We first saw high-end 4K UHD webcams hit the market with the Logitech Brio personal webcam and Meet-Up group conferencing cam with 4096 x 2160 max resolution. Somewhere in-between, we're seeing some cheap 2K webcams that work on Mac OSX with somewhat less demanding system requirements filling the technology gap. In some ways, the 2K video specification was/is just a stopgap tradeoff from 1080p to the clearly established 4K and 5K future.
Web cameras - when capturing or streaming in Super Full and UHD modes puts more stress on your Apple laptop or desktop CPU, eat more disk space, and require a very fast, high-bandwidth internet connection for streaming. True 4K requires a USB 3.0/3.1 speed port to even function in 4K mode - but the cameras featured here can run okay on a USB 2.0 speed port like most 720p and 1080p webcams can.
Onboard H.264 video compression in HD web cameras helps reduce the data bandwidth while preserving optimal image quality. Once only featured in select, premium Mac compatible HD webcams, in the UHD era, H.264 compression is showing up on even lower-cost 2nd-tier cameras from China as shown above.
Trust me, I've bought a lot of no-name cheap webcams from China to see what 10 bucks or so gets you in a UVC - USB Video Class compliant webcam that will 'just work' on MacOS. Occasionally, there have been some pleasant surprises with sharp image quality, good light sensitivity and color response, and an 'okay' sounding internal microphone. Most however have fallen far short of that.
- Low Resolution - Not Actual HD Sensors
- Grainy Or Blurry Images
- Poor Mounting Clips
- Defective Lenses
- Hollow Sounding Microphones
- Dead On Arrival
- High Failure Rates Soon After Purchase
- Not Compatible With Mac OSX
- Lack Of Autofocus
Several of the cheap-o Mac compatible web cameras I've purchased were so disappointing -- I threw them in the garbage. When you only pay $8-$ 12 for a cam, if it's junk, it isn't worth bothering with the time and expense of returning. So my advice, if you have twenty or so bucks to spend get a brand-name webcam for your Mac like the Logitech C270 or a Creative Live Cam Chat. If you go up a notch, the Logitech C310 720p HD webcam offers better light-management and delivers a surprisingly clear, sharp image with a decent sounding mic to go along with it.