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PulpImmersion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 2, 2019
7
0
I'm generally happy with the new 16" MacBook Pro, especially the keyboard. I never pay much attention to the camera, but the camera quality seems to be significantly worse than the "Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013" model.

I've attached photos from both MacBooks side-by-side using Photo Booth as screen shots and as the saved photos.

Has anyone experienced anything similar to this?
 

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  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) Photo Booth Screen Shot.png
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  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) Photo Booth Screen Shot.png
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  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) Photo.jpg
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aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,366
4,482
Serbia
Perfect. I always keep the FaceTime camera covered on my MacBooks anyway. (I appreciate not having to pay for hardware I never use.)

Covered? As in physically?

You know you can just.... not use it?

And it's not perfect since a lot of people use their FaceTime cameras, so that's kind of self-centered.
 
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retta283

Cancelled
Jun 8, 2018
2,658
2,649
Victoria, British Columbia
I do the same thing. Since the camera is a software controlled I prefer some sort of physical cover. Wish there was a way to physical disable the microphone.
If I was making Macs I would include a small pinhole on all of them that would allow you to physically disconnect the cam and microphone, in such a way that no software can re-enable it. Stupid they have not done this yet.
 
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Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,492
2,461
London
Why are people willing to disable web cams/mics but still connect to the internet, use a whole load of apps/programs/browsers all susceptible to hacking/security flaws? I believe hackers are more interested in your data not your face or your voice unless you are maybe the FBI director or a high value spy target. I guess it is just normal human fear of being “seen or heard”.
 
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aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,366
4,482
Serbia
Why are people willing to disable web cams/mics but still connect to the internet, use a whole load of apps/programs/browsers all susceptible to hacking/security flaws? I believe hackers are more interested in your data not your face or your voice unless you are maybe the FBI director or a high value spy target. I guess it is just normal human fear of being “seen or heard”.

Also the FaceTime camera is controlled by the T2 chip. It’s probably easier for someone to sneak an actual camera in your home than access the one on your MBP :)
 
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jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
6,680
3,629
SF Bay Area
Why are people willing to disable web cams/mics but still connect to the internet, use a whole load of apps/programs/browsers all susceptible to hacking/security flaws? I believe hackers are more interested in your data not your face or your voice unless you are maybe the FBI director or a high value spy target. I guess it is just normal human fear of being “seen or heard”.

Can you give me control of you phone cameras and microphones? How about location tracking? And then give me access to you banking and financial information. And you email and social media accounts.

All of this creates a unique web that defines you. And all of it can be used to impersonate you, steal from you, or commit crimes with your identity.
 
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Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,492
2,461
London
Can you give me control of you phone cameras and microphones? How about location tracking? And then give me access to you banking and financial information. And you email and social media accounts.

All of this creates a unique web that defines you. And all of it can be used to impersonate you, steal from you, or commit crimes with your identity.

I wouldn’t give you my email or password without anything else either so me disabling the mic or webcam has no impact on that. I’d rather you had access to my face than to my security details that is for certain. People don’t need your face or voice to commit crimes in your name.

And if you are that worried to cover your camera, you should maybe consider very limited internet usage itself as the risk is far greater if your information being stolen than someone looking through your camera.

I am not saying I am happy for someone to look at me, but if I was that paranoid about hacking it would be silly of me to do a hardware block on one type of security (visual/sound) while the rest of it which is far mor sensitive in terms of financial loss has the same security as if you didn’t mask the web cam.
 
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aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,366
4,482
Serbia
And all of it can be used to impersonate you, steal from you, or commit crimes with your identity.

Of all the things that can be used to impersonate you, steal from you, or commit crimes with your identity, the camera on your MBP is probably the least to worry about. This is why covering the camera on a computer is silly. It's almost like carrying elbow protectors when crossing a minefield - assuming that it is a minefield and that someone really does want to steal your identity. If you're scared that someone will impersonate you, you probably shouldn't go online in the first place. But, then again, I think people scared of someone stealing their identity should consider the possibility of discussing it with someone.
 
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morze

macrumors member
Jun 17, 2019
89
79
You're right. Same sht results comparing a 13inch Early 2015 to the 16inch.
 

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Glockworkorange

Suspended
Feb 10, 2015
2,511
4,180
Chicago, Illinois
If I was making Macs I would include a small pinhole on all of them that would allow you to physically disconnect the cam and microphone, in such a way that no software can re-enable it. Stupid they have not done this yet.
The T2 chip eliminates the threat of someone else controlling the FaceTime camera. That’s my understanding, anyway.
 
