Here's What the Studio Display's Webcam Looks Like After 15.5 Beta Firmware Update
Apple today released new beta firmware for the Studio Display, which is available to Studio Display users who have the macOS Monterey 12.4 beta installed on their Macs. The updated firmware includes a fix for the webcam, so we thought we'd take a quick look to see the tweaks in action.
Prior to the launch of the Studio Display, reviewers noticed that the webcam was not performing as expected. It was described as washed out, grainy, noisy, and overall, poor quality.
After these complaints came out, Apple said that it "discovered an issue where the system is not behaving as expected," promising a fix in a future software update. That fix is out today, and Apple says that it has tuned the camera, improving noise reduction, contrast, and framing.
In practice, if you watch our video up above, there are noticeable quality updates, but the difference is subtle. Colors are not as pale, there's improved contrast, and the overall look is a bit more vibrant. Depending on lighting, there isn't a huge difference in sharpness, but the changes seem to be an overall net improvement.
Six Colors' Jason Snell shared a set of photos and a video that also demonstrate the differences between the new firmware and old firmware, and there is a clear change to the framing. There is less zoom both when using Center Stage and when not using the feature, which means video capture is overall less cropped.
Overall, Apple's changes seem to be for the better, though those hoping for something dramatic may be disappointed. Skin tones are improved as is overall color, and there appears to be an improvement in contrast along with less de-noising for more clarity, but ultimately this is still the same 12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera, so Apple is limited to software tweaks.
For now, Studio Display owners will need the macOS Monterey 12.4 beta to see the 15.5 firmware update, but it will be more widely available when the new version of Monterey sees a public release. The beta is currently available to both developers and public beta testers.
What do you think of the firmware update? Let us know in the comments.