Opal Soft launches C1, a webcam for Mac competing with a $ 300 DSLR


We’re all looking to improve our video conferencing game these days, and now a new Mac-exclusive webcam claims to be the “first professional webcam.” What does it mean? Well, Opal’s C1 webcam aims to be a DSLR-type camera that attaches to your Mac and tries to turn your pitiful built-in webcam into something much more powerful.

As reported by Tom’s Hardware, the Opal C1 has some pretty spectacular specs to back up these claims.

The C1 houses a 7.8mm Sony 4K mirrorless sensor that offers a 78-degree field of view and achieves 60 frames per second. That ticks all the boxes for a high-end camera, and it’s significantly cheaper than connecting a regular DSLR to your computer.

For sound, the Opal C1 has a multidirectional MicMesh which occupies more than half of the webcam. Opal promises noise cancellation, so in theory the mic will deliver crisp, isolated sound that blocks out background noise.

The Opal C1 sitting on a white background.

It all fits into a relatively compact package. The Opal C1 measures 1.97 x 3.07 x 1.81 inches. It’s quite bulky for a typical webcam, but about half the size of a traditional DSLR.

For internal specs, the C1 houses the Opal Trillium microchip and Intel’s latest 14-nanometer VPU chip. The Trillium chip can perform “4 trillion operations per second” according to Opal, and combined with the Intel processor, it should have impressive computing power.

However, its necessity is debatable, as most video conferencing and streaming services compress video anyway.

The C1 will launch with Opal’s custom app, which works exclusively with Mac. This makes sense since some of the founding members of Opal are former Apple employees. The app lets you apply a variety of filters and adjustments to video and audio, including a Bokeh mode that artificially blurs the background, making it easier to focus on you.

Image quality comparisons between the Opal C1 and other webcams.

However, Windows users won’t necessarily miss it. The Opal C1 is always compatible with third-party software.

You cannot buy the Opal C1 yet. It is currently in a private beta phase, by invitation only. You can, however, add your name to a reservation list to purchase a beta model when it releases.

At $ 300, the Opal C1 is significantly more expensive than some of the best webcams you can buy, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s worth it.

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