If you’re going to start streaming, one of the key things you’ll need is a webcam. And sure, some might say it’s not a necessity and you could do without one. But the thing is, people, want to see you when you’re streaming. And getting one of the best webcams for streaming is an absolute must here.
That being said, choosing the right webcam isn’t as simple as getting the highest resolution camera possible. You’ve got to consider sensor size, processing power, focus solution, and a whole host of other things that, unfortunately, manufacturers don’t really make available for you to read. This means you could think you’re getting an excellent webcam, only to figure out that it’s not really what you imagined.
But fret not, as we’ve got the solution for you. We’re going to review some of the best webcams for streaming and give you ten options you should consider. Then, check out our guide on how to stream, and get started!
When you’re looking into getting a camera, there are a few key specs that you can go over. They’ll be somewhat of an indicator of whether or not you’re getting quality.
The first one is the brand name. This might sound funny, but the webcam industry (as you’ll see in the list below) is completely dominated by brands like Logitech and Microsoft. While they’re often pricier than other alternatives, they also mean business when it comes to webcams. For example, a 720p camera from Logitech will oftentimes be better than a Chinese brand’s 4K model.
Then, you’ve got the resolution and framerate. While a few years ago you could’ve done with a 720p (1280×720) camera, nowadays 1080p (1920×1080) is the bare minimum. This ensures you’ll get a sharp image, one that your viewers will enjoy since it’s not a blurry mess. If you want to go premium, though, you could opt for a 4K (3840×2160) for even better sharpness, but you’ll seldom be streaming at 4K. In terms of framerate, more=better, but try to get at least a 60 frames per second model.
Last but not least, consider the focus solution. If the camera has some kind of autofocus, that means that your face will be sharp and clear. The background will be blurred, making it easy to distinguish what’s the main subject. And this is usually worth paying a bit extra for.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the best webcams for streaming are.
Even though not the “latest and greatest”, Logitech’s C920 is our top choice for a lot of reasons. It comes at a 1080p resolution but with a large sensor that gets you truly great video quality. Logitech has also included their excellent autofocus solution, as well as a light correction algorithm that makes sure you’re well lit and clearly visible.
The C920 comes with dual mics that capture your voice rather naturally. This way, you don’t really need an external mic for it. Overall, the C920 is a truly excellent pick. The large sensor and 1080p resolution ensure a crystal clear, smooth picture, and the voice will be great, too. Now, unfortunately, it’s not exactly cheap. But when you factor in the performance, as well as the rather versatile stand, it’s more than worth it.
Microsoft’s LifeCam Studio is a surprisingly well-priced webcam and one that performs better than you’d think. Sure, there are some compromises to keep that price reasonable. But it checks a lot of boxes that make it one of the best webcams for streaming.
It comes in at a 1080p resolution for video recording, but if you’re doing video chats, you’re limited to 720p. The glass is very good, and so is the sensor. These two things are why the quality of the LifeCam Studio is really, really good. Microsoft has included their TrueColor Technology, which tracks your face and makes sure the colors are all accurate and you’re well-lit.
One thing you might not be a fan of is the mount because it’s obviously made to lay on a flat surface or a tripod. If you were thinking of putting this on a monitor, it might be tricky.
The C270 is Logitech’s budget option, and it comes at a price that’s more than reasonable. And yet, if 720p is satisfactory for you, it’s one of the best webcams for streaming you can get nowadays. And here’s why.
The camera itself, while 720p, comes with an excellent Logitech sensor that still gets you a clear and crisp image during recording. We’d even go as far as to say that it easily beats most of the 1080p no-name brands in terms of overall quality. It also comes with automatic light correction, and an omnidirectional noise-canceling microphone, which means audio will be crystal clear too.
The only downside is the 720p resolution and the 30fps frame rate, but at this price honestly, we aren’t complaining. You get one of the best webcams for streaming for users who work on a limited budget.
The successor to the extremely popular C920, which is our top choice, the C930e is Logitech’s premium webcam that’s excellent for just about any type of recording. It comes with the same 1080p resolution, but an improved sensor that gets you even better image quality, and a 4X zoom with minimal image quality loss.
The wide-angle lens comes with a 90-degree field of view. Also, there is HD autofocus, which means you’ll be in the frame, and focused perfectly thanks to Logitech’s tech. The dual omnidirectional mics do a good job too, but if you don’t want a harsh sound, you should turn down the input sensitivity a bit.
Pair all of this with H.264 for low bandwidth use, and you’ll see why the C930e is our pick for the best premium webcam for streaming. It really does it all.
While most brands don’t really focus on quality, AUKEY is a bit of an exception. Their 1080p webcam, the PC-LM1E is on our list as the one that gets you the best value. This is for one simple reason – it costs very little, yet manages to come dangerously close to some of the premium picks in terms of image quality.
