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VINE VOICEon September 22, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really like this camera. You can play my review as recorded on the unit itself.

A couple of other things I didn't mention. It has a built-in microphone, and records very good sound quality, as you'll hear if you play the video.

There's quite a bit of included software, including some that allows you to perform basic video editing on your footage.

You can also download directly to YouTube, Twitter, and other sites and apps.

Download and installation was flawless, and I run Win 7 64-bit (I noticed in some reviews that others running that OS seemed to have problems; I didn't).

All in all, 5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon September 26, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ok, First of all if you are a person who is concerned about excessive packaging, this is one unit you probably want to avoid. Microsoft uses such a big box compared to the product contained within it. Although most of the packaging is cardboard that can be recycled you would think they could come up with a better design. Really, the package should have been only slightly bigger than the CD that is contained within it, since that is the largest component.

I first like to look at the manual when I get a product. The Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000's manual consisted of a single 5 inch square sheet with illustrations (no text)in boxes labeled one through four. The first box was a picture of the enclosed CD, the second a picture of a USB connector with an arrow pointing towards a USB jack, the third showing you can place the webcam on top of your monitor or on a flat surface, and the fourth showing you can twist the camera on its base. That is the entire manual. I should also mention here that a label covered the USB connector coming from the webcam instructing you to install the software from the disc first. You physically must remove the label in order to insert the USB connector to your computer. I guess this is just in case you did not have the time to look at the the four squares. Oh, you also get a useless "Microsoft Product Guide" which looks like they throw in with every product, since it mentions Lasers, headsets and Radio Frequency devices. This guide is just full of warnings and precautionary measures which they probably legally have to enclose. The only thing is mentions about "Webcam Devices" is that the adhesive attachment disc may leave an adhesive residue, something that does not pertain to this product, and therefore this guide did not need to be included at all.

It took an usually long time to install the software. At times the install window disappeared completely, and I was not sure whether it crashed or what it was doing. After that I decided to install it on another computer, but this time I checked Microsoft's website to see if there was an updated version, and there was. The enclosed disc was version 3.0, but the website had version 3.5. Once I downloaded the newer version and ran it the install time was almost cut in half, so do yourself a favor search Microsoft's website for the latest Lifecam software before using the disc.

After I installed the software, I was informed that I needed to upgrade the firmware of the camera which only took a few minutes and was much more informative than the software install.

Once the new firmware was installed the Microsoft LifeCam software popped up and the blue light on the cam turn on. The default resolution is 640 X 360 which is what is recommended for my video card, other resolutions have the warning indicator saying that they are not recommended for my equipment and may cause performance issues. This is no surprise, since I am running it on an older system. Since I cannot put the camera into a high definition setting I cannot attest to quality of anything above 640x360.

The video quality of the camera is excellent, though slightly saturated using the default tru-color setting. You can adjust the settings manually if you wish, but for most people the tru-color setting will be just fine. What you absolutely must turn off is the autofocus on this camera, since it does not function properly AT ALL! It constantly adjusts, blurring your picture and gets very annoying. Once you go to the advanced setting and click on properties, then camera control you can shut off the autofocus by clicking on the "Auto" check box in the Focus section. By sure to hit apply, then ok. I had to do this twice but finally got the autofocus to turn off, and that's a good thing, otherwise I would have thrown this webcam in the trash. You will also find controls to "zoom" the camera (though this is done through software interpolation, not an optical zoom), Pan, and Tilt (which only seem to do anything when you have zoomed in the picture, confirming that the zoom is entirely software based). There is another tab in the advanced controls that are video settings allowing you to manually control Brightness, White Balance, Saturation, Exposure and Contrast (the last two are greyed if you have Tru-Color tuned on). The exposure on the camera is quite good even in low light conditions. With the exception of the auto-focus issue the video quality is excellent on this camera.

The stand alone software allows you to make video captures, audio captures and still captures, then send them in an email or share them in Windows Live if you wish. There is also an effects function which allow you to add various filters or overlays to your stream or capture which is very COOL! My favorite is the afro with the headband. The software does a great job of tracking your movements and keeping the overlay in place if you move your head. This is something that is hard to explain, you really need to see them in action to appreciate the effects. Microsoft includes many of them, and they are fun!

