MacMost Now 241: Logitech Quickcam Vision Pro for Mac

MacMost reviews the Logitech Quickcam VIsion Pro, a USB web camera packaged specifically for Mac. It is a good replacement for the discontinued stand-alone iSight cameras if you don't have an iSight built into your Mac.

Video Transcript
Gary: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's take a look at the Logitech Quickcam Vision Pro for Mac.
Now ever since Apple stopped manufacturing the iSight stand alone camera, you know, that little cylinder type of device, there hasn't really been a good, stand alone webcam for the Mac. And the reason for that is, most Macs, all the MacBooks and the iMac come with an iSight built in just above the screen.
But, what about MacPro users, or MacMini users, or a iMac or MacBook user who simply doesn't want the camera attatched to the screen, pointing directly at them? Well, you're gonna have to buy a third-party webcam for that and, until now, there haven't been any that's been, kind of endorsed by Apple.
Well, if you've been to an Apple store and tried to look for a webcam, you may have seen that there's only one that Apple seems to really carry and that's this one. It's the Logitech Quickcam Vision Pro and it's a typical Logitech camera but this one is actually inside a box that advertises it's specifically for MacIntosh. Not only that, it's very similar to the iSight. It's about the same price and it has auto-focus, something that most stand alone webcams don't have. You have to actually focus it on you and if you move forwards or backwards, you'll be out of focus.
The Quickcam has a decent lens in it and it's got auto-focus and it also has a pretty decent microphone. Let's go and take a look at what the Quickcam Vision Pro looks like.
So this is recorded using the Logitech Quickcam, not only the video part, but also the microphone built in as well. As a comparison, this is recorded using the built-in iSight on a Intel based iMac and using the microphone on an iMac as well.
So, as you can see, the video quality is definetely better with the Quickcam than with the old iSight and that's probably because it has more pixels. You see, this thing works at 1600x1200 pixels in the hardware. I was able to actually get that using QuickTime Pro to record although the videos are stuttery because that's a huge bit rate. So, at 640x480, the standard video size for things like chat, it looks a lot sharper 'cause it has all those pixels to choose from and create the image.
So, one of the best, and worst, things about the Quickcam is that it has no drivers. This is great 'cause you plug it right in and it just works, it's using standards the Mac understands. So you don't have to do anything or install anything to get it working and you see it instantly in things like Photobooth and iChat and QuickTime Pro.
However, it would be great to have some drivers or some software where you can make some adjustments. Maybe adjust the brightness, adjust the color, that kinda thing.
Now this does solve one big problem that's plagued Logitech Quickcams over the years for Mac users. You see, they build drivers and then they don't continually support them. So as soon as you have a new operating system, upgrade or perhaps get a new Mac, you find your old Logitech Quickcam doesn't work because they haven't supplied drivers for it because they no longer produce that camera. Since this one uses standards, it should continue to work way into the future.
Now, one big disappointment is that it doesn't work with iMovie. Now this is both a problem with Logitech and with iMovie not supporting it and it also doesn't work in things like Final Cut. You can still go ahead and record in QuickTime pro or Photobooth and then go ahead and bring that video into one of those programs. But it would be great if you could support this. People who do video podcasts and other things usually use these types of webcams, sometimes to produce their video.
I am impressed with the audio quality on this device. It's got definetely a better mic than what's typically found in cameras and it seems to be directed directly at you, so that you're not picking up too much ambient noise. For something like video chatting, it's definetely got a superior sound quality to most other solutions.
So, in conclusion, the Logitech Quickcam Vision Pro is a really good camera to replace an iSight or use in a Mac that never had an iSight. If you wanna just do video chatting, things like iChat or record some really quick videos. But, if you wanna use it for something more professional like video podcasting, then you probably wanna stick with a regular camera input into your Mac using Firewire.
This Quickcam goes for $130 at the Apple Store but i've seen it as low as $101 at Amazon.com, so check around for the best price.
Til next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 9 Responses to “MacMost Now 241: Logitech Quickcam Vision Pro for Mac”

    Carl Grainger
    8/28/09 @ 1:05 pm

    Hi Gary, this clip was a real great find today. Many thanks for such a great resource. I’m a Mac Pro user and was checking out the logitech as a webcam only but your info on pod casting use was a timely pro-tip. Current UK price at amazon is £62 so compares very favourably with a second hand iSight off eBay (today one went for £92 + shipping!). I’m interested in podcasting for occasional business support – have you done a video on mac podcasting cameras and microphones yet? Thanks again Carl Grainger

      8/28/09 @ 1:08 pm

      Thanks. I’ve touched on bits and pieces about video podcasting in episodes 119, 121 and 265.

    Eric
    9/20/09 @ 10:31 am

    Hi Gary,
    Can you force this camera to record at 30fps?
    I’m trying to record guitar & piano ideas with no hand motion blur (like I can with my Sony DV).

    My brother can use his 9000 on his PC with Window Movie Maker.. and it’s totally crisp with no blur.
    thanks
    Eric

      9/21/09 @ 6:35 am

      What are you using to record? Perhaps try a different program, like iMovie or Photo Booth. I’m not an expert at this particular piece of hardware as I don’t use it on a regular basis. Try contacting HP and see what they say. I think it is the same camera as the 9000, just in a different box. Also, it may not be the camera that is causing the blur, but maybe the compression you are using to save the video — but that depends what you are using to record and what your settings are. Try playing with it a bit.

    Eric
    9/20/09 @ 10:44 am

    Will this camera record at 30fps with no hand motion blur?

      9/20/09 @ 11:17 am

      Motion blur? I’m not sure. I think if you are concerned about that level of quality you can’t expect it from a Web cam meant for video chatting. I’d go with a good Firewire camcorder.

    Eric
    9/20/09 @ 12:08 pm

    I’m a Mac guy for years, I have a music studio here in Hollywood.
    If the 9000 (webcam) can do it on a PC (my brother’s), I’m sure there must be a way on my Macs. I can’t carry around & set up my large DV cam everywhere I have ideas.
    I just thought you might know.
    thanks

      9/20/09 @ 3:23 pm

      I believe the 9000 Logitech is the same thing as the one I review in this video, just in a different box marketed for Macs. Anyone know for sure?

    david
    6/18/10 @ 11:45 am

    I have tried this camera with Skype. It doesn’t work, skype doesn’t recognise the camera. Does anyone have a solution?

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