Webcam Upgrade Woes

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I worked out how to make Task Scheduler make it run automatically. It all works perfectly. If you have any problems at all please let me know.
Project completed.

Below is my exact configuration of Task Scheduler. You can easily tweak it to whatever folders you use.

Use Task Scheduler to make it run WebCameraConfig every time I boot the computer or login.
Create the folder C:\Programs\WebCameraConfig
Place WebCameraConfig.exe and the saved file camera_sett.cfg in the folder.
Run Task Scheduler.
Create task called WebCameraConfig
General
- Name: WebCameraConfig
- Description: Restore webcam settings
- Run only when user is logged on
Triggers
- Begin the task at logon, of any user
Actions
- Action: Start a program
- Details: C:\Programs\WebCameraConfig\WebCameraConfig.exe
- Start in: C:\Programs\WebCameraConfig (you must fill in this field, otherwise it won't find the .cfg file)

(Note that you could create multiple .cfg files if you wanted and have different bat files to choose which configuration you wanted. You would use the --profile parameter followed by the filename.)

Thank you for raising this issue and inspiring me to find a solution for this niggling problem.
Actually, thank you for doing all of the research that you did. I need to look more carefully at this when I am not on deadline, and I might have a question or two, especially about what I would need to do if I wanted to tweak the webcam settings. And I am assuming that this is also predicated on on LWS280 being installed, correct?

--Ken
 

Growltiger

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Actually, thank you for doing all of the research that you did. I need to look more carefully at this when I am not on deadline, and I might have a question or two, especially about what I would need to do if I wanted to tweak the webcam settings. And I am assuming that this is also predicated on on LWS280 being installed, correct?
--Ken
No, you can (and to be tidy should) uninstall all the Logitech software other than LogiCameraSettings. lws280 is completely obsolete (and messy). And you don't need OBS.

Today I will be installing the solution on the machine that actually needs it. Given I now know exactly what to do it should take under 10 minutes:
  1. Set the camera settings using LogiCameraSettings.
  2. Copy the little WebCameraConfig program to its new folder.
  3. Run program with --savedef parameter.
  4. Run Task Scheduler and set up the task.
  5. Reboot as a final test.
To tweak the webcam settings simply run LogiCameraSettings. If you decide you want to make the new settings the permanent default, open a command window in the folder where WebCameraConfig lives and run it from there with the --savedef parameter. (If you want to keep doing this you could make a bat file for it.)

PS. Completed with no problems. That all went smoothly. I saved some time by exporting the task from Task Scheduler on my machine and importing it into Task Scheduler on the other machine, so that was very quick.
I have noticed that there seem to be some settings that are in the stored file that are not shown in LogiCameraSettings, so you might want to keep lws280 installed as well. However I have not noticed I need to adjust anything other than the settings in LogiCameraSettings.
 
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Quick update. After having installed and uninstalled almost every Logitech software created that can control a camera, I decided to do a system rollback to prior to all of the installations. I then just installed LWS280, but with my old 9000 attached, as it was the recommended software for this model. I then added the C920s and was now at least able to get an image to appear in the software ( I was not previously). I also downloaded the webcamconfig.exe and created a settings file. Several reboots seem to indicate that this seems to work, but I need to test it a bit more. I did not create a Task Scheduler entry to run it automatically, but I did place a shortcut to the .exe file on my desktop. One reason I took this approach is that the Microsoft Camera app in Win10 changes the settings if it is opened. With the shortcut, I can easily invoke the settings at startup or if needed during the day.

I am still interested in looking at the Streamcam, the Razer Kiyo and an Avaya HD cam as I am still having issues getting the AF set so I do not look out of focus. The manual AF makes almost no adjustments until the camera is focused behind where I sit. It seems to lack any fine tune ability at the near end of the focus range. And LWS only give me a small window and only shows video settings less than 1920x1080 and 1080p.

--Ken
 

Growltiger

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If you run Zoom and start an immediate conference - with just yourself - you will get a good full screen picture. Then run lws or what I use, LogiCameraSettings (which has a better size window anyway) and you should be able to get the focus absolutely spot on. Then save the settings. You can also read the settings file and see the focus number. In my case I see it is set to 25 (but my hardware is modified).

