After a few days of wrangling through bug reports and kernel recompilations, just to try to get my webcam to work properly, I stumbled upon this great little app that handles my webcam and it's little quirks just fine. It's called WXCam and it's a fantastic little app.
I know most of you are wondering why I simply don't use cheese (gnome based) or kamoso (kde based)... well... to be quite honest, I did try both those apps... in addition to quvcview, camorama and a host of other webcam apps as well. Cheese would not even start... there is apparently a gstreamer issue and it kept issuing this type error...
(cheese:2237): GStreamer-WARNING **: pad source:src returned caps which are not a real subset of its template caps
The funny thing is, when selecting the cam directly with gstreamer-properties, the test worked just fine at full res, so I knew it wasn't a hardware problem.
Kamoso worked, but it hiccupped with v4l2 demux errors and wouldn't allow adjustment of brightness or exposure, Audio would not record and there were few options to actually adjust... I'm unsure as to whether or not this is due to not having kde fully installed, the distro I'm using (xubuntu), or some other combination thereof.
WXCam on the other hand worked flawlessly. It detected the cam right off the bat, has a host of configuration options, allowed resolution up to 640x480 (the max for this cam), and also records and syncs audio from the builtin mic on the cam. You can find the source code on the homepage here... http://wxcam.sourceforge.net/index.php
It comes in a precompiled i386 binary for debian/ubuntu, or ya can download a tarball to compile from source for x86_64 systems or other i386 compatible distros. It's also available in the AUR in arch linux, and a simple yaourt -S wxcam will download and compile it to your system... One note, the pkgbuild is out of date at the time of this writing, so be sure to modify it to download and install the latest version.