In these times of videoconferencing, your professional image depends on your vision. Literally. Unfortunately, many laptops include cameras of questionable quality that make it seem like we live in the past. What can you do? Acquire a good webcam, of course.
In this way, it is good to have a good quality camera that improves video calls quality. What if the webcam on your laptop is not of high quality? It can cause your picture to be blurry or not suitable for virtual meetings.
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With the consequent damage, the sound quality can also be below. Most laptops come with a built-in webcam, so users of these devices rarely need a third-party drive.
However, it may be the case that the webcam built into your laptop does not meet your needs, or you are a desktop PC user, in which case you will have no choice but to purchase a webcam separately.
In most cases, when you want to buy a webcam for your PC, you can find one without much trouble, but you should know a few things before you start shopping. Whether you need it for business video meetings, training webinars, video podcasts, or video chat, usage determines the type of webcam you should buy.
Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam
This webcam offers an original system that will allow streamers to take correct images without investing in complete studio equipment.
Currently, one of the significant challenges for streamers is to find the correct background embedding. But between the green background and sufficient lighting without shadow play (having at least two projectors), you would need a reasonably large room dedicated exclusively to streaming.
The Razer Kiyo avoids this problem by equipping its perimeter with a ring of 12 LEDs, very similar to the light rings used in photography. Less than 3 m from the screen, the result is still satisfactory.
The best result is one meter away (10 Lux). Besides, it is possible to adjust the intensity of the illumination in 12 levels via a gear wheel, which saves you inconvenience during your recordings or games.
The effects on image quality are beneficial as the brightness conditions are ideal at all times. Also, it should be noted that it updates automatically.
Although it stands out above all thanks to its integrated lighting, this webcam does not have dedicated software for adjustments. Surprisingly, Razer didn’t use at least some of their famous Synapse software.
Logitech StreamCam, 1080P HD 60fps Streaming Webcam
Logitech is usually synonymous with quality when we talk about these types of peripherals. With this model, the brand offers the possibility of recording in 1080p at 60 ips. Thanks to this, the Stream cam provides a real difference compared to the competition, making it enjoyable to create animated videos.
It offers outstanding quality, but if you are in situations where the dynamics are more “complicated,” for example, it will burn the background to maintain a correct exposure on the subject in case of the backlight.
The audio offers two recording possibilities: in stereo, with the help of the 2 integrated microphones, or in dual-mono, where the two channels are combined into a single track.
We recommend this second solution, more efficient in our eyes since the webcam format does not allow us to enjoy a very good spatialization. The only flaw to note is its sensitivity to ambient noise due to its omnidirectional directivity, capturing all sounds around the webcam.
To install it on your PC, you have the possibility of using the flexible support included in the purchase (rubber cover) or the standard screws, which will allow it to be fixed to a tripod, for example. Besides, the basis of this model is modular!
In addition to this, you enjoy an above-average viewing angle (78 °), the ability to rotate 125 ° or even tilt up to almost 180 °.
Finally, we must say that we were a bit disappointed in the software. Although Logitech integrates Capture software, whose results quickly become limited because it does not guarantee the dissemination of its content on classic streaming platforms.
Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Webcam for Video Conferencing
The Logitech BRIO is a miniaturistic feat in ergonomics and design. The exterior cladding is smooth, elegant, with an excellent finish. But the highlight is its small size. It’s not much bigger than the C920, for example. Still, it has incredible features and a 4K recording!
As we have already revealed, one of the most exciting aspects is that it is capable of supporting 4K recording when most software is limited to Full HD. As a result, if your internet connection remains stable, you can expect 35-40 ips with 1080p streaming, and of course 4K quality after recording!
It is also equipped with an x5 digital zoom. But it is essential to know that the quality degrades much beyond 3x. On the other hand, for the first time, the generic Logitech firmware seems a bit limited.
Therefore, it is interesting to complete the program with the Broadcasting Software, for example, which allows you to play more with the video options and obtain control over the image’s subtlety at the height of its native quality.
However, be careful if you have a computer powerful enough to support 4K. Otherwise, you will face two catastrophic situations. The first: having to limit the stream to 1080p, in which case, you could have bought the C920 for the same performance, without losing at least 100 “bucks.”
