Tiny new Opal Tadpole webcam offers 4K quality on the go


If your laptop's webcam isn't doing it for you, you might try the new Tadpole from Opal.
If your laptop's webcam isn't doing it for you, you might try the new Tadpole from Opal.
Photo: Opal

The ex-Apple and Beats folks behind the DSLR-like Opal C1 Webcam are back with a tiny new webcam claiming even better picture quality in an ultra-portable package for use with laptops and tablets — the Opal Tadpole.

And unlike the C1, which launched at $300 and dropped to $250, the Tadpole comes out of the gate at $175.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Opal Tadpole webcam

Not only does the 4K-resolution Opal Tadpole offer better picture quality than the well-liked, Mac-only C1 (also 4K), it’s the “world’s smallest webcam ever made,” the company said. The webcam measures just 1.2 inches on each side and weighs 45 grams. And it works with PCs, not just Macs.

Tadpole comes with a clamp to fit most laptops, like MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, without needing a dedicated mount. While it can also fit tablets like iPad, it appears the clamp is too small to latch onto an iMac or external display, however. And it remains to be seen whether users will opt for the tiny new Tadpole over using Continuity Camera with their iPhones as an alternative to their MacBook webcam.

For a quality picture, the Tadpole incorporates a 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor (better than the C1’s and most laptop webcams) with a f1.8 six-element lens.

Its built-in USB-C cable (USB 2.0, 200Mbps) is braided and you can use it as a lanyard when it’s not plugged into something else.

‘AI powered directional microphone’

Opal said the new webcam’s AI-powered directional microphone “only captures audio that the camera can see,” suggesting it’s good at filtering out background noise.

Here’s how Opal described it:

By allowing sound waves to pass through a sonic tunnel inside the device, any sound outside Tadpoleʼs field of view is not recorded, resulting in crisp, distraction-free video calls in any environment for the first time. With AI-integrated technology, Tadpole intelligently picks up the human voice while filtering out other unwanted background noises to give you professional sound quality wherever you go.

You can also tap a the camera’s USB-C plug to mute yourself while on a call, which is a handy feature.

You can pick up the Tadpole, which comes in black or white colors, for $175 at Opal or Amazon.

Where to buy: Amazon

Opal Tadpole 4K Webcam

This tiny, high-quality webcam clips on to MacBook and other laptops. It features a 4K image sensor and VisiMic directional microphones. Works on Mac, PC and tablets. Comes in black or white.

Buy Now


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.