With the COVID-19 spread and saocial distancing in effect, video conferencing has become the new normal. A lot of us spend more time facing a digital screen than we spend talking to our loved ones nearby. Then, it’s no surprise that people want to improve the overall quality of video input and output.
Things get worse in the case of Macs, which, despite all the good stuff, have subpar webcam quality. This has not changed even in the latest models of MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. If you ask us, that’s kind of a real issue.
Do External Webcams Always Provide Superior-quality Video?
It is why a lot of us have thought about purchasing an external webcam for our Mac — especially since Apple doesn’t include a decent webcam with its products. Here are a few problems, though:
External webcams can be incredibly expensive. You may have to spend around $200 to $400 to get a Pro external webcam for your Mac. These webcams come with a decent set of customization options as well.
There are affordable webcams in the market, but their quality is really pathetic. You cannot count on these devices when it comes to ensuring the best quality for video calls. You may also have to face a number of compatibility issues.
Of course, you can always hook up a DSLR to your Mac for superior-quality video. However, this is an even more expensive thing, and you have to spend around $1000 here. Of course, this setup takes a toll on portability as well.
As you can see, finding a high-quality video source can be a tricky affair.
But, wait a minute. Don’t iPhones have some of the best smartphone cameras in the world?
Won’t it be awesome if you can use the iPhone camera as your Mac’s secondary webcam?
Why Use Your iPhone Camera as Your Webcam for Mac?
As we said, finding an expensive webcam isn’t the best choice for everyone. I mean, you already spent a few hundred dollars on a brand-new iPhone. Why would you pay further if you can use the iPhone camera as an external webcam?
iPhone cameras are very well optimized for quality and performance. This means they can provide you a smooth video-calling experience.
You can use either the front or rear camera of your iPhone to capture video. This means you can pick an angle and quality that suits you the best.
Your external webcam is always with you as long as you have your iPhone and a USB cable with you. This means some extra convenience for most people as they don’t have to carry a webcam around.
So, using your iPhone camera as an external webcam is an easy yet effective affair. But how do you do it? I mean, you need some level control over the output and at least the standard compatibility. Unfortunately, Apple is still ages away from providing an official feature.
Well, you can relax, since Camo, a brand-new macOS app from Reincubate, aims to do just this. And, we got our hands on this tool, and we have a review prepared for you.
What is Reincubate Camo?
Reincubate Camo is a macOS productivity app that lets you use your iPhone’s camera as an external webcam for your Mac. You can connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable and use the front/rear camera of the iPhone to conduct meetings, video conferencing, and more.
According to the developer, Camo works fine with more than 40 popular apps for meetings and online classes — including Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, GoToMeeting, etc. You also get several post-processing features.
How to Use Camo?
We loved how straightforward the entire process is. You just need the following things to get started with an online video meeting using your iPhone’s camera.
Your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, which should be running iOS 12 or later
A Mac, running macOS 10.13 or newer
A Lightning to USB cable
Reincubate Camo app, available for iOS
Camo uses a dedicated software called Camo Studio to control and manage video footage from your iPhone. You also have to install the Reincubate Camo app on your iPhone. Now, you can connect your iPhone to the Mac and launch the Camo apps on both devices.
After you have trusted the computer from the iPhone, you should be able to see the video footage from the iPhone on your Mac screen. This is just a preview, and you can control how the final output goes from here. Keep in mind that the extra features are entirely optional.
However, you can make some necessary changes. For instance, if you have an iPhone with multiple camera lenses, you can choose a lens. In this case, we had used an iPhone 11, which comes with a wide and ultra-wide sensor. Depending on the frame you need, you can choose the right lens.
Once you have finished this part, you can open up the meeting/online classroom app that you want to use. In this case, we have chosen Google Meet. Depending on the app, you can go to the settings and select the video input called Reincubate Camo.
Tada, you can now use your iPhone camera as the Pro-quality webcam. We tried Camo with other apps for meeting as well. Staying true to what the developer says, everything works super-fine. There is also a Help & Integrations panel that gives you information on how to use Camo with different apps.
What Makes Camo Great?
Camo isn’t the first macOS app that allowed you to convert your iPhone into a handy webcam. In fact, there are so many solutions out there. However, there are a few factors that make Reincubate Camo an excellent choice for most people.
It’s Simple & Seamless
Regardless of your experience with iPhone or Mac, you can set up Camo in a few seconds. This is something we cannot say about other iPhone-to-webcam tools out there. As long as you have a USB cable, you should be able to connect your phone to the Mac and enjoy high-quality content. We also noticed that Camo doesn’t use much system resources or cause a battery drain.
Customizable to Detail
You can choose between a variety of options while using Camo. First of all, you can choose between the rear and the front cameras of your iPhone. And, if you have an iPhone with a dual camera, you can choose between multiple lenses as well. Camo also allows you to choose the right resolution that suits your needs, with full support for up to 1080p.
Camo does not merely bring the real-time video footage from your iPhone. Instead, it allows you to control and manipulate the video output based on factors like brightness, shutter speed, saturation, temperature, tint, etc. You can also choose between options like mirror video and rotation. All these settings help you in creating the perfect frame and details for your meeting, classroom, or something else.
The developers behind Camo have done an incredible job of keeping things clean. You can count on features like the modern UI and native dark mode in this. Even if you have connected more than one device to your Mac, Camo can handle everything with ease. We loved the neatness so much so that we couldn’t find major issues with UI/UX at all.
What Could Be Better?
Seriously, we couldn’t find anything wrong with Reincubate Camo. It is perfect while doing the job it is designed to do. However, there is still room for improvement if you ask us. So, some of the features that we’d like to see in the next version are:
The ability to connect your iPhone through Wi-Fi. Currently, you need to carry a USB cable if you want to use your iPhone as the webcam.
Currently, Camo is available for macOS only. It’d be nice to see a version for Windows.
Camo doesn’t allow us to use the iPhone or iPad’s microphone. You are still stuck with the internal mic or Bluetooth headphones that you connect to the Mac.
We’d also love to see some advanced options like green screen and Chroma keying, which can take the possibilities to the next level.
Here is an exciting thing. The developer of Camo has already reassured that these new features will find a place in the upcoming version. Considering that Camo was launched only in July, this means the developer plans to keep things moving forward.
Availability and Pricing
As of now, Camo is available for macOS only. You need an iPhone/iPad/iPad running iOS 12 or newer to use all the features in the package.
Most of Camo is free, but there are some additional features that you can unlock by choosing Camo Pro, which comes at $39.99. For instance, Camo Pro lets you capture video content at 1080p resolution and removes the Camo watermark. You also get some advanced post-processing features with the paid version.
After our testing period with the paid version, we think everyone would love the extra features. So, the $40 you spend on Reincubate Camo will surely be one of the best $40 you can spend.
Long story short, we loved what Camo offers to every Mac user out there. It’s also one of the most useful macOS productivity apps as well. Even if you decide to spend around $40 for the Pro version, you can save a lot of money when compared to getting a professional webcam.
More importantly, thanks to the great camera system that Apple has used on iPhones, you can enjoy top-of-the-line quality 1080p video for meetings as well. The only other investment you may have to make is just a place where you can keep your iPhone.
So, we are sure that we won’t think twice before we recommend Camo. Not just to people who need a tool to use their iPhone as a camera but also to those who need a better webcam experience on their Mac.