There have been several threads on the forums MacRumors and Apple Support Communities complained about the graininess of the grain, so we decided to investigate if it is worse than newer MacBook Pro models or the older MacBook Air.
Many of the complaints we saw suggested the camera was poor quality without offering direct comparisons, or compared to FaceTime cameras like the iPhone, which is incredibly better than the 720p "FaceTime HD" camera Apple uses in the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lines.
In a direct comparison, photos taken from Photo Booth on a MacBook Air 201
However, when we compared the new MacBook Air and the older MacBook Air 2015, we found a more noticeable quality difference. The MacBook Air 2015 FaceTime HD camera is a little clearer and brighter, with the 2018 MacBook Air's less light-emitting camera giving a generally grained, less clear result.
Although we can clearly see a difference between 2015 and 2018 MacBook Air FaceTime HD cameras, there is not a huge gap. Both cameras are subordinate, and the FaceTime HD camera on the MacBook Air seems to have gotten worse over time rather than better, is absolutely disappointing.
On a modern machine with a Retina display, a 720p FaceTime HD camera not only keeps up, especially when compared to devices like the iPhone XS, iPhone XR and iPad Pro, which have much higher resolution cameras. FaceTime is limited to 720p on all devices, but the FaceTime HD camera also serves other purposes.
2018 MacBook Air owners are disappointed, and honestly, MacBook Pro owners should also be. The 720p looks awful and it's outdated technology. Apple implemented a better 1080p FaceTime HD camera in the iMac Pro, and the quality is much better.
Hopefully, future Mac notebook updates will have high quality webcams, as video quality has become an increasingly important feature that consumers are looking for when they buy.
Many of the complaint threads that suggested the MacBook Air camera are worse than other machines did not include comparison pictures, so we are still working on just a few data points here. If you have a MacBook Air and another machine, please post comparison pictures in the thread below so we can investigate this issue.