Mac compatible webcam advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AlBDamned, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Hi All,

    I'm just looking at getting a webcam for use with my Powerbook and any advice would be much appreciated. Most of the ones I've seen don't mention Mac compatibility but would they 'just work...'?

    What are the rest of you guys using?


  2. rummer macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2005
    It depends on which software you will be using. If you are going to use iChatAV for video chat, I think the best bet is iSight. But again, it is a little expensive. I have heard that there are hacks to allow other USB webcams to be used on iChatAV, but have not seen one to confirm it.

    The Logitech Webcam for Notebook Pro (not the Deluxe) is compatible with the Mac, but it will probably not work with iChat.
  3. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Not entirely sure what software I'll use. I'm a complete novice with video messaging. Using a mix of MSN and skype for text and voice messaging at the mo, but obviously neither of those have mac compatible video messaging. Is ichat the best way to go? Again, any advice would be great. Software, hardware....

    The iSight is the obvious option but (and I had a similar thing with a regular router vs an Airport base station) I don't really want to spend £100 on it when I would hope a lesser webcam could work for a fraction of the price. I won't be using it for work so it doesn't need to be pixel perfect.
  4. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    Have you ever thought about a DV camcorder? I understand they work just like an iSight when you hook them up to your Mac by FireWire.

    On the other hand, if you have no use for a camcorder, an iSight is much cheaper.
  5. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005

    I have - in fact I was looking at the new cheaper Sony one today! I had to bolt from the shop as my credit card suddenly got very hot and nearly forced it's way into my hand. I hate it when that happens....

    To be honest, it's just not viable at the moment. Having only just bought my Powerbook last month, I'm still recovering financially!

    I really just want a cheap USB cam, but if it's not going to work then I don't think I'll go for iSight or anything more, at least for a couple of months.
  6. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2003
    Cardiff, Wales
    USB cams are a nightmare with OS X.

    You have to download 3rd party open source drivers which are no longer supported.

    macam no longer works with Tiger


    Ioexpert's costs money and tells you off after a short while.

    The quality is sheisse too. I'm going to invest in a camcorder soon, and use that as a webcam too. I'd love an isignt.. but if im going to buy a camcorder in the end anyway, i'll save myself a few bucks first.
  7. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Damn - increasingly looks like iSight is the only real option!
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    The quality of the iSight is amazing, I have a 12" PB and DSL and there is never a flutter, stutter or any issue whatsoever. It's very much real time and the sound quality is also excellent. It is a lot of money and although I don't use it that much it is well worth the investment.
  9. rummer macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2005
    I have been using iChatAV, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and Skype on my iMac G5. As for voice chat, Skype is the best hands down. For text chat, I think it really is matter of what your friends use. Virtually all my PC friends use MSN Messenger, so I use that for text chat. For video, I think iChatAV is the best. For me, this is true for two Mac users using iChatAV, and also video chatting with PC users on AIM with webcams. I've only used Yahoo Messenger for text, but I have heard several audio issues when doing video chat between PC and Mac users.

    As for the camera, if you have a MiniDV camcorder, that works great on iChat. However, I think you will enjoy the qualities of iSight, and I really recommend it from my experience.
  10. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Yeah we were using a combo of skype and MSN to look at flats online with a friend the other day. We were both pasting in links to MSN, checking them out online, and talking to each other using Skype. Really was cool.

    What about using a video recording digital camera? Could I use/stream that at all?
  11. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    I love my iSight, best cam I have ever purchased!

    I also have a Cannon miniDV. When I go on trips I video talk with my wife through iChat (her on the iSight at home and I on the Cannon at a remote location). The only issue that I have with using video cameras is that a lot of them, including mine, have auto shutoffs that can not be overridden so you either a. keep fiddling with the zoom so that it does not shut off or b. have to keep restarting your camera... typically b is what happens.
  12. rummer macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2005

    I think you are talking about photo digital cameras that have the video recording features. If so, I have tried to hook it up on my mac with iChatAV, but did not work. Technically, iChat requires a firewire video camera, and my Pentax Optio s5i camera is USB. I am not sure if there are any photo digital cameras that come with Firewire, as most are USB.

    That said, I am not sure if it will work on Mac versions of MSN/Yahoo/AIM or on PCs. I think several years ago, Logitech had an entry level digital camera that also could be used as a webcam, but only on PCs.
  13. Alasta macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2005
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I recently purchased a Macally Icecam.

