ubuntu compatible under $40 webcam recommendations
August 16, 2020 12:50 PM   Subscribe

googling around has led to frustration.. maybe you guys have some insight - are you running some debian-related distro and having success with a particular webcam you like and didn't give you fits during setup? more, but not much more, below fold..

I am setting up a machine for a relative (a desktop) and I need a webcam that will definitely work some recent-ish version of ubuntu.. doesn't have to be the latest. Was hoping to spend < $40. Relative has zoom classes, etc. I think I'll need to be buying a headset with mic as well.. but don't want to spend a ton on peripherals, hence under $40. Open to specific ubuntu compatible headset recommendations as well. re camera, Resolution doesn't have to be super fancy, but would like for it to not look too low res and sad. thanks in advance for your recommendations.
posted by elgee to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This question got me thinking: Can I just use my phone as a webcam for my computer?

It turns out, yes! It took about five minutes of tinkering to make my iPhone 11 work as a wifi webcam for my Ubuntu 20.04 laptop, using Iriun. The rear-facing camera of my phone is far superior to the built-in laptop camera, so I think I'll use this from now on :)

You can probably do the same with Android. This won't be an ideal solution if your relative is tech-averse, but I was surprised at how easy it was.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Heh, I was just wondering about using my phone for all my webcam needs, but I couldn't find a "clip to side of laptop" holder in 5min, so I forgot about it.

In general, anything generic should work find with no setup, just because the cheapest hardware is designed to be usable by the greatest number of people. I have a Logitech 720p which works fine in both Zoom and web-based videochat services, but I'd be comfortable taking a chance on any of these <$25 cams. I like the idea of the ones with the flip down lens cover, but I just sort by "customer reviews" and pick around a little to see which reviews seem the most authentic.
posted by rhizome at 1:39 PM on August 16, 2020

Yeah, I think the days of having to hunt for cams with Linux support are over. Everything I've seen recently has supported UVC and so just worked on any OS.
posted by BobInce at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2020

Response by poster: The trouble is that when I look at reviews, even of ones that claim to be compatible , if I search through reviews for keyword "linux" or "ubuntu" people were saying they weren't. The android idea is a good one and I have used this technique myself for a second cam, with an ipad, actually, but it is much too fiddly a solution for the future desktop owner. But - rhizome - you have a specific one that is now working for you and you are running ubuntu ?
posted by elgee at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2020

I have the several-year-old equivalent of the Logitech C270 and it runs flawlessly on my Linux Mint desktop. Literally just plugged it in and it worked. A/V settings through the OS A/V settings (I tweaked levels on the audio a little bit), but it really just worked.
posted by carsonb at 3:00 PM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I recently connected a webcam similar to the Logitech C200 to a desktop running Ubuntu 20 and it was detected immediately (both the camera and microphone). It appears on the sound systems menu and has a regular USB B connector.
posted by cowlick at 3:20 PM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I run Debian+XFCE, so pretty stripped-down supportwise, and my cam appears to also be a Logitech C270 from 2015 or so. It's in the $40-60 range now, so I have to think it was an emergency buy for a job interview or something when I got it.
posted by rhizome at 4:19 PM on August 16, 2020

It's above your budget now (it was $36 when I got it), but as another data point: My Logitech C615 works without any setup under Ubuntu 20.04.
posted by whatnotever at 6:51 PM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

People have been using Chinese action cameras as webcams. This one is $50 but when the Zoom class is over you can go mountain biking!
posted by mecran01 at 7:06 PM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think BobInce has the key word you need: UVC.
posted by bitslayer at 4:45 AM on August 17, 2020

I just bought a used Logitech camera and tested it on Ubuntu last night - it works perfectly.

You can find the Logitech C270 on ebay for $50 shipped. I have had good luck getting items from ebay that are in high demand and out of stock at Amazon and retailers.

I sprung for a higher resolution model - and wish I hadn't. Even with my pretty fast internet, checking the statistics at zoom, I was only sending 640x320 pixels video.
posted by sol at 10:46 AM on August 17, 2020

I recently bought a Logitech and it was completely plug and play with Linux Mint, which is very similar to Ubuntu.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 11:48 AM on August 17, 2020

Response by poster: you all are magic, thank you so much for all the specific recommendations < 3 !
posted by elgee at 9:22 PM on August 17, 2020

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