Mac Webcams That Just Work
Connect And Chat With Family And FriendsLooking to buy a driver-free, fully Macintosh compatible UVC - USB Video Class compatible webcam? Have USB 2.0 Ports? Some cameras made for Windows PC's may not work on Apple Macintosh computers - or Mac webcam drivers may not exist. The external webcam models listed here are simply Plug and Play on modern Macs running OSX Lion and Leopard. Save yourself wasted money and frustration. Make certain you have USB 2.0 speed ports - and a Mac faster than 1Ghz - then confidently choose one of these known working and Apple friendly driverless UVC webcam models listed below.
Plug-N-Play Mac Compatible Webcam Picks
Known UVC Compliant Web Cams For OSX
Best Logitech Cameras For Mac:Wide-Angle HD Camera
90 Degree Field Of View
#1 CHOICE : *NEW* Premium Logitech C930e HD Webcam
Incredible State-Of-The-Art Image Detail, Smooth Autofocus, H.264 Compression
Like: Tripod Mount. 1080p HD Webcam. Zeiss Optical Lens. Dual Microphones
Dislike: High Priced. Some Users Might Not Prefer A Wide-Angle View
Logitech C920 Cam
Improved Camera Design
#2 CHOICE : Mac Compatible Logitech HD Webcam
Excellent detail and clarity, Hardware Autofocus, H.264 Compression
Like: Tripod Mounting Hole. HD Webcam. Zeiss Glass Lens. Stereo Microphone
Dislike: Logitech Hasn't Updated Thier HD Capture App To Include the C920
C615 HD Logitech Cam
Portable Fold-Up Design
Like: Lower-Priced 1080p HD Webcam. Glass Lens. Standard Camera Tripod Mount For More Flexibility In Camera Angles And Placement
Dislike: Considered A 'Portable' Cam, It Has A Rather Short 3' Cable
Best Creative Labs Cameras For MacCreative's Best Webcam
Live! Cam Socialize HD
Like: Sharp 1080p Resolution, Smooth Autofocus, Noise Cancelling Mics
Dislike: Creative Labs Simply Makes Too Many Confusing Camera Models
Creative Live Cam Connect
720p HD Resolution
Like: 720p Resolution, Good Autofocus, Echo Cancelling Microphone
Dislike: Image Sensor Not As Sharp As Logitech At This Price Point
Other 3rd Party Apple Compatible CamerasAlthough Creative Labs and Logitech dominate the OSX friendly videoconferencing cam market, several other brand-name cameras are worthy of consideration, espcially if you're on a budget.
RocketFish Mac HD Webcam
Autofocus + Stereo Microphones
Like: 720-1080P Resolution. Good Light Sensitivity and Color Balance
Dislike: Cheap Construction. Snapshot Button Non-Functional
Best Cheap Webcam
RocketFish 720p HD Camera
Like: Great Image! Responsive AutoFocus and Excellent Microphone Quality
Dislike: Discontinued - But Still Available. Flimsy Mounnting Clip.
Blue HD Cam + Microphone
Quality Condenser Mic
Like: Premium Microphone, Pop-Out 720p HD Webcam. Ideal for Mac Pro and mini
Dislike: Bulky Mounting Base : Microphone Higher Quality Than Camera
1080p HD GearHead Webcam
Cheap 1080p Mac Webcam
Like: High HD Resolution. Auto-Focus. Stereo Mics
Dislike: Lacks Precision Optics, Not As Sharp An Image
Hewlett-Packard UVC Webcam
Like: 1.3MP Resolution. VERY Good Light Sensitivity
Dislike: None. Great Price. Excellent Mac Web Cam For Older G4-G5 Macs
Driver-Free : UVC - Universal USB 2.0 Video Class WebcamsUVC is a recent compatibility standard in USB 2.0 video-chat cameras. The iSight webcam built into recent iMac and MacBook models is compliant. Apple's UVC Kernel Extensions built into OSX Lion, Leopard means any UVC based USB cam should just work when plugged into a USB 2.0 speed port. No webcam drivers required. Windows 7/8, Vista and Linux also natively support UVC class video cameras. These listed are ideal as an external webcam for an Apple Mac mini or Pro tower - and also are good Cross-Platform PC and Linux webcams as well for those who use VMWare Fusion or Parallels on their Macs.
THESE BELOW ARE GOOD UVC CAMS OVERALL - BUT...Since they don't have Mac or Linux specific software utilities, don't perform as optimally as they could: Perhaps best for Cross-Platform PC/Mac users running VMware Fusion, Parallels or Leopard's BootCamp:
Microsoft LifeCam HD-720P
Like: Sharp Image, Good Color and Light Balance
Dislike: Most OSX Apps don't support 720 HD Aspect Ratios. Auto-Focus Somewhat Slow To Adapt. Frame Rate Sluggish In Low Light.
