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Author Topic: StarCam 370i - low quality colour  (Read 83288 times)

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szucsatiTopic starter

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StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« on: 22-November-05, 09:44:52 »

Problem: If not using StarCam 370i in a sunny room the picture turns purple and the dark coloures come up incorrect as shown in the pictures below (correct firs, SC second).



(Supposed) explanation: We found it is because of the lack/faulty (? not sure yet) of an IR filter layer. Probably the cam was designed like this to be able to work in night mode. Please read this article to understand the necessity of the IR filter and read through the topic for details (especially from this post).

Solution: Use an energy saving (neon based) bulb. It produces less IR light than the normal light bulbs. Please read this post.

Will update this post if we figure out anything important.


========================
Original first post:
Hi!

I asked my sister to bring a StarCam 370i for me from the UK. I got it, it's cool but I'm very disappointed about the coloures. It looks like it doesn't like dark coloures. My black t-shirt is light grey, my dark blue one is light purple, my darg green chair is also light purple...

I tried to adjust the colour settings but couldn't set it up. Is this normal? What can be wrong? :(
I use the latest driver from the msi webpage (she left the CD in Englang :( ).

thx
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Stu

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #1 on: 03-December-05, 09:21:36 »

have you tried it in another computer, to see if it does the same?
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #2 on: 03-December-05, 12:44:28 »

Yes I have, with 3 different computers.

To show you what's the problem:


This has been taken with a Panasonic FZ-30,
so this is the "original".


And this has been taken with the StarCam 370i.

Of course I don't want a web camera to produce a picture at the same quality as a very good digatal camera does, but it's really worse than I supposed to be!  :biggthumbsdown:
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #3 on: 03-December-05, 17:10:03 »

A better example:


the good


the bad (StarCam)


plus: the cheap webcam
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #4 on: 03-December-05, 18:59:36 »

i think you are trying to compare apples to oranges. StarCam is designed as just a webcam, not meant to be as high quality as a good digital camera

of course, try the StarCam on another computer, and then compare its output; if its better, then you know there are some software settings that need to be changed on your computer

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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #5 on: 04-December-05, 03:02:32 »

Did you read what I had written?

Dr Stu > have you tried it in another computer, to see if it does the same?
szucsati > Yes I have, with 3 different computers.
Dr Stu > of course, try the StarCam on another computer, and then compare its output;...

szucsati > Of course I don't want a web camera to produce a picture at the same quality as a very good digatal camera
Dr Stu > ...StarCam is designed as just a webcam, not meant to be as high quality as a good digital camera

 :think:

I put an example from my very cheap webcam to my previous post

See what I mean? It's rediculous that everything comes up purple on a such an expensive webcam but a cheap one can make it (on the other hand it's slow and can only be used in daytime). Is there an other driver that I could try? I'm very disappointed!  :wall:  ;-((
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #6 on: 04-December-05, 08:44:23 »

Have you considured getting an exchange or sending it off for an RMA?
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #7 on: 04-December-05, 09:24:11 »

Unfortunatelly I have no papers for the device. My sister didn't check the box for the CD or the papers :(. Can I use the RMA withouth papers? I think I can...

And first I'd like to know if it's really a hw problem. I found two reviews with sample images and they seem a bit purple as well:
http://www.obengware.com/asesoris/msistarcam370i.htm
http://www.hardwarezone.com/news/view.php?cid=7&id=2464

Can it be "normal"??  ;-((
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #8 on: 04-December-05, 10:55:08 »

No idea on either but as the cam is obviously in warrenty as they haven't been on the market that long MSI may help you out. All you can do is try.

http://support.msi.com.tw
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #9 on: 04-December-05, 11:31:01 »

Thx, I'll try that. I can't believe there's noone who uses this webcam! :(
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #10 on: 04-December-05, 11:38:46 »

LOL Well no one would want to see an ugly mug like mine over the internet so whats the use.
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #11 on: 04-December-05, 11:56:01 »

