V7 Professional 1310 Webcam Review

Posted by matt

I could not find any reviews prior to purchasing this webcam. So having ordered it, I thought I would write a quick one myself. I needed a cheap webcam with a decent resolution to hack about with, and it seemed to fit the bill. It can be bought in the UK for under £10 including delivery and has a true 1.3MP sensor (1280x1024).

Performance

For me, the biggest attraction of this camera was the claim of up to 30FPS at 1280x1024. This is perhaps unsurprisingly a bogus claim and at this resolution it is limited to 7.5FPS. This camera sends data in uncompressed YUY2 format which means 2 bytes per pixel. Multiply that by the number of pixels and the number of frames per second and you are way over the USB2 bandwidth of 480MBit/s (about 48 MByte/s). That's ignoring all transmission overheads and the audio stream data.

So what can it actually deliver?...

ResolutionMax framerate
320 x24030 FPS
640 x 48030 FPS
800 x 60015 FPS
1024 x 76815 FPS
1280 x 10247.5 FPS

The UVC specification defines several compressed video tranmission modes. For example MJPEG is implemented by some Logitech HD webcams. So whilst it is possible to transmit HD video over USB2, it requires on-camera compression hardware which naturally increases cost. Perhaps by the time USB3 transceivers become cheap enough we will be able to pick up a 1600x1200/30FPS webcam for £10.

The image quality was reasonable if nothing special. It has a manual focussing wheel which went a bit stiff in places making it more difficult to focus than it should have been. Having taken it apart I am still not sure if the optics are glass or plastic (even some cheap webcams  are coming with glass optics now). Some sensor noise was visible, although it was really not too bad. Colours, in particular reds, did seem a little washed out, although adjustments are possible in software.

The integrated aluminium stand is functional, allowing positioning either on top of an LCD monitor or on your desk. The hinges are stiff enough initially to stay in any desired position, although working them back and forth suggests they may loosen up over time. Where the camera body is attached to the hinge assembly there is a small amount of up/down play. This could allow the camera to shake more than necessary whenever your monitor/desk is knocked.

Drivers & Software

This is a UVC compliant device, so it should work fine without the need to install proprietary drivers under Windows/Linux/MacOS. The provided mini CD contains a European multilinual manual, a Windows UVC driver and a customised version of amcap. The latter is handy for out-of-the-box testing.

Conclusion

Slightly better built and better looking than some cheap webcams, although performance is not particularly inspiring. If you need high definition video at 30 FPS forget this model and take a look at one of the Sweex HD webcams (e.g. WC250). You can pick this up for around £15 £10 including delivery in the UK. It supports MJPEG video stream for 1600*1200 @ 30 FPS.