Whether you are fairly new to streaming or already well established, it is a good idea to increase your interaction with your stream. Not only will you increase your viewership but you will gain new followers. The easiest way to interact with your stream is using a microphone and a webcam. A webcam is not required. In fact, many top streamers do not use webcams because they have already developed loyal audiences. But in today’s competitive environment it is necessary to have a webcam in order to stand out. Besides it is generally a good idea to use a webcam to help develop your own unique personality. There are a wide variety of webcams each with their own unique aspects, so in this article I will list the best webcams for streaming.
There are thousands of streamers every single day on Twitch. Although there are many successful streamers, many of those fail to be unique or stand out. Having a webcam is your first step to emerge from the crowd. There is a wide selection of webcams on the market. Some prioritize quality and convenience, while others prioritize price and versatility.
Most webcams are equipped with microphones, but the mics are not the highest quality. For people who are serious about streaming, I recommend using a dedicated microphone. Here is a list of the best microphones for streaming and gaming.
Best Webcams for Streaming
- Logitech HD Pro C920
- Logitech C930e
- Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
- Logitech HD C310
- Logitech HD C525
- Microsoft LifeCam Studio
- Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
- Logitech HD Portable C615
If you want to stream then pick a webcam from this category. Not only are they the best webcams but they are somewhat affordable. Unless you want a different brand or a more budget friendly option.
The Logitech HD Pro C920 is without a doubt the best webcam for streaming. In terms of quality and price it is the clear winner. Any other webcam pales in comparison to the C920. It has everything you want in a webcam for streaming. It records in the highest quality possible and has built-in hardware compression. The H.264 video compression is done within the camera. The hardware can greatly excel performance, even on powerful PCs. Not many webcams have integrated hardware that can accelerate upload speeds and alleviate demand on gaming systems. By recording and compressing at the same time, you get fast and smoother uploads.
The quality of the C920 can be increased because of H.264 compression technology. You can record in Full HD 1080p and HD 720p for streaming. Recording in 1080p brings forward rich and vibrant colors and can capture the smallest details. It is perfect to guarantee a good first impression on your viewers. It’s highly adjustable with a wide field of vision that can’t be matched by traditional built-in webcams. The automatic light correction will ensure clear video even in dim light.
The ability to automatically adjust the light levels is only one of many features of the Logitech C920. The C920 is built with five-element glass lens and a premium auto-focus. It can capture images clearly and smoothly with precision. Instead of a single autofocus, there is a twenty step autofocus that guarantees high definition images. The photo quality is 15 megapixels compared to the 5 megapixel Logitech C310 webcam. Logitech C920 has two built-in microphones that capture stereo audio and filters out background noise decently well. However, serious streamers should consider getting a dedicated microphone.
Another high quality webcam for streaming, but is more suited for business use. The Logitech C930e is a great option if you want something with a bit more of an edge over the C920. The C930e is one of the best webcams for streaming because of its quality and flexibility. It has all of the great features from the C920 and more. It offers an impeccable image quality and has features that are desirable for many different applications, not just for streaming. The only barrier preventing you from buying the C930e is the price. It is considerably more expensive than the C920 and has features that aren’t useful for many streamers.
But if you want higher quality and additional features, then the C930e is a perfect option for you. The C930e records in Full HD 1080p and 720p HD video calling. It has a business grade high definition video webcam that records in 30 frames per second, which is perfect for video conferences. It has the widest field of view at 90 degrees, which is also capable of pan and tilt. Compared to the 78 degree field of view on the C920. There is a built-in 4X digital zoom in 1080p video that increases flexibility. Once again, these features aren’t necessarily beneficial for streamers, but adds to the versatility of your webcam.
There are many features that are identical to the C920. Automatic low-light correction is built-in along with two stereo microphones. The C930e comes with autofocus to enhance images and give more clarity. H.264 video compression is also done through the hardware within the webcam to offer greater performance on your PC. The difference is the pan, tilt, and zoom that is in this webcam. The C920 does not have these features, but the 20 step autofocus is missing from the C930e. And of course the biggest difference is the price.
Best Budget Webcams
If you are planning on streaming, then you should purchase a webcam. Even if you already have a built-in webcam on your laptop or computer monitor, you should consider getting a webcam. If the other webcams on this list are too costly, then consider getting a webcam from this category.
