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Best Cheap Webcam For Mac OSX

Shopping for a good but cheap Apple compatible web camera? I'm sitting here with a box full of various USB 2.0 UVC Video Class webcams I've tested for Mac compatibility, I pondered which is the best affordable web camera under $30 that most Macintosh users would be happy with.

RocketFish 720p HD

Cheap Mac Webcam

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.

$25 Value HD Webcam

5MP Fixed-Focus Plastic Lens

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.

Cheap Creative HD Webcam

720p Resolution + Noise-Canceling Mic

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.

Best MacAlly Webcams For Mac

MacAlly has been around a long time. As a manufacturer of Apple-specific computer accessories for many years - they offered one of the first Mac compatible webcams back in the OS9 era, the USB 1.1 IceCam. It was horribly blurry and low-resolution, webcam driver support was flakey, and few programs and webcam chat applications existed to take advantage of it.

With the release of OSX - MacAlly was one of the first with a truly driver-free UVC webcam for Mac - the IceCam2. It's still widely available and dirt cheap. Just plug it into a USB 2.0 speed port and nearly all Mac video programs can recognize its presence. Unfortunately, the IceCam2 is also a VERY LOW-QUALITY webcam.

Cheap MacAlly Webcam

You Get What You Pay For…

Cheap optics, a harsh and hollow sounding built-in microphone, and rather blue-greenish color problems make this a rather mediocre choice for a good Mac video chat experience. However, because it is a lower-resolution 1.3MP VGA camera - it is less demanding of CPU resources and more suitable for older, now obsolete USB 2.0 Macs with G4 and G5 processors that just can't handle the CPU demands of modern, higher-res HD cameras.

AVOID THE NEWER MODEL: The MacAlly MegaCam HD. HORRIBLE, SLUGGISH FRAME RATES in any Mac OSX video chat program I tested it with. The completely redesigned MegaCam is a 2-MegaPixel 720p high-definition PC and Mac compatible HD web camera with a built-in microphone that seems 'stuck' in maximum resolution HD mode. Unless you have a Quad-Core 3Ghz+ Mac AVOID this camera! MacAlly should stop selling this cam and go back to the drawing board because the MegaCam a flawed product that is not suitiable for most Mac systems. Horrible, horrible frame-rates - and seems unable to switch to 320x240 or 640x480 video modes that MOST Mac video chat programs use.