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The NewCom E-Cam Digital Color Camera
Last updated 3/29/99

OPERATION.   The E-Cam has a 508 X 492 pixel CCD.  The camera supports video (motion) resolutions of 320 X 240, 240 X 180 and 160 X 120 for video conferencing, etc.  NewCom's specs state it can capture 24-bit still images at resolutions of 1600 X 1200, 1024 X 768, 640 X 480, and 320 X 240.  I found that pictures were quite good for a low-cost camera; That's me at 320 X 240 (optimized for the Internet) trying to click my mouse, look at the camera, and smile at the same time.

What really hurts this camera is its printer-port interface.  Although the E-cam is rated at 30 frames per second, the printer port on my test computer--an HP Pavilion with a 333 Mhz K6-2 processor--could not keep up with it.  Frame changes were noticeably slow and jerky.  Furthermore,  the whole computer was considerably affected by camera overhead.  There were jerky pauses as the mouse was moved over the start menu,etc.  There are printer boards available with faster data transfer rates (2 MBytes/sec.) which may solve this problem.   But, I would suggest that better solution would be to redesign the camera with a USB interface.

BOTTOM LINE.  If you are looking for high-quality pictures to include in your Web site (and the flexibility of a hand-held camera), I recommend saving your money (lots of it) and buying a high-end digital camera.  I you are looking for a low-end videoconference camera, I recommend that you buy a camera with a faster interface.  If you looking for something that does a little of both the E-cam (and a faster printer port) may be an acceptable choice.


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