How to get an iSight on a MacPro?
August 8, 2007 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Can a MacPro have an iSight camera? As a desktop computer it only can use an external monitor, and Apple's external monitors don't have iSight built in. The clincher is that Apple doesn't sell iSight cameras any more, separate from the ones built-in to MacBooks. So how can a MacPro connect to an iSight?
posted by mark7570 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Via FireWire. You'd have to buy a used one, from ebay or elsewhere.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:37 PM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: Really??? Someone buys a top-of-the-line Mac desktop and they have to go to eBay for a key accessory?
posted by mark7570 at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2007

Look into this, though I am not sure you need that for some firewire cams.
posted by mzurer at 2:48 PM on August 8, 2007

An iSight is not a 'key accessory'. Good grief. It's a webcam. Computers should come with webcams now?
posted by xmutex at 2:49 PM on August 8, 2007

Really??? Someone buys a top-of-the-line Mac desktop and they have to go to eBay for a key accessory?

Apple discontinued iSights and that's pretty much the only way to get one now.
posted by lia at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2007

Computers should come with webcams now?

Well, why not? I think that having a webcam built in to the super popular MacBook (not to mention MacBook Pros and iMacs), which is for many people their first webcam experience and an enjoyable one at that (if all the self-portraits made with Photobooth on Flickr are anything to go by), plus Skype and iChat making it super easy to do video chats with your grandma, are beginning to make webcams key accessories for a lot of people. I bet more and more PC laptops will start coming out with built-ins fairly soon.
posted by lia at 2:56 PM on August 8, 2007

Most firewire cameras will work with OSX. Buy one of those. The iSight was mostly panned anyways.
posted by unixrat at 3:12 PM on August 8, 2007

There is a desktop model with an iSight - it's the iMac. Clearly the iSight was not profitable enough to continue making in an external model. There are plenty of webcams out there. If a webcam is a key part of your computing experience, I would submit that a Mac Pro is likely overpowered for you. I imagine that a large part of Apple's customer base is still artistic professionals. They are not buying the most expensive model to use iChat.
posted by mzurer at 3:13 PM on August 8, 2007

Best answer: Really!!!

I don't know why Apple's no longer selling a webcam through the Apple Store, but my guess is that it wasn't cost effective for them to redesign/refactor it to get it past the EU hazmat regulations so they just dropped it.

My source at Apple confirms. Apparently the manufacturer they were sourcing it from was using lead-based solder in the internal joins.

In addition, there were a number of problems with it; two that came up in chat were that the autofocus, never very good itself, messed up the audio while operating; and that the adhesive-mounted mounts and stands for the cam were not designed very well and used stick-once adhesive so they could not be moved.

Just buy a third party webcam or any DV cam. That's the whole point of the Mac Pro - it has a lot of ports and slots so a power user can customize it to her liking.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:17 PM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I use an iSight with my MacPro, connected via Firewire. It works fine on the Mac side - my brother and I chat via AIM/iChat and it's great for that. The only downside I'm aware of is that there's no Windows driver for the standalone iSight, only for the iSights built into the MacBook/iMac/MacBook Pro. From the little bit of research I did on this a few months ago, there's no third party Windows driver that's 100% compatible, meaning that the video works in certain applications with native support (I can't recall, maybe Yahoo chat? something like that...), but the audio doesn't work.

Bottom line is that a used iSight is a fine addition if you stay in OS X, but not a good choice if you need to access it from within Windows.
posted by mosk at 3:42 PM on August 8, 2007

I remember reading somewhere that you can use the Microsoft Xbox360 camera in OS X now. It's pretty cheap, around 40 bucks.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:21 PM on August 8, 2007

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