 :smile: I only show myself to my girfriend. But with this quality it was very difficult to choose a tie!
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #12 on: 04-December-05, 13:22:36 »

:lol_anim: you wear clothes while using a webcam? i must be looking at the wrong type of webcams ;-)) :lmao:

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paulxdg

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #13 on: 12-December-05, 13:13:03 »

I've got a similar problem. Like in the photo of the ladybird mouse, bright red shows up pink. All the colours are off.
I've tried this in several computers including one with an msi 6368 motherboard, and they all have the same problem. I've tried adjusting every setting in amcap but nothing improves it.
I'm running windows xp sp2 with all the latest updates.
I can't fault the quality of the images for a webcam, but this colour problem makes it unusable. I actually bought it to take some images of some items to sell on ebay.
Not much use if it doesn't show the right colours.
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #14 on: 12-December-05, 13:22:39 »

You all should be contacting MSI about this. They mayu be able to correct it with a software update. However they don't read the posts here so if you don't contact them they won't know that your unhappy.
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #15 on: 12-December-05, 13:40:04 »

I asked the MSI support:
===============

Dear MSI,

I bought an MSI StarCam 370i and I am very disappointed about it's colours. The dark coloures are incorrect on the screen and somehow everything is purple. Please see these pictures:
https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=90313.msg652038#msg652038

I wonder if you have ever seen something like this and what can I do to correct this. Should I use RMA?

Yours faithfully,
Attila Szucs

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

Regarding to your concern,please contact your reseller (the place you bought the board from) for repair/exchange. If the reseller for some reason cannot help, please check if there is MSI office nearby. MSI office If by chance , there is no MSI branch office, you can try to contact MSI distributors nearby. you could find there address or website on this link.  MSI distributors  for more assistance.

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

Dear MSI,

I asked the reseller to check if they also find this problem or only my one is wrong. Unfortunately the camera is from abroad and it is not on the market in my country. I do not want to post the item before I find somebody to check his camera for this problem. I am sure you do not have one in your hand to have a look on it.
Unfortunately my sister left the box with the CD and all the papers in the UK. Will I be able to use RMA without papers? Is the serial number enough?

Thank you for your answere.

Yours faithfully,
Attila Szucs

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

Regarding to your concern, we can not guarantee that they can help you RMA without papers but we suggest you try to contact to them for more help.please check if there is MSI office nearby. MSI office If by chance , there is no MSI branch office, you can try to contact MSI distributors nearby. you could find there address or website on this link.  MSI distributors  for more assistance.

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

I will ask the Hungarian office but I'm very busy nowdays. I'm afraid it's not a sw problem but the fault of the sensor.  And I'm not sure if the reseller really checked the colours... So I'm still not sure if these are wrong devices or the 370i serie has a poor quality sensor.
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #16 on: 12-December-05, 14:23:52 »

this is a very wild guess of a suggestion, but there isn't any clear film protecting the lens is there, that should be removed before using? :think:

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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #17 on: 12-December-05, 14:58:40 »

No there's no film. And it's not an overlay or something, just the dark coloures goes purple.
Somehow if there's lower light, it seem better. Strange.
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #18 on: 12-December-05, 15:03:25 »

Is there an Iris setting in the software for it?
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #19 on: 12-December-05, 15:27:57 »

Here's the settings dialog:
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #20 on: 12-December-05, 15:30:37 »

hmm, is that the default settings? try clicking on Reset, and see if those Hue / Saturation values change

also, i just found this review on the web:
http://www.hardwarezone.com/news/view.php?cid=7&id=2464

Quote
The image quality was found to be rather grainy, but we expected that since the image sensor used is really entry-level. However, you can adjust the various settings on the fly, like gamma, contrast, saturation and they are immediately reflected on the MSI utility's preview screen before taking that snap.

i think you might have to live with this :cry:

