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. 🙂

12 thoughts on “Mac Webcams”

  1. Pingback: Digital Zen
  2. So very true, but this isn’t just for webcams works the same with key boards, take for example the logitech diNovo Edge, says windows only but plug it in works, only things that don’t work are the buttons along the top, but only because the system is like what do I do with these. This can easily be fixed with ControllerMate (

    This software allows you to map different buttons around.
    But if your unsure if the device you want to use will work just google it, remember google is your friend, im sure there will be someone out there in the big wide world that has the device.

  3. Ah, true plug-and-play.

    While I run Vista, I must say that OSX has some amazing plug-and-play features. On Vista, if I wish to install the latest version of flash I have to reboot before it works… ah, how I long for the day when I can get a mac.

  4. I have one very distinctive problem with the isight cameras. I am a windows user but, I’m switching to a macbook pro once I’ve saved enough money. I went to see it the other day & I would be worried that someone had hacked into my camera & was watching me. There has been some stories of people being able to do this, also on windows computers with a webcam built-in.

    I think that they should have a cover that you can slide over the lens when it’s not in use. This would overcome this problem from being a worry & frankly, people would be more likely to buy these laptops/desktops.

  5. I love the built in iSight camera that comes on all Macs now. I have played around with it in PhotoBooth, and the image quality, clarity, and resolution all blew me away. I was watching something here when another person took over, and the camera quality was exceptional. I think the iSight camera is the best for anything, even YouTube videos.

  6. I use the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000. At first, the box said it is for Windows so I was worrying the whole way home from best buy after I bought it because I have a mac. I got to my house, plugged it in, and guess what, It worked! I was actually not too suprised, though. I am really happy with the Logitech QuickCam and I definately reccomend it!

  7. omg Thanks i have a mac and its been hard trying to find a webcam that doesnt cost a lot since i already paid a lot for my mac! but it has been pretty great even though the price sucked. but i will try this and hopefully it will work! thanks!

  8. I used the macam driver and now I can use my old Logitech webcam with my Powerbook using Yahoo Instant messaging. Thanks, you saved me a bunch of money!

  9. Mark is completely wrong in facts, reviewing that the Logitec Pro 9000 is the same as the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac.
    There is one HUGE difference. The auto focus, auto white balance & auto color control are built into the HARDWARE of the Mac version. They are driven by a program & the Windoz OS in the 9000. This is a seismic difference, and Mark maybe ought to do his homework, and as he said, NOT do gadget reviews. Took me ten minutes on the net to discover his huge mistake.

  10. I’ve just read the same thing elsewhere about the webcam using hardware for certain features whereas the windows version cannot do this on the mac.

    Not sure who to believe here – either way it needs clearing up.

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