Everything Old Is New Again. Logitech Introduces C920s HD Pro Webcam.

Our friends a Logitech made some news recently. They introduced the C920s HD Pro Webcam. This model is a minor respin of their older C920, which was and remains, the most popular webcam in the world, despite the introduction of several new models.

C920S-frontal

What’s changed vs the older variant? Not much. The “s” in the C920s name supposedly denotes stereo microphones, which should impact almost no-one. It also has an external privacy shutter. That’s a nice thing. In the past those concerned about privacy bought one of these after-market solutions.

It’s curious to compare the C920s to the C922x Pro Stream Webcam which was introduced around 18 months ago. These two models are very similar. The major technical difference is the fact that the C922x can deliver 720p at 60 frames/second, which is potentially of interest to the game streaming crowd.

C920s vs C922x

From a bundling point of view the C920s gets the external privacy shutter, while the C922x comes with a 3 month trial of XSplit.

The C922x originally included a copy of Personify’s Chromacam. I’m told that offer has been withdrawn. I tinkered with ChromaCam but found it less than useful.  Such a tool trades performance for the convenience of not having to setup and light a green screen. I’ve rarely seen an acceptable result.

Xsplit now offers VCam, which is their own freestanding background removal tool.

I accept that my opinion may be harsh. It’s informed by direct experience with Ultimatte and broadcast production switchers in a past life.

The biggest change brought by the new model is the fact that it’s sold as UVC compliant. The old C920, while basically UVC compliant, by default installed a Logitech driver. That driver did not allow more than one camera to be used per computer. The XSplit team found that the Logitech driver leaned hard on the CPU, which was a problem for gamers streaming their game play.

It was trivially easy to hack Windows into treating the C920 as a generic UVC webcam. I did this so long ago I can’t even remember how. Happily, if you buy the C920s you won’t have to. The C920s will simply appear via the built-in UVC driver of your host OS.

While no driver is required, Logitech now offers their Capture application, which I intend to examine on its own. A Windows version of Capture was released into beta in Q4-2018, with a Mac version planned for later this year.

I suppose it was inevitable that such a successful product could not simply be retired. Logitech’s venerable C920 webcam lives on as the C920s, at a reduced price and with updated supporting software.