|Liquid Digital aGent V5|
First posted Oct 21, 2009
Last update Mar 25, 2015
Liquid Digital Solutions aGent V5
Received September 17, 2009
About $94.00 US, (€67, £57, $119.95 AU)
A very nice camera, I am impressed. Patterned after the popular Mac external iSight W camera. It has an excellent image and does very well with bright back lighting, having minimal flair compared to many other currently available cameras. The color is very good, and the picture sharp and crisp at all resolutions.
At around $100 it would appear this is a steal compaired to the original iSight which originally sold for $149. Doing a quick search on Amazon.com, I see some sellers taking advantage of the fact the iSight has been discontinued by charging as much as $499 for a new boxed one. I have never seen an iSight, but I am told by one iSight owner that he thinks my testing shots are better than his original iSight.
The camera shipped in an interesting box of heavy cardboard and 2 little magnets that keep the flap closed. The camera includes a carrying bag, microfiber cleaning cloth and a little cord wrap to take up extra cable. My model is polished silver with white mounting parts. I am told the next release will also have a brushed steel version available. Check their website for updates.
The camera comes with 3 mounting stands. A universal stand which is similar to some of the Creative mounts. (They call it the "LCD/iMac clip") The Universal stand hangs well on a flat panel monitor, can be used on a notebook screen, and will fold to sit on a desktop. The camera also comes with a clear plastic stand that looks similar to the iSight. (They call this the "Desktop Stand") I did have a problem with the desktop stand which came with my model, in that the camera wouldn't tighten in a way which would allow the camera to point directly ahead. My contact with Liquid Digital tells me they have addressed this issue with the next shipment due to arrive mid November, 2009. I myself would only use the desktop stand if I were permanently mounting the camera using the provided holes in its base.
The third mount is a heavy duty plastic clip designed for notebooks. (They call it the "Notebook/Mac book clip") I must say this company got the notebook clip right. Not only does it hold the camera on all my notebooks securely, but it can be used as a desktop stand, though not quite as solidly as the universal stand. It will also fit monitors up to an inch thick, a feature none of the other decent brands' clips have so far matched.
The universal stand and the clip stand also have a swivel mounting so the camera can be adjusted up, down and sideways. Few other notebook cameras can swivel from side to side. There is also a small amount of vertical tilt in the camera's base. Here's an interesting point I discovered. The size of the mounting screw is the same ¼ inch as a standard US tripod mount. However, be warned, the threads are not quite the same. So you can force the camera onto a tripod, but you may not be able to go back to the included stands as you will probably damage the socket in the bottom of the camera, but at least the camera can be mounted to a tripod, a feature most of the other companies have abandoned.
My only complaints on the individual camera I received is the image sensor seems to be installed about 15 degreed off level (see test shot below). After reporting the problem, my contact says they pulled a bunch of cameras from the same batch but didn't find any others with the same problem. I guess I got the one in 10,000 with a small defect or it may have been damaged by the postal service in traveling across the globe. I also found the focus ring very tight to begin with, but it has loosened up some as I used it more.
I think I may begin using this camera in my truck after I have completed the demo shots in December. In the summer my truck gets very hot when parked, and most of the other cameras I have used slowly develop a fuzzy image over time and I don't want to take the chance of damaging this camera before the test shots are complete.
For the time being this camera supercedes the Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe as the best manual focus camera. I actually considered labeling the aGent V5 as the best all around camera, but I just picked up the new version of the Logitech Webcam 9000 and will have to hold off on that judgment until further testing of the new 9000 is complete.
Image resolutions avaliable on this camera