An expensive webcam doesn’t guarantee a high-quality video feed. In fact, lighting and other accessories are often the key to capturing a “professional” live video. So, why is Microsoft selling an $800 webcam? Has the company lost its mind?
Well, I won’t give Microsoft an armchair diagnosis. Not because I’m unqualified, but because the $800 price tag on the new Smart Camera makes sense.
Microsoft designed its new Smart Camera exclusively for the Surface Hub 2 and 2S, a pair of massive video conferencing “whiteboards” that you’ll only find in the poorly-ventilated rooms of a corporate office. The cheapest Surface Hub displays cost around $9,000, while more expensive options exceed $20,000.
Feature-wise, the new Smart Camera is about as excessive as it can get. Microsoft packed a teraflop of computing power in the Smart Camera, so it’s got more than enough brains to correct undesirable effects. It can automatically frame people in video calls, shear video to make up for poor viewing angles, and automatically compensate for wide-angle distortion.
The Smart Camera only has a 12MP sensor, which is odd, but it can capture 4K video and features an extremely wide 136-degree field of view. All things considered, it’s easy to see why businesses would pay $800 for the Smart Camera.
Normal human beings like you and I won’t benefit from the Smart Camera. But hey, that’s not a big deal—we can capture high-quality video at home using much cheaper webcams.