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External iSight and Mac Mini 2011

5064 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: May 31, 2012 8:25 AM by EZ Jim RSS
micrors4racer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 27, 2012 6:57 PM

I always loved the industrial design on the external isight and would like to buy one. How ever will it still work with my 2011 mac mini? And which isight revision should I look for? What are the differences among them?

  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 28, 2012 10:07 AM (in response to micrors4racer)

    (1) If the old iSight you buy still works, it should work with your Mac mini.

        (But see ¶s 2. & 3. below.)


    To connect the FW400 external iSight to your FW800 mini, you will need a Firewire 400-800 cable or adapter.  I suggest you have more than one of these so you can test whether any problem you encounter might be due to a bad connector.


    Any working one(s) of something like those listed here should work to connect a FW400 external iSight:


    • This Firewire 400-800 cable can work: (I use this one.)


    • Some users report that this low-priced alternative cable works:



    • To use a FW400 6pin-6pin cable like that which came with external iSights, you can use a 6pin-9pin adapter like one of these:

   (I successfully use this one, too.)


    If you encounter a problem, see Apple's troubleshooting suggestions here:



    (2) I understand your attraction to the appearance of external iSight.


    However, if I were buying another webcam today, I'd buy a new UVC (USB) webcam that has a warranty.  Based on my budget and the camera feature I wanted, I would select a compatible camera like one of those discussed here:



    My external iSights (I have two) are great webcams, but they are getting old (as consumer electronics go.)  Both of mine still work as well as they did when they were new. However, some previously owned iSights may have suffered pretty rough treatment, and the only way to know whether any currently available external iSight works properly is to test it. If you still want to consider buying an External iSight, I suggest that you physically examine and test it on your system before you buy using the suggestions from this page:



    If you cannot try the external iSight before you buy, perhaps a trusted seller will give you a warranty for return or exchange privileges if the iSight will not work properly with your system.



    (3) Additionally, unlike USB webcams, external iSight can be finicky about sharing a Firewire connection.


    Chaining external iSight with other Firewire devices on the same Firewire ports often causes function problems.  Because your mini has only one Firewire port, If your system includes other Firewire devices, you would most likely need to disconnect them in order to successfully use an external iSight with your mini.


    For more info, see



    (4) Info on iSight model versions:


    Which particular model revision would be much less important to me than being able to test an external iSight to make certain it works with your system. 


    If you use an Apple Cinema Display, the RevC's magnetic mount may be desirable.  However, other mounting solutions are possible:



    (5) Your system info shows Windows® 7.


    If you are considering using an external iSight with a PC, you should reconsider.  More info:


    Message was edited by: EZ Jim



    Mac OSX 10.7.4

  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2012 5:58 AM (in response to micrors4racer)

    You're welcome.


    micrors4racer wrote: ... the isight is something ive always wanted...

    Of course, you are free to buy whatever you choose.  However, if your search is based primarily on appearance, you might be interested in this webcam:  Althought it looks similar to the long-discontinued external iSight, it offers USB's less troublesome connection, a higher hardware resolution sensor than the old iSight's 640x480, and a new cam warranty.


    micrors4racer wrote: ... I read somewhere that the mic does not work with facetime on lion but other reports said its been fixed. Is it true that its ben fixed in the later Lion versions? ...

    Perhaps you read it here:

    It is true.


    micrors4racer wrote: ... What about the Rev B models are they the same as the rev a? ...

    They are not identical, but they are functionally interchangeable.  Were they identical in every way, their model revisions would not have been changed.


    micrors4racer wrote: ... using the magnetic mount and ... double sided adhesive ... so I can stick it on my dell monitor would that work? ...

    I do not have access to a dell monitor to test whether it would work.  My best suggestion to answer your question is for you to try it.  However, if I understand what you are contemplating, it seems to me that using the adhesive mount rather than the much smaller magnetic would give much more contact for the adhesive to provide a stable hold.


    micrors4racer wrote: ... Were these two different model numebrs or was Rev A called M9330LL and Rev B/C called M8817LL? ...

    There were different model numbers for different models.  There are different version (model revision) numbers for different versions.  Apple also changes part numbers at its discretion.  I have never found any official Apple-published explanation of Apple's naming or numbering schemes for any of these identifiers.


