IPEVO Point 2 View,
Received April 7, 2010, $69.00
This camera is the second generation of the IPEVO Point cameras. They have updated the image sensor, electronics and lens. The only thing that is the same is the camera case which is almost exactly like the earlier version except for the addition of an extra button and a auto/manual focus switch.
The camera has good contrast, very accurate color balance, well saturated color and can handle a wide array of lighting conditions. While its sharpness isn't up to the new Logitech Webcam 9000, this camera holds its own in comparison with any other make, within its price range, and exceeds most of the others.
The new stand is a marvel of simplicity and is extremely flexible. The camera can be mounted on one of 3 pins on the top of the stand to angle the camera in just about any direction desired. It has a very solid and fairly heavy base which keeps it in one spot. You can even extend the arms of the stand as far out sideways as it will reach and the camera does not fall over. I did find that the stand tends to shake a bit if sitting on a table that is not sturdy, but on a solid surface it is fine.
There are 3 control switches on the camera. One is a snapshot button which only works if the supplied software is installed. Another is a switch to choose between auto focus and manual focus. The last button is a focus button which can be pressed to temporarily engage the auto focus feature while the previously mentioned switch is in manual mode.
When trying to manually focus on something close, I found it rather difficult to hold the camera steady while pressing the focus button when in the manual mode. This problem is not with the switch but just trying to hold the camera steady in your hand while it tries to focus. When the view is further away than a couple of feet, manual focus is much easier. For close up work I would recommend using the stand and auto focus.
About the only complaint I can come up with is when anything changes in the field of view, brightness, movement, change in distance to object being shot, the camera will try to re-adjust itself with focus and exposure, causing a bit of a bounce in settings before settling down to the correct adjustments. This takes a second or two and is rather noticeable if using a video stream from the camera. I will add that in each case the camera was able to obtain proper brightness and focus, it just took a second or two. The Logitech cameras do the same, but they tend to wait a bit longer, to see if the change is permanent or transient before readjusting, and the readjustment is a bit slower on the Logitech so isn't quite as noticeable. The only case when I had any focus problems was when I had the camera too close (under an inch) or when it was pointed out a window which had rain drops on the outside of the glass. Several times the camera ended up focusing on the rain drops rather than the scene some 200 feet away, but I have had the same problem with all the other auto focus cameras so I can't complain on that issue.
This is my pick for anyone who needs an inexpensive camera to show fine detail work, such as closeups of electronic devices or to project text and photos to a class or in a meeting. For those of you who have been around awhile, think of an old overhead projector.
Overall I am impressed with every aspect of this camera. A good choice for just about any use from pointing out a window to desktop use and especially for closeup work or to use as a projection source in classrooms or meetings and presentations.
I will not be able to do my standard test shots until I return home from an extended vacation, about middle to late June, so in the meantime, here are a few demo shots from my trailer.