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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #21 on: 12-December-05, 15:43:39 »

Dues the Hue and Saturation settings make anything better? How about the Exposure setting?
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #22 on: 12-December-05, 16:00:51 »

I would accept a grainy picture, I think it's all right for a webcam but not a picture with incorrect coloures...  :cry:
The Saturation just does what it has to, so I could turn it to bw for example, the Saturation makes the other coloures even worse...
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #23 on: 12-December-05, 16:48:29 »

Did you try to raise the saturation and change the hue untill you had the correct colors?
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #24 on: 12-December-05, 17:25:09 »

Yes I did :(.
There's quite a big contrast between the correct and the incorrect colours, that's why neither the hue nor other settings can help.
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #25 on: 12-December-05, 19:17:41 »

Well I am certainly no expert on the subject when it comes to webcams. Best I can say is to keep writing the folks you got it from and MSI. The other thing is to keep checking for any software updates.

I know it isn't much to leave you with. I hope the situation gets resolved.
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callan

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #26 on: 14-December-05, 20:34:28 »

Hi All,

Just to let you know I'm having the same problem.

I bought 2 x Starcams yesterday - works fine on my PC at work - CLICK

On my PC at home though, I get very poor colour reproduction - CLICK

On my second home PC (identical MSI motherboard, different video card), the colours are awful aswell.

I'll do some more digging around.

Cheers
Callan
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #27 on: 15-December-05, 01:11:15 »

Hi callan!

The first usefull information:)! Did you try to change the cameras? To see if the one that produces poor quality works fine at your working machine? If yes, what videocard do you use in each PC? What about the OS? I only tried on XP SP2. With an MSI mobo + ATI VGA, ASUS mobo + ATI VGA and an MSI mobo with IGP (nvidia). And I think I used the USB 2.0 port on each computer. They all produces the same quality.
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #28 on: 15-December-05, 01:31:57 »

I've just tried on the last computer (XPSP2 + old MSI mobo + nvidia + USB 1.1). I didn't know I had purple hair :)!
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #29 on: 15-December-05, 12:22:25 »

hmm, seems we may be narrowing the problem down to something software/hardware related with the system, rather than the camera itself

can we have some full system details to look at (like in my signature)?

szucsati, what Nvidia display drivers are you using with your integrated Geforce4?

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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #30 on: 15-December-05, 12:38:03 »

I think it's rather a sw problem then a hw. I tried on a virtual VMware machine as well. I'll check if I have a win2k ghost image somewhere but I don't think so. I'm too lazy to do an install. I have a Fedora Core 4 installed on this machine but I don't know how to make the camera work on it.

I use ForceWare 71.89 with the IGP.

What can effect the quality of the camera? The DirectX maybe.. But all the XPSP2 systems has DX9. And the driver for the camera. Wish I knew what chip is in the camera.
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #31 on: 15-December-05, 13:03:50 »

DirectShow processing filters, and display drivers can have effects on how video is displayed on your screen

try installing a recent ForceWare driver, to see if it makes any difference. if not, try a downgrade to 66.93


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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #32 on: 15-December-05, 13:45:28 »

I would use the camera on the two pcs with ati card, I just checked it with the other computers (my sister's and my parent's machine). So i won't try to play with ForceWare drivers. BTW i think the other pc with the GF4 has an old Detonator on installed.

A win2k install is getting ghosted back to my main pc. Slowly...
Hm.. Should I check the nforce2 drivers? Yeees, I should! But I don't think it would effect the Linux machine with a vmware :)
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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #33 on: 15-December-05, 14:44:15 »

Great.. it took 45 mins to unpack the image to the hdd and the picture quality is the same :wall:.
Here's an AIDA32 report of the win2k config: http://szucsati.atw.hu/pub/txt/sc_report.html
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #34 on: 15-December-05, 20:42:44 »

Now I know it has an SN9C105 controler chip. And I also know that LG LIC-300 and Sangha sn-535 have the same.
I tried with a driver from LG and a driver from.. I don't know where :). Non of them worked fine. I also found a driver for Linux and it producet the same (ok.. even worse) quality!

