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Saturday, November 17, 2012

[Review] Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. Does it work on a Mac?

I've seen that many of my friends on Google+ who produce live video hangouts love using the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920.


Image: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

So I've been happy to recommend it and the previous model, the C910.

Some features of the C920 that are most appealing are:
- H.264 encoding
- Full HD 1080p recording
- Tripod Mount
People do get confused though from the Logitech requirements page for the C920 where it says:

C920 Technical Specifications:
OS Support (at release) - Windows XP x32 / x64, Windows Vista x32 / x64, Windows 7 x32 / x64
No mention of it working on a Mac, at all.

Then there's this:

Taking full advantage of the H.264 Logitech C920:
To take full advantage of the H.264 codec with your Logitech C920 webcam:

- If you're using UVC drivers instead of Logitech drivers, you'll need an app that supports UVC H.264 extension.
- If you're using Logitech drivers, you can take advantage of the H.264 codec using the DirectShow app in Windows.

NOTE: For H.264 preview, you'll need an H264 decoder. Microsoft bundles this with Windows 7.
Um, UVC drivers? What are they?

I'm on a Mac. We don't do drivers.

;-)

Looking further, I want to see if my favorite live streaming software, Telestream Wirecast, might support the C920 despite the system requirements above.

Wirecast 4.1.4 Release Notes [PDF]:
New! Support for Logitech C920. (Mac OS X & Windows)
Here's the Wirecast 4.2.2 Release Notes [PDF] if you are interested in the latest.

So let's take a look at the camera and see how it performs.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920




TRIPOD:

Yes, the C920 has a tripod mount. This is great!

Logitech C920 Tripod Mount cmp.ly/1
Image: Tripod Mount

Logitech C920 has a Tripod Mount. See? cmp.ly/1
Image: With Tripod

USB PORT:

The C920 connects to the Mac via a USB port. Despite the requirements on the box, the camera shows up on a Mac as Logitech Camera.

STILL PHOTOS:

I tested it out first, as a still camera, with Photo Booth.

Here's the first photo:

Logitech C920 - Impressed?
Image: Logitech C920 photo test with Photo Booth (with Photo Booth Flash turned on)

Compare that to the FaceTime HD camera on the Thunderbolt display and MacBook Air.

FaceTime HD Camera (Thunderbolt Display)
Image: FaceTime HD Camera (Thunderbolt Display)

FaceTime Camera (Built-In) MacBook Air
Image: FaceTime (Non HD) Camera (Built-In) MacBook Air

Results:

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Wins

RECORDING VIDEO:

- Video test
- Microphone test

My first test was with the C920 and it's on board microphone using Photo Both again, to record video.

Make sure you go into system settings first to set the microphone input to HD Pro Webcam C920.

System Sound Settings
Image: System Sound Settings

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Mac Video Test


I exported this video with Photo Booth as a quick test, and then uploaded it to YouTube. Video quality is great. Sound isn't quite in sync. I'll need to do more testing with QuickTime and Final Cut Pro X to test both HD and sound. Stay tuned.

Update:
When you upload a video file recorded with QuickTime Player, you get this message from YouTube:
For better results, adjust your Quicktime settings to prepare videos for internet streaming. For more information, visit our Help Center.
Over there all the export settings are listed out to make sure your audio and video are in sync.

QuickTime Player Video:
I ignored those instructions, recorded a new video with QuickTime Player Video, and uploaded the raw video file. It came out ok.

Take a look:



Note:
Click the settings button on the video and change the resolution to 1080p to see the best quality.

Another Test:


Recorded this video with the C920 using QuickTime Player, Audio Technica AT2020 USB mic, imported into FCP X, edited, exported with compressor, and uploaded to YouTube.

In FCP X the audio seemed a little out of sync, but when I exported for YOuTube, the audio seems fine.

This time I used the YouTube 1080p export settings, but still got a warning from YouTube. Looks and sounds good anyway.

Results:

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Works on a Mac

Update:
I cross-posted a link this review over on Facebook and am getting lots of comments from people who use the C920 as their primary camera for web video. Take a look.

SETTINGS:
The C920 is not officially supported on the Mac by Logitech.

For settings, I'm told the Mac App, Webcam Settings By Mactaris, $7.99 in the Mac App Store, allows you to control the C920 Webcam Settings.

NEXT TEST:

Live Streaming..

- Ustream Producer
- Google+ Hangouts
- The Mac version of Telestream Wirecast
- Livestream

Disclosure:


cmp.ly/1

15 comments:

  1. One thing I noticed straight away though. The Logitech C920 photo test seem to add much more detail to the photo. The other 2 cameras were not able to pick up the other person that the Logitech C920 photo test. You've sold me!

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Steve,

    I just got one of these cameras, and the problem I'm having on my Mac is that it defaults to 640x480. I want more pixels and 16-9. I can't find a utility or control panel that will change this setting. ???

    // Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jack,
      Which app are you using?

      1080p worked for me using QuickTime Player.
      --Steve

      Delete
    2. On my Snow Leopard Mac Book Pro it will only record 1080 at about 5fps. Obviously not acceptable.

      Delete
  3. So this camera will work for facetime also?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Works with Facetime. I test it.

      Delete
    2. Thank you much! I will def buy one for my mac mini!

      Delete
  4. Have you noticed that it does not seem to stay in focus on mac os x 10.8.2 on Google Hangouts? or Hangouts on air?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can test this, but I see online that someone with a focus problem had to exchange their camera.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Thanks for your review! One question: does the face-tracking feature of this camera work on the Mac? Say with Skype?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jeff C.11:40 AM

    So... I'm using my Mac Mini as my HTPC with a Samsung Smart LED TV and was looking for a webcam compatible with Mac. I like your review and I think you may have just sold me on this product BUT... How is the video quality with Facetime? I only ask because that is my primary use since most of my contacts like to use Facetime (for obvious convience reasons) instead of using Skype. Thanks for your feedback!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Steve, long time no talk, great post. Looking at the 920 and I'm reading all sorts of conflicting reports about it working with Macs. I'm going to use it with Skype(often) Facetime(sometimes), tired of the two monitor setup where people see the side of my head when I'm looking at the big monitor and the cam on the MBP is off to the side.

    Does the Webcam Settings By Mactaris app unlock all, or some of the controls that appear to be non-functional with the camera out of the box on Mac?
    Just did a Skype call with someone using the $30 C310, looked fine to me. I could do with the 615 model as well but I'm in the mood to splurge and go for the 920.
    Any thoughts since you posted this? Thanks!


    ReplyDelete