    If you want to do more research, I suggest you search the web for more items like these Apple Discussions posts:





    Message was edited by: EZ Jim



    Mac OSX 10.7.4

  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 30, 2012 7:56 AM (in response to micrors4racer)

    micrors4racer wrote: ... desktop mount did not come with the other white piece that connects it .... Know where to get it? ...

    If it did not come with the iSight you bought, I don't know any specific source.


    Apple long ago discontinued both external iSight and the iSight Accessory Kit that included various connection and mounting parts. Unless you can find what you need by searching the web, local stores, or flea markets, you could ask your Apple-Authorized Service Provider (AASP) if he might have the part(s) you want.


    If not available locally, Apple may be able to help you.  Both contact information and an indication that some "iSight accessories" might be available are shown in



    micrors4racer wrote: ... Do you know any cables with the original apple FW400 end so it can fit in the magnetic mount while the other side is FW800? ...

    No.  My best suggestion is that you take your iSight with you when you shop so you can be certain that the one you buy will do what you need.




    micrors4racer wrote: ... And is there anyway to know which model I got? ...




    The best way is to read it off the iSight box.  The model, revision, part, and serial numbers are all printed on the package in which the external iSight's originally was shipped and sold.


    If the iSight you bought did not include the original package, your AASP may be able to answer your question.



    micrors4racer wrote: ... is the latest firmware 1.0.3? ...





    micrors4racer wrote: ... Thanks again!


    You're welcome, and thank you for the greenie  "solved" feedback!



    Message was edited by: EZ Jim



    Mac OSX 10.7.4

  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 30, 2012 3:00 PM (in response to micrors4racer)

    micrors4racer wrote: Everything seems to be working fine. ...

    Congratulations, and thanks for the "helped" feedback!

    However, based on your latest post, everything may not be working properly.



    micrors4racer wrote: ... Is the autofocus really slow to react and makes a buzzing noise? ...

    My iSights auto-focus fairly quickly (approximately half a second) in good light.  (See next section for more about light.)  Longer auto-focus times may indicate need for service.


    Also, as stated in the second half of, a properly working iSight's auto-focus sound is best described as a soft whir.  Unless the "buzzing" sound you describe could be described as a "soft whir", it is NOT normal.  If you have doubts about it, compare your iSight with a known good one or ask your AASP to evaluate your external iSight to determine whether it needs service.


    Timely service of existing problems can sometimes prevent additional, and possibly more costly to repair, damage.  Therefore, I suggest that you have your iSight checked if you have any concerns.



    micrors4racer wrote: ... I am thinking that it is because of the low light in my room....

    Use good (means very bright) light for best pictures from your iSight.  This Apple articles explains:


    Moreover, in low light, iSight slows down the video frame rate to preserve as much video quality as possible. This Apple articles explains:


    As a result of these facts, when you need the best quality from external iSight, always light the subject brightly.



    micrors4racer wrote: ... I downloaded iGlasses ...

    I never had a need for iGlasses because I personally like OS X's built-in automatic control of iSight.  However, I tested iGlasses years ago and found that it worked as advertised.  iGlasses is reasonably priced and gets good comments from those who post here about using it.  If you can't use bright lighting with iSight or simply want to manually control some of iSight's parameters, I think iGlasses is the best Mac solution.




    micrors4racer wrote: ...  so I'm guessing nothing is wrong with the autofocus.


    Although I think that experimenting with iGlasses' manual focus capability might help you test your iSight's focus mechanism, I do not think it can test your iSight's auto-focus function.  I think a better autofocus test is the one suggested in sure to uninstall iGlasses or at least turn it off before performing that test.


    Message was edited by: EZ Jim


    Mac OSX 10.7.4


  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2012 8:25 AM (in response to micrors4racer)

    micrors4racer wrote: ...  Is there anyway you can record autofocus working on yours and maybe email it to me? ...


    There is a way, but I do not email.


    Moreover, the sound of my iSight focusing is too quiet for meaningful capture with my recording equipment.  Even if that were not the case, you have no way of judging how different your playback would be from mine. 


    Instead of trying to obtain and listen to a recording, I suggest you reconsider the other suggestions already offered.




    Message was edited by: EZ Jim



    Mac OSX 10.7.4


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