Nearly every computer, tablet, or laptop on the market today comes complete with a built-in webcam. However, some people that need the hotspawn best webcam for streaming content or frequent video conferences. In this case, the built-in webcam that many computer models include may not be up to standards.
For example, people who spend a considerable amount of time on video calls for work may need a higher-quality microphone.
Nothing kills morale in a work meeting quite like asking, “Can you hear me?” several times throughout the call. Professional streamers or content creators likely require features like high-quality resolution and autofocus. Image quality can be enhanced somewhat through the use of a ring light or tripod. However, the resolution plays a crucial role in video quality overall.
Resolution and Frame Rate
The lower the resolution, the more gritty your video will appear. If graininess is not a part of your aesthetic, your best option is a webcam with 720p video capture resolution or higher. Many modern webcams have adjusted to support high-definition, so finding a high-quality 720p resolution webcam will be easy and affordable.
Clear images are essential for those who spend a lot of time on video calls for work. It is easy for people to lose focus in training when image quality is low. Keeping your audience engaged will be a more straightforward task with the crisp resolution of a 720p webcam supporting you. For professional live streamers or Twitch users, a full HD 1080p webcam will be your best choice for quality.
Thankfully, a built-in microphone is a standard feature with the purchase of most modern webcams. Buying a separate mic is no longer necessary to enhance the quality of your stream or video call. A great option to look out for in a webcam is an omnidirectional mic.
An omnidirectional mic records from every direction around the camera. If you need a quality mic to support your presentations, this is an essential feature. Its ability to capture noise from every direction gives you the freedom to move about in the frame. This convenience means less interference from handling noises due to the reduced need to reposition the mic.
If you have ever watched a video or live stream with a lot of lagging, stuttering, or full-on freezes, this is likely due to a webcam with a low frame rate. Finding a webcam with a high frame rate is relatively easy. Frame rate is measured in FPS or Frames Per Second. Often, FPS measurements will be clearly visible on webcam packaging. The lowest FPS required for video streaming is 15 fps; however, a frame rate of at least 30 fps is necessary for quality video. For serious streamers willing to shop in a higher price range for excellent webcam quality, 60 fps is ideal.
An important thing to keep in mind when shopping for a webcam is that not every webcam has compatibility with every operating system or computer. Before shopping for a new webcam, make a note of your computer and operating system. This practice is essential for Mac and Linux users. Many manufacturers ensure webcam compatibility with all current Windows versions.
Before investing in a new webcam, check the minimum processing speed and hard drive requirements on your chosen webcam to facilitate maximum efficiency on your operating system. Older computers and systems may have a particularly tough time working with high-definition or ultra-high-definition accessories.
Your monitor also plays an essential role in increased picture quality. Ensure your monitor is able to support the webcam’s enhanced resolution before purchasing an HD or 4K product.
If you have a laptop, you already have a webcam. It probably isn’t a very good one, though. Small lenses, skewed colors, awkward exposure, and grainy indoor video are just some of the problems with might experience with cheap, built-in webcams. A good dedicated webcam will solve those problems, and give you the flexibility to aim it wherever you want without wrestling with your laptop. It’s a worthwhile investment if you’re planning to spend a lot of time on calls, recording vlogs, or doing anything else with video.
Here’s what you need to know when shopping for a webcam, along with some models worth considering.
Webcam Resolution and Frame Rate
This is pretty obvious. A webcam can only get as sharp as its sensor can resolve pixels. 1080p is a fairly standard resolution for a decent webcam, but if you really want to up your picture quality (or be able to crop your frame and keep it sharp), you want a 4K webcam.
The frame rate also affects how smooth your video looks. A 60fps webcam will give you a much more realistic and natural video feed than a 30fps webcam will so be sure to pay close attention to the specs before buying.
Webcam Lenses and Exposure
The lens on a webcam is just as important as the sensor, and generally bigger is better. The lens determines how much light reaches the camera sensor, which affects how you’ll look if you don’t have good lighting. This is known as the aperture size, and is measured as f/(number) for most types of cameras, with the lower the number the wider the aperture and the more light that gets in. Webcams don’t often advertise their aperture sizes, but they generally range from f/2.0 to f/2.8.