These days, a webcam is an essential tool for a computer setup. And over the last year, there’s been an unforeseen surge in demand, causing quite a back stock in the market. But, justifiably so, since if you want to look your best, it’s unlikely your laptop’s built-in camera will do you justice. And why let dull, noisy videos spoil your next online chat, stream, or meeting anyway?
A dedicated webcam will ensure you look the best and also offer extras to make you stand out. And it’s the perfect tool to captive viewers in digital meetings, students in remote learning environments, or content creators online. But, indeed, one that’ll be transformative in quality to help solidify a strong connection with your audience.
But, today’s market has an overwhelming number of options, most of which modestly priced, similarly capable, so finding the right one will become challenging. With that, in today’s post, we will cover a detailed guide on how to choose the best webcam for your current setup. And we’ll also cover the best webcam cameras on the present market.
5 – Microsoft LifeCam Studio
Enjoy superior HD video quality with Microsoft’s LifeCam Studio. The LifeCam Studio uses a durable barrel-style design with a petal lens hood, reducing unwanted light or glare coming into the lens. And It features a 1080p HD sensor and a 75º field of view, which streams at 720p HD resolution to popular streaming sites or records 1080p to commercial video applications.
However, it’s certified for Skype, Lync, and Skype for Business, making it an easy transition for enterprise applications. The webcam itself also offers autofocus and face tracking, from four inches to infinity, ensuring you’re crisp and in-focus at all times. But, its clever 360-degree swivel design lets you easily show your video chatting partners essential details in the room, should you need to. Microsoft even includes their TrueColor Technology, which automatically brightness and saturates the camera’s footage to make filming easier. And they’ve included a built-in wideband mono microphone to create a complete workflow solution with premium audio to compliment. Other bonuses include a tripod mount, a dedicated software app, and a three-year limited warranty.
Overall, if you’re a Windows user, Microsoft’s LifeCam Studio is a one-stop enterprise-ready platform. And, while not the most attractive, it’s undoubtedly one that will upgrade your next business meeting or presentation.
4 – Logitech C930e
Upgrade video meetings or teleconferences to business class with the Logitech C930e webcam. This camera captures 1080p 30 FPS video with a generously wide 90º field of view lens to all popular streaming sites. And it claims to be their most advanced HD webcam to date.
Logitech’s equipped the camera with the RightLight 2 technology, HD autofocus, a 4X HD zoom, and adjustable pan and tilt controls. These functions allow the webcam to capture close-up details with excellent resolution without requiring a physical adjustment. Additionally, it features dual omnidirectional microphones for clear and uninterrupted audio capture. The device also obtains a scalable coding option, which reduces network resources when bandwidth is limited. And it’s even certified for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet. Other bonuses include an integrated tripod thread, attachable privacy shade, noise cancellation, built-in speakers, LED lights, and a three-year warranty.
Overall, Logitech’s C930e is quite a powerful business webcam. And one that’s ideally suited for professionals looking for a camera update, be they Windows, Chrome, or macOS users. And its generous field of view and excellent noise cancellation makes it an ideal option for multiple participant meetings or busy working spaces.
3 – Logitech StreamCam
Take your content to the next level and stream at 60 FPS in true to life detail with Logitech’s SteamCam. This webcam combines FHD clarity in an easy to use package perfectly suited for today’s new-age influencers. It features a 1080p sensor with a 78º field of view and image stabilization capable of streaming in 1080p 60 FPS.
The StreamCam comes with OBS, XSplit, and Twitch support right out of the box. No setup is needed. Additionally, it’s also adjustable, in both tilt and pan, and converts from landscape to portrait. And turning it portrait allows it to supply 9:16 format or vertical video to all of the popular social media sites. But, crucially, with its 60 FPS, it offers a key advantage over the competition that mostly lacks this feature. Plus, Logitech bundles their Capture software, with built-in auto-adjustments, presets, manual control, Chroma Key, filters, and more. And it offers smart autofocus with AI-enable facial tracking, ensuring you’re always in focus. Other bonuses include a 3-month license for XSplit, a tripod thread, dual front-facing microphones, and a one-year limited warranty.
Overall, Logitech’s StreamCam combines excellent software and image quality into a powerful entry-level tool. Sure, it’s one of the most expensive streaming webcams on the market, but it’s a solid choice for those with USB-C-equipped devices, especially if you want a webcam that removes all the guesswork of streaming. So it’s quite an outstanding jack of all trades option for budding creators.
2 – Logitech BRIO
Bring 4K wherever you go with the Logitech Brio. The Brio is Logitech’s most advanced business webcam to date, packed with leading innovative technologies. It features a 4K sensor and a 90º field of view lens, which provides 4K 30 FPS, 1080p 60 FPS, and 720p 90 FPS videos.
