For $249 you get a great bundle of software plus a camera that delivers ease of use and good results. The SmartCam Professional operates at a range of resolutions up to 640 x 480, and delivers up to 30 frames per second. Under my testing, 5fps was the highest frame rate achievable at 640 x 480, although the default setting of 320 x 240 is fine for most applications, and can operate at 30fps.
The gold camera design is stylish and includes a focus wheel, effective for manually sharpening pictures, plus a snapshot button to take stills, and an LED light to let you know when the camera is on. The design's main deficiency is its inability to pan - you can tilt the camera up or down but, unlike with eyeball-shaped cameras on the market, you cannot move the camera left and right (unless you move the entire unit).
Software bundled with the SmartCam Professional is impressive. Full versions of SuperGoo and Kai's PhotoSoap 2 for image manipulation and editing are included, plus Z-link and video editing suite MainActor. The Z-link video suite includes capture programs for a number of functions such as surveillance, creating video e-mails and videoconferencing. Swann has also put together a tutorial CD-ROM to simplify installation, which is already a cinch due to the camera's use of the USB interface.
At $249, the SmartCam Professional is a good buy, considering most of its competitors on the market with similar specs retail at around the $300 mark.
Distributor: Swann Communications
Phone: (03) 9421 2600