conditions. If the sun is out you can see an example of the main problem on www.gittens.plus.com/webcam/webcam.htm The image resolution is also poor, but thats another issue to be resolved. All suggestions welcome.
7 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

I got a cheap and chearful camera (Labtec) from my local Morrisons supermarket and it it seems to be pretty good for the £9-99 that it cost.

Seems to be a reasonably clear image and copes with looking out of my window on a bright day.

May be worth trying for the money Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

Webcams do not cope well with bright sun light, and it will destroy them eventually.

I am using a Logitech QuickCam Express, and that suffers the same problem.
John’s suggestion is a good one at only £10. I picked up a PC-Line cheapo (£5), that was much better than the Logitech, but I destroyed it placing in the water proof housing.

http://www.chillypenguin.org/webcam/

Chilly

Edited to correct names
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

Sorry John. Shockedops:

Chilly
K-Alpha1
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

Thanks John, Chilly. Its helpful to know that its not a prob just with the NC200 and that I dont have to spend a boat load of dosh to get a more light tolerant webcam, particularly if its gonna die in the white heat (light) of summer maybe. Hopefully it will last long enough for the eggs to hatch and the chicks to fledge (~3 weeks), assuming the local Sparrowhawk doesnt spot them first - fat chance. He has eyes like a .... er, you know.

BTW, I found the RK Webcam shareware/donationware FTP program for image uploading (http://www.freewarefiles.com/programs.php) good to use. Simple, reliable and easy to set up even though it is v1.0. It works when minimised, which was more that I could get CoffeeCup to do.

Now off down to Morrisons and PC World with my laptop and a 500w halogen to run a quick on-site lab test on their webcams. I'll let you know how I get on Wink :lol:

Tnx again

David
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

Quote
500w halogen

That will certainly be the brightest thing in PC-World. :lol:

The £5 one of got from there was on offer and I have not seen them since.

Three weeks will be no problem, mine has been running over 12 months, the dynamic range is suffering. But other wise as terrible as the day I fitted it.

Chilly
K-Alpha1
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcam image bleach-out

12 months. Thats OK then. The Sparrowhawk should be too obese to fly by then. Wink

Quote
But other wise as terrible as the day I fitted it


This is my first webcam and I cant say that I'm impressed with the image quality. Putting aside the lack of dynamic range issue for a mo, Im sure that my camera is not producing images anywhere near the spec'd resolution (320 x 240 I recall) either. Ive focused it as best possible, fiddled with the image settings (compression etc - cant see a difference) and still get unsharp images. In fact they look both out of focus AND blocky with the image made up of groups of around 20x20 pixels - guess - with out of focus pixel detail within each block. Strangely, it seems to be much worse when the camera is looking outside (even in more moderate daylight levels) than when used in a more normal environment (ie inside with just a lamp for illumination). Maybe its a CMOS/firmware issue. Any ideas, or is it a case of you get what you pay for here.

Regds

David