Doesn't LogiCameraSettings work with the old webcam? The software is better than lws.
 
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If you run Zoom and start an immediate conference - with just yourself - you will get a good full screen picture. Then run lws or what I use, LogiCameraSettings (which has a better size window anyway) and you should be able to get the focus absolutely spot on. Then save the settings. You can also read the settings file and see the focus number. In my case I see it is set to 25 (but my hardware is modified).

Doesn't LogiCameraSettings work with the old webcam? The software is better than lws.
Yes, I always forget that any open camera window can be used. Webex consistently provides a better quality image than Zoom, but still, the scale hits about 35 and then from there on down I can see no adjustment in the image. Perhaps I look better focused than I would believe possible for a webcam? I had tried LCS, but thought that it was missing some controls that were found in LWS. I can reinstall it and look for the difference, but it is not important at the moment. Again, I cannot recall if LWS works with older models, but none of them have offered a working zoom function with the C920s. I do not want digital zoom, but if optical zoom was available, I would take it in a heartbeat. I should have some time to paly around over the long weekend, and I'll try to report back anything useful.

Thanks again,

--Ken
 

Growltiger

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Yes, I always forget that any open camera window can be used. Webex consistently provides a better quality image than Zoom, but still, the scale hits about 35 and then from there on down I can see no adjustment in the image. Perhaps I look better focused than I would believe possible for a webcam? I had tried LCS, but thought that it was missing some controls that were found in LWS. I can reinstall it and look for the difference, but it is not important at the moment. Again, I cannot recall if LWS works with older models, but none of them have offered a working zoom function with the C920s. I do not want digital zoom, but if optical zoom was available, I would take it in a heartbeat. I should have some time to paly around over the long weekend, and I'll try to report back anything useful.

Thanks again,

--Ken
I tend to set them up with just one click of zoom in (using LCS). It only reduces quality slightly and makes the user that much bigger. Otherwise they are too small.
I don't think any of these cameras have zoom lenses so you can only have digital zoom. Surely LCS lets you digital zoom on the C920s, it does on the C920?
(I just did a search for webcams with zoom lenses and I found one for £15 and one for £1500! These are 10x.)

Today I was on Zoom so someone in the US. They have a Logitech Brio. It was the best webcam picture I have ever seen. But I can't justify spending that much when I have three pretty good C920.
 
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I tend to set them up with just one click of zoom in (using LCS). It only reduces quality slightly and makes the user that much bigger. Otherwise they are too small.
I don't think any of these cameras have zoom lenses so you can only have digital zoom. Surely LCS lets you digital zoom on the C920s, it does on the C920?
(I just did a search for webcams with zoom lenses and I found one for £15 and one for £1500! These are 10x.)

Today I was on Zoom so someone in the US. They have a Logitech Brio. It was the best webcam picture I have ever seen. But I can't justify spending that much when I have three pretty good C920.
I have had no luck getting the C920s to show digital zoom with any of the Logitech software. The 9000 did with LWS280, but not the C920s. I believe that the C920s and the C922 were designed from scratch to utilize UVC drivers as opposed to Logitech drivers like the original C920. Not a big issue, but a symptom of the problems at hand. I had considered the Brio, even though it is expensive, but I have seen a lot of samples where IQ was not what was expected, so having the same issue at twice the price was not appealing. Regarding webcams with optical zooms, I believe that the Avaya HC020 has a limited zoom feature. I tis the same price as the Brio, and I have been tempted by it.

I have mocked up another person on the call on my second monitor, but to be frank, the quality varies wildly from program to program. I use Teams, Webex and Zoom primarily for work, and have tried a few others, like Jitsi and 8x8, for comparison. Webex seems to have the best IQ, from what I can tell, but most look less appealing on the "user" screen that what I see on my full screen at startup of the programs.

--Ken
 
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A little OT, but to me the whole point of using a real camera instead of “webcam” is the perspective of a portrait lens (70-105) versus the horrid nose-growing 24-35 focal lengths. Had to laugh when I read that there is a spike in the number of folks going for plastic surgery because they look bad online... even a new camera, lens, lighting, mic setup would be cheaper and add a bit of glam to the locked-down ‘zoom set’.
 
