Camera requirements
Recommended cameras
Compatibility list
Camera requirements

Webcams are the most applicable camera to use with FreeTrack as they are common and inexpensive with good PC connectivity and most known brands are suitable for optical tracking. They typically have specifications of 30fps maximum frame rate, at least 320x240 resolution, 40 degrees field of view and have CPU usage. All have color sensors and an infrared blocking filter which can usually be removed to increase infrared sensitivity but sometimes requires permanent modification. Other types of cameras may need a capture card for connection to PC.

Manual exposure is essential for maximum stable frame rate in all lighting conditions and the ability to reliably isolate points. Cameras that don't allow autoexposure to be disabled are generally incompatible with optical tracking, refer to the camera compatibility list below.

Cameras with built-in infrared LEDs are well suited to reflective tracking, those that only activate in the dark can be made to stay on by covering the light sensor. Reflective material isn't as bright as using LEDs so the camera's infrared blocking filter may need to be removed. Some webcams advertised with 'night vision' just use bright white visible LEDs that are blinding, so be sure the LEDs are actually infrared. Security cameras and car reversing cameras are more likely to have infrared LEDs.

General considerations:

  • Higher frame rates improve responsiveness.
  • Resolution beyond 640x480 is largely unnecessary.
  • CPU usage increases with resolution and frame rate.
  • Wide field of view allows more head movement but the camera can always be positioned further from the user to achieve the same result.
  • Monochrome (black & white) image sensors provide slightly more effective resolution.
  • Video formats that contain less color information like RGB8 or I420 are more efficient.
  • Anti-flicker (Indoors mode) should be optional as it interferes with frame rate.

Recommended cameras

Sony Playstation 3 Eye

Pros (+)

  • Very high frame rate, 125fps at 320x240 or 75fps at 640x480.
  • Very wide field of view, 75 or 56 degrees.

Cons (-)

  • Very difficult to remove infrared filter in newer models but is relatively weak so not much of a problem.
  • Mounting clip sold separately.

Nintendo Wii Remote (Wiimote)

Pros (+)

  • High frame rate, 100fps.
  • No CPU usage.
  • Already configured for infrared tracking (>850nm).

Cons (-)

  • Beware of imitations which are difficult to visually identify and only track two points. Genuine Nintendo Wii Remotes track four points and at least three are required for 6DOF.
  • Low 128x96 resolution but does good interpolation at lower threshold levels.
  • Bluetooth doesn't permanently pair and requires manual reconnection.
  • Have to deal with batteries unless using a USB charger.
  • Bluetooth adds a very small latency.
  • No mounting clip, improvised mount examples.
  • Infrared-pass filter incompatible with TrackClip Pro LEDs (850nm) and visible LEDs.

Xbox Live Vision

Pros (+)

  • High 60fps at 320x240, usual 30fps at 640x480.
  • Filter is relatively weak and can be removed.

Cons (-)

  • No mounting clip.

A4Tech PK-333MB

Pros (+)

  • Six built-in infrared LEDs suitable for illuminating reflective material.
  • Filter is weak and easily removed, guide available.

Philips SPC1005NC

Pros (+)

  • High 60fps at 640x480.
  • Filter is relatively weak and can be removed.

Cons (-)

  • Expensive.

Other popular cameras

Compatibility list

The following camera compatibility list, comprised primarily of webcams, is based on user camera compatibility feedback on the forums. See the forum for more specific information on camera capabilities or issues.

