At $379.95, its main use will be in commercial spaces like facial recognition at airports, building access, medical and telemedical, industrial – anywhere where natural colour is needed under variable light conditions, where HRD can bring out the shadows and details in bright light, and where one can add Windows Hello login to any Windows 10 computer.
The specs are far above those of the typical 720/1080p webcams.
Joan Vandermate, Logitech’s head of Marketing, Collaboration Business Unit based in San Francisco, was over to launch the new camera that will initially only be offered online from March as it is more suited to business, government and prosumer use than lower-cost webcams that start from under $40.
“It is tough to grow our webcam business because we own most of that add-on market. This is a special webcam that opens up so much more because it is Skype for Business Certified, it works with CISCO, all our UVC collaboration partners, and now with Windows Hello and Cortana capability it opens up a whole new identification and security market,” she said.
The webcam hooks up to a late model Windows, macOS or Chrome OS device via USB 3.0 (it can work on 2.0 at up to 1080 @30fps) and uses the computing power of the device – it has smarts but no local storage.
- 4K Ultra video resolution. That means a sensor of 3840 x 2160 (16:9 ratio) and it will record at 30fps. But it will also record at HD 1080 at 30/60fps and 720p at 309/60/90fps.
- Having such a high-resolution 13MP sensor it can do 5x digital, near lossless zoom at 1080p 30/60fps.
- 4K @30fps video produces an uncompressed file size of 375MB per minute – 1080 @60fps is 200MB, 1080 @30fps is 130MB and 720 @30fps is 60MB. Now over an Internet gigabit Ethernet network, 4K is no issue but using the Internet in Australia where ADSL upload speeds are typically 256Kbps it is not viable to live stream 4K.
- It has RightLight 3 with HDR (High Dynamic Range) and tests beside standard webcams really show how natural the colour is and how much detail comes from low-light shots. Its version of HRD combines multiple exposures in the same real-time video stream – it does not create metadata that requires an HDR chip interpreter on the display device.
- Windows Hello requires infra-red facial recognition – you may have heard of an Intel RealSense 3D camera and this is Logitech’s implementation. This webcam adds biometrics. It will also work with facial recognition software on a Mac.
- It has software adjustable fields of view – 65°, 78° and 90° for wide angle shots. It can also minimise background noise and visual clutter (background replacement powered by Personify). Autofocus keeps the person in focus
- Two omnidirectional mics (not auto noise cancelling)
- Camera Settings software, and Skype for Business Far End Control available as a free download.
- A standard 1/4” tripod mount that also accepts the monitor clip. It comes with a privacy shutter flap and a USB-A to USB-C cable.
It’s a tad expensive for a consumer who will likely settle for the 720p webcam on their notebook.
But it is a cheap 4K Ultra video recorder and would be good for making things like training videos, surveillance, facial recognition, and more – even if the final footage was ripped back to 1080 or 720. That is the key to 4K – there is so much detail in the frame that lossless zoom, panning and more are all possible if you downscale.
In tests today I was impressed at the quality of the device, the natural colours, colour balance, detail, and HDR really works to fill in shadows and over exposed areas.
If you need enhanced security, then it is a no-brainer to add Windows Hello capability to any Windows 10 PC. Windows Hello is fast. And being placed on top of a monitor gets rid of those double chins!
It needs to be attached to a computer and therefore will not replace standalone Go-Pro style devices.