MacBook iSight is poooooooor quality

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jacobj, May 31, 2006.

  1. jacobj macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I just helped a friend setup their new MacBook and decided to do a video conference to my wife at home to show my friend the facility.

    The quality of the conference was appalling. I thought that it must be a bandwidth issue or something, but it appears that the MacBook has a VGA quality iSight (640 x 480). That is next to useless and Apple should redeem the situation on their website. One would expect the image attached to be exaggerated, but not to that extent.

    I am ashamed that Apple would think that a VGA camera would suffice.

    Attached Files:

  2. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    The ones I saw at the mac store looked fantastic when I opened up phone booth.

    However I did not try a video conferencing...
  3. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    Is the one in the MacBook Pro and iMacs any different? I don't have any macs with built-in iSight (yet!)
  4. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    i've never noticed any paticurlarly poor examples... my normal old iSight FW is brilliant, but i think the MBP's is better...

    Thing is, the FW iSight is 640x480 too, and i think all of them are.

    which is better than most, which are 320x240.

    can you explain what's so bad about it? (i'm thinking it must be bandwidth or a bottleneck over the web somewhere, because i've never seen any drop in quality)
  5. andym172 macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    Mine's as good as my external iSight camera. The only quality issues I've had is when I've not had enough bandwidth, though, this isn't specific to the in-built camera.
  6. NJuul macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    The MBP is 640 x 480 as well, and I think its the same with all iSights.
    It's not too bad, nobody expects it to be a megapixel camera or anything. Which would pretty much be useless for any videoconferencing, unless you have massive bandwith available.
  7. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I think you need at least 384kbs upstream to get good quality. It sez it on the macbook page at

    EDIT: heres the link. Actually you need 100kbps upstream to vid chat. 384kbps for 4 way chat.

    Also i thought the built in iSights were 4x better resolution than the original isight. So SJ said when he introduced the first imac with built in camera.
  8. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Most PC webcams are over a megapixel. I was disappointed with the quality of my standalone iSight compared to my years-old-megapixel-logitech, but I just like the look of the thing.

    Still, when it comes to notebooks I believe a low-res integrated camera is better than no camera at all.
  9. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I dont think they are 1million pixels. Simply because noone has a 1million pixel screen to view them on ;)
  10. voyagerd macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2002
    Rancho Cordova, CA
    My screen has 1.7 million pixels
  11. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Oh oh... :eek: I just thought 1megapixel means in total not across the screen i.e. 1million pixels wide which WOULD be good.

    I stand corrected. I got about an hours sleep last night and its showing all over the place. I will now go and stand in the corner and think about what I have done.

    Im sure there are megapixel web cams out there :eek:

    :D :D :D :D
  12. Darwin macrumors 65816


    Jun 2, 2003
    round the corner
    Yes, iSight cameras are VGA. However when it comes to iChat you better have the horsepower and the bandwidth to get that VGA quaility.

    This is a table from Apple Support. It shows the requirments to get the best resolution.

    My PowerBook will only do 160x120, not even touching on VGA quaility there :D

    More information can be found on that page here
  13. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    I expect Apple will bring out new iSight with megapixel this year.
  14. erickg macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2004
    Ummm... to my knowledge I think you are mistaken that most of the webcams on the market are over or around 1 MP. For instance, this logitech webcam can take still images of up to 1.3 megapixels, however the video quality is still 640x480 pixels... i.e. same as Apple's built-in and regular iSights.

    Also to the OP, check out photobooth to see the built-in iSights true quality. It doesn't look quite as bad in comparison to the advertisement picture. :)
  15. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Thats what i meant (kind of) again my excuse is sleep deprivation! :p
  16. erickg macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2004
    Yeah... no worries and I really didn't want to criticize anyone. I just wanted to make it clear that for the main function the built-in iSight is made for (i.e. video and not taking still pictures), it has the exact same specs as other webcams. But I would love to be proven wrong on this point as I haven't done extensive comparisons or searches on this lately. :D
  17. jacobj thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I have seen all sorts of information that states that the 640x480 resolution on the MacBook is less than others, but that is not the point it appears since iChat has a maximum of 640x480.

    I therefore stand corrected and will bow my head in shame and accept my ignominy.
  18. erickg macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2004
    Ignominy... that'll be my new word for today... thanks! :p :D
  19. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    Were both computers using Tiger with the latest version of iChat AV? If not, you were not getting the best possible picture.
  20. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    I think the iChat video functionality is way overblown by Apple. At my Apple Store, with about a dozen+ MacBooks out, my wife, daughter, and myself did a video chat.

    Mind you, this is in the store, no firewalls, no traversing the net, just within the same network.

    The performance was horrible, in fact it was totally unusable. iChat would randomly lock up on one of the three machines, beachball, etc. It was cute to play with but it was so unreliable that I couldn't see any practical application for it.

    So if Apple can't get it to work on their machine images, inside their own store, I don't hold much hope that the application is usable with any acceptable measure of performance out in the Real World (TM).
  21. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    Could be that the network in the area is congested. =)
  22. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Yeh just think how many macs they are running off of maybe only one airport? :eek:
  23. Core Trio macrumors regular

    Core Trio

    May 16, 2006
    New Jersey
    I saw a guy in starbucks the other night doing a work 4 way video conference with a 17" MBP, and the video quality was superb...and thats on starbucks wireless connection.

    Ofcourse its not going to be as good as the pictures on but find me an advertisement for any other webcam where the ad shows the true quality?
  24. erikm macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2006
    iSight quality

    I posted this same thing on the Apple Discussion boards when a client bought 15 new Intel iMacs.

    I never got any response that helped... but these guys were communicating on a 100mb LAN connection, and if you look at the photos, they look bad.
  25. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    The perceived quality drops dramatically in bad lighting. Try to turn on more lights.

    I looked at the pictures form the Apple discussion board. You see that the quality is good with one-on-one chat, but bad when three or more are having a conference. In that case it seems like a bandwidth issue.

Share This Page