Webcam Recommendations?

by David Battino

My brother recently switched back to Mac after about 15 years, and left a frustrated voicemail asking for help getting set up. Good thing I called back via Skype: the return call lasted about 90 minutes. After getting nowhere trying to transfer his Windows documents via Ethernet, he had bought some kind of kit listed on the Apple site that does the shuttling over USB.

Three days later (!) his photos, iTunes library, and Microsoft Office documents were on the Mac, but he couldn't figure out how to open them. I walked him through the "Import to Library" process in iTunes, and he immediately grasped that the importation process worked similarly in iPhoto. He then felt confident enough to set up Address Book and Mail on his own.

Ecamm iMage webcam

With that out of the way, I started thinking it would be great to set up videoconferencing in Skype or iChat. My brother's new iMac has a webcam built in, but my G5 tower didn't come with one. Any recommendations? I'd prefer a FireWire cam (maybe a used iSight?) because I have some free FireWire ports, but the USB Ecamm iMage and some Logitech models look interesting.

11 Comments

Bob
2007-03-26 13:16:40
You might find that used iSights have become collectors' items, and are appropriately highly-priced.
Kastus
2007-03-26 13:29:04
iSweet is a firewire camera and works pretty well with Skype on iBook.
http://www.smalldog.com/product/34405
cal
2007-03-26 13:57:39
With the 10.4.9 update, you can plug any USB Video-class camera in, and it should be fine. I looked around and settled on the xbox live vision camera. It's cheap (ish) and the quality is really great - when talking to friends over ichat, the quality is very close to the apple isight.
Frank
2007-03-26 14:14:23
I'll second the motion for the Xbox Live Vision camera. It retails for only $39.99 and Amazon has it for $35.99 with free shipping. I've heard from many people that it works great. I will be picking one up myself soon. I'm giving my dual G4 tower to Mom and want to be able to video chat with her using my new MacBook Pro :-)
David Battino
2007-03-26 14:14:30
Kastus: Thanks for the tip. However, I noticed that Macworld gave the iSweet just two stars, complaining, “Image quality is inferior; reliability is suspect; mount doesn’t always hold camera still.”
Zac
2007-03-26 19:50:21
I've only ever used iSights and I have been very happy with them. That said they are totally over priced, and hard to find. If you can track one down for around $75 or less, I'd say go for it, otherwise look elsewhere.
Sherm
2007-03-26 20:01:24
If you're into home movies, and you have a FireWire camcorder handy, give that a try. My Sony DCR-TRV11 works fine in iChat. I obviously wouldn't suggest spending that kind of $$$ *just* for a webcam, but if you have one anyway, why not make it do double duty?
Saint Fnordius
2007-03-27 02:59:46
I also think pressing a home video camera into double duty is a good compromise. I use my mini-DV camera that way as well, mounted on a tripod and running directly off of the charger. I also use it when I'm on the road with my 12" PowerBook from free hotspots.


The biggest drawback is the size. The videocamera, tripod, power adapter and power cords all add to the clutter. Still, if you're working from a desktop Mac I don't think it will be that much of an issue. Just set up the charger and the tripod as the "recharging station", and run the FireWire cable to the Mac.

Ian L.
2007-04-04 22:36:27
I bought an iMage from Ecamm for my sister for christmas and it's great! Picture quality is as good as my iSight as far as I can tell and it works with iChat, iMovie, PhotoBooth etc. It hangs nicely on her iBook screen but she also uses the regular camera type of tripod screw hold in the bottom. There's no driver software to install. It worked right out of the box. Oh.. and Ecamm includes some other fun software too.
Mike
2007-06-02 07:22:11
I bought an eCamm and I am not satisfied with the quality. Screen shows two dead pixels, image is very grainy when compared to my wife's isight built into her MacBook. Sending it back, considering the iSweet or X box cam.
Tomy
2008-01-09 00:09:29
To test your webcam I can recommend this
Test my webcam
C U
Tomy