Which webcam?

I have a Linksys Wireless webcam WVC54 v1.1 which looks like it might not be able to work for me in WD since one can’t schedule images with it, only recordings. I want to get a new webcam which will. It has to:

  1. Work over internet, but does not have to be wireless.
  2. Produce a jpg image file on command of a scheduler.

I’ve checked Google, but there are hundreds of them and nobody seems to print actual detailed specifications. I’d like to get a suggestions from someone who has actually done this (webcam shot on a website). Thanks,

Unfortunately most current network cameras seem to be geared towards video rather than image capture. You might find a used DLink DCS 1000 on ebay though, they work fine as third party cams for weather display http://discourse.weather-watch.com/t/12282

My new Canon VB-C50iR does exactly what you want, has a built-in webserver (50 users max), and you can schedule images to be taken. It has a fantastic optical zoom that is the best I’ve seen…has PTZ (with java control so visitors can play with it…stop by and try it). I should caution you that it is NOT a cheap webcam.

My previous webcam was a Logitech Pro-4000, USB, decent picture for less than $100. Works good with WD but does require you to manually turn-off the face zoom feature each time you start WD (something in the driver defaults this feature to on when WD initializes it). But once it’s set you don’t have to mess with it. No PTZ. No built-in web server. Using WD you can schedule images as well as stream video.

Thanks, Niko,

E-bay has both a 1000 and a 2000, but the first has 6 days to run. I’ll keep looking. That is an excellent post, btw. Would work really well.

One possibility I have with the existing Linksys camera would be to hardware hack the camera and put a relay across the “snap photo” contacts or hack the camera application and bring out the “snap photo” button. It’s probably all in the .dll; I’m trying to get Linksys to tell me what the function is, but so far, they won’t.

Hi Dan,

The Canon is a really terrific camera, but I can’t see using PTZ in a weather cam. I have a couple of outdoor Pelco Spectra II’s here which are used for security. They do PTZ as well, and one works (monochrome only) in extremely low light, but they are video only and I can’t see how I would use them for weather use unless I had some kind of a black box which would create jpegs and put them on the network. Actually, if I could do that, the Pelcos have pre-positioning so that I could set a position for one of them and point to that position before snapping the shot and then doing a reposition. Ya know, the matrix switch and multiplexer are in the same room as the server, so maybe there is such a device and it won’t cost a bundle… My home auto system can easily preposition a camera at a specified time…

I have a feeling that the 2000 doesn’t operate the same way as the 1000 so you would need to check that out carefully.

But I see two other options:

If your VWC54 software has a capture function then use a windows automation program (I use macro scheduler) to automate and schedule the capture. I do quite a lot of that stuff so I’d be happy to work with you on that (offline since this isn’t the windows automation forum).

If you already have video cameras then a capture card might be a good option. Again you could use a windows automation program to automate and schedule the capture.


Great post! You really have me thinking.

The problem with capture devices is that they appear to cost more than most cameras!

However, using some kind of macro scheduler with the existing program might be possible. I used to do all kinds of those things back in the MS-DOS days. I’ve never attempted it with Windows software, but maybe that is the answer.

I noticed your email isn’t listed. Mine is rapp at lmr dot com - you know what to do with the “at” and “dot”. I’d be glad to take this off list. And again, thanks!

I love having PTZ, especially when lightning storms are in the area. Best of luck in your search.

That’s an excellent point, Dan, I hadn’t thought of that.

However, I am trying one of Niko’s solutions. I had thought about hacking the dll to get at the capture function, but Niko’s use of Macro Scheduler is so much easier! I downloaded an evaluation copy and determined that it will do the hard work, so I think I will use my existing webcam and marry the viewer with the macro facility plus a few simple batch files. It’s a bit of a kludge, but it’s a lot faster to do, cost is reasonable, and I could use that for a lot of other, home automation stuff.

I looked at a few video capture utilities. They are all more expensive than the web cameras, (unless someone knows one which I missed) so I’ve pretty much ruled that out.

PT would be useful here too…I could arrange for the camera to point somewhere other than where the sun is at all times of the day (I don’t have a good location to mount a North facing sky camera).

I’m just starting out and was wondering what would be a good webcam. I’ve been looking at the Logitech Pro-4000. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Many thanks



I would say for the money, and if you plan on placing the webcam within reasonable USB distance of your computer, the Logitech Pro 4000 (they have a 5000 out now but I don’t know anything about it) is the best deal…

Mine is facing out a north facing window and I think has great results in day light, night time on the other hand is pretty well blanked out unless you are pointing it at a street lamp lit area…


The Logitech Pro 4000 is a very good starter cam…


Great thanks guys. Just picked one up on ebay

Thanks for the info on web cams. I have been trying to find a suitable one without really understanding the issues. I presume web cams dont like being hit by the rays of the sun full on their sensor


presume web cams dont like being hit by the rays of the sun full on their sensor
i actauly thought i was suffering from that myself, a while back but a power down of the PC (and then so the web cam ) and all is good again :D

My 4000 crashes probably 1 out of 3 nights, between 8 & 10 pm, but I have scheduled a restart at about 4am so it all resets ready for the start of the day.

Just curious, are you using the moviemaker? I turned mine off about 2 weeks ago, still using the file capture, and haven’t had a crash since.


Yes, I am using moviemaker. It is strange that it only crashes at night.
The software itself seems to be OK, but the there are no images coming from the camera, I used to reset it by pulling out the USB cable from the camera, waiting a few seconds then replacing it.

I found mine to crash when making the all day movie which is done, if I remember correctly, an hour after sunset…night time. But mine did keep capturing the images. I wasn’t posting the movies so isn’t a big deal. Now I just mouse over the graph and see the day from there. Don’t think it’s a WD problem just something in my machine that doesn’t like it.

In a day or so I’m moving WD to a faster machine w/ four times the memory so have hopes that will do the trick.