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July 2006

A wider iSight

If you're fortunate enough to have a built-in iSight camera in your Mac, this won't be of use to you. However, if you have a standalone iSight perhaps you'll find this interesting.

I recently purchased Kaidan's iSight Accessory Kit. I decided to do this because I wanted more flexibility in positioning the camera, which has a fairly narrow field of view, and I already had a wideangle lens that I use for my panoramic VR projects so this kit allowed me to get more use out of the lens. (How's that for a textbook case of cost rationalization?)

You can buy each item in the kit individually. Here's my quick review of each piece.

  • The small tripod doesn't extend very high, and isn't all that great, but the price is good compared to other tabletop models I've seen. It does the job, but that's about it.

  • The overpriced "tripod adapter" is, unfortunately, a must-have if you ever want to use a tripod instead of the mounts that came with your iSight. Suck it up; it works well, eventually you'll get over having paid $25 for a small piece of black plastic.

  • The adapter itself fits snugly on the camera and once you have it installed you'll probably want to leave it in place. No worries, it doesn't interfere with the camera at all when you're not using your wide-angle lens.

  • These two snapshots, taken from exactly the same camera position, show the difference between a standard iSight and what I get when using my lens. It's working well for me, and I've found that I don't really noticed the corner vignetting. The wider view definitely makes video conferencing more comfortable because I spend less time making sure I'm in-frame.