Creative Webcam 5

Creative Webcam 5 (older model)

This is cheapo webcam from Creative with chips mostly used in Phillips webcams. That's actually the reason for name of the kernel module supporting this camera - pwc (Phillips webcam). Camera works quite fine, the only problem is that the compression algoritm is generally unknown. You definitely need this algoritm to make movies with better quality than 160x120x5fps.

The good news is that there's one nice guy who signed NDA with the company and is making closed source pwcx module, which makes the better quality possible on Linux. He's also the author of pwc module already included in vanilla kernel, so pwcx works like some kind of plugin.

Warning! There're rumours that newer Creative 5 Webcams aren't based on the same chip and so aren't supported in Linux.

But nothing is that perfect as it seems. Most of the software for Linux have problems with this webcam. Problem is that CW5 supports only yuv420p format and most of SWs aren't prepared for this. AFAIK there're only two SWs which always work: effectv and MPlayer.

I'm using camera in 320x240x30fps mode another good one is 640x480x10fps.

UPDATE Due to some bad guy and his genuine thoughts about usability of software, Nemosoft (author of PWCd) decided that PWC should be ripped out from kernel and discontinued the development. Interesting URLs follow:
http://www.smcc.demon.nl/webcam/
http://lkml.org/lkml/2004/8/24/278
http://www.xs4all.nl/~jjvrieze/pwc.html

UPDATE 2 Some nice guy is trying to reverse-engineer Nemosoft's pwcx. Interesting URL follows:
http://www.saillard.org/linux/pwc/

Mustek gSmart mini 3

Mustek gSmart mini 3

This one is ultra small portable photocamera with webcaming features. The chip inside is spca50x clone. As a webcam, you can use spca50x module. Only 320x240x15fps mode is supported.
For downloading pictures taken outside you can use gPhoto2 suite.

Warning! gPhoto2 command line utility gphoto2 doesn't work with gSm3 (at least for last several versions)! The cure is to use graphical gtkam (GTK2 necessary) from same site (which has also some very nasty features). Well, nobody's perfect.