Good quality webcams that will run on an older laptop?
August 10, 2007 7:52 AM   Subscribe

So I’ve built my Construction Cam but I’m less than happy with the quality of the Logitech Quickcam 4000 I’m using. What are my low-cost options for taking good quality outdoor pictures from an old Laptop with USB 1.1 running Ubuntu 7.4?

Some follow-up on my other thread: The contractor gave me permission to tie into the temporary electrical service at the site so I’ve solved the power problem. I built a weatherproof housing for the laptop out of a large Rubbermaid bin, with some 4” PVC pipe sticking out of each side for vents. I have a cheap Wal-Mart fan to circulate the air. A hose containing the USB cable runs from this container to the camera housing, which is made from a waterproof flashlight. The camera is mounted on a home-built tripod. It’s all rather impressive, if I do say so myself.

It all works well and it’s survived for almost a week so far. However, I’m not happy with the results I’m getting from the Quickcam.

What are my options? I have an old Olympus digital camera but it doesn’t seem to work as a webcam. Are there any old digitals I can get from eBay that might work this way? Any higher quality webcams? I saw this thread but it didn’t help much.

It doesn't have to be high-def, just clear enough to see some detail and deal with the changing light conditions throughout the day.

I don’t think TV capture is an option as it’s an old laptop. I also want to keep costs down as much as possible.

Current setup is USB 1.1, Ubuntu 7.4, I’m using Camorama to capture pictures every ten minutes. I’m a bit of a noob with Linux so I really have no idea what sort of drivers are running the webcam.
posted by bondcliff to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dude - you need motion! I have it running at home and have used both a webcam and an ATI TV Wonder with an old (really old) camcorder. The webcam doesn't do much during the daytime, but the camcorder does. I don't know which webcams can handle the daytime exposure, but I wish I could find one too.

Just for fun, here's a motion capture from a storm I did with my setup:
posted by cdmwebs at 8:24 AM on August 10, 2007

If you're only taking picutres once every 10 minutes, you don't need a webcam. That Olympus camera would do great; you just need a way to fire a shot off every 10 minutes. That would require some hardware hacking if the camera can't be controlled over USB like DSLRs can, though.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 9:05 AM on August 10, 2007

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