PDA

View Full Version : Please find me an iChat-ready/compatible USB webcam under $50...


pscates2.0
2010-07-27, 16:20
Do these exist?

I've done a similar thread like this before, but nothing really came of it (and new things have come and gone since that time anyway). But I've not got three people in my life on Mac minis (no camera, no microphone) and the video chat (or, more accurately, video support/assistance - from me - is tough to do). It's the one thing lacking from making their newfound Mac experience "complete".

I want to stress...iChat-only. No Skype or other solutions and talk. I want to stick with what's easiest, and comes on the system (and they've already got AIM accounts).

I simply want something to plug into the USB port of an Intel Mac mini (including, in one case, the current model) that "just works". No bullcrap, no tricks or workarounds, no driver hunts, no hacks, no installing a bunch of weirdo obscure, geeky shit that mere mortals will never know to look for (or maintain), etc.

Does this exist? If so, please let me know. I'm looking as well, but it's a jungle out there...

:eek:

Microsoft? Kensington? Logitech? Belkin? Griffin? Smaller, quirky Mac-only companies? Anyone?

Dammit...I wish Apple re-released their iSight camera. That was perfect (but expensive). But you couldn't ask for an easier solution...

And the "under $50" thing in the title isn't carved in stone...if you see the perfect product for my needs above, and it's $78, I still want to know about it!

Thanks! :)

Seriously...OS X/Snow Leopard iChat. Let's super-focus on that...

Bryson
2010-07-27, 16:26
Why did Apple discontinue the iSight, anyway?

pscates2.0
2010-07-27, 16:49
To make me mad.

But seriously, I don't know. I guess they knew there were going to be moving all this stuff to their computers eventually (December 2006 is when they quit selling it, and, by then, much of their product line was switched over to Intel and had the cameras built in). But it kinda leaves a couple of monitor-less Macs out.

Apple lists two third-party cams on their site...one is $99, the other is $79. I was hoping to find something a little more affordable, as these won't be in constant, full-time use. But when they're needed, they're nice to have.

I wish Apple just made a simple $69 (that seems to be their favorite accessory/peripheral price :D ) model, with mic and decent performance (whatever it is they're putting in their iMac and MacBooks?) and attach a USB cable and sell it in a clear, snazzy box. iSight 2, anyone?

Luca
2010-07-27, 16:53
I'd recommend the Xbox Live Vision Camera since it's cheap, available, and works without having to install drivers, but it doesn't have a built-in microphone. That's a problem because then you have to deal with getting a microphone, which isn't difficult or expensive but it's probably a lot more convenient to get it all combined into a single device.

timmmee
2010-07-27, 16:55
At $20, you can't go wrong. :P

http://www.amazon.com/Macally-ICECAM2-Camera-Built-Microphone/dp/B001AD0QPA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1280267610&sr=8-3

zippy
2010-07-27, 17:03
I want to stress...iChat-only. No Skype or other solutions and talk. I want to stick with what's easiest, and comes on the system (and they've already got AIM accounts).



The funny thing is.... I've had better luck with Skype than iChat. I've got a buddy with an iMac and a Macbook and we always had trouble connecting via iChat. But Skype works just fine. I've always suspected it was something with his modem/router, but I don't really know for sure. He was using Skype to chat with some of his relatives and that worked for him. So he was less interested in troubleshooting the issue than switching to something that worked reliably.

pscates2.0
2010-07-27, 17:12
At $20, you can't go wrong. :P

http://www.amazon.com/Macally-ICECAM2-Camera-Built-Microphone/dp/B001AD0QPA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1280267610&sr=8-3

Yeah, that's kinda the one I've had my eye on for so long. It goes for $35 at MacAlly's site, and I never really think to look elsewhere. But I remember that there's some sort of USB patch or paid driver that has to be used? Or am I thinking of some other model...

Luca
2010-07-27, 17:14
Yeah, I'd definitely look into Skype. It's not at all hard to set up, and it opens you up to far more people.

EDIT: It says on MacAlly's site (http://www.macally.com/en/product/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=220) that the IceCam2 is a "Driver-free USB Video Class (UVC) device." Some Google searches revealed that UVC is what you're looking for in a webcam for use on a Mac. So anything listed as UVC should work.

