We are currently reviewing the hardware and software requirements for our new science labs as we move towards Windows 7. I was testing/reviewing the following USB microscope cameras within our teaching environment from a technical and support pespective;
- 1 x 35UMD Digital Microscope Eyepiece 640×480 USB PC & MAC
- 1 x 200UMD Digital Microscope Eyepiece 2MP USB
- 1 x 300UMD Digital Microscope Eyepiece 3MP USB
Electronic Eyepiece: Model NO. 35UMD-PC(0.35 Mega Pixels)
Electronic Eyepiece: Model NO. 130UMD-PC(1.30 Mega Pixels)
Electronic Eyepiece: Model NO. 300UMD-PC(3.0 Mega Pixels)
Connector USB 1.1&2.0
* The 35UMD loaded reasonably well and was soon available as a standard USB camera. The only issue with this camera would be availability of driver updates and the low resolution.
* The 200UMD was an awful installer, especially when used from a “run as” context as the installer does not follow standard Windows guidelines and calls windows that are hidden if not logged in as an Administrator. Both the installer and error messages appear to have been machine translated from Chinese to English to achieve the syntax observed in the applications.
* The 300UMD used a similar installer to the 200UMD. The supplied mini-CD with driver contained corrupted installers so this could not be totally verified. Using the drivers available on the 200UMD disc the driver was loaded but we were not able to get this camera to function during the testing process. As you will see from the discussion below as I was unable to access updated driver it is impossible to tell if this was a hardware or software issue.
I visited the web site advertised on the packaging to check for updated drivers (as is standard practice). The site requires you to login to access the drivers – I created an account and logged into the website. Rather than listing drivers, the website requires a $0.00 purchase via a shopping cart to access the browsers; unfortunately the shopping cart produces a 404 Not Found error on checkout so that the drivers are in fact unavailable for download. This appears to be a feature found with many vendors of this product.
I called the support number listed on the website to gain access to the drivers. Having not received any contact, I called again this afternoon and was informed that an email was sent on Thursday. I have checked both my email and spam filtering, no email was received to my address from firstname.lastname@example.org [After following up I was sent a link to the 35UMD driver which is a different version to that shipped with the camera].
All in all the experience from a technical perspective would be rated about 4 from 10 and given a competitive product for another vendor where the drivers are available for download it would be difficult to recommend the purchase of these items.