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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:08 PM   #1
jw nyc
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iChat Camera on New MBA is Awful

The computer is fantastic and it's very fast but the camera is really terrible. I video chat with people with MBP's and even some PC's and they look crystal clear but I look totally pixelated to them. I would have said it was possibly my Internet connection but I checked it out in Photo Booth and it's pretty awful there as well. Just a little disappointing but I guess with the slimness of the monitor it was the best they could do.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:23 PM   #2
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Apple doesn't publish the resolution of the cameras, but I suspect that since it's called an "iChat" camera instead of an "iSight" camera as in every other Mac, they probably use a camera with reduced specs.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:25 PM   #3
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I wouldn't describe any iSight cam as "crystal clear". Looks just as grainy and awful as my 2009 17" MBP. More than adequate for skype I would say. I don't really want to have an HD cam in my face, personally.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by talmy View Post
Apple doesn't publish the resolution of the cameras, but I suspect that since it's called an "iChat" camera instead of an "iSight" camera as in every other Mac, they probably use a camera with reduced specs.
I believe they are referred to as "FaceTime cameras" now.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:32 PM   #5
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I wouldn't describe any iSight cam as "crystal clear". Looks just as grainy and awful as my 2009 17" MBP. More than adequate for skype I would say. I don't really want to have an HD cam in my face, personally.
Ummm not even close. The 2009 MBP is actually very clear.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jw nyc View Post
The computer is fantastic and it's very fast but the camera is really terrible. I video chat with people with MBP's and even some PC's and they look crystal clear but I look totally pixelated to them. I would have said it was possibly my Internet connection but I checked it out in Photo Booth and it's pretty awful there as well. Just a little disappointing but I guess with the slimness of the monitor it was the best they could do.
It is a VGA camera... in other words, .3MP
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 03:34 PM   #7
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I am extremely disappointed in the quality of the facetime camera compared with the external logitech I've been using. But, at least now I don't have to connect an external webcam ... so I guess I can deal with it.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 04:58 PM   #8
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What!? the cam is ok for internet chat no? i'm happy with the results, and it's not like i'm taking pro shots with my freakin air.

Also did you notice the green power light hidden behind the aluminium, that is simply awesome design. They didn't have to engineer that way, they did so because it's cool, and i like it!
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 05:00 PM   #9
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I'd check to make sure your internet connection isn't causing the chat program to use a lesser resolution for a weaker connection.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 05:09 PM   #10
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Isight Camera

I just tried mine on the 11.6 and it looked fine. Of course I look like sh** but that's life. Took a couple of pics and a short movie and it seemed as good as my 13 in MBP. Maybe not as good as my Imac but for Facetime, seems good. Now I don't know what others see on the other end. My son gets his Imac tomorrow and I told him to get Facetime so he could tell me.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 05:14 PM   #11
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Everyone complaining about the quality of the camera should post an example image so that we can publicly debate both the quality of the image and its content. That's really the only way to discern which is the source of the problem.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 06:51 PM   #12
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The camera does suck on the new MBA. I was just on iChat and it was bad.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 07:31 PM   #13
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Anyone complaining care to post a picture or video?
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 07:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by nfl46 View Post
The camera does suck on the new MBA. I was just on iChat and it was bad.
I examined the res of a pic taken with it and the resolution is 640X480
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 07:50 PM   #15
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I noticed in the Apple Store that my own image looked grainy. I should have gone over to a MBP and checked it out. I didn't know if it was the light in the store. I may check it out again this weekend against an in-store MBP.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 08:09 PM   #16
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is it worse than the iPhone4? If so that's retarded.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 08:13 PM   #17
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is it worse than the iPhone4? If so that's retarded.
I thought my iPhone4's Facetime had a better picture. Like I noted I probably need to go back to the Apple Store and check the MBA out again on this question. I'll add my iPhone into the mix.

I really want an MBA. So I'm not trolling here. I just want to know if the camera is as good as my MBP.
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 09:50 PM   #18
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The iPhone 4's camera (fron and back) has a SIGNIFICANTLY better image quality.
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 01:12 AM   #19
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The reason for the substandard cam in the Macbook Air is simple - the screen is ridiculously thin:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/techres...7625236059010/

You have physical limitations with the kind of lens you can put in a given thickness, and I'm guessing pushing whatever they could fit in there beyond 640x480 was not worthwhile.

Of course I'm sure they'll manage to figure out a way to put a better camera in Rev E.
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 01:21 AM   #20
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This does not bode well for the burgeoning FaceTime porn industry. Steve Jobs exerts his anti-lewd influence yet again...
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 07:54 AM   #21
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I just want to know if the camera is as good as my MBP.
I'm switching from a current gen 15" MBP to a 13" MBA, and I've got to say the answer is "NO".

My Air's camera does alright in brighter situations, but is grainy as heck in any situation less than bright. By grainy, I mean it's like looking at a TV channel that isn't tuned correctly ... lots of grit and wavy lines that move across the screen. This was using Photo Booth, not iChat, so bandwidth wasn't a factor.

I had a first gen Air for a few weeks, I don't remember that camera being like this... :?
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 08:52 AM   #22
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Camera is pretty darn lousy really - nothing like the quality of the MBP cameras, which is a bit of a disappointment. It seems like they pushed the envelope of thinness so the camera, backlit keyboard among other things suffered/disappeared.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 09:03 AM   #23
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I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the camera is identical to what was installed on the front of the iPod Touch.

In other words....a 39 cent piece of crap.

If it really bothers you, just buy a USB webcam. There are some pretty small ones out there now.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 11:10 AM   #24
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I took some side by side pictures. The MacBook Pro(left) seems to be higher resolution.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 12:17 PM   #25
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I took some side by side pictures. The MacBook Pro(left) seems to be higher resolution.
Neither camera does justice to the subject!

It looks like the MBA camera is definitely worse of the two, but not that the MBP camera is superb by any means.
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