/posts/ 2021/caldigit-ts3-plus-and-a-streamcam

CalDigit TS3+ and a Logitech StreamCam

Mar 16, 2021

#hardware #macos #logitech #caldigit 

When I switched back to an M1 MacBook Air, I picked a CalDigit TS3+ as my desk dock. The M1 suffers from a distinct lack of ‘standard’ ports, which is excellent for the form factor, but it isn’t beneficial for desk usage where you need a collection of accessories plugged in. Thankfully, the CalDigit TS3+ plugs that hole nicely by providing a wide selection of ports and DisplayPort output.

I use my M1 in ‘clamshell’ mode when at my desk, so I had to look around for a webcam. I usually wouldn’t bother, but with the current situation, all of our meetings are remote. Having a webcam available makes the meeting flow a little easier, especially when dealing with new people, which was precisely my situation due to starting a new job. When shopping, options were quite limited online, and the cheap camera I bought in the past had tripled in price over the last couple of months. I decided to suck up the cost and pay for a real webcam, something with decent features and image quality, and in the end, I picked up the Logitech StreamCam for an eye-watering £129.

My Logitech StreamCam in white, mounted on top of my monitor.
My Logitech StreamCam in white, mounted on top of my monitor.

The camera itself is jam-packed full of features; 1080p 60fps, auto-focus and exposure, USB C, and even a 1/8" screw mounting base to place it on a tripod if needed. As it turned out I picked the wrong camera for my set of devices, and I am dogged by some compatibility problems:

M1 support, I couldn’t expect Logitech to have that ready just a month or two after the first actual hardware launch, after all even bigger companies are still trying to support it.

The CalDigit incompatibility was a head-scratcher. I emailed CalDigit’s support, and within 24 hours I had back an extremely detailed response, to which I deleted and can’t share here, but Scott Macpherson received a similar reply. I’ve yet to approach Logitech support, but I expect the result won’t be any real resolution as it looks more and more like a hardware issue. For the moment, the StreamCam works perfectly in one of the Thunderbolt ports, the front USB-C port, or with a C-to-A adapter in most of the other ports. The only port set that has issues is the 10gbps group on the back of the TS3+.

As for the final item, I don’t have any strict proof, but I suspect this is related to the lack of application support on M1 chips. I can’t get any application to use the promised 60fps mode on the camera, maybe it needs the applications to enable it, but I’ll have to wait and see if Logitech updates their application. Initially, I thought it was due to using a C to A adapter in a USB 3.1 port and that the bandwidth wasn’t wide enough for 60fps (USB 2.0 is 480mbps something something, but I digress), but now it is plugged into a Thunderbolt port I don’t see any marked improvement.

In summary, this was a quick warning about using a Logitech StreamCam with a CalDigit TS3+ or an M1 Mac. I’d stay clear if you hit either of these situations at the moment. Maybe a hardware revision or a firmware update could resolve it shortly, but I’m not holding my breath.

[Update 2021/03/17]

I spotted a comment from Swarm2099 on Reddit, version 2.0.200 of Logitech Capture, designed from macOS 10.14, works on M1 Macs. The version is massively out of date, but at least it is something.

[Update 2021/05/05]

After a short and grumpy tweet on my account, Logitech replied stating that an M1 version of Logitech Capture is in the works, but with no release date defined.