$200 ViCam camera for PC monitors offers superb imageThe...


June 01, 1998|By Gareth Branwyn

$200 ViCam camera for PC monitors offers superb image

The ViCam is a nifty new $200 monitor camera from Vista Imaging. It's a rectilinear dark gray little fella with a convex top. It has a broad solid base, which gives it a solid foundation on your monitor and a high degree of swivel, allowing you to aim and shoot as needed.

The quality of ViCam images is superb. The camera will work on any PC from a 386 on up, but lower-speed processors cramp the resolution and refresh rate. You can get up to 30 frames per second on a fast Pentium machine using the computer's enhanced parallel port (EPP), although images look sharper in black and white (at up to 40 frames per second). An optional Lens Pack ($50) adds three lenses (3.6 mm/f:2, 8 mm/f:2.5, 12 mm/f:2) for close-up and wide-angle viewing.

The ViCam software is straightforward. The main controls for color balance, image size and resolution, effects, filing and editing are available as buttons on a Gadget Control Bar. Several pop-up control panels offer more detailed manipulation. There's almost no print documentation, but the online help is excellent and includes screen shots of all relevant features and procedures.

Information: 650-802-9685 or www.vistaimaging.com. The ImageWave is part of Storm Technology's EasyPhoto line of flatbed and sheet-fed scanners and photo readers. It's one of a wave of $99 scanners that offers surprising image quality for the money.

What do you get for 100 bucks? Try 600-by-300-dot-per-inch color resolution, up to 5,000 dpi enhanced scanning, 30-bit color, a parallel port connection with printer pass-through and full support for a variety of image formats, including JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PhotoCD and BMP.

You also get a full suite of image handling and storage software (EasyPhoto scanning software, PhotoDeluxe, the surprisingly accurate Xerox TextBridge optical-character-recognition software, Adobe Acrobat, Internet Explorer 4 and DocuMagix PaperMaster for managing stored documents and photos.

ImageWave may not rival a mid-or high-end scanner - like many other lower-priced flatbeds, its colors are slightly washed out or shifted. But for the home user or small-time Web designer, the ImageWave is more than acceptable. Neither my UMAX S-6E nor my PaperPort Strobe could do better, and they cost two to three times more.

Information: 650-969-9555 or www.easyphoto.com.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.