StarCam 370i - low quality colour

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paulxdg

Guest
What's most frustrating is that the picture quality can be quite good, and certain colours on certain surfaces seem fine. These are spot on.
It does seem to like red, but it has to be red on metal, not red on plastic.





 
K

keeboudi

Guest
paulxdg -- I am certain that this is an IR sensitivity issue. Different surfaces abrorb/reflect IR differently hence the differences you are seeing.
Nice wheels! :-))
 
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paulxdg

Guest
Thanks.

I'm putting them on ebay later.  :grin:

That's why I bought this webcam, as a cheap way to take pics.

I didn't want to lay out for a digital camera.

At the moment the items I can sell are limited to one's of a certain colour and material.

You could be right about the IR. The snapshot button on the side is also a bit of an own goal in the design department too. It gives you camera shake.
Luckily I found a site with a modified version of amcap which includes an easy snapshot function just by hitting ctrl-L on the keyboard. It's also got a delay timer. Very useful. Unfortunately it had no effect on the colour perception.
 
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stage

Guest
Hello Guys,

I have had exactly the same problem as everyone here. It was driving me nuts trying to figure out was was going on. My mate has the same cam but he didn't seem to have the problem. So I took my cam over to his place and it was fine! The colours were normal! Took it back home, colours all messed up again. We have identical machines! So Last night I thought I'll try it on my laptop instead of the tower. Set it all up same problem. But then I started to walk around the house with it. And as soon as I stepped into the hallway all of the colours were normal! Stepped back into the living room, colours messed up! So I walked around the house doing this and found it worked in the kitchen and the hallway. That's when I realised it was the ambient light source that was causing the problem. The Hallway had an energy saver bulb (fluorescent light) and the kitchen had fluorescent light. The rest of the house tungsten. I phoned my friend and asked him what light source he has, it was an energy saver (fluorescent light). What's the bet that these things are built and tested in a factory with strip fluorescent lighting... So the question is now do I send the cam back or replace my tungsten bulbs with fluorescent energy saving ones?

The link below explains that about 90% of the energy Tungsten bulbs emit is in the form of heat (also called infrared radiation) and that fluorescent bulbs used in your home emit only around 30% of their energy in heat.

http://www.gelighting.com/na/business_lighting/faqs/halogen.htm#1

So the IR filter in this cam is definitely letting in IR light and this seems to be why the colours are screwed.
 
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keeboudi

Guest
Hi Stage -- After all that kerfuffle with IR sensitivity I noticed the same thing ... it worked quite well with a small energy saver (ES) bulb (even though the room was quite dark, the image quality was pretty good) but as soon as I turned on the 300W Halogen uplighter, I turned into a ghost again.

This leads me to conclude that Tungsten and Halogen lights probably have a high IR content and the ES ones don't. I also was thinking the same thing ... should I send it back or keep it.

Plus points are the flexibilty of the stem and quite good image quality but the colour problem is a definite minus -- decisions decisions  ;D
 
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paulxdg

Guest
If what you guys are saying is correct, then the only way to take photos with this webcam is under an ES light source, not even natural sunlight is an option since it contains infra red, unless your windows happen to be made of plexiglass which filters infrared.

Actually there's an interesting test. Take the laptop outside and see if the colour problem still occurs. Then go try it inside a car. If the windscreen is made of plexiglass, it should filter infra red. I wonder if anyone has double glazing made from plexiglass. If so they should be ok too.
 
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paulxdg

Guest
Yes but it would confirm the infra red theory.

So far the best results I've had for taking pictures is in daylight at dusk, or when its very cloudy.

As the sun sinks below direct infra red diminishes, and since water blocks infra red, that may explain why the photos are better when its cloudy.
 
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paulxdg

Guest
I should have added that I've been to Tesco's this afternoon to get an energy saver light bulb to try.

Hope it's not a waste of ?1.97!!
 
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stage

Guest
Let me know if the Tesco light works, I don't have much chance to test the thing during daylight at i'm not home, being winter and all. But I'll give it a go if i get a chance. I wonder if MSI could put a stonger filter in this cam that would make it work in IR light conditions but not disable their "night view". They could have made a machanical switch filter, pop it down "filter in" (normal light mode), pop it up "filter out" (night mode), a million ways to avoid the colour problem. Poor show by MSI to release to Market in its current state.
 
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paulxdg

Guest
Well guys, what can I say.

Here's the before with a 100W cheapy standard light bulb




And here's the 20W supposedly 100W equivalent General Electric Eco from your local tesco.



