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External Webcam For Mac - 360 Degrees Of Freedom

If you’re a MacBook owner like me, you’re probably a bit frustrated with the limited viewing angles of your Mac laptop’s built-in iSight webcam. Owners of Aluminum iMac’s or Apple Cinema Displays which also have an integrated HD web camera might feel the same frustrations as well. There’s a limited degree to which you can tilt the display and still see what’s happening onscreen. For some the versatility and flexibility of an external Mac webcam is a must-have for their video conferencing needs.

External Webcam For Mac
An external Mac compatible webcam can be used for a variety of needs. For teachers, presenters and others - specialized document web cameras with an adjustable stand is better than trying to hold something up and still in front of a built-in iSight camera. For business meetings, an eternal conferencing camera might be used to display products and highlight details or features of an item. For others, an external webcam with a tripod mounting option like the Logitech C920 with tripod mount might give the stability or precise placement you need.

Perhaps more than anything, adult webcam chat may be the single biggest driving interest in the flexibility of camera placement that an iMac or MacBook’s built-in webcam simply can’t provide. Don’t underestimate the size of the adult ‘naughty’ chat marketplace. Whether you think such online activity -- whether it’s Gay or Straight, between married couples or total strangers -- is inappropriate is moot. Literally millions of people across the globe engage in adult online conferencing, and for that purpose a PC notebook or Apple laptop’s internal camera is nothing but frustrating. Tilt the camera down far enough to expose your ‘good parts’ and you can’t see what’s onscreen anymore! Not all webcam chat is about smiling face to face interactions.

The last reason to possibly want an Apple compatible external webcam is to improve the image quality over what’s built into your aging iMac or MacBook. My first-generation white MacBook had a built-in iSight webcam at 640x480 VGA resolution that was notorious for having a very reddish image. (That color problem was rectified in later models.) An external UVC web camera not only gave me much more accurate color balance, but was higher in resolution and detail which easily outperformed the internal webcam.

When what’s built into your Mac isn’t good enough, consider any of the recommended HD webcams for Mac for affordable or very high quality webcam alternatives that will let you point your camera anywhere you need to.

Best Document Webcams For Mac OSX

A specialized but very important niche in the Mac compatible webcam marketplace is one for document cameras. They're widely used by educators in classroom environments and by business presentation professionals at meetings. IPEVO leads the way with recent improvements to their doc cam's sensors for even higher resolution and detailed imagery. Many feature on-board focus control buttons to zoom to optimal clarity. Their UVC - USB Video Class compliance insures they're compatible with MacOS without needing to install any software drivers.


Dual-Mode iPevo 8MP Mac Document Cam

USB Macintosh or HDMI Display Connection Option



iPevo V4K Ultra HD Document Cam

Mac Compatible With Integrated Webcam Stand


iPevo Point2View Cam


Manual and AutoFocus Control


iPevo offers a nice range of USB and Wireless document cameras for Mac OSX with its Ziggi and manual and auto-focus Point2View webcams - along with camera mounting stands and specialized webcam snapshot software for Mac OSX to help you get picture-perfect images to share of small objects and documents during live presentations on a videoconference - or for later use.

Cheap Mac Document Cameras


For those on a constrained budget, here's a versatile UVC compliant document webcam that works with either Linux, Windows or Mac OSX. The flexible gooseneck mount makes it easy to position the web camera head over your documents or objects. A manual focus adjustment ring around the lens allows sharpening the image to optimum focus.

HueHD Gooseneck Doc Cam

Manual Focus Lens w/Mic


For under $50 USD, this cheap document webcam is an affordable way for Apple users to image your documents - or even use as a general purpose webcam for your online video conferencing sessions.

Best RocketFish Webcams For Mac

2nd-Tier webcam manufacturers tend to play Follow The Leader and often mimic and clone their look-alike version of other makers premium webcams. Like GearHead, Rocket Fish is offering their HD webcam offering to counter Logitech’s C910 and C920 with a knock-off HD webcam of their own.

Mac Compatible HD Webcam

Autofocus + Stereo Microphones


Offering dual microphones for stereo audio, 720p and 1080p resolutions and autofocus, this Mac compatible HD web camera currently lists at around $39, about half of Logitech’s price. In my testing the RocketFish HD performed quite well, good light sensitivity and color saturation, reasonable image clarity and smooth autofocus - although like too many webcams is a bit slow to respond to changes, about a 1-2 second lag in my estimation.

