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Creative PC-CAM 300

Richard Price
9 October 2001

PC-CAM 300I’m not sure who Creative is targeting with the PC-CAM 300. The unusual dark gray plastic design is too namby-pamby for boys and too dull for girls.

It’s a pity because this idiot-proof camera takes surprisingly good snaps and doubles as a webcam when connected to a PC via a USB cable.

This very basic no focus, no zoom camera works with four AAA batteries. Controls are minimal. An On/Off button, an operational mode button and a flash mode button.

If you are a control freak forget it, this is not high-end digital gear, all you do is select the mode and release the shutter.

But the PC-CAM 300 does have a few redeeming features that make it worthwhile for someone needing a cheap digital camera. It is sturdy with a scratch-resistant glass lens that will survive being thrown around in a backpack.

The strange design fits snugly in the hand and the large shutter button is easy to access.

The operation mode button selects one of six modes: Single snapshot high quality (640 x 480), Single snapshot low quality (320 x 240), Self-timer single snapshot, Multiple snap shot, Video Recording and Audio Recording. There are four flash modes: Auto, Always, Red Eye and Disabled.

A very small LCD shows the selected mode and other information.

This camera is easy to use and I’m impressed with the quality of the images. Because it’s focus free it’s no good for close ups. Any closer than 75cm and the image is fuzzy.

The only way to view pictures taken with the PC-CAM 300 is to connect it to a PC. This means installing drivers and software. Creative PC-CAM Center is used to transfer all images to a computer and must be installed. Installing bundled software for creating interactive 360 panoramic scenes, web site creation and video conferencing is optional.

The camera sports a color VGA (640 x 480 pixels) CCD image sensor and 8MB of memory for image storage. Images are stored in native JPEG format The camera captures 255 still pictures in low quality mode, 75 sec of video or up to 34 min of audio

When attached to a computer the camera can capture video at up to 30 frames per second at image resolutions of 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 and up to 15 frames per second at 640 x 480. Still images in 24-bit color at all image resolutions up to 1024 x 768 can be captured when the camera is docked with a computer.

A small sturdy stand with a rubber base is included allowing the camera to be angled when used as a webcam. It can safely be positioned on top of a monitor

The PC-CAM 300 supports TWAIN and Microsoft Still Image (STI). The camera works well for face-to-face chats over the Internet using Microsoft NetMeeting or other real-time video conferencing software.

The PC-CAM 300 supports Windows 98, 2000 and ME.

Price AU$ AU$299 inc GST



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