I generally got this webcam to use with Skype, though Microsoft REALLY wants you to use it with Windows Live. When you install the software it prompts you to install Windows Live, which I declined. There is even a "Windows Live" call button on the top of the camera. Anyway, I'm not using Windows Live, so I tried it with Skype. One thing I forgot to mention was that the webcam also has a built in microphone, so there is no need to search for your misplaced mic or wear a headset. You can even use the mic on the webcam for audio only Skype calls. Keep in mind the blue camera light will illuminate even if you are just using the microphone only, so don't be alarmed. The same rule applies if you are on a video call and kill the video portion and just use it for audio, the light stays on.
I was quite impressed with both the video and audio quality on Skype with this webcam. It did not display in the widescreen format that the stand alone software used, but I am not using Skype HD, so that is probably why. Once communications were established, the quality was apparent by the other party who commented on it. There was absolutely no problems with Skype, it worked right out of the box (After the software was installed that is). Oh, one thing, just be sure to go into the Skype settings and change the audio settings to the webcam's mic or you will get no audio.

In conclusion, the camera's video quality is great, its auto-focus sucks and is annoying - turn it off!, the video effects are COOL, the audio quality is fine, it works great with Skype, even as an audio only device, the stand alone software is fine for sending a video email, recording an audio message or taking a still, plus you can add the effects. The camera does drive up your resources, so be sure to turn off unnecessary services and programs before using. I would not recommend this webcam for older computers. Be sure to read the system requirements on the product page before ordering to be sure your computer can handle the processing power needed.
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VINE VOICEon May 5, 2010
Simply put, the picture quality of the LifeCam HD-5000 is amazing, and despite losing out in terms of absolute resolution (720p is only ~0.9 MP) to some of the other webcams on the market, the HD-5000's sharp focus, low noise, excellent low-light performance, and life-like color produced superior results. Frankly, it is better than my older Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro, a newish Rosewill true 1.3MP webcam, and the several built-in webcams I've used over the years. The built-in forward-facing microphone works as expected, and the stand is quite innovative and worked well stand-alone and hanging on my laptop's monitor.

Despite producing quality video and stills, however, the HD-5000 is far from perfect. Firstly, the auto focus implementation is TERRIBLE. Not only is it SLOW to focus (up to 4 seconds), but it is also triggered very easily. Second, the lack of hardware acceleration makes for high CPU usage. Simply looking at myself at 720p consumed 30-40% of my laptop's CPU and recording 720p video ate up 70-80%. (I am running 32-bit Windows XP with 4GB RAM with a Pentium Dual Core T4300 @ 2.1 GHz - 800MHz FSB, 1 MB L2) To add insult to injury, the 720p video was captured at only 15 FPS, which is only half of the advertised "true HD-quality video at up to 30 fps."

The LifeCam software is pretty basic, but has a few fun features. Besides allowing you to set the capture resolution for photos and videos, the software lets you perform basic transformations such as making your head square, making your eyes extra large, etc. You can also overlay various objects such as big hair, a cowboy hat, etc. It is worth noting that the HD-5000 didn't work out of the box with SkypeHD, but it did work with regular skype, and internet video-chat.

As it stands, I am a bit torn about the HD-5000. I am absolutely delighted with the picture quality and the fact that auto focus is available at this price point, but I am also disappointed by the auto focus implementation and high CPU usage. I like the new widescreen format, but be aware that 16:9 isn't universally supported yet. Some software and websites still assume your webcam is the traditional 4:3 ratio and may distort the output. I'm glad that the HD-5000's firmware is updatable, so perhaps some improvements can be made down the road.
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VINE VOICEon December 4, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While the picture-taking quality of this webcam is excellent, the auto-focus feature becomes very distracting after a short period of time...
...and you'll see why after you watch this video.

Hope this helps!
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on November 22, 2010
The LifeCam HD-5000 is quite a decent webcam. For $30, I'd have to say it a great purchase. The picture is good with a good variability of resolutions. The microphone is great (seems to have decent noise cancellation in place). Great choice for Skype. Note that this is not a Skype HD rated webcam as the 720p video is encoded on the machine, not in the camera hardware itself. As of this moment, there are very few Skype HD rated webcams out there, so I don't expecting great 720p performance on every machine from this webcam.

