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dn325ci

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
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116
I've had a remarkably reliable 2011 iMac 27 that I've owned since new and had the foresight at the time to option with the best processor which was available - a 3.4GHz core i7. Since I'm not a gamer but need computational power, it has served me unbelievably well for 9 years now, which I can't believe I'm saying. Maxxed out ram and an HDD swap for a Samsung SSD years ago have kept it relevant with contemporary performance for my use case.

Now the coronavirus is here and the resulting explosion in the number of zoom and gotomeeting meetings I'm in, this past weekend I bought a new iMac in part because I expected a better webcam, and thought maybe it was time to upgrade.

IT'S TERRIBLE! Unforgivably bad! I don't think it is at all better than my 2011 iMac! I can't believe how bad the image quality is relative to all the attendees using their phones!

I'm literally returning this new iMac for this reason. Sad, but true.
 

chscag

macrumors 601
Feb 17, 2008
4,622
1,945
Fort Worth, Texas
Something is not right as both machines have basically the same HD camera. The quality of the camera in your new iMac should be as good or better than the one in the 2011. Maybe you need to check your connection? Of course you could have received a machine that's defective, however, it's still under warranty.
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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The newer mac will help you take advantage of a 4k webcam (sold separately, by a third party). The imac pro has a slightly better webcam-- 1080p. But the standard imacs still have 720p models.
 

dn325ci

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
124
116
Something is not right as both machines have basically the same HD camera. The quality of the camera in your new iMac should be as good or better than the one in the 2011. Maybe you need to check your connection? Of course you could have received a machine that's defective, however, it's still under warranty.
That’s really the point. My internet connection and internal mesh network speeds are great. Yet compared with nearly all the other users on the screen the iMac camera (both old and now new) lack anything resembling a crisp picture. It’s passable but barely in my eyes. And all the iPhone users look great. I’m not going to mount an external webcam for the next X number of years, so back it goes. Sad.
 

mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
1,616
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Austin, TX
All the iPhone users look great because the iPhone has a superb front-facing camera whereas Macs have something resembling a camera obscura instead. That said it really doesn't make a difference when looking at the big picture. So your face isn't displayed in 4K with every single imperfection showing as if amplified - who cares?
 

dn325ci

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
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116
Fair enough - I don't need my face rendered in 4K perfection "with every imperfection showing" but that's an extreme position. I don't need extremes either. What I need is a reasonable quality picture that doesn't look like Mr. Blurrycam. iMac can't do it. Sadly.
 

mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
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Austin, TX
I wouldn't say that 720p is not reasonable or acceptable. Of course it won't be if your face get's blown up full screen on a 30" display but generally speaking I would say that 720p is still perfectly fine for video conferencing, especially considering that bandwidth is limited. Especially now that everybody is doing it.

In the past three to four weeks I've had numerous video calls and conferences with colleagues, some working on Macs with 720p webcams some on various Windows laptops with 1080p or better webcams, and quite honestly I can't really tell a difference between them.
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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. I’m not going to mount an external webcam for the next X number of years.
It would seem the sensible solution (short of finding a mirrorless camera, and digitizing the hdmi out, which is what "pro" streamers like to do.)

also, you may be streaming from a cave-- webcams work remarkably poorly when not much light is available.
 

dn325ci

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
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116
Lighting in my home office is good. Big windows. After using it for a long meeting again this morning, I'm pretty sure it's one part the 720p sensor and one part the lens. I just watched a Marquees Brownlee review where he called it crap. I agree.
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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comparison of imac and imac pro cameras at 3m30s, though buying a computer based on its webcam seems absurd.
 

dn325ci

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 13, 2009
124
116

comparison of imac and imac pro cameras at 3m30s, though buying a computer based on its webcam seems absurd.
Thanks. Saw that one. Not buying a computer based on its webcam, obviously, but I'm not going to accept an expensive computer with a crappy one. I think online meetings are going to grow going forward.
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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It seems that good webcams are difficult to find.

B&H expects them to be available in June.
 

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Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
19,247
21,391
Singapore
I will say that the iMac webcam is good enough for what it needs to do - teleconferencing. No one wants to see their co-workers bored out of their brains and half asleep in full 4k detail during a business meeting. And during said meeting their profile is going to be reduced to a 1" square anyway for 90% of the time while someone else talks, or the display is taken up with powerpoint or excel.

Yes, a point could be made that for the money you pay for a computer, an upgraded webcam shouldn't be too much to ask for even if 99% of people never use it, but I think Apple also knows that an upgraded webcam isn't really going to be a driver for new buyers, and feels that people in the eco-system aren't going to be bothered too much by it either.
 

Erehy Dobon

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Feb 16, 2018
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It seems that good webcams are difficult to find.

B&H expects them to be available in June.
They're all sold out because of COVID-19 demand. Don't expect anything for a month.

Companies like Logitech are probably trying to ramp up production but by the time they get distributed, there may be a flood of "lightly used"/"like new" webcams on eBay/Craigslist/etc. as the first groups of Americans/Europeans who were sheltered-in-place/quarantined see those restrictions easing.

My guess is that they are hedging production knowing that there will soon be a flood of used product on the market in early-mid May.

The webcam inquiry has been beaten to death the past two weeks.
 
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