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A little OT, but to me the whole point of using a real camera instead of “webcam” is the perspective of a portrait lens (70-105) versus the horrid nose-growing 24-35 focal lengths. Had to laugh when I read that there is a spike in the number of folks going for plastic surgery because they look bad online... even a new camera, lens, lighting, mic setup would be cheaper and add a bit of glam to the locked-down ‘zoom set’.
I do not disagree about the quality of feeding a signal from a camera, but the logistics and space considerations on my desktop make that a difficult choice, despite my having a lot of available gear (and believe me I seriously considered it). My goal is to look reasonably acceptable on video calls. If you have reasonable lighting, a reasonable camera, and are willing to tweak the settings a bit, then that is certainly possible. And it is funny that it took webcams to cause a plastic surgery run. Most cellphone cameras have a lens equiv. of about 30mm full frame, and that is one reason that I would never use one for any type of "fill the frame" headshot. :eek:

--Ken
 

Growltiger

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I do not disagree about the quality of feeding a signal from a camera, but the logistics and space considerations on my desktop make that a difficult choice, despite my having a lot of available gear (and believe me I seriously considered it). My goal is to look reasonably acceptable on video calls. If you have reasonable lighting, a reasonable camera, and are willing to tweak the settings a bit, then that is certainly possible. And it is funny that it took webcams to cause a plastic surgery run. Most cellphone cameras have a lens equiv. of about 30mm full frame, and that is one reason that I would never use one for any type of "fill the frame" headshot. :eek:

--Ken
A good ringlight and the touch-up feature in Zoom make one look at least 10 years younger. The ringlight provides shadow-less light and the touch-up smooths the skin.
I wonder if Webex still looks better than Zoom if you turn off the touch-up feature in Zoom.
(Logitech Capture has added its own touch-up feature, so one could have a accidental double touch-up and look completely plastic.)
 
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A good ringlight and the touch-up feature in Zoom make one look at least 10 years younger. The ringlight provides shadow-less light and the touch-up smooths the skin.
I wonder if Webex still looks better than Zoom if you turn off the touch-up feature in Zoom.
(Logitech Capture has added its own touch-up feature, so one could have a accidental double touch-up and look completely plastic.)
I have the LumeCube Panel Mini right next to, and just above, my camera when I use a one light set-up (I use two lights for special meetings). Interestingly enough, Zoom's help feature states the following:
Note: Due to recent events with COVID-19, meetings in 720p-quality video are only available to Pro account users or higher, and only for meetings with a maximum of 2 participants; 1080p quality is for special-use cases currently.

I have the HD video setting checked, but this seems to imply that they are normally sending less than 720. And my understanding is that Webex may have also throttled video resolution earlier this year due to increased demand. I would say that this is starting to sound like a losing battle on my part, but my boss asked me if I got a new camera this week, so I guess there has been some improvement.

--Ken
 

Growltiger

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I have the LumeCube Panel Mini right next to, and just above, my camera when I use a one light set-up (I use two lights for special meetings). Interestingly enough, Zoom's help feature states the following:

I have the HD video setting checked, but this seems to imply that they are normally sending less than 720. And my understanding is that Webex may have also throttled video resolution earlier this year due to increased demand. I would say that this is starting to sound like a losing battle on my part, but my boss asked me if I got a new camera this week, so I guess there has been some improvement.

--Ken
I saw that when Zoom first posted it, early in the pandemic when Zoom was heavily stressed by extreme growth. I don't think it still applies. I see 720p throughout in meetings with many people (Pro Account - i.e. the cheapest paid account.). The Brio I saw looked like 1080 to me but I don't know how to prove it.
 
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I saw that when Zoom first posted it, early in the pandemic when Zoom was heavily stressed by extreme growth. I don't think it still applies. I see 720p throughout in meetings with many people (Pro Account - i.e. the cheapest paid account.). The Brio I saw looked like 1080 to me but I don't know how to prove it.
I saw one recorded video from the Brio where the person knew how to set it up, and it looked quite nice.

I was just playing around with my laptop next to my desktop so I could see what others see, and it was interesting to see the differences in IQ from program to program. Google Meet was a bit of a disappointment, and Jitsi was a bit of a surprise. Zoom and Webex were about what I expected. And, the differences between the two Logitech cameras was interesting. The 920 mostly seemed to be a better image than the 9000, but other than the resolution, the 9000 held its own for a 9+ year old camera. Now I just need to dial in some better settings. It seems my lighting is a bit more variable than I thought, and the hard settings I picked may be a bit dark at times.