The sensor is a 1080p, 1/2.9” CMOS sensor that gets you a sharp, smooth video. It performs very well even in a dimly lit room, and you have a fixed focus solution that keeps everything up to five meters away in focus. The stereo mics do a great job with audio too. Also, you’ve got a simple stand to attach the camera to your monitor.
Overall, this is certainly one of the best webcams for streaming, especially if you want good image quality but don’t want to pay a “name premium”.
If 1080p just isn’t enough for you, and you want an even higher resolution, Logitech’s BRIO should definitely be your choice. This 4K camera comes with premium glass, HDR, and excellent autofocus, for some of the best recording quality out there.
The BRIO also gets you Logitech’s Right Light 3 which auto-adjusts exposure to keep your face well-lit and compensate for any backlighting or glare. You have three field of view options and up to 5X zoom. These come with minimal quality loss, making this one of the best webcams for streaming at high resolutions.
Now, make no mistake, this is a really expensive camera. It costs almost three times as much as some of the best 1080p options. But if you want 4K with zero compromises in any regard, it’s more than worth it. Great quality video, paired with excellent mics? Sign us up.
With an image quality slightly better than Logitech’s C270, the LifeCam Cinema by Microsoft should be your top pick if 720p is enough for you. You’re looking at a reasonably priced camera that checks all the boxes for a high-quality experience.
To begin with, while only 720p, Microsoft has included autofocus that keeps you sharp and crisp, There is also their TrueColor technology that tracks your face to ensure it’s well-lit and the colors are accurate. The glass at the front is really good, too, so overall the quality is excellent.
Microsoft has also given it a rather good microphone, which records crystal clear audio from any direction. The stand is made for you to put the webcam on a flat surface. We aren’t massive fans of this, with many people putting them on top of a monitor, but this is nitpicking – the LifeCam Cinema is honestly great.
Not everyone has a USB-A port on their laptop. And if you’re looking for a premium webcam with USB-C, the Logitech StreamCam should be your first choice. With a 1080p 60fps recording and things like smart autofocus and exposure adjustment, this is an excellent camera for streaming.
The sensor inside is really great, and the quality you’ll be getting from the StreamCam is impeccable. Those smart features that track your face really do an excellent job. The Logitech Capture software is neat, too, and it makes this an incredibly easy-to-use camera.
There are two other features worth mentioning. One of them is the rotation – just turn the StreamCam and you’ve got vertical video. The other is the mount – you can mount it both on a monitor, or on a tripod with the included adapter. A really versatile choice!
Yes, all of these are some of the best cameras for streaming. But the Kiyo has a trick up its sleeve – it has a ring light around the lens itself. This illuminates your face and keeps it well lit when you’re streaming. This is a massive improvement over cameras that don’t perform well in bad lighting.
The camera also lets you choose between streaming at 1080p and 30fps, or 720p and 60fps. Both options get you really good image quality. The sensor is great, and that’s immediately apparent with the Kiyo. The autofocus does a brilliant job, too, keeping you sharp and crisp.
When you factor in all of this and add the software support by Razer which lets you stream easily on OBS and similar platforms, the Kiyo is the best “plug and play” streaming camera.
Even though not technically streaming, Logitech’s ConferenceCam Connect is one we just had to include. This is a portable camera with a Bluetooth speaker that you can use pretty much anywhere. It’s something that’s essential for today’s work-from-home environment. It’s compact, yet gets you premium picture quality that’s on par with some of the best cameras out there.
The 90-degree field of view is great, but you also have pan and tilt so you can set it just right. There’s also HD zoom up to 4x with minimal image quality loss, so you can get close if you want. The resolution is up to 1080p and 30fps, which is reasonable for meetings.
Overall, while pricy, this is an all-in-one solution that’s perfect if you find yourself in a home office, needing a quality webcam for all those meetings.
While we did cover things like resolution, framerate and autofocus in our buyers’ guide earlier, let’s answer a few more questions.
The webcam’s field of view basically measures how wide the captured area is. A wider lens gets you a larger field of view, and this is measured in degrees. With a 60-degree camera, you can capture a single person sitting in front of a computer, but a 90-degree one gets you a group of people easily. There is also vertical video, which we mentioned with the StreamCam, and this should be another consideration.
Unless you’ve got a room that’s specifically for streaming, chances are the light in your room isn’t ideal. Automatic light correction, when done well, will correct this. You won’t have a subject that’s shadowy, or blending in the walls, which is critical for a high quality stream. Note that this is something you’ll only find on higher quality cameras, but it’s well worth it.
Most users will opt for a webcam that can be mounted on top of a computer monitor, or a laptop display. However, if you’ve got suitable room for that, a tripod-mounted camera will get you better control and alignment on your shots.
Privacy is a big deal nowadays. For this reason, many webcam manufacturers add a cap that physically covers the lens when not in use. But even if you don’t have one, you can just unplug your webcam and your privacy will be unscathed.
Even though most of the more wallet-friendly cameras are plug-and-play, some more advanced models will get you software control over brightness, exposure, colors and white balance. If you want better control over your video quality, by all means get a more premium model.
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