Did Apple really fix the camera on the Studio Display? Here are some before and after comparisons.

The news: A new beta update for the Studio Display has been released…and fixes for the camera are included, according to The Verge.

  • Overall, reviewers liked Apple’s new Studio Display…but there was one resounding point of criticism: the new camera is very bad
  • In what appeared to be an odd miss for a company that ships some of the best cameras in the world, Apple quickly promised a future software update that would improve the quality
  • “An update to the Studio Display firmware is now available with today’s beta release of macOS Monterey 12.4. This beta update has refinements to the Studio Display camera tuning, including improved noise reduction, contrast, and framing,” Apple says
  • So, does the update actually make it any better? Yes and no. While there are moderate improvements in those areas aforementioned (better detail and color overall)…it still looks sub-par considering the $1,599 cost of entry for the Studio Display. As The Verge’s Nilay Patel writes, “It does seem like Apple’s decision to put a wide-angle lens on this camera for Center Stage support is working against image quality here — no matter what, it’s cropping down that sensor, giving the whole system less data to work with.” Thus, the Studio Display’s camera issues have always been more of a hardware than software problem.

Sam’s take: Oh man. I guess I naively thought the image quality was bad just due to some weird software bug. But the software weirdness looks to be only about 30% of the real problem: which is that the actual camera hardware here doesn’t look very good. The new beta no doubt improves the image quality…but it’s still extremely subpar for an Apple display to me. As something marketed to be placed in studios, there’s nothing studio quality about the camera on Apple’s Studio Display. Maybe further software updates will continue to improve things. But right now I’m still disappointed.

Before/after the update, via The Verge

Before/after the update, via James Thomson

Images via Jason Snell