Mac Webcams

I’m lucky; I still have a working iSight in my home office. I don’t really use it anymore, because newer webcams sport far better resolution, image quality, frame rates, etc. No, it’s not up for sale – it’s a collector’s item.

However, I wanted to let you know that just because a webcam doesn’t say that it’s compatible with Mac OS X… doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Many boxed products on the market today sport Windows-compatible labels, but that never stops me from plugging any USB 2.0 device into a Mac and being pleasantly surprised when it works without hassle.

I remember trying to get the Xbox 360 Vision cam working in Windows Vista – and it was a near impossible feat (you have to uninstall the driver it tries to automatically install, turning around and telling Windows to recognize it as some kind of generic video device before it’ll work properly). To get the Xbox webcam to work on Mac OS X, you merely need to plug it in – that’s it. It’s one of the best webcams out there because of the fantastic image quality, focus ring, and insanely low price.

Same holds true for the new HP webcam I just reviewed last week. Why don’t these device manufacturers put a “compatible” label on the box? I’m not sure how such certification works – if it’s that Microsoft paid them, or Apple didn’t? No matter, if you purchased the device – there should be nothing holding you back from using it on whatever OS will support it.

If you have an older webcam, or a webcam that doesn’t want to plug-and-play, download macam for uber-compatibility on OS X:

macam is a driver for USB webcams on Mac OS X. It allows hundreds of USB webcams to be used by many Mac OS X video-aware applications. The aim is to support as many webcams as possible. In addition, macam also supports downloading of images from some dual-mode cameras. macam especially tries to support those cameras not supported by Apple or by their manufacturers.

With that, I was able to eke a few frames out of my ol’ Intel Pro and 3Com HomeConnect webcams from yesteryear. Oh yes, I’m a webcam addict – I admit it. I decided to post about Mac webcams tonight after watching rizzn’s post on Logitech’s allegedly-new Mac webcam (which isn’t necessarily new). I don’t have the Logitech webcam in question, but just about every newer Logitech webcam I’ve plugged into a Mac has worked without any additional software. Here are Mark’s thoughts:

Too bad Photo Booth keeps crashing on me. 🙂