When Apple released its Studio Display along with the Mac Studio, some reviewers were struck by the display’s built-in 12MP ultra-wide camera and how its image quality wasn’t up to par with that of the devices like the iPad Pro, which has the same camera. At the time, Apple said it would fix the issue with software, and after several weeks, it looks like that fix is coming soon.
The new macOS Monterey 12.4 beta 3 was released to developers on Tuesday, and while the release notes only state a fix for StoreKit 2, Apple confirmed with The Verge that the beta includes a firmware update for the Studio Display. The update includes “refinements to the Studio Display camera tuning, including improved noise reduction, contrast, and framing.”
In terms of image quality, beyond having access to extra pixels due to framing, it looks like the camera is being a bit less aggressive when it comes to softening the image and in trying to decrease contrast. In some of the lighting conditions I tested, the dynamic range of the image seemed to be a little wider—highlights weren’t as crushed down, though blacks were still a little more of a gray. Compare it to another Apple webcam like the iMac Pro and you can really see how much less contrast this camera provides.
Developers can get the update through the Apple Developer website, or, if you are running the beta, by performing a Software Update. Apple usually releases the public beta a day or two after the developer release, but for this release, the public beta also landed at the same time. To install the public beta, you must be enrolled in the Public Beta program. Then go to the Guide section, click on the “macOS” tab and then “Enroll your Mac” in the Get Started section.
The firmware for the Studio Display is version 15.5. Once you’ve installed macOS Monterey 12.4, go to System Preferences > Software Update and you should see the option to update the Studio Display firmware.
Version 12.4 went into beta about three weeks ago, and Apple releases betas labeled as final candidates before releasing it to the general public. So it could be at least a couple of weeks before macOS 12.4 with the Studio Display 15.5 firmware is officially released.