Is there any good non-Java non-Metro counterpart for Cheese in Windows?
The Camera app in Windows 8 is a good alternative. However Metro apps do not work on my system.
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I don't know what level of control you want, but if you're interested in something relatively immediate to use but that lets you take both still pictures and video with full control over the codec/compression options/resolution/etc. I might suggest Daum PotPlayer
It's primarily a media player, but it has many other functions, including previewing the webcam and recording video / taking pictures from it. It lets you choose many options, but at the same time you can roll with the default ones and get good results if you're not a pro user.
Also, it's free, which is always a plus.
On the downside, it doesn't let you add "cheesy effects", but I guess you're not interested in them, since you cite the Win8 camera app as a good alternative and that doesn't have additional effects.
PS: You might be a bit lost the first time you open PotPlayer if you want to use it for video capture, so here's a quickstart tip: