I'm getting ready to order the parts I need to set up Octoprint on my Ender 3 v2. I'm wondering if I should get the dedicated webcam or just spend the same amount of money on a regular USB webcam?
I'm curious to hear if anyone has some thoughts about if there are advantages to one over the other (assuming the same amount of money is spent on both)?
FWIW, I have both a Raspberry Pi camera (v1.3) and a fairly inexpensive USB webcam, although it still cost twice what the picam did.
Between the two I'd say the picam offers more quality and features for the price, but you 'pay' for that in other ways: You have to make your own mount and case and you have to deal with the ribbon cable, and the basic picams have the lens glued in place, which means it can be a pain to get focused properly.
The mount/case is easy enough since you can print things for it, and you can get cables that are quite long or even use adapters that allow you to use other types of cables instead, but neither are as convenient as unpacking the USB camera and just plugging it in.
Knowing what I know now, I'd spend a bit more on the picam initially (I just got the cheapest one I could originally) to get one that is designed to be focused and has a better lens on it, but I'd still perfer that over a USB webcam of the same price.
Thanks. I didn't actually realise there were different camera modules, which I've just had a brief look into.
I'm keen to spend around $40 (AUD), which is how much this V2.1 module is on Amazon in Australia. That same amount gets me something like a Logitech c270 ( which is 720p). So yeah I guess what I think I'm tossing up is a slight increase in quality with the pi camera vs convenience for the usb webcam. But maybe there's other considerations I don't know about, hence this post. I've just realised adding a 1m long ribbon cable adds $8 too so I should factor that in as well.
Those long ribbon cables are very prone to picking up high frequency noise, especially when they are routed anywhere near stepper motors. A usb cord on the other hand is properly shielded against such interference, and is easier to route in the first place.
Recommend the cheap webcam. I've tried a few, before COVID they were cheap and plentiful but now I feel stung buying a Logitech.
Got a couple of very old 1.2MP webcams, an endoscope / inspection-cam (for nozzle) and a new 1080p Aukey, all perform really well.
This is showing at £16.98 from a UK ip address but the title claims 50 so ignore that bit. Aukey PC-LM1E Full HD Video 1080P Webcam - Black 17,53 € | MyMemory
Having read up a bit on linux video modes etc then most people don't use the best option for their kit anyway (octo defaults to 640x480) and the picam has very specific modes so make sure to read the forum post on changing camera resolution.
I used this
Better resolution image quality from web cam - #2 by b-morgan
-EDIT- January 2023 - The USB camera is a good option, I got one for £12 that is great, but they are hard to comeby. I would now consider the new Pi Camera Module v3 with HDR and auto/manual focus for £25 (wide-angle £35) with a Pi 3A+ (like zero2W but 2.4/5ghz wifi £28), but the zero2w or 3b/a+ or 4 will equally work.
There is a major advantage to the MIPI/CSI cameras (like Raspi cam): Dedicated hardware bus
It's worth considering the USB bus (and maybe cpu) could become overloaded if you have too higher frame rate or resolution or other devices doing a lot at once, whereas using the raspi-cam I believe has a dedicated hardware bus just for that camera serial interface.
I only mention this because I think the ethernet uses the usb bus on RPi so at some point if you could reach capacity.
(I've not noticed any issues - I'm only streaming 1080p from a usb camera over ethernet and using usb-serial for the printer).