What you DON’T get from RocketFish at this price is the clarity and world-class optical glass Zeiss lens that makes high-end Logitech cams so spectacular in detail, or the exceptionally fast and fluid autofocus that outperforms all others.

Cheap Mac Webcam

720p HD Webcam w/Mic


Want and even lower-cost external Mac web cam? This cheap 720p RocketFish HD webcam for Mac or PC can usually be had for around $20. Includes a built-in microphone and autofocus:

Best GearHead Webcams For Mac

GearHead peripherals has been around for a long time though they're not known for anything but cheap computer accessories. And they have been making Mac compatible external webcams for sometime and were early adopters of the UVC - USB Video Class webcam standard. Of the few OSX friendly web cameras they offer, the only real standout is their top-end model, the 1080p HD camera. For bargain hunters, their similar-looking 720p model is even more affordable.

1080p HD GearHead Webcam

Stereo Microphone + AutoFocus


This Mac compatible GearHead webcam features an oblong design, auto-focus, and dual-microphones in a High-Definition web cam. Clearly they're trying to mimic Logitech's best HD webcam models with a knockoff of their own. And for half to a third the price of other top-end HD webcams this GearHead 720p or 1080p HD camera may be a reasonable choice for budget-minded Mac owners.

Logitech C920 Webcam Mac Compatible?

Logitech keeps raising the bar when it comes to building state of the art, premium webcams for Mac and PC. Their popular HD model, the UVC compliant Logitech C920 took their web cameras to the next level with unique features we're starting to see elsewhere in the web cam market: H.264 video compression support built into the hardware, optical quality glass lenses and stereo microphones. The 920 is Mac compatible and functions AOK on OSX 10.5+ and is recognized by most Mac video apps. Past versions of Logitech's webcam capture software for Mac initially didn't recognize the C920 when plugged in, but it's now fully supported.

New Lower Street Price
Logitech C920 1080p Webcam For Mac

Stereo Mics, Smooth Autofocus, Tripod Mount


Recently, the C920 has now been superceeded by the C922x Pro Stream model. In the revised C922, Logitech improved the circuitry to deliver higher frame rates. However, with a now lower street price, the C920 is still an excellent choice for Apple computer users wanting 720p or 1080p HD streaming and capture on MacOS.

As webcam resolutions increase - the demand on computer bandwidth becomes staggering, especially as we move from 720p to 1080p high-definition modes. It's just a TON of data to deal with. To keep data streams manageable - and to save significant disk space when capturing video to your hard drive, H.264 is a huge advance in reducing data size dramatically while preserving a very, very high quality image. It's so efficient and so good that it's been adopted widely across the computing universe, most notably and recently in the Blu-Ray DVD standard to deliver stunning images and still fit a feature film on disc. It's also one of the many CODEC's bundled into Apple's QuickTime software.

As it applies to Logitech's MacOS compatible C920 web camera, OSX users are getting the benefit of H.264 compression built into the webcam's hardware. That means a better experience streaming live video. And video capture will use less space on your hard disk or SSD, and make file uploads to sites like YouTube faster.

Best Genius Webcams For Mac

Computer peripheral maker Genius manufactures a wide variety of USB 2.0 web cameras. More recent Genuis web camera models are UVC compliant and Mac compatible - without having to install any driver software.

Mac Compatible Genius HD Webcam

120-Degree Wide-Angle Image


Of note the Mac friendly Genius WideCam 100F, as the model name implies, features a really wide-angle field of view ideal for group video conference rooms or wide area security monitoring. It supports 1080p HD webcam resolution and hast stereo built-in microphones.

HD Conferencing Webcam For Mac

Creative Lab's Live Cam inPerson HD webcam delivers Skype Certified wide-screen HD 720p Video Conferencing with onboard hardware H.264 processing to reduce the CPU demands on your system. You can enjoy headset-free video chat with it's noise canceling array of four built-in microphones that delivers clear voice reproduction and eliminates ambient room noises for exceptional audio clarity.

Creative LiveCam InPerson HD

Quad Microphone Array


H.264 video compression built-into the web camera's hardware is something we'll be seeing more of in future models of Mac compatible webcams.

Creative specs for the InPerson HD state Mac OSX Leopard 10.5+, Snow Leopard or OSX Lion. As with many cross-platform compatible webcams, the bundled software is Windows only, but base functionality is assured thanks to it's UVC - USB 2.0 Video Class compliance. Keep in mind - HD video resolutions require fast dual-core Intel CPUs and online HD chat - and also REQUIRES a high-bandwidth internet connection to deliver good frame-rates in 720p HD modes.