In a previous post (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/using-zoom-to-record-a-presentation-with-no-audience/), I mentioned that I purchased a Logitech C270 webcam for doing webinars, presentations (both on Zoom), video calls (Skype) etc. from my Windows 10 computer.
Although the webcam worked perfectly well out of the box and without any instructions, I’ve now downloaded the user manual and software for it, installed the software, and fiddled with the software’s settings. You can get the Logitech Camera Settings software for the C270 from here: https://support.logi.com/hc/en-us/articles/360024692954–Downloads-HD-Webcam-C270, and the Getting Started manual from here: http://www.logitech.com/assets/46735/2/hd-webcam-c270.pdf. You may find you don’t need either if the camera works fine for you.
Seriously, don’t bother! Although my camera’s model/firmware etc. is dated 2020 (see below), the Getting Started manual only has instructions for Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 (Windows 8 came out in 2012!). The box has a single page illustrated ‘getting started’ sheet that shows you where to plug stuff. I thought the manual would have more; after all, the PDF had 168 pages. However, when I checked the table of contents, only pages 3 to 11 were in English, with the rest for 17 other languages. So there’s only 8 pages to read, but in reality it’s fewer than that: 2 pages of generic setup (as per the illustrated sheet in the box), 3 pages for Windows 8 (nothing for Windows 10, so while the webcam may be new, these instructions haven’t been updated), and 3 pages for Windows 7 and Vista. That means only 5 pages to read, some of which I’d already read from the sheet in the box. I only read the Windows 8 information, but this information was so out of date it was mostly useless for Windows 10. It talked about features in the Windows Camera app that no longer seem to exist, and referred to all sorts of things that just don’t apply to Windows 10 (e.g. Charms bar, Microsoft SkyDrive, Metro apps).
Logitech Camera Settings software (Build 188.8.131.52)
After installing the software, I opened it. There’s no Help file at all, so I winged it with the settings. I’ve documented below what the default settings were for my camera. (NOTE: Your default settings may vary, depending on the light source, room lighting, etc. I believe the camera auto adjusts to this. I tested with mid-morning winter sunlight coming through my home office window—my office faces west, so there was no direct light; there was also reflected light from my two monitors, plus the two monitors on my right that I use for my main client’s laptop, and a ‘cool white’ LED light in the ceiling directly above my keyboard).
The information icon revealed this information about my camera:
- USB Vendor ID (VID): 0X046D
- USB Product ID (PID): 0X0825
- Firmware version: 7.1.1011
- EEPROM version: 1.27
- Firmware CRC: 0XF3E0
- Sensor version: 2.0
- Build: 184.108.40.206
- Copyright: 1996-2020 Logitech Inc.
Now to the settings. There are two tabs at the top of the screen—Home and Advanced, and you can only adjust light settings, not the microphone. Any settings you change are shown in real-time in the preview window. There’s no option to save the settings—they seem to save automatically. When you close then re-open the software, the settings are the same as when you last adjusted them. There’s also a big Restore defaults button if you happen to mess things up. The settings below were the defaults, and the information in parentheses shows what effect changing those settings had, for me; they may have different effects for you.
- Image: Standard (selecting Widescreen added more space around my face; Standard seems perfect for webinars)
- Anti Flicker: (nothing selected) I selected NTSC 60 Hz, but couldn’t see how to turn that off. When I closed then re-opened the software, PAL 50 Hz was selected. Later, after adjusting the Advanced settings, I went back to the Home screen and NTSC 60 Hz was selected again. I don’t know what controls this, and I don’t know what difference this makes to the video output.
- The zoom in (+) button on the preview window does exactly that, and once zoomed in, the zoom out (-) button becomes available
- I’m not sure what the central target and the side and top/bottom arrows do on the image of the face in the preview window—you can’t move them with the mouse. They may just be for visually centering your image in the frame.
- Brightness: 50% (lowering the brightness darkened the background a bit, as well as my face, but my face was still lit OK; I left it at 50%)
- Contrast: 12% (7% made the office shelves behind me more their natural colour, but reddened and blurred my face; 25% made the office shelves look black and was way too bright for my face; I left it at 12%)
- Color intensity: 12% (lowering this value washed out the colour; 25% gave me a very red face; about 15% was just right—it added a bit of pink to my face, but not too much; I left it 12%)
- Auto White Balance: ON and 3690K (turned OFF, it added white light to my face, then with AutoBalance OFF, at ~2000K my face was a washed-out grey, but at around 8000K the tones were more natural; I set this to OFF and set the white balance to about 8000K)
Finally, when I was looking for instructions for this software, I came across this YouTube video that shows you how to change the autofocus of this webcam to manual focus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLEbDPbOGpQ. WARNING: This video shows you how to open and adjust the focus ring, after snapping off the bit of glue holding it in place. You may not want to do this, and you’re likely to void any warranty if you do. My aim in sharing this link is for those who need to manually adjust the focus for a specific purpose (for example, the person who made this video is an artist and they needed to change the focus to the paper instead of their hands).
[Links last checked July 2020]