The following two paragraphs are relevant to Windows machines only:

With regard to auto-focus, I would like to point out that contrary to some other reviews, the auto-focus can be disabled in the webcam settings without disabling TrueColor, which adjusts for brightness, hue, and saturation (as well as other aspects of the image). Overall, auto-focus is great to have, it works very well in certain setups, and very poorly in others. I do like being able to hold up text to the camera and have it focus on the image. If you have problems with the auto-focus, simply turn it off in the (advanced) webcam settings (which can be accessed in the control panel, in Skype, or through the LifeCam software).

Here are some points on the LifeCam software. First, I would like to point out that you do not need to install it. Without the LifeCam software, the camera works great with the drivers Windows (7) chooses to install for it. There are, however, some differences. The LifeCam software is what provides TrueColor, which does make for a better video when chatting online. The LifeCam software also auto-adjusts the frame rate for your machine depending on the resolution, this makes for smoother video for online chatting. Auto-adjustment of the frame rate can be an issue if you want to shoot 720p at 30fps on a machine that the software considers weak. Many people will need to uninstall the LifeCam software and use MJPG compression to achieve 30fps at 720p on this webcam. Also, without the LifeCam software, many more of the webcam settings become available to the system, but TrueColor will be gone. In my experience, it is best to let the LifeCam software run if your main purpose is to use Skype or other video chat clients.

Comments on using the LifeCam HD-5000 with Mac OS X:

This webcam is (at least partially) UVC compliant, so it will work on Mac OS X (and Linux). Most webcams sold these days are UVC compliant, so this is not something particular to the LifeCam HD-5000. The microphone also work well. However, for those of you with Mac OS X, it very likely that an iSight (which most Macs have anyway) will work much better. With UVC drivers on Mac OS X, the video can be choppy and is at a fixed resolution of (what looks like) 640x480. No 720p for Mac OS X users. Auto-focus and image correction features are, of course, also not available on Mac OS X.

Overall, the product is great to have. I appreciate the design, as it is both table and laptop compatible. For those of you eying a LifeCam HD-5001 or LifeCam HD-6000, know that the optics are the same, so the video quality should be identical.
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on May 5, 2011
This is a good camera.

Good Stuff:
It takes pretty high quality photos and videos(see video).

It fixes the lighting, even in very poor lighting. My room was kinda dark when I recorded this, yet you'd never be able to tell just by looking

It works with Skype, Yahoo Messenger and Facebook.

You really can't beat the price. I got it for $21.95.

Bad Stuff:
The autofocus sucks. You can take it off but you have to do so every time you start the camera up.

It takes up a lot of Memory. I'm using 4GB of memory and 500GB of storage here, and an AMD 2.1GH processor running Windows 7. If you have less than 1GB, This is not a camera for you. I ran it on my old desktop (a WIN XP) that only had 512MB of memory and 33 gigs of storage and I got Blue screened the first time and the pc froze the second time.

It says it's made for laptops but it's pretty awkward up there on my laptop. It took some positioning, but I finally got it to stay. However, once you have a flat surface nearby, that works too.

Overall, it's a good camera and I would recommend it.
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on March 12, 2011
A short video review of the Microsoft HD 5000 LifeCam. The review shows you how the webcam behaves under different conditions. The recording is done at the highest resolution available in the software, 1280x720, and the file is only 35 MB.

One of the main things I point out in the video is the difference between using the auto-focus and having it switched off: The auto-focus is really only designed for when you want to show something within an inch or two of the webcam, not for when you are sitting in front of your computer talking. I tested it with close objects afterward and it works great for that.

I've tested the webcam with Gmail video chat, Skype 5.1, and Windows Live Messenger. For Gmail, I would recommend enabling "Video chat enhancements" from Google Labs to take advantage of the higher resolution.

One thing to keep in mind when setting up your webcam is that you need to make sure all the software is up-to-date. This includes the drivers, the firmware, and the application. When I plugged in the webcam, my computer got the latest drivers from Windows Update. When I installed the application from the included CD, it told me that the webcam required a firmware update. After that, the application crashed whenever I started it, so I got the latest from the Microsoft site ([...] Now everything works fine.

