Last Updated on February 17, 2022 by Devaun Lennox
If you’re looking to start your first streaming channel on YouTube or Twitch, a quality camera is key. Sure, most gaming laptops have built-in webcams already. But, with small sensors, awkward positions, grainy videos, and fixed lenses, they’re not the most versatile cameras around. Instead, they’re there to get the bare minimum done. But, considering presenting a clear picture of yourself to fans is vital in making a strong connection. They’re unlikely to prove beneficial long-term. So, if you want your content to stand apart, a quality camera dedicated to streaming is the right choice.
Dedicated gaming cameras provide a simple and effective all-in-one solution. And many offer targeted features like ultra-smooth 60 FPS video, XSplit and OBS support, built-in microphones, and much more. And they do so with larger image sensors to capture more details, especially in low light. And with the sudden change and movement towards virtual, streaming cameras have become quite a hot demand. So these days, you can obtain a substantial upgrade in image quality and general functionality with little investment. But, when it comes to gaming cameras, you have many options.
You can opt for compact or interchangeable lens cameras connected to a computer as a webcam. And that’s what professional gamers end up doing with time. But, if you’re a beginner looking to get started, it doesn’t have to be that complicated or expensive. Thankfully, there are several highlight options designed with gaming and streaming in mind. And in this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best gaming cameras on the present market. We’ve also included a brief guide on some of the factors to consider when looking at gaming cameras.
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5 – Razer Kiyo Pro
Razer’s Kiyo Pro is the company’s latest high-end gaming webcam. And it comes to the market to refine the original model with even more targeted features to help creators. It uses a 1080p sensor streaming at 60 FPS using a variable field of view.
With the Kiyo Pro, Razer’s added several notable additions over the original model. Firstly, there’s a new HDR option to make your streams pop with vibrant colors and contrast, albeit by dropping down to 30 FPS. Secondly, they’ve upgraded the camera’s sensor. And it now uses a Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor with backside illumination to help adapt to the incoming light. And it’s a change that greatly improves the camera’s low light performance and general image quality. But, crucially, the Pro features a variable field of view, ranging from 80º to 103º. So streamers can choose the effective focal length to highlight or remove various elements within the frame on the fly. Yet, it also brings 60 FPS to the lineup for buttery smooth, life-like playback. Other bonuses include a tripod mount, a privacy cover, an omnidirectional microphone, and a one-year warranty.
Overall, Razer’s Kiyo Pro is an excellent all-rounder and the perfect compliment for gamers wanting more premium functionality.
4 – MEVO Start
The Mevo Start offers powerful pan, tilt, and zooming functionality to streamers. It uses a 1080p sensor streaming at 30 FPS with an 84º field of view.
The Mevo Start is purpose-built for streaming. And it brings several unseen features to this segment. Firstly, it offers wireless connectivity and a user-friendly smartphone app called Mevo Mic. Through the app, you can control the Start’s pan, tilt, and zooming functionality. And doing so gives your videos the appearance of a second operator. But, crucially, the Start uses face-detection and scene analysis to provide an autopilot mode that automatically chooses the most exciting framing. Even so, the app also offers extensive adjustments, presets, and full manual operation. Secondly, you can stream on the go by connecting it to a phone’s hot stop with the included Wi-Fi module. And it’s ready for 6 hours of continuous use to boot. Other bonuses include three spatial processing microphones, a microphone input, and a tripod mount.
Overall, while pricier than rivals, Mevo’s Start delivers a hallmark design and refines the already class-leading Mevo Plus. And it remains a powerful all-in-one streaming solution, perfect for those gaming on the road.
3 – Logitech StreamCam
Logitech’s StreamCam is ready to take your gaming streams to the next level. It uses a 1080p sensor streaming at 60 FPS with a 78º field of view with image stabilization.
The StreamCam comes with XSplit, OBS, and Twitch support from the get-go; no setup is needed. And it’s also fully adjustable, so you can change both the pan and tilt or covert the device from landscape to portrait orientation. Doing so alters the aspect ratio to the 9:16 format for vertical video. There you can share the videos to all of the popular social media sites, like TikTok or Instagram. Yet, the StreamCam also captures video at 60 FPS for buttery smooth videos. And Logitech also bundles Capture, their companion software, to perform auto-adjustments, presets, add Chroma keys, filters, and more. Other bonuses include a tripod thread, dual front-facing microphones, a 3-month license for XSplit, and a one-year warranty.