There are a couple others available on Amazon: One (http://www.amazon.com/HP-KQ245AA-Premium-Autofocus-Webcam/dp/B001B7PXOY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1280269138&sr=1-1) Two (http://www.amazon.com/Hercules-4780463-Dualpix-Exchange-Webcam/dp/B000X1A9ZC/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1280269327&sr=1-2) (and probably more, that's just what I could find)

pscates2.0
2010-07-27, 17:19
I may have to. I don't know.

Reading about the IceCam 2 at MacAlly's site (http://www.macally.com/EN/Product/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=220), it seems about as no-brainer of a solution possible. No mention of any other drivers or tweaks needed...it just "works"? And it specifically mentions iChat and Skype as well...

- High performance and compact USB2.0 Webcam with Microphone built in for video conferencing
- Driver-free USB Video Class(UVC) device
- VGA 640 x 480 Resolution
- Up to 30 frames per second*
- 2-Axle swivel joints, fully adjustable pointing angles(360 degree horizontal rotation, 135 degree tilt back and forth)
- Spring loaded clamp base clips on laptop computers and flat panel monitors of various thicknesses
- Adjustable focus lens
- 5 ft long USB cable
- Power/status LED indicator
- Works with both Mac and PC computer
- Supports Mac models(with built-in iSight camera) to have more flexible pointing angle

Last I looked, this model was "coming soon", so I must've forgotten to check back. I remember being interested in the pre-release teaser specs a long time ago.

Luca
2010-07-27, 17:25
Paul, also check out user reviews on Amazon. Any UVC-compliant webcam with a good number of reviews will probably have at least a few Mac users reporting their success.

Skype vs. iChat seems to be a separate issue.

Kickaha
2010-07-27, 18:10
Oooh, timely!

I'm looking for an inexpensive webcam that has a wider field of view than what you find on a MacBook or MBPro. Would like to use it with the mini for video conferencing with more than one person being broadcast - say, two or three sitting side by side, without them showing up tinylike.

Sadly, most of the solutions I've run across are either >$200 pro cameras, or "duct tape a wide angle lens to a webcam". Anyone able to offer another option?

Maciej
2010-07-27, 18:28
Oooh, timely!

I'm looking for an inexpensive webcam that has a wider field of view than what you find on a MacBook or MBPro. Would like to use it with the mini for video conferencing with more than one person being broadcast - say, two or three sitting side by side, without them showing up tinylike.

Sadly, most of the solutions I've run across are either >$200 pro cameras, or "duct tape a wide angle lens to a webcam". Anyone able to offer another option?

I found this (http://shop.skype.com/webcams/high-quality/fv-touchcam-n1/), I'm not really sure what angle is wide enough. Sorry if the 78 degree angle at 720p isn't good enough.

Kickaha
2010-07-27, 18:31
Hey, it's 7deg wider than most I've found. :) Unfortunately, I don't know what's 'enough'. 70? 90? 110?

sunrain
2010-07-27, 19:09
Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/webcam-communications/webcams/devices/4528)

This one from Logitech is really bitchin. I got it for my Mac Pro setup so the family far away could see the kids. It works with Snow Leopard, iChat, and Skype and everything else I've tossed at it. It has a wide field of view as well, so that might be what you're looking for, Kick.

The RightLight technology it uses does an insanely great job of handling low-light situations. People that don't notice techy stuff have instantly commented when we do video chats, "Wow, the picture looks so good. What webcam are you using?"

It's $90 on Amazon right now (http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-QuickCam-Vision-Pro-Black/dp/B001AOK7KI/).

rampancy
2010-07-27, 19:34
I picked up an iceCam 2 for a MacBook I repaired (I did a full screen replacement for the *second time* after I foolishly packed it in my checked baggage for a plane trip...the iSight broke either when the screen broke or during my screen replacement, and I'm too lazy to rip apart the book *again* to figure it out). AFAIK, it works perfectly in 10.6.4.

In general, "It Just Works". Period. No Muss, No Fuss. Well, for the most part, anyway. Video quality seems to be slightly better than the built-in iSight, but the microphone doesn't seem to be as good as the MacBook's on-board mic. All of the relevant apps I've tried - PhotoBooth, iChat, and Skype - all just work, and recognize it without any problems. The only wrinkle is that it may not work immediately if you plug it in; you may need to reboot with the camera plugged in to get your system to see the camera.

Apart from that, it's far, far superior to the original iceCam, which used some custom drivers which used QuickTime kernel extensions, in combination with a rather sketchy video capture app. The iceCam 2's build quality is nice too; the ability to spin the camera around is a really nice feature, and you can use it as a desk camera too.