Logitech Pro For Notebooks
Like: Quality Ziess Lens, Good Light Sensitivity & Color Balance
Dislike: Designed For Laptop-Travel - But Comes With Desktop Stand, Mounting Clip Not Well-Designed, AF Functions Not Mac Supported
Popular QuickCam Logitech Pro 9000
Like: Optical Quality Carl Zeiss Lens, Sharp, Good Color Balance
Sharp Hi-Res 2mp Sensor, Desktop/Laptop Mount, Built-In Microphone
Dislike: Logitech's Autofocus functions are not supported on the Mac
With these 2 models; they will perform like a very high quality FIXED FOCUS cam. Many Mac buyers love their 9000 or NoteBook Pro cams, but be aware Logitech's RightLight 2 function may cause lower frame rates in low-light conditions.
Note: An increasing number of Logitech's many webcam models are UVC compliant. But only several are officially supported on a Mac! The above two Pro models are absolutely UVC-Mac compatible; Many older Mid-To-Low-End Logitech cameras are NOT UVC compliant: Depends on model #, different internal sensors, & part numbers! Choose carefully.
LESS THAN GREAT MAC COMPATIBLE WEB CAMERA CHOICES
Luxury Logitech QuickCam Ultra - Fixed Focus
Pico iMage USB 2.0 Webcam:
Like: Click Tilt Adjustment. Good Light Response & Color Balance.
Standard Tripod Camera Mount Hole
Dislike: Rather GRAINY Image - No Built-in Microphone
LOUSY BUDGET CAM: MacAlly VGA IceCam 2
Like: Sturdy Clip, Adjustable Focus Ring, On Indicator LED
Dislike: Needs VERY Bright Light Levels. Off-Color Problems. Cheap Import Cam Rebranded with MacAlly Logo. Harsh, Hollow Sounding Microphone.
Looks-Like-A-Logitech Driverless Cam
Like: Penny-Pincher Cheap UVC cam. Good Image Sharpness
Dislike: Ripoff Design. Low Quality Microphone
Microsoft Live! Web Cam - Value Priced
Like: Suprising Image Quality, Adjustable Focus Ring, Low-Cost
Dislike: Stand Designed For Desktop Not Laptop. No Microphone
DIRT CHEAP DRIVERLESS UVC MAC WEBCAMS"You get what you pay for" might apply to many dirt-cheap import USB video class web cameras. Feeling lucky? Don't care about warranty or returning it? Then explore these maybe, ought-to, should, might probably work on an Apple driverless web camera options:
WEBCAMS FOR OLDER OBSOLETE MACS?
OSX 10.2 or OSX 10.3 PANTHER?
Think FireWire instead. Modern High-Resolution UVC cams simply WILL NOT WORK on old 800mhz or less Macs, who's slow and incompatible USB 1.x speed ports are FOURTY times slower that USB 2.0. Those that claim to be USB 1.1 OR USB 2.0 may have UTTERLY ABYSMAL frame-rates on USB 1.x or show NO image at all even tho System Profiler may recognize the camera exists on the USB 1.1 bus. Otherwise, you're left dinking around with any of hundreds of old cheap, discontinued webcams made for Windows and fiddling with Macam or IOXperts drivers hoping for a combination that will work.
You CAN still find decent, used Apple iSight cams at Amazon or find a deal on an iSight on eBay. Why Apple stopped manufacturing their very high-quality 1394 FireWire auto-focus web camera is beyond logic. 1394 is better than USB for video conferencing & chat in many technical aspects: External webcam compatibility with iMovie, less CPU overhead, higher frame-rates and avoids USB device contention slugging it out on a USB hub. The Apple iSight's closest available competitor is now from UniBrain: The 640x480 Fire-i Video Webcam has a clip mount tho it lacks the iSight's built-in microphone, sharp optics and close range autofocus. Old iBot and ADS Pyro 1394b cams exist; neither as highly rated as the Fire-i. As such, USB cameras aren't the only options to provide Macintosh users with high quality choices to chat and video-conference using popular Mac applications like iChat, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, Skype, ISPQ VideoChat or for uploading clips to YouTube.
SOUND DECISIONS : VIDEO CONFERENCING MICROPHONES
Most but not all Macs have a built-in microphone. One option is a Mac compatible web cam with a mic which most (but not all) webcams have. However, separate headsets or earbuds can help you have a better videoconferencing or Mac Skype call experience and help minimize background noise, echo and feedback. The Logitech USB Desktop Microphone is a fine choice with great sound quality and easy to tap mute switch. USB headsets with microphones may have more advantages than 1/8" mini-jack types that often compete with your speaker system. A high-quality Mac USB headset choice that's head and shoulders above all others in it's price range: The Logitech ClearChat Pro Headset gets rave reviews for not only Mac VOIP calls and video conferencing, but top notch iTunes audio listening and Podcast recording as well.
OPERATING SYSTEM SUPPORT FOR UVC DRIVERLESS WEBCAMS
USB Video Class support is provi ded by the Linux UVC driver
PLAYSTATION 3 The Sony Play Station 3 added support for UVC web cams in firmware version 1.54.
SUN SOLARIS Includes support for UVC webcams in the form of the usb vc driver for OpenSolaris. The driver ships with Solaris Express Build 56 and later.
WINDOWS Windows XP has basic support for USB video class webcams since Service Pack 2/3. Windows 7/8 and Vista ships with FULL native UVC class driver support.
MAC OSX Apple includes a basic UVC webcam driver since version 10.4.3 Tiger, updated in 10.4.9 to work with iChat. OSX Lion and Leopard provide full Mac HD webcam support.