Overall, Logitech’s StreamCam combines excellent software and image quality into a robust all-in-one tool. And it’s a solid option for those with USB-C-equipped devices that’ll remove the guesswork involved with streaming.
2 – Logitech C922X Pro
Logitech’s C922X Pro is quite a solid all-rounder at its price point. It features a 1080p sensor streaming at 30 FPS with a 78º field of view.
The Pro obtains dual omnidirectional microphones, capturing crisp, clear, and realistic-sounding audio. But it also receives Logitech’s Capture software, giving you a full suite of customization from transitions, overlays, and manual control. Yet, it also debuts with the Auto Light Correction feature, which fine-tunes the camera across various lighting conditions for razor-sharp videos. Other bonuses include a tripod thread, a 3-month license for XSplit, and a one-year warranty.
Overall, Logitech’s C922X Pro is a solid all-rounder. And it makes sense why it’s so popular, given the refinements and variety it provides. Yet, it remains affordable and not out of reach for new creators.
1 – Razer Kiyo
Razer’s Kiyo was their original streaming camera and one ready to take gamers to a professional level. It features a 1080p sensor streaming at 30 FPS with an 81º field of view.
With this model, Razer meticulously thought about the fundamentals of webcam design. And they stripped away any unnecessary components. Instead, Kiyo features an innovative design hyper-focused on streaming. Namely, it brings an integrated daylight-balanced ring light to webcams. So creators can now mostly forget about setting up a dedicated light to get a decent result. Instead, you can vary its adjustable brightness to create flattering light immediately. Kiyo is also fully compatible with XSplit and OBS from the get-go; no setup is needed. Yet, it also offers full customization, letting users adjust profiles, the camera settings, and add presets. Other bonuses include a tripod thread and an omnidirectional microphone.
Overall, Razer’s Kiyo was the first webcam to change the market genuinely. And it brings innovation that removes much of the difficulties with game streaming. And it does so with studio-like lighting without being earth-shattering on the budget in the process.
What to look for in Gaming Cameras
Webcam Resolution and Frame Rate
When it comes to game streaming, 1080p full HD resolution is the standard. The only reason to get a 4K webcam is to record and edit videos for Vimeo or YouTube. Or you specifically want more room for cropping in post-processing. But, if you don’t plan on recording videos in this fashion, then skip a 4K webcam altogether. Most stream platforms don’t support streaming at 4K resolution, so there’s no benefit to the higher resolution in this regard. It simply requires too much internet bandwidth and most internet providers aren’t fit for this capability yet.
But, outside of resolution, you may want to consider the webcam’s frame rate. The frame rate determines the smoothness of the video. And if you want ultra-smooth and life-like streams, getting a webcam that shoots at 60 FPS (frames per second) is best. Otherwise, most webcams offer 30 FPS, and it’ll be sufficient.
The lens the webcam uses will determine its low light performance and field of view. And this is an area of consideration if you don’t already have good lighting. However, not every manufacturer discloses the specification about the lens used. But, ideally, you want a lens with an aperture of F/2 or below. This configuration will capture more light and help when recording dimly lit scenes. But, if you can’t find a webcam with this setup, consider purchasing dedicated lighting instead.
You’ll also want to consider the webcam’s field of view, which refers to how wide or narrow the frame is. The field of view will determine how much of the background it will capture and how you’ll frame your stream. Ideally, you want it to be around 90º, so it’s wide, but not so wide that it becomes distracting.
Lower-end webcams have fixed focus lenses. And If you’re outside of its range, you’ll be out of focus. This is a limitation, as it pre-defines how you can stream with the camera. So consider avoiding these options and get a webcam that has autofocus so that you can move freely.
Audio quality is vital for a successful stream. Thankfully, many webcams have built-in microphones ready to improve your sound quality. And it’s a good idea to opt for a webcam with a stereo microphone if you don’t already have one. Doing so will provide an all-in-one solution and save money purchasing a secondary accessory.
Automatic brightness and color correction
You want the webcam to accurately correct changes in brightness and produce authentic real-looking colors. And the webcam shouldn’t have difficulty compensating for the ambient light in your room. But, it should also offer manual control via a software app, so you can make tweaks as needed.