Anyway, I'd readily recommend it as a cheap iChat-ready/compatible webcam. I've seen them for around $39-$49.

pscates2.0
2010-07-27, 19:53
Cool. Thanks very much for that helpful info!

I'm kinda eyeing these on eBay and other places, just to see how far below MacAlly's $34.95 I can find them.

Ryan
2010-07-27, 20:32
Oooh, timely!

I'm looking for an inexpensive webcam that has a wider field of view than what you find on a MacBook or MBPro. Would like to use it with the mini for video conferencing with more than one person being broadcast - say, two or three sitting side by side, without them showing up tinylike.

Sadly, most of the solutions I've run across are either >$200 pro cameras, or "duct tape a wide angle lens to a webcam". Anyone able to offer another option?

Used digital camcorder off Craigslist? Any with Firewire will work with iChat.

chucker
2010-07-27, 23:42
But I remember that there's some sort of USB patch or paid driver that has to be used? Or am I thinking of some other model...

No, you remember correctly, but that's no longer the case. Before Mac OS X 10.4.9, iChat only officially supported FireWire-based webcams, and needed a third-party hack to support USB webcams like this one. Pretty much any webcam should just work out of the box.

dmegatool
2010-07-27, 23:55
Used digital camcorder off Craigslist? Any with Firewire will work with iChat.
Totally forgot about it. I used to do that with my camcorder and the quality was really great !

I just used Skype on my Mac Pro had I had to gather an old headset with a microphone. Think I'll be better leaving my cam right beside it...

Ryan
2010-07-27, 23:57
Totally forgot about it. I used to do that with my camcorder and the quality was really great !

I just used Skype on my Mac Pro had I had to gather an old headset with a microphone. Think I'll be better leaving my cam right beside it...

Yea, I used a Canon DV camcorder like this for a little while, before I bought a pair of iSights. Still have those webcams too. They’ve been useful lately.

709
2010-07-28, 00:32
So Subway has wifi? And it reaches to the parking lot?

Good to know.

PKIDelirium
2010-07-28, 00:48
So Subway has wifi? And it reaches to the parking lot?

Good to know.

What the hell does that have to do with anything?! :D

PKIDelirium
2010-07-28, 23:54
http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cameras-photography/c585/

http://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/zoom/c585_star_trek_webcam.jpg

kieran
2010-07-29, 08:08
I've got an iSight sitting around Paul. Bought it a few years ago to give to my sister, but she ended up breaking her iBook and it never got used.

Pretty sure it's right where I think it is.

Let me know if you're interested.

pscates2.0
2010-07-29, 09:49
Oooh, that's tempting. My need for multiple webcams dropped yesterday (because my uncle with with an iMac instead of a Mac mini), but my Mom could certainly use one for her Mac mini.

I'm definitely interested...right now, I do iChat-based Photoshop Elements tutorials with her, but since she doesn't have a mic with her Mac mini, it's pretty "one-way". I just have to talk and hope she's getting everything I'm saying. :D

Did you have a price in mind? That's the only unknown (she won't spend a gob, unfortunately). Do you have PayPal or something? My Mom would probably be the one doing it (she's on eBay, has PayPal, etc.). Or we can do it the old-fashioned way (mail a check or money order).

I'll have to run it by her (and a price), so yeah...

I'd rather have one of those than anything...it was good quality, uses FireWire (which she still has an open 400 port on her mini, not being used by anything).

Partial
2010-08-09, 00:13
http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2169534

thegeriatric
2010-08-09, 04:07
http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cameras-photography/c585/

http://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/zoom/c585_star_trek_webcam.jpg

Cue Brad, you gotta want one of these things! :)

pscates2.0
2010-08-09, 12:51
Kieran threw me the most righteous deal ever, so, as of last week, my Mom has a spiffy iSight connected to her Mac mini, and it works great (video, audio, etc.). It would be great if Apple still made these (or a smaller, redesigned version) because they're about as hassle-free and easy to use as anything you could ever imagine. And you know it's gonna work, with no compatibility or driver issues. :)

kieran
2010-08-09, 14:48
Glad to hear you could use it Paul. I felt bad about having it just sit around collecting dust.

I still have 2 more, so I can still look at them and use them. They really are a great piece of Apple design and they'd be smart to make them again, especially if FaceTime picks up as much as I hope it does.

Capella
2010-08-09, 16:30
Dude, I want one of those Enterprise-cams, and I have the built in MB cam. But it's cuuuuute!