Apple claims that it has made significant improvements to the webcam included on the Studio Display thanks to a forthcoming update. We put the beta update to the test to see whether it notably improves Apple’s much-criticized webcam.

Recently, Apple released a new wave of beta updates to developers. That includes the third beta of macOS Monterey 12.4. With that third beta, Apple also introduced the first beta of software version 15.5 for the Studio Display.

When users installed the macOS beta, they’d also get the 15.5 update for the Studio Display. We don’t know when Apple will publically release these updates, but we’d guess within the next month or two based on typical beta cycles.

We placed our Studio Display in our production studio so that we could keep the lighting and environment consistent. We filmed a few videos in the FaceTime app, QuickTime, and in Zoom using the Studio Display’s camera.

Then we installed the macOS 12.4 update and the Studio Display 15.5 update. We verified the new version number of the display’s firmware in the System Report pane. Finally, we repeated the video test to compare.

In our testing, we saw Apple had greatly improved the skin tone. A face that was red before the update had a more natural color afterward. The details also looked less noisy — Apple must have reduced the noise with additional smoothing.

Center Stage is now a bit less aggressive post-update. It doesn’t crop in as tightly on a face, leaving a bit more room above a head. Hard to say whether this is good or bad and is something we’d prefer to have control over.

That all said, these are fairly subtle changes. So much so that when two Studio Displays are sitting next to each other on a table — one updated, one not — we could hardly see the differences.

Getting technical, this is merely the first beta of the 15.5 update and there is a chance we see further improvements by the final release. Based on the relatively small changes we’re seeing though, we wouldn’t hold our breath for something more substantial.

By all metrics, it seems that Apple is going to need more than software updates to improve the quality of this camera. The 12MP sensor isn’t nearly as capable as those found on the iPhone.

With a display as large as the Studio Display, it was always going to be easier to judge the quality of the camera. It’s much larger than the display of an iPhone so the poor image quality is magnified.

Additionally, when used with Center Stage, the camera has to crop in using digital zoom, which also can lower the quality. When using an iPhone or iPad, you’re typically a bit closer to the camera without the need for digital manipulation.

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Source: This news is originally published by appleinsider

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