The second: have an encoded 4K video that freezes the image regularly. For this reason, we recommend BRIO on computers with at least 4Gb of RAM, not to mention the additional power that some professional editing software may require.
Although the BRIO claims to be versatile in terms of additional functions, it tends to “spread out” in every way. However, some options deserve to be highlighted. It is the first webcam equipped with HDR, an infrared sensor to correct the brightness.
To conclude, detection in the background is also fun, as it allows you to change the scenery with any image. Also, it also offers the option of being activated with motion detection to use it as a security camera.
Webcam for PC, PAPALOOK PA452 Full HD 1080p
One of the brands with the most popular of webcams today. If you need a camera that fulfills its audio and video recording functions, this is yours with a video resolution of 1080p at 30 FPS.
To install it, we only need to connect it to the pc; we don’t need any software, and it is also perfectly compatible with Skype, Facebook, Hangouts, YouTube, and other live chats.
It has the manual focus of the lens and a microphone with quite a distance and automatic noise cancellation, although as we can assume, it will not give us the best quality in the world.
- Records in 1920 × 1080 pixels
- Maximum compatibility and plug and play without software
- It has LEDs on the sides of the lens to provide illumination.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000, Retail
Another perfect camera in quality/price ratio, and of course, certified for compatibility with Skype. It could not be otherwise being a proprietary brand. This LifeCam-3000 is a highly durable and reliable camera … even from Microsoft.
One of the most exciting features is that it has a lens capable of recording in a 16: 9 widescreen, ideal for many enthusiasts of recording video at the movies’ size.
It has TrueColor technology, which will provide vivid colors, even if we have little light in our setup. Despite being a very inexpensive camera, it has a noise-canceling microphone that records quite well if we don’t stray too far.
- Recording in 16: 9 format
- Plug-and-play ease of use
- Good quality/price ratio
Logitech C270 Desktop or Laptop Webcam
If we want a webcam with a good quality/price ratio, the Logitech HD webcam, C270 is one of the best options. It may not be the prettiest on the list, but its features are perfect for its price.
We will have Logitech Fluid Cristal technologies that will allow the camera to better adapt to light changes and offer more clarity without reaching oversaturation of colors and fluidity when we are in a video conference or recording a video.
It will also improve the sound if we need to make recordings. It incorporates automatic noise reduction, something significant if we record from locations with a lot of ambient noise.
Of course, we support Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Hangouts, etc. Another exciting thing is that it brings with it free video editing software to edit our recordings and upload them to social networks. Without a doubt, a good purchase we have here.
- Records in 1280 x 720 pixels and takes photos at 3 MP
- Very tight price for a brand like Logitech
- Include video editing software
- Has Logitech Vid HD software
Logitech C525 USB HD Webcam
The cheapest option on this list, and it won’t be bad for that. We have placed it here on its excellent image and sound quality. Although we can only record video in HD 720p quality at 30 FPS, it has a speedy approach to adapt to any situation.
It has a 360-degree rotation system and is compatible with most chats and streaming applications on the market. It is a reasonably inexpensive camera for the good results it gives, so if our streaming is based on talking through chat, it is an excellent option.
- Recording in 720p at 30 FPS with fast focus
- 69-degree field of view
- Microphone recording in mono
AUKEY FHD Webcam, 1080p Live Streaming Camera
This Aukey 1080P Webcam is a very low-cost camera capable of recording lectures in no less than 1980 x 1080 pixels at 30 FPS, which is undoubtedly an excellent record for such a low-cost camera.
The device is plug-and-play, and we will not need any software to use it in any chat software. Also, audio is surprising since it has a stereo microphone with noise cancellation.
The only drawback that we will have is that this webcam suffers a lot in terms of quality in low light, although it is efficiently solvable with good lighting in the room.
- Capable of recording in FullHD resolution at 30 FPS
- Stereo microphone
Logitech C930e 1080P HD Video Webcam
You may also have noticed that Logitech is by far the one with the most webcam models. This C930e is located in a medium-high range with excellent features, both for videoconferencing and streaming.
