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C920 vs. C615 vs. C525: Direct Comparison
on March 7, 2012
I was able to do a direct side-by-side comparison between three Logitech webcams: the C920, C615, and C525. Here is what I found:
Right away I noticed that the C920 was a superior product - as it should be, considering it is Logitech's flagship webcam at the moment. But my initial impression was that the extra features might not be worth the size and setup tradeoff. There are three things that the C920 does not have:
1) While all three models attach to your computer monitor in about the same way and all three can tilt up and down, only the C525 and C615 can turn side to side. In fact, they can turn around 360 degrees and more. The C920, however, has a threaded tripod mount, as does the C615.
2) The C920 lacks the excellent "fold-and-go" design of the other two models, which makes packing and travelling easy, while protecting the lenses. In contrast, the C920 is much larger and stationary.
3) The C615 comes with a shorter USB cable AND an extension for more versatility. The C920 - like the C525 - comes with only a full length cable (~6'). My wish for all three models is that they come with a detachable USB cable, which would make them all much more portable and easy to carry around, especially in this age when most people travel with at least one or two USB cables.
But when I actually sat down to do some serious comparisons, I realized just how much more advanced the C920 is, most notably in its use of H.264 compression and its autofocus feature.
H.264 is a standard being utilized more and more for video of all sorts, and it makes a huge difference here. Having used all three webcams on the same computer and with the same software, the C920 compresses 1080p video completely while recording and takes about 49MB per 1 minute of recording on the highest settings (720p for one minute takes about 31MB). That uses *.mp4 format.
Meanwhile, the C615 and C525 use *.wmv format and take 99MB and 44MB for one minute of video at 1080p and 720p, respectively. The real problem, though, is that you then have to sit and wait for the video to compress if you are working in 1080.
If you're interested, The C920 has 1 zoom level at 1080 and 4 levels at 720. The C615 has 0 zoom levels at 1080 and about 10 at 720. The C525 has about 10 at 720. All can be used during recording, but the quality involved with the C920 is again far superior.
Also, the autofocus is much better on the C920, with less flickering and light change. You can really get up close and show off your pores and beard growth.
In conclusion, the optics and hardware of the C920 are obviously superior to the others, which are already high quality. If I am using the webcam while highly mobile, then I may opt for one of the others - I might even just settle for the C525 because it's a tiny bit smaller than the C615 and I believe you cannot use the C615 to make 1080p video calling, even if your hotel's Internet service could keep up with the data rate. However, if I am using a webcam at a stationary computer, or am really a videophile, then I definitely want the bigger workhorse.