Currently, the latest and best selling Apple compatible webcam for iMacs is Logitech's C922X Pro Stream. It's revised circuitry allows higher frame-rates than previous generations of their 9XX series webcams for exceptionally smooth video -- even when there's a lot of motion being captured. It's predecessor, the C920 is still a great external iMac webcam choice, especially at it's now lower street price.
For some, the best iMac compatible webcams to consider will have a standard tripod mounting hole built into the camera's base to allow the use of a floor, desktop or gooseneck tripod for optimal camera angles and positioning. Even if you just perch the HD webcam atop an iMac's display bezel, you'll still have more control over the cam's position than you would the one built in.
So, MacGizmoGuy figured that maybe the emerging voice and video conferencing scene on the Macintosh needed an ally. Someone to monitor the technology and help the use of VOIP, voice, video and teleconferencing slowly explode into the pervasive collaborative computing technology it is today. Thanks to all those who've visited or linked to this site as an online resource over all these years!
Over time, they've steadily increased the webcam's sensor resolutions to deliver even sharper detail. They've even added a Ultra-HD model with an 8 megapixel camera that offers astonishing high definition resolutions up to 3264 x 2448 pixels. By adding a direct HDMI video connection in other models, connectivity options become more flexible. They can be hooked up directly to a display or projector. Using USB, they function as a fully Mac compatible web camera.
Models with WiFi support allow greater flexibility in doc cam placement. That can be useful when, say, a teacher wants to roam from desk to desk or worktable with the doc cam to highlight student work in progress.
IPEVO's document cameras have historically been good about conforming to the UVC webcam specification to assure easy Mac OSX level compatibility -- without requiring any additional web camera software to be installed.
With 3rd-party web camera apps, you might need to reinstall the latest version of the webcam software after the Mojave MacOS upgrade. With a program like iGlasses, if you don't have your installer, use the form at eCamm's site, and they'll re-email your registration info. As for other Mac webcam apps, I'll note any issues as Mojave rolls out to the Mac masses and any issues are discovered.
eCamm notes: With MacOS 10.14 Mojave, iGlasses will not show up in certain pre-installed Apple applications like Photo Booth and FaceTime. In Mojave, Apple has introduced the notion of a Hardened Runtime and Library Validation process. Sadly, this prevents hardened apps, such as FaceTime, from loading any 3rd-party add-ons such as iGlasses.
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.
4K Ultra HD UHD Webcam With RightLight3 And HDRHere's a comprehensive list of the MacOS compatible Brio webcam's technical specifications. A few things to note, especially for Apple users: Yosemite, El Capitan, or MacOS Sierra or Mojave is needed. 4K Ultra HD mode absolutely requires a USB 3.0 speed port - so be wary of connecting it to a slow hub port or pre-2012 Mac to capture in UHD resolutions. A USB 2.0 port is fine for more conventional 1080p and 720p HD resolutions..
CPU Horsepower & Disk SpaceA 2.4Ghz Intel CPU is recommended. Many lower-end Macs like the Mac mini, or MacBook Air fall way below this recommended horsepower threshold, Temper your expectations about frame-rates when capturing video in high-resolution modes. 4096x2160 Ultra-HD capture will eat up disk space on your MacBook or Macintosh desktop system faster than you can imagine. You'll want plenty of available storage on your Mac's boot drive - something that those with SSD-based Apple computers might struggle with.
Pricing & Product CodesBrio Webcam MSRP $199.00
Current Street Price Around $159.00
Part Number: PN 960-001105
Model Number: V-U0040
Brio Webcam System Requirements:USB 2.0 port Minimum : USB 3.0 required for 4K
2.4 GHz Intel® Core 2 Duo processor
2 GB RAM or more
Adequate HDD or SSD drive space for recorded videos
Operating Systems Supported:MacOS™ 10.10 or higher (Yosemite minimum)
Windows® 7 (1080p only), Windows 8.1, or Windows 10
Google™ Chromebook™ Version 29.x, Platform 4319.x
Logitech's Brio Webcam Settings App for Mac:Many of the Brio's functions and features rely on software control. Fortunately, Logitech's webcam app support for OSX is pretty decent and includes FOV settings, Up to 5xDigital Zoom, and Background Replacement options. Some features like the front IR infrared sensor are only supported for Microsoft Hello facial recognition under Windows OS.
