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affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: clay
Date: September 04, 2020 01:50PM
I needed a webcam for my hackintosh. I made a post here asking about options on the market now: [forums.macresource.com]

I didn't want to spend $100 for something that normally costs $30-$50 in non-covid times. In the thread above, I was intrigued by Ombligo's and pqrst's suggestion to get a Wyze Cam v2 and flash the firmware to turn it into a webcam. Thought it was worth trying for $25 shipped from Wyze.

Just got the camera, did the easy firmware update, and was up and running with a close to 1080p USB webcam. I'm pleased. However, there are 3 things to be aware of if you consider going this route:

  • The built in mic and speaker on the camera are crap. Do not plan to use them. They will make you sound terrible and the speaker will make your ears bleed. I have another mic option already, so this is not a big deal for me.
  • You will need a USB A to A cable. This is not a common cable. Apparently, sometimes a USB A to USB C cable will work for usb C capable computers, but I haven't tried that yet. I had an A to A cable from another device already on hand and it works.
  • The lens is pretty wide. Feels fish-eye wide on the outermost 25% of the image. It is easy to aim the camera at your face and keep it reasonably close to the center of the image to avoid distortion. But the distortion is pretty obvious around the edges if you're looking for it (and probably even if you aren't).

All in all, this will work well for my needs at this point. Especially at this price point. Just thought I'd share if there are others out there looking for a cheap-ish option while being aware of the caveats above.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2020 01:51PM by clay.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: September 04, 2020 02:07PM
Here are some other webcam tips that may apply to people using this Wyze webcam hack. They are all the links of info I have posted before on how to improve webcam environments. [forums.macresource.com]



Ways to improve web conference image and sound quality. [forums.macresource.com]


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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: Carm
Date: September 04, 2020 02:28PM
It doesn’t let you use the micro USB port?
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: clay
Date: September 04, 2020 02:31PM
Quote
Carm
It doesn’t let you use the micro USB port?

Not for the computer to see it as a video cam (just tried it). Looks like the micro USB cable plugged into a computer port does give it enough power, but maybe can't handle the data stream. Not sure. But it doesn't work with what I'm using.

But...it looks like at least my USB A to A cable does remove the need for the micro USB power source. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at that.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2020 02:32PM by clay.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: September 04, 2020 02:55PM
FYI, the normal pre-COVID price of a 1080p webcam is usually around $70. The Logitech Pro Stream for example is available at Walmart for around $70 after tax. You just have to call the store and ask since most stores are out of stock. Just bought one for my cousin a few days ago from a Walmart 10 minutes away.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: Buzz
Date: September 04, 2020 04:19PM
Keep your eyes open for Bezoville DoD's....
Snagged a 1080p USB webcam for $22.50 for BIL/SIL about a week and a half ago... will find out during Sunday's family Zoom whether it's worth the price of admission.... as long as it's better than their ancient C2D iMac's webcam, we'll consider it a win.

Also still looking for a more full featured USB webcam when Covid-19 abates and permits, such acquisition for < $70.
==
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: September 04, 2020 04:38PM
FWIW, according to BrickSeek the historical pre-COVID MSRP of a name brand (such as Logitech) 1080p webcam has been $100.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: hal
Date: September 04, 2020 05:02PM
Not sure what you will do with this info, but beware - a guy that I just sold a 2012 mac mini i7 complained that his dual monitors stopped working. First one, then the other. He filed for a 'not as advertised' complaint, but then cancelled saying that a cheap webcam was the culprit. He unplugged it and everything started working.

Demand for cameras is through the roof and people will pay $50 for a POS no-name. I expect that most cameras that hit the market these days were rushed out the door and are suspect.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 04, 2020 05:27PM
Amazon has the Aukey 1080 webcam for $50. Pretty decent quality.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: September 04, 2020 05:41PM
Many webcams on amazon etc. will have adequate image quality of you brighten the lights up a bit. The easiest way is 100W equivalent LED light bulbs [forums.macresource.com]



Ways to improve web conference image and sound quality. [forums.macresource.com]


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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: September 04, 2020 06:19PM
Quote
hal
Demand for cameras is through the roof and people will pay $50 for a POS no-name. I expect that most cameras that hit the market these days were rushed out the door and are suspect.

If third party market prices are an indicator of demand, then demand was significantly higher last spring, where name brand 720p webcams (like the Logitech C270) were going for $200 on Amazon. Current third party market prices for 720p Logitechs on Amazon are hovering around $50-$60 (note Walmart sells these for around $30 after tax).
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: September 04, 2020 07:50PM
Quote
Carnos Jax
Quote
hal
Demand for cameras is through the roof and people will pay $50 for a POS no-name. I expect that most cameras that hit the market these days were rushed out the door and are suspect.

If third party market prices are an indicator of demand, then demand was significantly higher last spring, where name brand 720p webcams (like the Logitech C270) were going for $200 on Amazon. Current third party market prices for 720p Logitechs on Amazon are hovering around $50-$60 (note Walmart sells these for around $30 after tax).

$200? You can get a used Canon T100 SLR with a lens for that kind of money.



Ways to improve web conference image and sound quality. [forums.macresource.com]


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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: September 04, 2020 07:55PM
Unfortunately most buyers don’t know that, and they want a quick and easy solution when they’ve got to have something ‘now’. The pandemic justified it in their minds.
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Re: affordable USB webcam option (with 3 minor caveats)
Posted by: MartyStickle
Date: September 05, 2020 02:14PM
My new iMac 2020 along with PRicE’s 100 watt led bulb is just fine.



Asheville, NC Area



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2020 02:15PM by MartyStickle.
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