Webcams are not just for dialing into meetings and catching up with friends anymore. Today, personal video production and live streaming have injected new life into the humble webcam.
A good webcam should offer clear and sharp images with accurate autofocus. Good resolution used to be quite an issue with webcams, but today, there are many affordable options that can support up to 720p resolution at 30fps (frames per second). A good webcam should also come with a sturdy stand and flexible mounting options.
Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the production of 720p and 1080p webcams. This has opened the door to high-quality personal video recordings that outshine the standard performance of inbuilt webcams on laptops.
Why Should You Use A Webcam When Streaming?
Often, many professional streamers are known for their great skills in playing games. But their extreme skills alone do not make them famous, it’s the interactions they have with their audience. People want to see who is streaming and connect on a more personal level.
High-quality webcam recording is the easiest way to build an audience while gaming. Your fans will not only see your gameplay’s footage, but also your facial expressions while gaming, hence, feel more connected. It’s about time you start showing your face when streaming!
There are several great webcam options on the market. But which is the best for streaming? Whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, or Twitch, here is a list of the best webcam for streaming.
6 Best Webcams For Streaming To Buy In 2018
1. Logitech C920 Webcam
If you have ever done any research on webcams, then you most probably have come across the coveted Logitech C920 webcam. It comes with a flexible mounting mechanism, dual microphones, and a fantastic sensor.
The C920 offers up to 1080p 30fps video recording with great autofocus. For its price range, the low light performance and h.264 encoding are quite impressive. With this device, your days of poor video recordings are over.
The two microphones make it easier for users to differentiate voices when streaming with friends and family. The webcam also features a software that allows you to change your background scenes.
Unless you are looking for a 4k resolution webcam, the Logitech C920 is currently the best webcam for streaming. It is only outperformed by the streaming-centric, Logitech C922 which costs almost twice as much.
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2. Logitech HD C922 Pro Webcam
Visually, the Logitech HD C922 is almost identical to the C920. However, the C922 offers both 720p 60fps and 1080p 30fps video recording, as well as a noticeable upgrade in low-light image quality. These features are especially useful if you’re recording without a lighting set-up.
The C922 also comes with a background replacement feature, just like the C920. Sadly, this feature is software-powered and a high processor load can lead to lagging.
3. Microsoft LifeCam HD3000
Logitech webcams usually represent top-notch performance, but they are also priced to match the quality. Not all consumers need or want to spend so much on a webcam. On the other hand, there are so many cheap, substandard webcams that are not worth buying.
Fortunately, there’s an exception. With just $30, you can get your hands on a brand new Microsoft LifeCam HD3000.
This webcam offers extraordinary performance for its budget class. It has a simple plug-and-play mechanism and a flexible mount that’s designed to fit on all types of monitors.
Additionally, Microsoft’s TrueColor auto-adjust system works efficiently in adapting to both low and bright lighting conditions. Alternatively, you can turn off the auto-adjust system and manually set the color and white-balance levels for stable recordings and nicely saturated images.
This webcam only supports SD 720p streaming. For HD 1080p capabilities, you’ll have to spend extra on high-end webcams.
4. Razer Kiyo Webcam
While many modern webcams have a similar design and features, the Razer Kiyo webcam offers its users something different.
The most outstanding feature on this device should be the multi-step ring light. This addition provides even lighting during video recording, making the webcam useful even in dark conditions. The ring light automatically turns on when the cam is in use, and can be turned off (or adjusted) using a dial.
The Razer Kiyo is especially useful for users who want professional-looking videos but don’t get a lot of natural light near their laptops. While the ring light is large and occupies a lot of space, the good news is that the webcam can be folded for easier packing and portability.
The ring light is not the only unique features that Razer Kiyo offers. It also has an L-shape joint and a flat base that can either be propped on a PC monitor or placed on a desk and angled appropriately. For extra stability, you can utilize the tripod stand that comes with the cam.
When it comes to video performance, the Razer Kiyo boasts of a 4MP sensor that offers both 720p 60fps and 1080p 30fps resolutions. The video recording quality is clear and sharp, even with the ring light off.
The cam offers support for XSplit and OBS streaming software. However, unlike high-end webcams, the Kiyo does not have an accompanying PC app, meaning that the webcam settings will be edited via an installed app.
These awesome features make the Kiyo a serious contender for the best webcam for streaming. This is especially true if you need more even lighting when streaming.
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5. Microsoft Life Studio Webcam
Yet another great device from Microsoft. The Life Studio has a stunning modern design that’s way different from the traditional webcam. The aluminum frame looks serious enough for the office and sturdy enough to handle a few knocks here and there.
It is capable of 1080p 30fps video recording and utilizes Microsoft’s TrueColor technology to make the image quality properly colorized and clear – not too warm and not too cool as with most webcams.
The Life Studio also comes with the ClearFrame Technology that makes your videos smooth and detailed.