Brio 4K Webcam Technical Specifications:4K Ultra HD video calling (up to 4096 x 2160 pixels @ 30 fps)
1080p Full HD video calling (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels @ 30 or 60 fps)
720p HD video calling (up to 1280 x 720 pixels @ 30, 60, or 90 fps)
Plug-and-play USB connectivity
H.264 video compression for reduced file sizes and CPU overhead
90 degree field of view (FOV) with 65 degree and 78 degree optional via software
5x digital zoom in Full HD
RightLight3 with High Dynamic Range (HDR) for clear imaging in low or direct sunlight
Built-in stereo dual mics with noise cancellation
IR Infrared sensor technology
Background replacement option in settings app
External privacy lens shutter
Multiple mounting options: Included clip or 1/4"-20 tripod mount
Supports multiple connections: USB 3.0 Type A or C, or USB 2.0 Type A
Brio Camera Dimensions & Weight:Web Camera
Height x Width x Depth:
1in (27mm) x 4in (102mm) x 1in (27mm)
Webcam ClipHeight x Width x Depth:
3.9in (99mm) x 1.4in (36mm) x .22in (6mm)
Webcam Cable Length
Total Camera Weight (with mounting clip)
85g - 3 ounces
Brio 4K Ultra Webcam Package Contents:Brio Webcam
Removable mounting clip
USB 3.0 cable with Type-A connector
(Type-C to Type-C USBC cable sold separately)
Camera carrying case
Brio Peripheral Warranty Information:Logitech 3-year limited hardware warranty
Ultra High Resolution 4K Conference Camera
Huddle-Room Voice and Video Conferencing
Ultra Wide Angle Webcam Field Of ViewWith a 120 degree Field-Of-View, the MeetUp wide-angle web camera is unusual in that respect, designed to incorporate as much of a conference room space as possible.Common webcams are typically in the 70 degree range. Other recent group conferencing cams have typically offered a 90 degree FOV.
Meetup Conference Camera Mac RequirementsThe 4K MeetUp ConferenceCam aims to deliver a complete and compact voice and video meeting solution that offers 720p, 1080p and 4K camera resolution options. 4K Ultra-HD mode requires software that supports such high resolution and a USB 3.o or 3.1 port on the host computer to handle the extra data. Remember as you move from 720p to 1080p to 2160p - the image size DOUBLES in BOTH horizontal and vertical directions. So each increment in resolution is FOUR times more pixels for your Mac and it's USB port to deal with. 720p & 1080p webcams work fine on USB 2.0 ports but 2160p needs USB 3.x. Logitech also states 2.4GHz as the minimum CPU speed on your Mac. OSX Yosemite 10.10 is the minimum up through El Capitan and MacOS Sierra.
Remote Conference Cam Control Via Remote Or IOSThe camera itself features full PTZ control: Mechanical Pan and Tilt, with up to 5z Zoom. A handheld RF remote controls all camera, audio and call management functions. An available iOS app replicates the remote's functionality and buttons so you can optionally use an iPhone or iPad as the remote control. The MeetUp conferencing camera also supports Bluetooth for call-in access to join a conference via cellphone.
High-End Video And Audio ConferencingThe MeetUp's audio system incorporates an optimized full-range speaker driver tuned to avoid clipping and help suppress echo. 3 beam-forming microphone elements with digital signal processing automatically pinpoint the person actively speaking. The MeetUp also supports a secondary table top microphone for larger conference table coverage. The camera itself listens in an 8 foot range, the optional mic extends that to 14 feet. The external microphone may be bundled along with the webcam, or available as a separate add-on accessory with an MSRP of $199.
1st USB 3.x Webcam For MacThe Brio is the first Apple compatible UHD 4K webcam for Mac that also takes the web camera marketplace to USB 3.0 connectivity. With a Type-C USB-C interface at the camera's back, an appropriate, interchangeable cable can be used for Apple computers with either traditional Type-A USB ports or the new ThunderBolt3 / USBC ports being incorporated into new MacBook laptops and desktop systems. From what I gather, a USB-A to USB-C cable is included, but for direct USB-C to USB-C connections, a Type-C cable would need to be ordered separately.
