Is an iSight worth the money?
February 22, 2005 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I am looking to buy a web cam for my iBook. I noticed there seem to be a few iSight owners here. Is an iSight worth the money? Are there any other FireWire web cam's I should look in to?
posted by chunking express to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Webcam for old school still-frame webcam stuff, or webcam for live videochat? An iSight is vast overkill for the former.
posted by smackfu at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2005

No, there are no other Firewire webcams you should look into. I've been down the path, and the iSight is it -- worse options are only a little bit cheaper, and the thing is hard to beat on the high end. Although many digital camcorders can serve as webcams (mine does), so if you want spend that kind of money, you can get something with a lot more utility than a webcam.

Smackfu is also right -- a Firewire webcam is overkill if you're not going to take advantage of it.
posted by blueshammer at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2005

there is one other company that does a $99 webcam...

and a bunch of USB cams that can be enabled with a $20 driver.

And a quick google search yield this
Macintosh Camera Matrix

But I have an isight and videoconferencing with ichat is unreal.
posted by filmgeek at 12:40 PM on February 22, 2005

I want to do video chats. Thanks for your replies so far. I wish the iSight was cheaper, because then I wouldn't need to think very hard about this.
posted by chunking express at 1:33 PM on February 22, 2005

The nice thing about the iSight is that it travels well. The camera slips into a plastic tube for throwing in your pack. Also, the quality of the picture, and microphone are excellent. Clips on nicely to the frame of your iBook and swivels on an internal gimbal. Self focusing..., you won't be sorry.

Oh, and it has a shutter that you can manually close and can visually note if the camera off.
posted by qwip at 1:44 PM on February 22, 2005

If you do decide to get the iSight, be sure to get iGlasses too.
posted by kindall at 2:00 PM on February 22, 2005

The iSight is the only piece of Apple hardware I've ever purchased that I felt wasn't worth the money - I got better picture quality with an old Intel USB webcam I got at Goodwill for $10 (I'm not kidding). I took the iSight back for a refund.

This was with the firmware update and everything - I spent a couple of days trying to get decent-looking (at least for what I'd expect from a $150 Firewire webcam) pictures out of it before I gave up and returned it.
posted by mrbill at 2:32 PM on February 22, 2005

Yeah, the iSight sensor quality is not much different to any cheap webcam, so you have to really want the auto-focus lens, design, mountings and built-in noise-cancelling mic. I can't think of any better alternatives though. You're choices are basically either $20 USB camera + $0 macam + $10 iChatUSBCam, or a $400 DV camcorder.
posted by cillit bang at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2005

no long-term comparative data, but I'm happy with mine. My dad pursued the $10 usb cam and after a few hours bought my mom her iSight. I think it's more or less a classic Mac experience, although I have only noted better webcam pix from real video cameras hooked up via FW, but obviously YMMV.

I should clarify that 'classic Mac experience' means 'overpriced until negatively incented by crappy, complicated setups elesewhere.'
posted by mwhybark at 7:51 PM on February 22, 2005

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