Because Microsoft is the owner of the number one operating system in the world, you can be assured that the onboard software of this webcam is top-notch and compatible with a range of easily available setups like Skype. Even better, it is compatible with the Apple’s OSx operating system.
The 8MP Life Studio achieves 2K interpolated pictures and 3x digital zoom, which makes it easy to take snapshots from your laptop. However, it is quite expensive and does not have a 720p option, hence, lacks versatility. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best webcams for streaming and office settings.
6. Logitech C615 Webcam
Although it is a step-down from the C920, the Logitech C615 is quite impressive at a comfortable price. It’s capable of 1080p 30fps video recording with auto-focus and an imposing in-built microphone.
The cam can swivel at 360 degrees, has a large tilt range, can be folded up for better portability, and comes with a tripod stand. There isn’t much that can you say about the C615 that doesn’t echo how it’s a step-down of the C920.
But if you are looking for a reliable 1080p streaming webcam without breaking the bank, the Logitech C615 should be your best bet. The only shortcoming is that it has a very short cable, however, it comes with an extension.
7. AUSDOM 1080P HD Webcam
If you are looking for an affordable full HD cam, this little beauty won’t disappoint. It supports 12MP images, bolsters up to 1080P HD resolutions, has low light compensation, and comes with a noise canceling mic. This device may be frugal, but it’s certainly feature-packed.
Even so, it does not come with a big bundle of software and there’s no auto-focus. Nonetheless, the low price tag makes up for these shortcomings.
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Best Webcam For Streaming Buying Guide
So, how did the above-mentioned devices become the best webcams for streaming? Here are some of the important factors that were considered.
When you are looking for the best webcam for streaming, the resolution is surprisingly not the most important factor. While you may tell the difference between 1080p and 720p in full screen, this is not a big issue for most streamers.
Webcams are usually used as face cams when streaming. This means that they’ll take up just a small section of your screen. As a result, the difference in image quality between 1080p and 720p resolutions is almost unnoticeable.
So the next time you are shopping for a webcam, don’t let the resolution be the underlying factor of your decision.
As expected, manufacturers capitalize on the consumers’ lack of knowledge to set higher prices for the 1080p cams. A good example is the huge price difference between the Logitech C920 and the C922. Don’t fall for this trap the next time you are out shopping for a webcam!
2. Frames Per Second
While the resolution is not very important, the frame rate of a webcam is vital for streaming purposes. It determines how many frames per second (fps) the camera is capable of recording, that is, how smooth the motions in a video are.
For quick reference, a video is made up of a collection of images transitioned rapidly. Therefore, the higher the frame rate of a webcam, the quicker and smoother the recording.
The best webcam for streaming should have a minimum of 30fps. For best results, however, you may want to consider a cam with 60fps. Surprisingly, most 720p webcams come with 60fps sensors.
Generally, a good webcam should be compatible with software such as OBS, XSplit, Skype, and more, and offer support for various streaming apps. A supported webcam has access to more advanced features and settings via the streaming apps.
For example, supported webcams like the Logitech C922 come with a free XSplit Gamecaster trial.
While in-built microphones are essential for video calling, they aren’t used very often by streamers. Most streamers prefer using separate mics (or headsets with inbuilt mics), as they provide clearer sound quality and come with advanced additions like noise cancellation features.
5. Glass vs. Plastic Lenses
High-end webcams may boast glass lenses over the plastic type which is mostly used by cheaper webcams. Generally, the difference is not noticeable, especially since webcams are used as face cams.
6. Setting Up
Webcams usually come in two set-up varieties – installation-based and Plug-and-Play. Installation-based webcams require specific software to install drivers and function. Also, they will not work automatically, you’ll need to restart it first. Today, installation-based webcams are not so common.
Instead, you are more likely to come across a more modern version, the Plug-and-Play webcam. It is quite straightforward to install – just connect the cam via a USB port, and in a few seconds your webcam comes on.
To save time, it’s recommended that you get a Plug-and-Play webcam.
The focus is affected by distance and lighting changes. When looking for the best webcam for streaming, consider getting one with both manual and auto focus.
A manual focus option is great for high-quality recordings because it lets you set the picture quality to your liking and needs. However, there are some high-end cams that nail the autofocus every time with clear and precise shots.
8. Additional Features
Some webcams can have extra features to enhance their performance and set them apart from the many competitors in the market. These features come in all shapes and sizes, for example, the Kiyo’s inbuilt ring light for balanced lighting, background removal features, and image correction capabilities.
It’s important to do a thorough research on how these specific features work and how they will enhance your streaming experience. If you find something that works for you, refer to the factors above and decide whether it’s worth your money.
When choosing the best webcam for streaming, be keen on the price tags. A webcam may be too expensive with relatively no useful features.
While there are many webcams available, the 7 picks above will certainly meet your streaming needs and budget.