1st 4K HD Webcam For MacFor 4K Ultra-HD webcam capture and 1080p or 720p conferencing you'll want a fairly fast, modern Intel Mac with USB 3.0 ports running MacOS Sierra or ElCapitan 10.11+. Logitech's website implies this UVC compliant web camera and it's Camera Settings app is backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports, Mac OSX 10.8 at less-than-ultra resolutions and lower frame-rates. A fast and big external ThunderBolt or USB drive is probably wise if you're planning on extensive 4KHD capture. Even with H.264 hardware compression built into the Logitech Brio webcam, Ultra-HD recording at 4096 x 2160 pixels and 30 FPS is likely to gobble disk space alarmingly fast.
Brio 4K Web Camera Review SoonI'll have more to say and do a full review of the Brio 4K USB3 webcam once I have my mitts on one. For many Mac users, a C930e or C922 will still be the best choice for personal or small business video capture and conferencing needs. But SELECT users will find the Brio's specs and features a compelling product to affordably raise the quality bar on their video production and presentation needs.
There's basically 4 types of webcam tripods available:
1. Desk clamp tripods with armature or gooseneck extensions.
2. Full-size free-standing professional tripods for conferencing or staged scenes.
3. Desktop mini-tripods for close-ups and convenience.
4. Wall mount web camera arm brackets.
The benefits of buying an external Mac webcam with tripod mount are twofold: Image stability and precision positioning. Most Apple compatible web cameras have flimsy if somewhat usable flip-clips that all too often largely rely on gravity to cling precariously onto a computer monitor or MacBook laptop's screen. With a real tripod you can assure stable, fixed positioning that may be critical for scene continuity and a vibration-free razor sharp image during Skype sessions or YouTube video capture sessions.
With a design style similar to the C920, the C922 Stream Pro features a darker, black housing and mounting clip with standard tripod mount hole for the included mini desktop tripod. (The C922X 'X' model doesn't include the tripod.) Internally improved circuitry enhances the web camera's frame rates to now achieve up to 60 FPS at 720p HD resolution.1080p (which is very demanding no matter how you slice it) capture remains at 30 FPS. Both of these presume you have a very fast Intel CPU - ideally over 2GHZ. It should be noted many Apple computers like the Mac mini and MacBook Air often have much slower processors in the 1Ghz range, although Apple does support a 'Turbo' CPU up-clocking mode to temporarily ramp up the clock speed under demanding tasks when needed. On lesser Mac's you might not reach or sustain maximum frame rates possible.
H.264 video compression is supported on the C922 (as with all premium model Logitech cameras like the C930e, ConferenceCam Connect and Logitech Group.) This helps both frame rates and significantly reduces the size of the data stream or captured files saved to disk. It should also be noted that while the 920 had a Zeiss optics brand lens, the 922 makes no mention of Zeiss's trademark and like the C615 has switched to an optical-quality glass lens instead.
While touting it's optimization for Live Stream broadcasting, the 2 bundled apps/service they promote are WINDOWS ONLY. The Personify green-screen background app, and 3-month XSplit stream mixer subscription aren't supported on the Mac. However, as a UVC 1.5 spec compliant webcam rest assured it will perform admirably on Mac OSX (they recommend MacOS 10.9+) and it's settings can be further tweaked with the Logitech Webcam App or with a 3rd party program such as Mactaris or iGlasses.
The USB device specification limits reliable data transfers over a devices USB cable to around 5 meters or about 16 feet for High-Speed devices. The distance is a bit less for Low-Speed devices like keyboards and mice. An Active USB repeater extension cable can extend the webcam's distance considerably.
Active Repeater cables are available up to 100 feet. Some of the shorter one's simply reamplify and reclock the 5 volt signal coming from your Mac computer's port to extend a webcam (or any other USB device's) range. However for longer distances, you should look for USB extension cables that include a separate power-supply to adequately and reliably boost the signal. Extending a webcam with ordinary USB A-to-B extender cables will likely result in the device disappearing off the USB bus and possibly causing your video application to lock-up or crash.
