Wow, Apple's iSight is mediocre and deceptive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tbb07, May 10, 2011.

  1. tbb07 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #1
    For those who don't, the Imac is advertised with a beautiful 720p camera, as seen here: http://www.apple.com/imac/features.html (scroll down)

    So when I bought an iMac, I expected beautiful clarity. Well, what can I say. The quality is mediocre at best. To make sure it wasn't just my iMac, I looked for a couple of videos of iMac iSight tests on youtube. Here are two:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flvxmBIXyXU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXZDKSmN2JQ

    You will not notice any change from 360 to 720.

    Most 360p videos on youtube have better quality too...

    Can someone please tell me I'm wrong, and my setting is off? I'm really disappointed in the quality of the camera. Especially since the iPhone produces better quality videos than the iMac, and it's 1/100th the size of the iMac.
     
  2. Icy1007 macrumors 6502a

    Icy1007

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
  3. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #3
    YouTube uses heavy encoding to bring down bit rate.

    Yes, but the camera lens is the same size, and that's what matters. The iMac doesn't have the same camera as the iPhone.
     
  4. tbb07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #4
    Icy: I tried Facetime and Photo Booth. Both produce about the same mediocre quality.

    Repo: I know that. But the results were almost exactly what I experienced on my iMac. And you're underestimating Youtube's encoding.
    And my point still stands. I don't see why the team couldn't implement the same technology they used on the iPhone (which is better in every way).

    And my point still stands, regarding the deceptive nature of how Apple advertised iMac's camera as being very vivid.
     
  5. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #5
    The only way FaceTime would give you a good result is if the other party was using either a new iMac or new MacBook Pro, both of which have the new FaceTime HD camera.

    The reason for this is that the person on the other end is suppose to see the result of your camera's resolution. And you see their camera. If you use it in conjunction with and iOS device like an iPhone 4, iPad 2, or Touch, you will still only see on your iMac screen the image shot by the iOS camera. And while the rear camera on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are able to process FaceTime video as a source, I believe they even dumb down to VGA resolution. So going forward the FaceTime HD camera's sound great, but until your iChat/FaceTime buddies have similarly equipped machines or devices, you won't reap the benefit.

    However, iMovie, and not PhotoBooth should give you a good indication because it can use your camera to record video. PhotoBooth is using it as a still, not a 720 video. So if you want to create stunning 720 video captured in iMovie on your iMac for whatever purpose, you should get better results there.
     
  6. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #6
    Not sure of you point about size = better video. iPhone produces better quality videos than an iPad and its 1/8th the size.

    what I dont really understand is why that camera really needs HD in the first place.
     
  7. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #7
    A lot of families webcam, and while part of poor picture can be blamed on bandwidth, with so many broadband ISPs offering 12-30mBit service, it makes sense to update it.

    Likewise, whether it is for youtube, personal collections, or whatever reason, it makes a better capture camera for video editing.
     
  8. tbb07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #8
    roland: I just tried iMove and you're right. It is better than I thought. But still, the quality is mediocre.

    I really wouldn't bash Apple/iMac for this, it weren't for the fact it was advertised on their site as HD. The reality is, it's far from it. Very far from it.

    Of course nobody here would ever bash apple, even with deceptive marketing, as the site name implies, this place is an Apple circlejerk.
     
  9. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #9
    tbb07, my question for you is, why do you need to have the iMac itself producing 720p video from the built-in camera? And what is it that you are looking to do with the built-in camera of the iMac that you need to have 720p?

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't get what you paid for. However, if you truly need something that produces HD video, why don't you use a real camera instead?

    Personally, I'm in the camp of the camera built into a device like a computer or mobile phone is nothing more than something you use either on the fly or for video chatting. And if you were going to produce something that needed high quality video that you should get a corresponding device.
     
  10. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #10
    There is plenty of criticism of Apple here. Complaining from people who do and don't know what they are talking about. Why would Apple release the iPad 2 in March without a FaceTime HD front camera if they were really pushing the FaceTime protocol and updating their portables (except for Air at this point) and the iMac desktops. As it stands the only computers without it are the Air, the low end MacBook and the cinema display which will see it in the next refresh.

    As far as it being better in iMovie, did you play it back at native (Actual res) or did you play it back larger or even full screen. Make sure that with that monster display and high resolution that you play it back at the appropriate size. Export to QT and open at normal size. OR export to iTunes/QT for Apple TV if you have one and play it on your TV screen.

    EDIT: BTW, if you don't know while a movie is playing in QT, you can command i to show the Movie Inspector which will tell you its resolution. Likewise, you can command 1 to play at actual size.
     
