First thing: Possible Hardware or Software Conflicts with iSight.
If your trouble continues when no other FW device are connected, consider these other possibilities:
(1) If the old external iSight you have still works, it should work with the new Mac mini. You can test an external iSight using the suggestions in this link , including Apple's troubleshooting suggestions from http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2090
Test more than one Apple camera-enabled app in more than one user account. However, don't use the "Guest" account for testing. If your Mac only has one account, create a new user account for testing.
(2) Although unlikely, it is possible that your Firewire 400-800 cable is not working properly. You can check cable function by trying the cable with a different FW400 device.
If you don't have another FW400 device, get at least one more connector to test for possible connection problems. Any working one of something like those listed here should work to connect your FW400 external iSight:
• This Firewire 400-800 cable can work:
http://store.apple.com/us/product/HA352ZM/A/ (I use this one.)
• Some users report that this low-priced alternative cable works:
• To use your iSight's FW400 6pin-6pin cable, you can use a 6pin-9pin adapter like one of these:
http://tinyurl.com/ydsbb6m (I successfully use this one, too.)
(3) Apple discontinued external iSight several years ago.
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 or even NOS iSights may have been damaged by rough treatment or improper storage.
The only way to know whether any presently available external iSight works properly is to test it using suggestions similar to those I offered above before you buy. If you did not test the external iSight before you bought and now find it will not work properly with your system, perhaps a trusted seller will give you return or exchange privileges.
Otherwise, if you don't want to spend the money to have your external iSight serviced, consider a new, Mac-compatible USB cam that offers a current manufacturer's warranty instead of any external iSight. Some examples of current compatible cams are described at http://www.mac-compatible-web-cam.com/
(4) If you want to look for more ideas, you can search iSight Discussions.
http://discussions.apple.com/thread/3983993 is a good place to start.
(BTW, current FaceTime software versions work with external iSight's mic.)
(5) If you need other suggestions after doing your own searches, we will try to offer more specifics based on the details you supply in your reply here.
Thanks for the comprehensive response!
So, I do only have one FW port so I don't think that is the issue.
When I'm playing around with the microphone input options and select isight I can see the levels respond to my voice so the microphone at least appears to work.
When I use evocam the camera is clearly creating images just refreshing every half second at most and when I use photobooth it refreshes every 5 minutes or so. So it seems to me that the camera is receiving sound and images, and the cable is working but some how its not translating well with the newer mac or its operating system?
I'm no expert here but it feels like a driver compatibility issue rather than a camera, cable or port issue?
You're welcome, Jake.
(a) excluded possible connection problems,
(b) removed all other Firewire devices during testing, and
(c) used HT2090 to rule out application-specific and user-specific issues,
and especially if you experience an overall slowing of your mini, consider these possible causes of a slow-running Mac: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH10798.
However, if only the camera apps are slow, I would check Activity Monitor while using the camera to try to find whether you might have runaway camera-enabled apps, Login Items, or widgets. If the trouble remains after you have eliminated that possibility, too, check for possible third-party app conflicts (uninstall all, restart, and check camera operation again.)
(2) Unless your Mac's OS X is damaged, drivers are NOT your problem. All driver software required for iSight has been part of (and automatically installed with) Mac OS X since version 10.4.9.
You can repair your OS X if necessary by using one the following suggestions:
• Restart your Mac.
• Use your Mac's Disk Utility to repair permissions.
• Then download and apply your latest Combo Update: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1581
• Repair permissions again immediately following the system restart that completes the Combo update.
Properly applying the Combo version of updates (or in worst case, completely reinstalling OSX) can sometimes correct software problems, but, if your trouble is caused by a hardware problem, there are no user serviceable parts of the camera. For hardware help, contact an Apple-Authorized Service Provider for service.
This is a brand new top the range Mac mini with very little added to it yet, activity monitor shows there is plenty of capacity (around 98% idle) and it doesn't go up when I open photo booth. I repaired permissions; no change and I tried to download the combi update but I got the error message "Os x update combined can't be installed on this disk. This volume does not meet the requirements for this update."
So this Mac came pre-installed with os x 10.8.2 so how would I go about reinstalling if that is what's needed?
Any other ideas?
You're welcome, Jake.
jakestar99 wrote: ... so how would I go about reinstalling if that is what's needed?...
So while connected to internet restart Mac while holding down ⌘R to access
OS X Recovery: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718
jakestar99 wrote: ... Any other ideas? ...
If you have already tried everything else already suggested, contact Apple or an Apple-Authorized Service Provider for service.
jakestar99 wrote:... I have an issue with the Mac mini itself and should return it to the store?...
Yes, Jake. Exactly!
You may want to call the store first and ask whether you need an appointment time.
Make a backup of all your mini's important files before taking mini for service.
When you go for service, also take your iSight and the cable(s) and connector(s) that woked when you tested with the other Mac.
Please let us know how it goes.