And see these sample pictures (in the bottom): http://www.oc.com.tw/article/0508/readparticle.asp?id=4300 They are almost perfect! :(

callan! I'm waiting for you :).
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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #35 on: 21-December-05, 14:20:18 »

What should we do now? It looks there are one good and 3-4 bad cams on the forum. Should we send them back to MSI?

Where is callan? :(
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mattjones

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #36 on: 26-December-05, 07:20:20 »

Hi, just got one of these webcams. Works fine. As for the lighting, I know its a simple thing to suggest but have you tried the auto setting in the AMcap? think its called the aux-led? on auto it is constantly adjusting but off displays it well i find. Also, it could just be that the quality is down to opinion?! So what i think is good you might think isn't......

sounds simple but if u've set everything up right then i can't see the problem.....

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Stu

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #37 on: 26-December-05, 14:13:48 »

http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/shop/detail.asp?ProductID=2139&CategoryID=203&SubCategoryID=182

i am going to buy one of these for myself, it should be here within the next couple of days, so maybe i can help to figure these things out! :biggthumbsup:

for the sake of £20, it would be useful for me, if i can help better, rather than speculate ;-))



(plus, a night-vision webcam will be useful for me, if it helps to identify the drunken f***ers who keep breaking our front fence at night :grin:)

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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #38 on: 27-December-05, 07:02:11 »

mattjones: that one just turns on/off/auto the infra leds.

Dr Stu: My sister bought my cam from the same shop in Manchester.
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Stu

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #39 on: 29-December-05, 13:33:56 »

ok, got mine today, so after a little playing around, here's what i think...


i've attached a couple of snapshots i took early today, during daylight. camera seems to handle images quite fine, though as stated already, colours do look a bit wishy-washy. the camera doesn't fare as well in poor light, the second picture shows my arm and a can of Kronenbourg lager (both dark blue in colour), but both look very pale

conclusion: the camera in this StarCam is only the basic VGA type (as i used to have in my old Nokia 3650 mobile phone). picture quality was mostly ropey with that too, but overall its good value for a budget webcam, the streaming quality is pretty good, and the MyGuard software is a handy novelty, and works quite well



[ ERROR: SPECIFIED ATTACHMENT MISSING ]
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keeboudi

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #40 on: 30-December-05, 06:42:17 »

Anybody solve this mystery yet?

I have the same colour problems everything looks a bit 'ghostly'. Most noticable are blacks looking purple. I also noticed that different materials show up differently ... for example a black pullover looks purple but a black pencap looks black.

Other people are also having colour problems -- see reviews here:
Reviews

This made me think that the lens/sensor may be infra-red sensitive (perhaps by design so that the night-vision feature works well).

I remember seeing weird colours like this when we used to shoot to 35mm infra-red film (anybody remember film  ;-)) ?)

One way to check this theory would be to place an infra-red filter in front of the lens but hey, I don't have one to hand!

Dr Stu -- how did you attach the snapshots to your post? I couldn't figure it out...
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Stu

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #41 on: 30-December-05, 07:03:41 »

Quote
Dr Stu -- how did you attach the snapshots to your post? I couldn't figure it out...

:hypocrite: not everyone has these special powers ;-))

you can still upload them somewhere and link to them, there is info in a sticky in the Forum Info board on how to do it

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keeboudi

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #42 on: 30-December-05, 07:07:13 »

Dr Stu ... special powers indeed!
I did the upload/link thing for the example.
Has anybody managed to solve the colour problem?
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Stu

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #43 on: 30-December-05, 07:23:38 »

i think its something i will get used to. if i had paid £40 for this camera i would be very disappointed. but for £17, i can't complain :grin:

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szucsatiTopic starter

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #44 on: 02-January-06, 19:17:53 »

But how could one of callan's cam be good? Why are there some that produce good image quality? I'm still very disappointed :(.

