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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.