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Good webcam for Linux

  • Webcams
  • FPS
  • Linux
Last response: in Open Source Software
February 11, 2009 6:59:49 PM

Hello, I'm looking for a good webcam for Linux, which gives 60 (or more) FPS at 640x480.
Can you suggest any?

More about : good webcam linux

a b 5 Linux
February 12, 2009 8:25:34 AM

What are you going to use this for?

How much are you looking to spend?

True 640x480 or interpolated?

February 12, 2009 4:44:33 PM

I need it for some realtime video processing (head/finger tracking with OpenCV, TouchLib, tBeta...), could spend up to about 150$... True 640x480 would be of course better.

I've read of some webcams (even low cost ones) that support 640x480@60fps, like Phillips SPC900-NC, Sony PlayStation3 Eye or Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000, but I'm not sure on how they're working on Linux...
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a b 5 Linux
February 12, 2009 6:45:11 PM

Most webcams can barely do 640x480@30fps, most of them have to drop the resolution to achieve 60fps or drop the fps to achieve a higher resolution.

For example some can do 640x480@30fps or 320x240@60fps but many can only do 640x480@15fps or lower.

I doubt a regular consumer web cam can do 640x480@60fps natively.

Also remember most webcams use interpolation so they can't really do 640x480. or may have what you're looking for, but it won't be cheap.

Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
February 12, 2009 7:35:53 PM

Or you can get an image sensor and build your own :) 

The Micron MT9T031 CMOS Image Sensor ( used in some Elphel cameras ) supports these frame rates

12 fps (QXGA), 20 fps (UXGA),
27 fps (SXGA), 43 fps (XGA),
93 fps (VGA), with program-mable blanking (slash) pdf (slash) flyers (slash) MT9T031.pdf

It won't be cheap.

Looks like the DEV Kit sells for $1240 :( 

The Elphel base sells for $650 plus $150 for the sensor and $130 for the lens ( MSRP ) you may be able to get them cheaper.

GL :) 
a b 5 Linux
February 16, 2009 5:33:58 PM

Hmmm... What about using an old video camera and video in?
a b 5 Linux
February 16, 2009 5:44:11 PM

It might work but many capture cards can't do much better than 320x240@30 fps and most video cameras can't do more than 30fps. The TV resolution is probably no more than 300 lines maybe a little more or little less.

The Micron MT9T031 sensor claims 93 fps (VGA) at 640x480 which is rather impressive.

I am not sure how well it actually performs but I believe elphel cameras, which use that sensor, have a pretty good reputation.

They run linux too :D 
a b 5 Linux
February 16, 2009 5:58:27 PM

That sensor is CMOS.

CCD sensors are usually slower ( in fps ).

Most cheap sensors can barely do 640x480@15fps or less, if they can do it at all.

It's important to carefully review the datasheet, some sensors cannot achieve the higher fps in HDR mode. Always check the fine print!

February 16, 2009 11:34:08 PM

That's definitely too much...
Anyway some low-cost webcams (like the ones I listed) can reach 640x480@60fps (or 320x240@120 or 1280x960@30). Well, they probably interpolate or something, I'm not sure, but it's still a lot better than nothing.

I would like to know if I can get those performances on Linux... My (very cheap, brandless) webcams can do 10FPS at most (no matter the resolution), due to gspca modules...
a b 5 Linux
February 16, 2009 11:39:19 PM

You can get the elphel sensor package for $150 with the Micron MT9T031 sensor and a cheap lens for about $20, then you would have to either build your own Linux camera base ( embedded ) or interface it with a Linux PC.

Sadly, I don't know what kind of interface it uses internally.

Since elphel is open hardware and open software you can find out :) 
February 22, 2009 10:34:05 PM


My name is Alexandre, I am working at Elphel.

With MT9P001 (5MPix sensor) the Elphel NC353L camera can deliver up to 150 FPS in 640x480 resolution.

MT9P001 is near-IR sensitive, so removing IR-cut filter on the camera you can get a high speed IR camera. ;) 

The camera is a network camera, running embedded GNU/Linux and a dedicated video compressor on FPGA. Both kernel drivers/apps/FPGA code are distributed under the GNU/GPL v3.

You can find the price-list on our website:

Additional information may be find on our wiki : & many LD articles :

Best regards.
a b 5 Linux
February 23, 2009 12:35:54 AM

Thank you for the info :) 

How many mbps can it deliver across the network interface?

What do you use to stream the video?
February 23, 2009 5:44:01 AM


The network interface is 100 Mbps. We have also an additional IO board allowing to record directly to CF/IDE/SATA.

We use our own RTP streamer. (GPLed) To get the stream you need to use a patched MPlayer or VLC. We have also in house developed recording app. GSTreamer is compatible also, but only the CVS version.
a b 5 Linux
February 23, 2009 6:17:55 AM

Fantastic, thanks :) 

What's the best way to place an order for individual parts?

I did not see an order page.
February 23, 2009 6:24:27 AM

linux_0 said:
Fantastic, thanks :) 

What's the best way to place an order for individual parts?

I did not see an order page.

Just e-mail us to info at elphel dot com.
Best regards.
March 23, 2010 2:10:19 AM

The Phillips Model SPC 900NC is listed at 90 fps, 1.3 Mpxls with automatic face tracking & digital zoom and built in microphone and LED lighting. This sells for $20.00 marked down to $8.95 at Ocean State job lot (Mass. stores so far).