  11. tbb07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #11
    SoAnyway: I just want it on the fly when I want to record something at the comfort of my chair, or perhaps have facetime hd. I don't know what else to say. You might not find it useful, but others do. And again, it wouldn't be as bad if Apple didn't make iMac facetime seem so gloriously hd on their site.

    roland.g: I'm just basing my circlejerk comment on the comments on macrumors front page news. It is really hard to find any meaningful discussions in the comment section of those news. But again, that is to be expected since macrumors, for the most part, publish news that put apple in good light (apple was recently rated most environment unfriendly of tech companies, but you won't find it here). Anyhow, I tried your suggestion, and the quality is still subpar :/.
     
  12. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #13

    With your purposes, the quality of the video shouldn't matter then. I mean, are you planning on making a million dollars with your on the fly videos or from video chatting? If not, then it shouldn't matter what the quality of the videos are.

    You really cannot expect production quality video from a dinky camera built into a computer or mobile device, especially for your planned uses. Keep in mind that the images used in advertisements have been professionally produced and under ideal conditions (good lighting and high end post production). Actual results will greatly vary unless you know exactly what you're doing.

    I'm not making excuses for Apple here, so don't get that impression. I think that if a manufacturer advertises something, that they should either A) fully deliver or B) if they can't deliver, say something about it. I suggest that you contact Apple about this if it is that big of a deal to you.
     
  13. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #14
    I think he's just explaining his uses and it seems to be that he understands it is what it is, so I would just let it go at this point. My $.02.

    As far as advertising vs. information, a lot of times when new tech like this comes to an Apple product, there is very little information on it at first. And most of that info comes from the tech community, whether it be an Ars/Engadget/AnadT/MacWorld review, or here in discussion at MR.
     
  14. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #15

    It's no big deal to me. I just find it useless to get the community involved in issues that probably aren't that big of a deal to begin with. I'll just reiterate my point and I'll be done with this, if his uses are strictly personal, why is he making such a stink about this?
     
  15. Repo macrumors 6502a

    Repo

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #16
    I'm not.

    To cut down on production costs.
     
  16. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #17
    720p is technically "High Definition". HD really only describes how many vertical pixels, and has nothing to do with quality. The fact that you thought you'd get a Hollywood production video camera on your iMac isn't false advertising.
     
  17. tbb07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #18
    Hmm? I don't see what OS has to do with this, but I would love to try it out.

    Hmm, I don't really understand you. I like a good quality camera for personal use.
    You go from saying I can't really expect production quality to saying you're making excuses. But that's exactly what your doing. Apple says 720p, and 720p is gorgeous. The image on the apple site shows facetime with something similar to 720p. How can I not expect that if that's what Apple says it would deliver.
    And I don't see how this only applies to me. And we both know contacting apple would not get anywhere...


    Hmm, I'm not really understanding your second part. I agree that it's mostly speculations at first though.

    Again, your point is that it's not a big deal. But that applies to you. There are lots of people who love to use the camera. Most of whom are parents who love to use its social features (which include heavy use of the camera), and they normally wouldn't hang around this forum.

    I didn't expect hollywood production. But I expected good quality. Watch a video on youtube in 720p for reference. I really would be happy with a camera on iPhone's level too. For reference, imagine buying a camera advertised exactly apple did on iMac's camera. But when used, you discover the quality is only a third as advertised. Wouldn't you be slightly put off?
     
  18. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #19
    On a totally unrelated note, last night I hooked up my iPad 2 to my TV via the HDMI dongle and cable and tested FaceTime to it with my iMac (2007) and iPhone 4. My understanding is that while the iP4 and iPad 2 shoot HD video, even using the rear camera for FaceTime doesn't result in 720 video. But I was connected to my iMac in each instance. I didn't try an iP4 to iPad 2 FaceTime call.

    At this point I need to either buy a stand that will allow me to put the iPad 2 at various angles as well as hold it well, or fashion one myself, maybe just out of a styrofoam block with a slot in it. I would like to get my iPad 2 vertical, something the Smart Cover can't do, so that it can just point to the couch and breakfast nook behind it. I think this will be a fairly nice FaceTime setup. My only concern is that with audio from the other person coming through the stereo or TV speakers, there might be a feedback issue. :(
     
  19. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #20
    I saw someone mention FaceTime. Actually, video in iChat is much better than on FaceTime. But i agree, the iSight camera sucks. I bought a Logitech C910 and love it. Much, much better quality.
     

Share This Page