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.
A quick re-test of this bargain 720p HD webcam from RocketFish led me to come up with it the best Apple compatible CHEAP webcam choice. It has a surprisingly clear and sharp image, good color balance, and a smooth auto-focus that isn't slow to respond like other cheapo AF cams I've tested. Decent-sounding microphone too. Quite a deal for around twenty bucks.
For about five dollars more, the Mac compatible Logitech C310 is superior to the cameras in it's C1XX and C2XX series range. Most notably it has a higher resolution sensor and supports RightLight2(tm) which adapts to low-light situations better than cheaper Logitech cameras without it. It's a Fixed-Focus camera with noise-canceling microphone. It's image is as good as or better than most built-in Apple iSight cameras with far greater flexibility in camera placement, angles and positioning.
When you go beyond 720p into 1080p HD mode you need A LOT of CPU horsepower AND internet bandwidth to handle a staggering amount of image data. So these 720p HD cameras have good frame-rates in every Mac video capture and conferencing app I tried. They also have a built-in microphone that sounds fairly decent - and as such are all good choices for a cheap Mac webcam with microphone solution for desktop Macs which don't come with any microphone at all, like the Mac mini and Macintosh Pro tower.