A webcam as a means for recording changes in facial appearance over time?
August 27, 2009 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Using a webcam (instead of a camera) for recording changes in facial appearance over time - good or bad idea?

I'm thinking about experimenting with various topical cosmetic applications and keeping a photographic record to judge what works (as well as tracking the skin effects of various food allergies, etc). I don't have a webcam; I do have a 6 mp camera which I don't use much (not a camera person).

Anyway; I'm considering spending 50-70$ for a logitech webcam to take daily facial pics - because of the relative ease in creating a daily routine, because the lighting would be consistent (as would the angle), and so on. I've never had a webcam, and it's unlikely that I'd use it much, if at all, except for this function.

Is this a foolish idea and waste of money? Should I just use the camera and approximate? Would a webcam in this price range provide good enough still photos for this purpose (ie, focus on changes in skin texture, pores, wrinkles, etc).

(I know this is a pretty superficial question, but it's been bouncing around in my head for a while and thought I'd just finally ask and see if anyone had any thoughts)
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (2 answers total)
It won't be 8 megapixel quality stuff, but most webcams these days take fairly decent photos. It sounds like you want great detail, though. I'd stick with your camera and invest in a tripod instead.
posted by caveat at 12:09 PM on August 27, 2009

You're going to be investing some time into this project, and limiting the image resolution to that of a web camera is shooting the project in the foot. It will not get pores and fine wrinkles, the brighter areas of your face might be more likely to flare to white, etc.

You could get a tripod and fairly decent older used camera off ebay for about that much money - even though you rarely use your existing camera, if you're prepared to spent money, it might be worthwhile to get a camera just for the job, so that you set it up once and just leave it there permanently, to make the daily photo quicker and better.

Consider getting one of the cameras where the LCD screen rotates to allow the person having their picture taken, to see what the camera sees as the shot is being taken, and consider getting an IR remote for the camera, so you can take the picture with your arms relaxed at your sides (allthough the camera will come with a timer function that will allow this, it's not as nice)

In this kind of project, you set things up once, and them use them long-term, so it makes a big difference to go to the trouble to set things up really well from the start.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:41 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

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