Compatible - Autoexposure easy to disable

Sony Playstation 3 Eye (newer model)- Very difficult to remove filter.
Sony Playstation 3 Eye (older model)- Easy to remove filter.
Sony Playstation 2 Eye Toy Camera - Easy filter removal.
Sony MiniDV DCR-HC40 - Nightshot mode removes filter.
Sony TRV16E DV Cam - Nightshot mode removes filter.
Logitech Webcam C510
Logitech Webcam C300 - Very easy to remove filter.
Logitech Webcam C250 - Easy to remove filter.
Logitech Webcam C200 - Easy to remove filter.
Logitech Webcam C160 - Removable filter.
Logitech Webcam C120 - Difficult to remove filter.
Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks
Logitech QuickCam S5500 Webcam
Logitech QuickCam E3500 Plus
Logitech QuickCam E2500
Logitech QuickCam E1000 - Filter glued but can be removed.
Logitech QuickCam Chat - Filter glued.
Logitech QuickCam Express - Easy to remove filter.
Logitech QuickCam Connect - Removable filter.
Logitech QuickCam Messenger - Easy filter removal.
Logitech QuickCam IM
Logitech QuickCam Zoom - Removable filter.
Logitech QuickCam Home - Removable filter.
Logitech QuickCam Communicate STX
Logitech QuickCam Communicate MP
Logitech QuickCam Fusion - Wide field of view.
Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000
Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000
Logitech QuickCam Pro 3000
Logitech QuickCam Orbit / Sphere MP (PID 08C2)
Microsoft Xbox Live Vision - Easy to remove filter.
Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 - Removable filter.
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 - Easy to remove filter.
Microsoft LifeCam VX-2000 - Very difficult to remove filter.
Microsoft LifeCam VX-1000 - Easy to remove filter.
Microsoft LifeCam VX-800 - Removable filter.
Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD
Creative Live! Cam Chat IM (VF0530) - Have to remove filter.
Creative Live! Optia Pro. - Difficult to remove filter.
Creative Webcam NX Pro - Removable filter.
Creative Webcam NX
Creative Webcam Go
A4Tech PK-835
A4Tech PK-760E - Easy to remove filter.
A4Tech PK-5 - Removable filter.
A4Tech PK-35N
A4Tech PK 333 MB - Removable filter, 6 IR LEDs.
Labtec Webcam 2200
Labtec Webcam Pro - Strong filter, lens coating, difficult to remove.
Labtec Webcam Plus - Strong filter, hard to remove.
Labtec Webcam Plus SE - Strong filter but easy to remove.
Trust SpaceCam 380 - Easy filter removal.
Genius I-look 300 - Easy filter removal.
Genius SLIM 321C
Saitek W300
Saitek W300xv
Apple iSight MacBook Pro
MSI StarCam 370i
Philips SPC 1005NC - Easy to remove filter.
Philips SPC 900-NC
Philips SPC 710NC - Removable filter.
Asus 20" Flatscreen Monitor PW201 webcam
i-Tec iCam - Removable filter
Airlink101 AWCN200
CANYON CNR-WCAM43G - Removable filter.
Chicony PC Camera TwinkleCam DC-2110 - Easy filter removal.
Hercules Deluxe
Hercules Dualpix Exchange
Hercules Webcam Classic - Difficult to remove filter.
Pixo AW-I1130 - Easy to remove filter.
ICatch (VI) PC Camera (Cirkuit Planet) - Removable filter.
Codegen AL-808 (Eagle PCI USB camera (Vmicro301 Neptune)) - 6 IR LEDs, manual zoom.
Technika TKVGACM1
Packard Bell DSC-1
Speedlink SL-6810 Square Webcam - Removable filter.
Gembird CAM66U
Emprex PC901
Microalert - OMS19 - Easy filter removal.
DYNALINK VIDEOCAM PRO - Easy filter removal.

Compatible - Autoexposure difficult to disable.

These cameras may require using VistaEnabler to disable autoexposure and shining a bright light at the camera to increase frame rate.

Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000
Philips SPC230NC
A4Tech PK 335(6)MB - Removable filter.
MSI WebCam StarCam Clip
MSI StarCam Racer
Genius Messenger Cam
Genius i-Slim 330 - Need to use AMCAP software.

Incompatible - Autoexposure cannot be disabled.

Logitech QuickCam Express cameras with PID 0920 (older model)
Microsoft LifeCam VX-700
Creative Live! Cam Vista IM
Genius EYE 320
Genius iSlim 2000af
Genius Cam NB
Genius GE-111
Trust WB-3400T
Trust WB-3100p
Trust WB-1400T - Difficult to remove filter, narrow fov.
Winbook WB-6120
Digital Product SM0121
Sangha LTI-355
Rainbow 100 k
Mustek mini2 - Old model.
Dell Laptop Integrated Webcam
Asus Azurewave SMI371L Integrated Webcam
Toshiba pa-3554u-1cam
A4Tech PK-836MJ
Zaapa - Driverless WebCam
Gembird CAM44U
Sven I-730C
Technika H16BD5
Nortek Vega NX

Updated by Kestrel Sep. 2011

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