I'd like to know your background for the statement that "most things (especially mice and keyboards) don't work all that well"
In the 10+ years that I've been using Macs compatibility has been better than on PC. Recently this has been excellent.
For cameras and printers (Epsom and Canon) I've never had to install drives for them to work with the OS, iPhoto or Image Capture. Recently Image Capture has identified my old scanner and works better than Canon's own software at grabbing information from that.
The only peripherals I've had to install install software for are mice that have greater than the default number of buttons or esoteric functions (like wacom tablets). And even then the basic functions worked out of the box.
In fact, these days, if a peripheral doesn't work out of the box on my Macs, then I get more than a bit worried that it'll cause me grief down the road - normally at the next OS update.