The Brio brings RightLight 3 and HDR technology, which combine to automatically adjust camera settings for outstanding quality in any lighting condition, be it direct sunlight, low light, or backlit scenes. The device is also certified for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom. Additionally, it sports an integrated optical and IR sensor for Windows Hello. And it obtains dual integrated Omni-directional microphones with noise cancellation for crystal clear audio up to 1m away. Plus, you can choose from three fields of view to perfectly frame your video, from 65º for talking head or 78º and 90º to capture more of the surroundings. Other bonuses include a tripod thread, detachable cable, a privacy shutter, 5x HD Zoom, a carrying case, and a three-year warranty.
Overall, Logitech’s Brio raises the bar by bringing 4K and HDR to the mass-market. And it’s an excellent option for business users wanting high resolution, HDR, and innovative software that keeps them ahead of the curve. Or users who want the sharpest and most color-accurate webcam around.
1 – Razer Kiyo
Take your streaming or vlogs to a professional level with the Razer Kiyo. The Kiyo features a 1080p sensor with an 81º field of view lens that streams at 1080p 30 FPS and 720p at 60 FPS.
Razer meticulously thought about this webcam’s design and stripped away any unnecessary elements. Instead, it brings a new innovative design focused on what matters most. Namely, it bundles an included daylight-balanced ring light, so forget setting up a light to get a decent result. Instead, use its adjustable brightness to get flattering lighting and eliminate any harsh shadows instantly. They’ve also made this device fully compatible with OBS and XSplit right out of the box. And it offers full customization, camera adjustments, presets, and profiles. Other bonuses include a tripod thread and an omnidirectional microphone.
Overall, Razer’s Kiyo brings innovation that entirely removes the inherent difficulty of streaming. Instead, you’re ready to get creating right away. And it’s the ideal choice for Windows users wanting a comprehensive but straightforward workflow solution to up their production value. But one that delivers studio-like lighting, without tacking on a higher price in the process.
Why get a webcam camera?
These days webcams are starting to become essential. And if you’re spending a reasonable amount of time on video-conference calls, these cameras are as every bit important as a quality microphone. Ultimately, a dedicated webcam camera will improve your video quality and simplify your workflow.
Sure, most laptops have built-in cameras. But, even so, most of these cameras are far too blurry for professional meetings or applications. Small lenses, strange colors, exposures, and awkward angles are just some of the problems that face built-in webcams. Plus, most struggle to create and maintain good videos in standard indoor lighting. As such, they’re a minimum in getting the job done. But not the standard of excellence. So you can surely do much better without it requiring a painful financial burden to do so.
Instead, a dedicated webcam solves these problems while simultaneously offers more flexibility for proper framing. Additionally, they also provide bonus features like autofocus, exposure control, built-in lights or microphones for a better experience. And considering presenting a clear, in focus, audible picture of yourself is essential in making a strong connection; it’s a worthy investment. And it’ll be one that pays dividends long-term.
Can webcams work on both desktops and laptops?
Some manufacturers design webcams primarily for desktops, while others have built-in mounts for laptops. The device it’s intended for will impact the overall size and weight of the webcam.
For desktops, you want a steady webcam that sits comfortably on the desk tilted towards your face. But, a tripod mount is also a helpful asset here so you can place the webcam at the same height as your face. Otherwise, it’ll be at a lower angle. With laptops, however, you’ll want something lighter that also tilts so you can change the angle.
But either way, the camera style that fits your setup best will depend on how you want to use the webcam. For example, If you use a laptop with an external monitor, a desktop webcam is best. But, if you don’t, then a laptop webcam is likely better.
How to choose the best webcam camera?
Picking the right webcam is much like picking a good camera. And most of the factors that ultimately determine quality for the camera also apply to webcams. Thus, you’ll want to consider several factors before choosing a webcam. Below, you’ll see a detailed list of these factors.
First and foremost, you have to understand what you’ll be using the camera for, namely streaming or video recording. If you’re only using it for daily teleconferencing, then a camera with 720p resolution is perfect. But, if you want to do vlogs, record content, or stream on platforms like Twitch, Facebook, or Youtube, then 1080p is best. We will cover more information below on video quality and resolution. But, knowing your use case here is essential to figure out which qualities below are most important.
Streaming vs. non-streaming webcams
Let’s cover this factor first before going forward.
Today’s webcam market splits into two categories, streaming, and non-streaming. Live streaming oriented cameras offer more professional features, such as 4K resolution, high-end microphones, and wide-angle lenses. But, as such, they’re more expensive, typically ranging around $500. Outside of that, the main distinction is whether the camera can stream in real-time at the resolution it records. Not all cameras that record in 1080p can stream at this resolution. Instead, they only record at that resolution for uploading later. And this becomes the fine line that separates these two types of cameras.