Both pictures were taken on the default settings in amcap, i.e. after clicking on reset.

The colour is a little washed out, but then it is the default settings. It's one hell of a lot better than in natural daylight or under cheapy lightbulbs.

It you check the picture of the railway wagon on the previous page, it doesn't even look green in natural daylight, it looks brown and under the cheapy lightbulb above.........

If I wanted to be a little picky, I'd say that the energy saver bulb is pushing the reds into the orange part of the spectrum.  I'll try a bit of tweaking. At least it can now see green.

This does look like proof that the boys at msi concentrated too much on infra red capture at the expense of normal operation.



I thought I'd add these as a further example of the vast difference depending on the light source.

Dark Grey/Black woollen hat taken under cheapy light buld




And taken under eco light bulb



I assure you that the 2 pictures are of the SAME hat.

 
M

micki

Guest
just thought i'd pop back to add, after reading this latest development i to rushed out and bought energy saving light bulbs and my colour has improved greatly to. extremely happy with the cam now.
 
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Tiresmoke

Guest
Sounds like a good resolution to this then. Glad to hear that folks are doing OK with this cam.
 
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keeboudi

Guest
Yeah but it should really work with normal lights!
Here's what MSI had to say:

===============================
Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for contacting MSI UK support.

We have had a similar report from another forum user, and we have taken their findings onboard and hope to replicate the issue, and if an issue is discovered then we will attempt to rectify the issue in the next version of our star cam.  Thank you for your feedback it is most helpful to us!

Best Regards,

MSI (UK) Technical Support

=======================

Here's hoping they will give us new and improved lens assemblies (F.O.C  ;)) when they make them!

I also found this from here http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/ask_astronomer/faq/radiation.shtml
Seems like plexiglass blocks IR so if anybody's got some give it a go! As water seems to as well, perhaps a plastic bag or clear glass filled with water might demostrate the principle.

What materials block, reflect, absorb or emit infrared light?

Thermal infrared, which corresponds to wavelengths longer than about 5 microns is a direct measure of temperature. One simple material that blocks IR is plexiglass. We use it in a demonstration of infrared radiation and the greenhouse effect. Also, water is a good absorber of IR. Hence, one must get above the atmosphere's water vapor to conduct most infrared astronomy measurements. Any good mirror should also be capable of reflecting infrared light. Most ground-based telescopes that observe in the "near-infrared" (betweewn 1 and 2.5 microns) rely on the same telescopes as for optical astronomy. Finally, thermal IR is a measure of heat, and *any* object above absolute zero (-273 C) emits infrared radiation. The hotter a source, the more IR light it emits.
 

szucsati

New member
STAFF SERGEANT
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
Messages
90
Has anyone got information about this webcam?:
http://www.geniusnet.com.tw/product/product-1.asp?pdtno=598#fea

It is about 35 eur, so not too expensive. I think it has many ir leds so maybe it makes better pictures in dark. I'm very interested in a comparisation with the SC370i. No wonder, there's no reseller for the cam in Hungary...
 
A

ash_gb

Guest
I've just bought this cam, and had it working quite well at work. Although initially it wouldn't work at all. I had downloaded the latest drivers (5.3.0.1) and I got no picture and the thing just froze, so eventually I tried the drivers on the CD and it worked fine. Unfortunately I've now got home but left the CD at work grrrrrrr. I downloaded the latest drivers again but had the same problem. Can anyone send me the version of the driver from the CD? I won't be back at work for a few days.
Cheers
 

Stu

New member
GENERAL OF THE ARMY
Joined
May 25, 2004
Messages
19,551
ash_gb,

come back tomorrow, i will see if i can zip them and upload to my webspace for you
 
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frankw

Guest
Stu said:
come back tomorrow, i will see if i can zip them and upload to my webspace for you
Please, my CD does not work at all and the latest drivers just crash.  I am hoping the drivers on the CD are older and actually work.
 

Stu

New member
GENERAL OF THE ARMY
Joined
May 25, 2004
Messages
19,551
the drivers on the CD are the same as those on the website

start your own thread if you want help, and post full details of your system

 
F

frankw

Guest
I posted about my problem in this thread.

Also, for everyone's info, new drivers were released today:

http://www.msi.com.tw/program/support/download/dld/spt_dld_detail.php?UID=604&kind=10

I have not tried them (currently at work) to see if they fix my problem, but fingers crossed :)
 
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