I have been testing all kinds of cheap webcams for the next batch of video spectrometers (we've been sold out for a month, because the old webcams we used are no longer available in quantity or for the same low $7.50 price). I finally found one which seems perfect!
The above webcam (slightly destroyed, or shall we say, improved) is rectangular, so it sits solidly on the "floor" of the video spectrometer. It is HD (720) and is easy to open (to remove the infrared filter, see the small disc of glass in the above photo) and only about $10 in bulk. I ordered 56 so we can make lots of kits, but it can be found here:
I've also been experimenting with a completely in-browser spectrometer client, and will post updates soon. But it can actually use the build-in camera on an Android webcam, directly from the browser. Will our spectrometer someday look like this?