To help you see how things have changed, here are a few before-and-after comparisons.
We got our hands on a review unit of the Apple Studio Display when it released with the Mac Studio in March 2022. Despite some negative feedback, we still think it’s one of the greatest Mac displays money can buy.
The 27-inch 5K display was generally well received by those who used it, but the bad picture quality provided by the display’s 12MP ultrawide camera was one of the most prevalent concerns we heard.
In my own testing, I found nothing to complain about, maybe because I was anticipating performance on par or better than the integrated cameras I often use on laptops and tablets, even Apple’s own iPads.
As it stands, the camera in the Studio Display looks to be identical to the one in the iPad Air (2022) that Apple announced at the same time as the monitor. The Studio Display’s camera quality will be less of a letdown if you knew that going in. While the iPad Air (2022) and the Studio Display camera both produce excellent selfies, we were surprised to see minimal difference in picture quality in our side-by-side comparisons when our Head of Testing Matthew Murray stood for some follow-up selfie testing.
It’s disheartening that Apple’s new $1,599 display can’t compete with a tablet that costs roughly a third as much. In response to considerable criticism of the Studio Display’s camera quality, Apple promptly promised enhancements would be made in a future software update. For those who are on the current Mac OS Monterey beta, the update has now come.
You should be able to get a Studio Display firmware upgrade if you’re willing to run the public beta of macOS Monterey 12.4 or later, as we were. The camera’s picture quality should improve somewhat but noticeably after everything has been updated. Particularly in well-lit areas, we saw a minor increase in picture clarity and a tiny narrowing of the frame.
This time around, we recruited the aid of Hero of the Hour Matthew Murray to snap a few quick selfies before and after installing the update to show you what’s been altered. The camera’s performance in direct sunlight before and after the upgrade is seen below.
A closer look at the arrows on the image above reveals that the Apple Studio Display sensor has made some tiny gains in terms of clarity. To my view, the colour reproduction looks to be more true as well, as you can see more diverse and realistic colours in the face.
After we updated the Apple Studio Display’s software, Matthew noted that the frame had become a little narrower. Even though Matthew employed the exact same placement in both before and after photographs, the frame is now more closely cropped on the subject.
The quality of images shot without natural light, if any, will now be examined. Take a look at these before and after photos of Matthew in Google Meet and Photo Booth with the lights off and the curtains closed.
It’s much more difficult to see the difference in camera quality when there’s no strong natural light around. Is there a noticeable difference in these images? Personally, I believe that the new version of our topic has a little crisper appearance and a more authentic colour reproduction.
As an example, his face seems brighter and more vibrant after the update, when earlier it seemed more washed-out and pale in the prior image.
The conclusion on the new Apple Studio Display firmware update
Then, what do you think? In my opinion, this update seems to have had minimal effect on the camera on the Apple Studio Display. Although it looks to be crisper and more precise today than it was at debut, I doubt many people will notice.
Although this is a beta firmware upgrade, it’s possible that Apple may make it more effective when the final Monterey update is released. The A13 Bionic chip in the Apple Studio Display is a major factor in the display’s camera performance, so there’s likely more the firm can do to enhance picture quality in the future.
However, as it is, this update has minimal effect on the Studio Display camera’s performance.