I am still tempted to try the Kiyo, but I am not sure if I am up for the Streamcam, Avaya or Brio. I would love to try them all, but I do not believe that it is appropriate to buy items only to try them out. So, I will keep playing around, but at least I know that I can easily invoke my settings with just a mouse click if I keep the Logitech.

--Ken
 
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Very quick update. I decided to order the Razer Kiyo and it arrived today. I hooked it and the C920s up at default settings and asked my nephew to join me on Zoom. He is getting into photography so I thought he would be a good start. Well, it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Other than saying camera 1 and camera 2, I gave him no information, yet his observations were almost identical to what I saw on the web when the two cameras were compared. He said the Kiyo was more contrasty and a bit more saturated, but most importantly, it was much better focused. So, either the Kiyo is just that much better in terms of AF, or the Logitech is having issues. I will probably just keep the Kiyo at this point, but I may also check in with one or two more friends and see what they say.

--Ken
 
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Did you use manual focus on the C920s?

What software do you use for camera settings - saturation, focus, white balance etc for the Razer Kiyo? Do they provide a program for that?
I did try the manual focus on the C920s. It made little difference for my face's distance from the camera and was soft. In comparison, the Kiyo is both more accurate, better to re-focus, less jumpy, and much sharper, all out of the box. Razer provide a big software package called Synapse that provide controls for the camera. I have not yet tweaked them, or seen if they are persistent, but I can say that the manual focus is way better than on the C920s. I was able to actually see my face come in and out of focus. On the C920s, it mostly just hit the end of the range and that was supposed to be the same as best focus. The other unusual things it that in Device Manager, the Razer is listed under Cameras rather than Imaging Devices.

I still need to see if I can further tweak the Kiyo, but out of the box is more acceptable than anything I could accomplish with the Logitech. This is disappointing as I feel that Logitech "phoned this model in" when they released it. They own a very large portion of the webcam market, but have not done much to improve the quality of their entire line. Perhaps the Streamcam and Brio are where they are paying attention, but still, the rest of the line-up should not be marginal at best.

--Ken
 

Growltiger

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I did try the manual focus on the C920s. It made little difference for my face's distance from the camera and was soft. In comparison, the Kiyo is both more accurate, better to re-focus, less jumpy, and much sharper, all out of the box. Razer provide a big software package called Synapse that provide controls for the camera. I have not yet tweaked them, or seen if they are persistent, but I can say that the manual focus is way better than on the C920s. I was able to actually see my face come in and out of focus. On the C920s, it mostly just hit the end of the range and that was supposed to be the same as best focus. The other unusual things it that in Device Manager, the Razer is listed under Cameras rather than Imaging Devices.

I still need to see if I can further tweak the Kiyo, but out of the box is more acceptable than anything I could accomplish with the Logitech. This is disappointing as I feel that Logitech "phoned this model in" when they released it. They own a very large portion of the webcam market, but have not done much to improve the quality of their entire line. Perhaps the Streamcam and Brio are where they are paying attention, but still, the rest of the line-up should not be marginal at best.

--Ken
That's helpful, thanks. The Kiyo sounds good. It seems the C920s is worse than the C920 - I can get perfect focus manually with all of mine. My main complaint with Logitech is their chaotic software and the support website with the downloads. It is hard to see how it could be made much worse.

I recently bought some Logitech mice, the MX Anywhere 3, and they are really lovely. They have better software (Logitech Options) than the cheaper Logitech mice software (SetPoint).

I seem to be unlucky with webcams. Originally I bought some fairly expensive Microsoft ones (Cinema model I think), they dropped software support for them, and I had to bin them all. I remember reading someone complaining bitterly - he had bought 60 of them for the company he worked for.
 
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Reading up on the Razer software seems to indicate similar issues with persistent settings. I am going to play around a bit with the software that you recommended as it seemed to work when I first tried it. If so, then perhaps I can also delete the Synapse software if not needed. I'll let you know what I find out.

--Ken
 
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