I’m not the guy you find in a web conference. I’m the guy who makes it happen. So it was a bit of a surprise to me that my office had been using a simple Logitech C920 – which is one of the most popular and highly-rated webcams on the market – and the video looked like utter crap.
Naturally looking to do better, I did all kind of tests and looked up replacements. First off, the next level of webcam (ignoring the C930) is a full-price conference room setup. We have one in the big board room, and that puppy was over $15k. You can go way down to $800 or so, but almost none of those come with built-in mics.
While looking, I tried to search out a cam with a large depth of field. The real problem with the C920 is that, from 15 feet away, everything is fuzzy. It claims an ‘infinite’ zoom after a couple meters, but not so much.
This is when I stumbled upon some tiny Finnish site that suggested opening it up and manually messing with the lens.
So, yank it apart and find this (pic via the Finns):
Grab yourself a pair of small but strong pliers and, very carefully, twist that lens clockwise a little bit – 1/8 to 1/4 turn. It’s going to look like you’re breaking things, but all you’re actually doing is tightening it against the body of the device.
The result: crystal.
I didn’t even have the thing fully in place when someone walked in for a pending meeting and asked me if I got a new camera. It looks infinitely better.
Score one more for the ‘when in doubt, poke it with a stick’ philosophy.
Note: In the disassembly, after the first two screws are removed and you need to pop off the mic covers, put a flathead in the slot below the two screws and pry up. Wedge the gap with your fingernail and do it again. That will allow it to pop out without risking breaking the other plastic latch-type thing on the other side, to which there is no access.
Note 2: It is noticeably slower to do the first auto-zoom adjustment after making this alteration. Make sure to wave your hand or something in order to trigger the adjustment more quickly.