Is there any other webcams with infra leds?
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Tiresmoke

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #45 on: 02-January-06, 21:31:54 »

Are you using the Infra Red during daylight? I thought that was only for nightvission type pics?
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keeboudi

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #46 on: 03-January-06, 04:25:03 »

szucsati -- good point ... not sure why, different batch or different lighting conditions maybe. I think he said he had 2 different cameras (office/home) -- did he swap them over to see if the fault travelled with the camera?

Tiresmoke -- No I am not using the infra-red LEDs in the daytime ... everything gives off infrared and if the lens/sensor is sensitive to infre-red, then that may be the cause. However I am speculating.

I am not convinced it is a driver issue -- why do different black materials (to the naked eye) show up differently through the cam. This suggests to me that something is happening in the cam as opposed to further down the line.

If I manage to get hold of an of infra-red filter, I'll put the theory to test.

Just thinking it could even be UV as opposed to IR ... hmmmm
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attar

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #47 on: 03-January-06, 08:19:49 »

Hi All

'Just bought one of these cams myself and been having the same problems.  I agree about the Infra Red ability of the camera which is kicking in even when it's being used in daylight.  Everything reacts to IR light in different ways.  That accounts for black clothing looking purple whilst a black plastic pen top would look black.

I took two pics of my favourite houseplant, one taken with the starcam and the other with my regular Canon digital camera.  See them at www.alanstreluk.co.uk/starcam.htm (how do you insert pics on this forum?)

You'll see that the colour chart is (pretty much) the same for both Starcam and Canon.  The plant however looks totally different cos it is reacting to the IR element of the sensor.

It seems that the Starcam "looks" in both the visible and Infrared spectrums at the same time.  Switching on the IR LEDs just adds more IR light, it doesn't switch on the a special IR sensor.  It guess that's what you get for 17 quid! 

With Callans pics the office one was taken in daylight so the visible light part of the sensor was seeing more than the IR one.  The home pics were taken in low light (by comparison) so the IR was more dominant.

That's my take on it anyway...

I'm going to e-mail MSI to see if the IR can be switched with a tweak to the software - I doubt whether I'll get any joy as the camera can't be a big money spinner for them!

Cheers

PS: Does anyone else wonder why they bothered with the regular white LEDs?  They only seem to light the camera's nasty foot-shaped base!

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keeboudi

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #48 on: 04-January-06, 05:25:42 »

Having seen your plant shot, I am now convinced that the IR is not being filtered properly as the leaves of your money plant (what do you feed it ... it is huge!) look exactly like foliage shots on IR film.

I came accross this interesting article where he converts a normal webcam to a IR webcam by replacing a little IR filter which sits behind the lens with one that only lets through IR.

This suggests that sensors are IR sensitive and need to have it filtered out.

I wonder whether this filter is missing from the Starcam? Maybe even by design to make it work well in the 'nightmode'

If we are right about the IR thing then I doubt very much if it is possible fix it in software.

As for your PS -- I wondered too and found the answer on some MSI literature (can't remember where) ... it is not to light your face but is supposed to be used as an LED torch to light your keyboard in the dark (like those bendy USB lights) ... very useful  ;-))
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attar

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Re: StarCam 370i - low quality colour
« Reply #49 on: 04-January-06, 05:49:54 »

Very interesting article about changing a regular cam to an IR - who would have thought that a bit of old neg film would have such an effect!

I think you're right that the IR isn't filtered out because of the night mode and It'll be a case of like it or lump it...  The e-mail I sent to MSI is currently marked as "opened"  (their online support system seems quite well organised) and I will copy the forum on their reply when I get it - keep your fingers crossed but don't hold your breath.

Thanks for the info on the white LEDs and as for my triffid of a plant, I just feed it plain old water!
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