We won't say too much here, as really everything you need to know is in the video above, which shows the same situation shot with all three cameras. We intentionally picked a tricky situation, a somewhat dimly-lit room with a window behind, to see which would fare the best. Also, we intentionally left each camera in automatic mode, though each allows modification of various exposure settings. The TouchCam N1 gave the brightest image, while the C910 offered the best overall quality, though it did suffer from some periodic focus hunting. The Everyman HD, meanwhile, was still the cheapest.
Well, next-cheapest anyway compared to the integrated cam in the Lenovo T400s
that we used as something of a benchmark. That camera is capable of higher resolutions, but we knocked it back to good 'ol 640 x 480 to give you a taste of how these cameras compare to your average integrated webcam. The difference is noticeable, particularly when it came to handling the dimness of the room, but is it worth the extra cash?
We'd also like to point out that both the Freetalk and the TouchCam N1 are rated at a maximum of 22fps when filming at 720p. However, when capturing through Sony Vegas both managed a maximum of 11fps. We don't think this really had any impact on the resulting quality of the footage, but we're passing that info along just the same.
In terms of ultimate quality you have to give it to the C910, which didn't provide the brightest image but was definitely the most clear. However, lack of compatibility with SkypeHD means that if you're hoping to get your video chat on through your next-gen TV or integrated device Logitech's cam simply isn't an option. Nor can you do HD chat on Skype over your PC, but we're fully expecting that Skype will start to allow webcams like this into the fold at some point down the road.
So, between the two SkypeHD cams, is the N1 worth the 100 percent premium over the other? In terms of sheer video quality we'd have to say no, that the brighter image and wider field of view is let down by similarly murky overall quality. But, with no integrated microphone we're not sure the Everyman HD necessarily fits into our lifestyle either. That said, the beauty of these things is you don't have to take it from us. Just watch that video above, look at the prices, and decide for yourself which one of these you want to take online -- if, that is, you want to work with any of them.
: As of September 1st, Logitech's HD webcams are now compatible with SkypeHD. Curiously that brand seems to be the only one that has been given an exemption of the hardware encoding requirement at this time, but if Skyping in high-def is a major thing for you, this camera just got a little more appealing.
: Another enhancement to the Logitech C910: as of December 14th they are now Mac compatible. So, go get your HD chat on!