As you notice in the video, the special effects are resource intensive - that section causes the audio and video to not be synced for a few seconds. This is only a problem if you want to record the effects - just turning them on and viewing them on-screen works fine. Overall, I think it has great video and audio quality, especially for such cheap prices as Amazon offers, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a HD webcam.
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on March 16, 2011
DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!! I am very disappointed in Microsoft Lifecam HD-5000. I should have read everyone's review before buying this product...I'm not just talking about reviews here on Amazon but reviews on the web itself. After receiving this product in the mail (I order one for me and one for my son who is in college so we could skype), I could not get this webcam to work with win 7 or win xp (I have 3 computers in the house). My son have same problem. I try to update the driver to no avail. I try uninstall and reinstall a dozens of times, nothing works. I would consider myself a knowledgable person when it comes to computer because I built computers for a living and also do video editing as a business. In all my years of computer hardware, I have never experience this much frustration with a computer product as this LifeCam crap. That's all this is..CRAP! Now I would say that I have a defective product only if it was just mine that doesn't work but my son's doesn't work either and I order mine (same model) from walmart and he got his from here (Amazon). What are the odds of both of us getting 2 defective products. So I got frustrated and started googling reviews on the net about this product...and sure enough....tons of people have the same issue that we have(they also have issues with different models too). They could not get the webcam to work...their pc could not recognized the webcam. They try everything I tried and could not succeed. I was pretty sure that someone would have an answer on the net to fix this darn thing so that I don't have to send it back...but NOPE! it looks like no one was able to fix the issue that we are having so I am sending it back. summarized it..the software installed fine but when try to launch it, it crashes all the time. Use the webcam without the software...nothing (black screen). MSN or SKYPE would not recognize the webcam. I do not believe this...that I would go through all this trouble just to get a webcam working. I WOULD RATE THIS A ZERO IF I COULD! MAYBE A NEGATIVE ONE!

So my warning to you...DO NOT BUY THIS or if you want to buy it. I some research. read others reviews on the net before you consider buying this thing. I wish I had. Good luck to you if you buy this.
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on September 9, 2010
I've tried numerous times to get the video review upload to take, but it never works, so I'm just going to write a review...

First of all, the problems with autofocus are real. It's quite unbelievable that Microsoft would release a product that literally has to re-focus every minute, or less. When I say re-focus, it literally racks itself from one end of the focus spectrum to the other, blurring you severely when it does. Horrible! This seems to happen most when recording on 720p, and not so much on lower resolutions. As mentioned, to remedy this, you have to turn the True Color function off, then go into the menus and check the box to make autofocus change to manual.

Another thing is that this camera is not "really" HD. It's the same resolution as a 640x480 camera, but with a wider width. Higher resolutions above that are just dithered-in (interpolated?) using software. The HD image is not really that impressive at all -- just an upscaled lower resolution.

Audio is a disappointment. It seems to record a slight hiss in the background, which is not a problem with other Microsoft models I've used. The signal-to-noise ratio is about that of an old cassette player using Dolby B. Don't ask me why it's that way on a digital product, but it is -- there is some hiss there. Other webcams don't do this on my computer.

I bought this camera to replace a Microsoft VX-5000 model that quit working after a year (I think the cleaning lady killed it). I was satisfied with that model, and after owning the two, I feel the VX actually has a better overall image, and certainly better audio too. The lower resolution VX does better in low-light, and has better overall contrast. The HD-5000 has a lot of noise in the image.

Do yourself a favor. Avoid this camera.
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on December 30, 2015
I purchased this cam not really knowing what to expect. I just needed a cam to Skype with my daughter while she's gone. When I opened the package, I was surprised. I thought it would have been a little smaller.

That being said, I really like it. The stand contorts to many positions for ease of use. Clip it to your laptop, stand-alone monitor, or curl it under so it can stand alone. The microphone works fantastically, which was one of my big worries. Not having a good stand-alone mic because most built-in mics tend to be really crappy. Not this one. It picks up everything you say with minimal background interference.

The cam quality itself is what wowed me. Granted, it likes to auto-focus quite a bit if you have a high light source behind you (Including sunny windows) BUT the precise focus is fantastic. Some smaller things may take a second (like displaying items on cam) but as long as you create it so you're the center of focus with lighting and positioning, it will hold perfectly on you or that item with HD quality. I really love this cam. It's not the absolute best, but it's the best for it's price range.
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