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fs454

macrumors 68000
Dec 7, 2007
1,718
1,340
Los Angeles / Boston
It's because the fundamental design of the laptop only allows for a paper thin camera. By comparison the iPhone and iPad have absolutely tons of depth to work with to mount a proper camera module and lens. Unless you want the display lid to be 4-5 times thicker, these are the types of cameras that fit into the lid.

Apple probably has tons of analytics about how often the isight cameras are used vs how often a user's other devices (iPhone) are used for camera-related activity. I have personally never turned mine on with both my Late 2013 and Late 2016 15" models.
 
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morze

macrumors member
Jun 17, 2019
89
79
Most would use it for video calls, better input better output. You'd think after 6+ years they'd be able to at least have comparable quality to older outdated models.
 
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Smoothie

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2007
661
400
California
I don't any computer manufacturer has such as switch, but I wished they did.

The Thinkpad X1 Carbon has a physical slide that covers the camera, but I don't think there's a physical switch to disconnect the mic. Not a computer per se, but Amazon's Echo Show 5 also has a physical switch to cover the camera.
 
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AxiomaticRubric

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2010
697
767
On Mars, Praising the Omnissiah
Not really understanding technology and paranoia would be the first two, but I am open to other explanations if anyone would offer them.

That's the thing. When one really understands technology, it becomes apparent that our devices are not nearly as secure as we have been led to believe.

It's not paranoia about Big Brother watching everything. It's understanding that despite Apple's best efforts, some apps get through the review process that allow remote access to the camera and other hardware. I'm really not fond of the idea of having conversations and video recorded by unknown third parties.

The core issue is simply privacy.
 
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jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
6,680
3,629
SF Bay Area
Of all the things that can be used to impersonate you, steal from you, or commit crimes with your identity, the camera on your MBP is probably the least to worry about. This is why covering the camera on a computer is silly. It's almost like carrying elbow protectors when crossing a minefield - assuming that it is a minefield and that someone really does want to steal your identity. If you're scared that someone will impersonate you, you probably shouldn't go online in the first place. But, then again, I think people scared of someone stealing their identity should consider the possibility of discussing it with someone.

Your face is quite a valuable identified. They use the face for many forms of identification. In my work and research, I don't uses it this way, but some applications use facial ID for threat assessment and LEO activity.

And then there is "Deep Fakes" where GANs are used to create very high quality fakes. And the quality is a function of the number of sample images available.
 
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leman

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2008
12,837
8,193
I believe it is the exact same camera the 13" and the 15" had for a while now. Can't really see a difference in quality with my units. And yes, the camera is crappy but then I don't think that anybody ships a better one in a comparable package (unless you want a nose cam), so it is kind of a moot point. As others have mentioned, the reason behind the bad camera is the simple fact that good camera sensors are thicker than the display assembly. And making the screen thicker just for the sake of a better camera doesn't seem like a smart trade-off.
 
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aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,366
4,482
Serbia
That's the thing. When one really understands technology, it becomes apparent that our devices are not nearly as secure as we have been led to believe.

It's not paranoia about Big Brother watching everything. It's understanding that despite Apple's best efforts, some apps get through the review process that allow remote access to the camera and other hardware. I'm really not fond of the idea of having conversations and video recorded by unknown third parties.

The core issue is simply privacy.

I stand by what I said. Enjoy taping over your cameras and looking over your shoulders. I’ll let you continue the thread and not bother you any more. Good day.
 
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Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,492
2,461
London
It's because the fundamental design of the laptop only allows for a paper thin camera. By comparison the iPhone and iPad have absolutely tons of depth to work with to mount a proper camera module and lens. Unless you want the display lid to be 4-5 times thicker, these are the types of cameras that fit into the lid.

Apple probably has tons of analytics about how often the isight cameras are used vs how often a user's other devices (iPhone) are used for camera-related activity. I have personally never turned mine on with both my Late 2013 and Late 2016 15" models.

I’ve once read an article which states that a key reason why manufacturers don’t bother to make more than 720p web cameras is because many conference/video calling software including FaceTime support only 720p (and those which support higher don’t do so very well). So to have one any better would be pointless unless you wanted to take selfies I guess.
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Your face is quite a valuable identified. They use the face for many forms of identification. In my work and research, I don't uses it this way, but some applications use facial ID for threat assessment and LEO activity.

And then there is "Deep Fakes" where GANs are used to create very high quality fakes. And the quality is a function of the number of sample images available.
We have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat with millions of people happily posting selfies and a lot more.

Now, try get them to now also post their passwords...

Your face isn’t as valuable as you think it is. It just isn’t a security risk otherwise you wouldn’t go out without a paper bag on your head. There aren’t many things you hide from others as much as your credentials.

It is both irrational human behaviour but also a normal phenomena for people to be scared about their webcam and mics being hacked. But when you break it down, you realise it makes no sense to protect your face more than your credentials online.
 
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