For some, extending their Mac webcam via Ethernet cabling is preferred for ranges up to 300 feet. Above you see a pair of USB transceivers: One for your Macintosh's USB-A port, and the other end with a power-supply input and USB-B female socket to plug your web camera into.
Lastly, note extending SuperSpeed USB 3.0 devices (not webcams) required different, USB3 certified cabling and extenders. That's not an issue for Mac webcam users since NO web cameras made currently require nor operate at USB 3.0 speeds. All Apple-friendly UVC compatible webcams are USB 2.0 speed devices.
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.
If you host Skype, Google, FireTalk, or YouTube Live conferences, you'll want to project the best image possible and stream at high frame rates.
The following four High-Def web cameras have some features in common that make for an ideal streaming Mac web camera choice:
- USB Video Class - UVC Compatible With OSX 10.5+
- 720p and 1080p or 4K HD Resolution Sensors
- Optical Quality Glass Lenses
- Onboard H.264 Video Compression
- Smooth Webcam Autofocus
- High-Quality Internal Microphones
- Standard Camera Tripod Mount Hole
Ask any seasoned teleconference host and many will say the Logitech C922 Stream Pro is the new number one choice. This top-quality premium webcam supports H.264 video compression and is optimized for streaming video at high frame-rates. It currently retails around $99 USD. It's premium optical quality lens delivers exceptional image clarity. It far exceeds the color accuracy and sharpness of any Apple iSight camera that might be built into your MacBook, iMac or Apple Cinema Display. Dual microphones cancel echo and noise and deliver good audio response, though many live streaming hosts prefer a dedicated XLR or USB microphone for maximum audio quality.
Comparable in video quality to Logitech's premium cameras, the Microsoft LifeCam Pro rivals the C922x with high-quality glass optics, clean sounding microphone, and tripod mount. Also notable is Microsoft's TrueColor technology for accurate color in a wide variety of lighting situations.
Another great choice: The Logitech C930e has an even higher megapixel camera sensor - and most notably - a wider-angle field of view (FOV) than most webcams. The 90 degree wide angle is perhaps best for those who have 2 people sitting side-by-side during a streaming video chat since it incorporates more of what's around you in the frame. Most other consumer webcams are in the 70-78 degree FOV range which is better suited for one person at close range.
For those wanting high-quality livestream chats on a budget might consider the Logitech C615. This small, portable and folding webcam still delivers a superior HD image, has an optical quality glass lens, and a single high-quality microphone element with built-in noise reduction. At a price around $45 USD, it's an excellent value. Although it doesn't have H.264 compression, with good webcam lighting it offers smooth, high frame rate streams.
Although all of these live stream friendly webcam's feature an adjustable mounting clip, you should really take advantage of these webcam's tripod mounting hole for stability and precision placement and angles of your Skype, LiveFire, Google Hangout or YouTube Live teleconferencing session. Low-cost desktop mini-tripods are popular with streaming IM'ers, but depending on your setup, a full-size floor tripod or a desk mounted boom camera arm may be preferable.
- The trend towards handheld computing devices
- Incorporation of video recording cameras into cell phones and tablets
- Apple iMac's and MacBook's shipping with built-in iSight cams
- Market saturation since USB webcams have a long service lifespan
- Shrinking demand in general for desktop computing peripherals
Logitech remains the Go-To brand for a high-quality web camera for Mac OSX users - at a wide range of price points. Sadly, Creative Labs seems to be phasing-out of the webcam scene - and focusing on their primary market: Premium audio solutions, speakers and headsets. Ipevo continues to deliver exceptional document cameras for the business and education markets. And the industrial camera and laboratory microscope scene is clearly moving in a digital direction. Rising interest in Apple compatible wireless security, monitoring and surveiilence cams is seriously bucking the trend both on Mac OS and iOS platforms.
Of course at the low-end, China has mountains of cheap UVC-compliant USB web cameras for the low-end consumer market. It's slugging it out with mediocre webcams largely in the $10-20 range for budget-conscious buyers with lean wallets and low expectations.