Webcam Resolution and Frame Rate
In today’s world, 1080p full HD is the agreed standard for resolution amongst webcams. But, if you want to up your image quality or crop your recordings after the fact, then you’ll want a 4K equipped webcam. Otherwise, if you don’t plan on doing any editing, then there’s no need for a 4K webcam. Additionally, if you don’t have an internet supplier with enough bandwidth, the stream will be stuttery. So that’s an area of consideration as well.
But one key area to consider is the frame rate the webcam supports. Frame rate determines the smoothness of your videos. And a webcam that shoots 60 frames per second (FPS) will give your videos a more realistic and natural appeal compared to 30 FPS. For some, this higher frame rate will prove unnecessary, especially if you only want better-looking video calls. But, even so, it’s wise to look at the manufacturer’s specifications beforehand to ensure it offers this frame rate if you’re an avid user. Otherwise, look for webcams that record videos in 1080p 30 FPS at a bare minimum.
Do I need a 4K webcam?
In short, no. While having the higher resolution here will help create noticeable sharper videos, it’s unnecessary for most. The primary disadvantage to 4K webcams is that they use large network bandwidths, slowing your network connection if you don’t have high-speed internet. And, considering most devices don’t support 4K resolution, much of the fidelity and image quality is lost in translation. So your viewers won’t notice any difference. Instead, find a webcam that records and streams at 1080p or even 720p in some cases. These are enough to cover you in the vast majority of cases.
The webcam’s lens determines how much light it captures. And it’s of particular importance if you don’t have good lighting. Today’s webcams generally range from f/2.0 to f/2.8, where these numbers represent the aperture’s size. So the best practice here is to find a webcam with a lens with a similar aperture, especially if your environment is dark. Otherwise, you’ll see a lot of noise in your recordings. You can find this value on the manufacturer’s listing page. If it’s specified, look for the smallest number possible when comparing between options. If it isn’t, then know that the webcam will have to compensate for low light digitally. And generally, the more expensive models have quality lenses and sensors that do this well, reducing noise. But, if you plan to record in a bright environment, it’s not quite as important, as most webcams have little difficulty with ample light.
One thing that could be important, however, is the camera’s field of view. The field of view will alter how you frame yourself before recording. Ideally, you want the field of view to be wide enough to capture your face, but not your bedroom or surroundings. In that case, you’ll want a camera with a narrow field of view. But, say you want to capture multiple people in a conference room, you’ll want a large field of view instead. Most webcams offer views that range between 60-90º, where 90º is considered wide.
The lower-end webcams have fixed-focus lenses. And if you want to be seen clearly in the video, you’ll have to stay a set distance away. This distance is pre-defined by the manufacturer and works well if you’re sitting directly in front of the device a few feet away. But, you’ll have to stay within that sweet spot at all times. Otherwise, you’ll be blurry. So, for this reason, these models are a bit inflexible and hard to work with.
The more expensive models, however, include autofocus. And with this function, their lenses automatically adjust to ensure you’re clear, regardless of the distance to the camera. And this flexibility makes them the preferable choice since you can forget about sitting in the sweet spot. Instead, you’re always sharp and the focus of attention.
Audio is equally as important when it comes to video conferencing. And most webcams have included microphones to enhance the sound recording. Ideally, you want a webcam with a good stereo microphone to pick up your voice clearly and some room noise for a natural sound. You can tell a webcam has a stereo microphone by looking out for a pair of small speaker-like grills on the front of the device. But, check the manufacturers listing to verify, as this isn’t always the case.
However, if the webcam you’re looking into doesn’t have built-in microphones, it’s wise to investigate a separate microphone, such as a dedicated USB mic. These will also ensure your voice is crisp and easily understood.
Automatic brightness and color correction
Ideally, you want a webcam that offers accurate brightness and color correction settings. And it should be able to compensate for changes in the lighting automatically. Additionally, it should provide manual control over these settings, so that you can make subtle changes.
Webcam clips or stands
Every webcam needs a sturdy clip to attach to laptop screens or desktop monitors. And the clip included should be easy to position, tilt, and adjust if needed. The same applies to the stand, which allows the camera to sit on a table or desk. The webcam stand should also be sturdy and enable the camera to swivel and sit independently. Also of note, if the webcam doesn’t include a stand, look out for webcams that include a tripod thread. If they have this connection, then you can easily attach it to a small desk tripod after the fact.
Do you need special webcam lighting?
If you’re doing video meetings casually with friends and family, then no. Use the natural lighting in your environment and save money. However, if you’re teleconferencing professionally, then it’s a wise consideration.
Some webcams do have built-in lighting, but it’s a relatively rare finding. So, if you can’t find a model with one, you’ll eventually want to consider additional lighting options, especially if your home doesn’t have ample sunlight. A ring light is a standard amongst most users due to cost and ease of use. But, you can research and use whatever option best fits your needs and budget.
Most webcams are designed without needing extra software. But, if the manufacturer includes software, it’ll typically offer more bonus add-ons and features. Otherwise, you won’t need any extra or specialized software