The higher models feature RightLight 2 technology to provide very high image quality in low light conditions. With its Carl Zeiss lens capable of recording in FullHD resolution at 30 FPS, in a 90-degree field of view, we will have more than enough for our partner on the other side to see us correctly.
Like others on the list, it has two omnidirectional microphones with automatic noise cancellation so that they hear us very well too. This camera is in the range of 100 euros.
- A good field of view for group conferences with 90 degrees
- FullHD recording quality in H.264 format at 30 FPS
- 4x zoom and RightLight 2 autofocus
- Two omnidirectional microphones
Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam
One of the exciting features of this webcam is that it can work at 1080p resolutions in video calls with software like Skype, something beneficial when making quality calls. With the compression in H.264, we will better use the available bandwidth with good possibilities to also do streaming.
Also, it has a stereo recording with its two microphones to provide us with excellent audio clarity. They can capture photos in resolutions of up to 15 megapixels.
- Excellent image quality and outstanding low-light performance
- A wide field of view is useful for groups and can be digitally enlarged without a noticeable decrease in quality
- Good autofocus and flexible image adjustment
- Automatic color is easily adjustable in the software
What to Consider When Choosing The Best Webcam
The market is essentially divided into two categories: webcams for work and live streaming. While the latter move on the more ambitious and expensive side of the coin, with resolutions reaching 4K, professional-grade microphones, and wide viewing angles.
A simple video calls the proposal is notably simpler. What we want it for and how often we are going to use it are decisive when choosing a webcam and will set the budget to optimize our investment.
Resolution and Frame Rate
While we are still going to find 720p built-in webcams and cameras (especially on veteran devices) that offer the basics for a video call, 1080p is the standard resolution for a decent webcam. Of course, if you look for image quality and sharpness, specific models go up to 2K and 4K.
In any case, you have to consider that factors such as bandwidth or compression of certain video conferencing services will cause you not to be able to squeeze the full potential of these resolutions. Better to be able to adjust to a lower resolution that is more fluid.
The frames per second also affect how the video looks soft. While 60fps webcams provide a more realistic and natural video than 30fps, this also implies more significant data transfer.
Lenses and Exposure
In some models, we will also find data about the lens, an element that affects (among other things) how much light reaches the camera sensor and the field of view. Aperture indicates how much light reaches the sensor, which directly affects how good it looks when you don’t have good ambient lighting.
As we usually see in the optics of mobile phones, it is measured in f / (number), and the smaller that number is, the larger the aperture and the more light enters. Ranges from f / 2.0 to f / 2.8 are common on webcams. This information does not always appear in the webcam specs: if it does not, it usually means that the aperture is small.
The lens also marks the field of view of the webcam: if you only want it to record your face and little else, thus avoiding your messy room, better a model with a narrow field of view (or a webcam with high resolution which allows you to crop it). Suppose the idea is to see a conference room, better a model with a broad vision. Webcams naturally move between 65 and 90 degrees.
The most affordable webcams have the fixed focus, or what is the same, their lens does not move to adjust to the scene you are recording; they take what is in their field of view based on the distance.
And if you’re going to sit directly in front of it and close (for example, when you place it on the monitor frame), that’s probably enough. However, it is easy to have moments when the recording becomes blurry: when you move, you want to bring something closer to the camera.
The complete models have autofocus, allowing the lens to adjust to focus correctly based on what they record, minimizing those blurry moments.
In a video conference, audio is even more important than video. Thus, many webcams have a built-in microphone and some even have a stereo microphone.
Stereo microphones usually have two small “ears” (shaped like a grille or mini-speakers) on each side of the lens, allowing better sound capture and more natural sound.
However, this microphone’s quality is nothing to write home about, and, taking into account its position, it also picks up noise from the environment.
In this sense, if you make frequent video calls, there is ambient sound, and you require sound quality, better bet on a separate microphone or a headset with a microphone.
With this, we finish our complete list of recommended webcams. Of course, we will be updating this guide every so often to be up to date. What did you think of the chosen cameras? Would you add any more models that caught your attention?
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We encourage you to leave a comment with your impressions, and they have been helpful. What is the camera you are looking for and what for? You can ask us in the comment box below or on our hardware forum!