In this article, we present a camera control method in which the selection of an optimal camera position and the modification of camera configurations are accomplished according to changes in the surroundings. For the autonomous selection and modification of camera configurations during tasks, we consider the camera's visibility and the manipulator's manipulability. The visibility constraint guarantees that the whole of a target object can be "viewed" with no occlusions by the surroundings, and the manipulability constraint guarantees avoidance of the singular position of the manipulator and rapid modification of the camera position. By considering visibility and manipulability constraints simultaneously, we determine the optimal camera position and modify the camera configuration such that visual information for the target object can be obtained continuously during tasks. The results of simulations and experiments show that the active camera system with an eye-in-hand configuration can modify its configuration autonomously according to the motion of the surroundings by applying the proposed camera control method. (C) 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.