    It does feel a little bit cheap, and it's a pain that it requires manual focussing, but I'm still quite happy with its performance considering that it's a third of the price of an iSight. I'm currently using it with Yahoo Messenger, but apparently it will work with iChat if you download third party drivers at extra cost.
  14. taytho macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2005
    KC, MO

    a third of the cost? on that link it is 82 bucks. did you get it cheaper? an isight is 149 on apples website.
  15. York-Diuck macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2005
    Anyone ever use an iBot? its a firewire webcam. I haven't but I am jus wondering.
  16. yogamonkey macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2006
    I just bought a practically new iSight from ebay for £64. Works perfectly with my lovely new iBook using Mercury messenger to link up with my mates on MSN. There are plenty on ebay at the moment - people are selling them now they have the new iMac or macbook on the way. Worth a try as you might save yourself £30 and still get a great webcam.
  17. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    I have a MiniDV camcorder (cannon something) and it works great with iChat. The quality is much better than the iSight, especially in low light situations, and being able to use the zoom is also very cool. My camera has this thing where it turns itself off after ~5 minutes of inactivity, and I guess iChat AV counts as inactivity because it was constantly shutting itself off. There was no option to turn this off, so I enabled "demo mode" where it basically shows advertisements for itself on the LCD (only on the LCD...not in the actual picture) and then it stayed on for however long I needed without turning off!

    Anyway, I bought an iSight anyway because it's smaller, easier to maneuver, easier to adjust to get what you want in the picture, etc. The camcorder gets a bit clunky with the firewire cord and power cord jutting out of the front of it. :(
  18. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Ergh, he's in New Zealand, read the location.

    An iSight is NZ$249, the icecam is NZ$82. That's pretty bloody close to 1/3 the cost.
  19. crazytom macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    I've been poking around this issue most of the day. So far, all I've found (besides iSight) is the Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000. I have no idea how well it would work..but it's $80 - $100 USD and it says it's Mac compatible.

    And for those Canon folks dealing with their camera shutting down:

    Take the tape should stay on after that. It's a feature that protects your tape from being cut into pieces...I just figured that one out last week!
  20. pzob22 macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2006
  21. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    This thread is over a year old now....

    I'm pretty confident that he's figured out a solution now.

    Good tip, but maybe you should have started a new thread?
  22. VanFruniken macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2003
    Nobody mentioned that USB video class (UVC) works on Mac

    I am amazed at how uninformative and unhelpful this thread has been.

    Nobody even mentioned that USB video class (UVC) webcams are supposed to work on Macs INCLUDING iChat. In fact, the new built-in webcams in iMacs and mac laptops are USB devices. This means NO drivers necessary, not even iChatUSBCam.

    The webcam vendors also aren't very helpful in advertising which webcams are UVC compliant. Win XP sp2 also seems to support UVC out of the box.

    Further, Macam ( provides quite a number of open source drivers.

    On the WinDOS platform there seems to be a need for all kinds of add-on software for webcams. This just makes the thing even more properietary.
    It is a shame that MacOSX, which already has most of the webcam integration on-board, isn't more third-party webcam friendly.
  23. northernmunky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2007
    London, Taipei
    My girlfriend (such a smart arse) just pointed out to me that if I plug my digital camera in and select 'PC-Camera' MacOS recognises it as a webcam and skype notifies you that a cam is connected! And the best part.. the quality is awesome and so far I think even better than an iSight.

    I am using a Sanyo Xacti 6mp myself, only problem is that the USB port is in the most annoying location (directly underneath there the tripod mount hole is!) so I have to balance it on the left hand side of the top of my monitor but the best part is I had it working in literally seconds. :)
  24. ksCat macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2007
    I was wondering if anyone has had a problem when they purchase the Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000. I have a powerbook with mac OS X 10.3.9

    Does anyone know if i can get that camera to work with out much hassle?

  25. etienne1102 macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2007
    Try Macam driver

    Not sure about your specific camera, but using Macam (just google it) I successfully enabled my MacBook Pro (intel, with built in iSight) to work with my Logitech Quickcam for Notebooks Deluxe. Additionally, I found a script online that enables me to disable the internal iSight simply so that applications default often to the external camera. Hope that helps

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