A decent webcam for streaming. It is definitely not as good as the previous webcams, but it gets the job done. It can only record at HD 720p and is unable to record at Full HD 1080p. If this is a problem, this webcam isn’t for you. The quality isn’t bad, but streamers at a professional level should consider more expensive options.
The quality is great for a budget webcam. It can record at 720p which is capable of capturing colorful and bright colors. The webcam records at 16:9 widescreen format at up to 30 frames per second. The limitations on this webcam is it cannot record at 1080p. But this should not deter you, since this webcam is one of the most budget-friendly webcams out there.
The features on this webcam may not be as abundant, but there are some seriously useful features that make this webcam a viable choice for many. The webcam has a built-in microphone that is noise-cancelling and uni-directional. Uni-directional webcams can cancel out a lot of background noise, but it can be limited because you can only talk directly in front of the webcam. If you are getting a webcam for streaming, you should also consider getting a dedicated microphone for streaming. Here are some budget-friendly microphones.
The Logitech HD C310 webcam is one of the most affordable webcams Logitech has to offer. It does a great job of recording high definition videos and shooting 5-megapixel images. The C310 is an excellent option for streamers who are on a budget and want a versatile webcam. This webcam may not be the best webcam Logitech has to offer, but it does everything you want without the heavy price tag.
The C310 records high definition video up to 720p and has a wide-angle lens which is always focused to provide excellent picture quality. The webcam gives you crystal clear images and a photo resolution of 5 megapixels. Automatic light correction is also built-in. If you want an affordable webcam and want to stick with a trusted brand like Logitech, then the C310 is a great option.
The webcam has a built-in microphone with noise cancellation. Most webcams on this list features a built-in microphone with noise cancellation. This webcam isn’t rich in features but it can record high quality video and the price is a reasonable. The missing features shouldn’t deter you. But what might discourage you from buying this webcam is the missing 1080p support. Higher quality cameras are more desirable for streamers, but not necessary. The C310 isn’t as portable and cannot rotate 360 degrees, while the C525 can.
The Logitech HD C525 is relatively the same price as the C310, but has many more premium features. For streamers, quality should be the most important component when choosing a webcam. This webcam is a good middle ground between the budget webcams and the best webcams on this list. The quality on the C525 webcam has been slightly improved over the C310.
Instead of a 5 megapixel webcam, the C525 is 8 megapixels. It also features a premium autofocus, whereas the C310 was an always focused webcam. The quality to capture high definition images has been improved. The webcam’s resolution is the same as the C310 at HD 720p. This is the standard resolution for many webcams and for full high definition webcams, you’ll need to spend a little extra.
The Logitech C525 has automatic light correction and a built-in microphone with noise cancellation. The webcam isn’t as portable as many webcams, but it is versatile. The C525 features a 360-degree rotational camera. The C310 has a fixed camera and cannot be rotated. This offers a lot more flexibility for streamers. You can move the webcam to the desired angle, quickly and easily. The auto focus is the most useful feature on this webcam and it is what separates it from the C310.
Logitech dominates the market for the best webcams. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any competition and notable brands. Microsoft makes some of the best webcams and should be put into consideration.
The Microsoft LifeCam Studio is a great challenger to some of the best webcams Logitech has to offer. It is one of the few 1080p webcams mentioned on this list. The video resolution is HD 1080p and HD 720p for streaming. The difference between the LifeCam Studio and the Logitech C920 and C930e is the lack of an on-board H.264 encoder chip. For streaming, H.264 video compression is very useful for improving performance. It takes away a lot of the workload from the CPU. Video streams are compressed by the webcam itself. The LifeCam Studio does not have an on-board H.264 encoder chip, but it is more affordable than the Logitech webcams.
The 1080p HD Sensor on the webcam provides superior sharpness and image quality. The Truecolor technology automatically controls the exposure for bright and colorful video. It improves overall quality and makes small changes to the lighting and color of the video. The quality has been drastically improved over the HD-3000 and LifeCam Cinema.
The video resolution is 1080p, while the HD-3000 and Cinema is only 720p. The lens is made of premium glass which provides sharp image quality. Compared to the plastic lens and regular glass element lens from the HD-3000 and Cinema respectively. The high-fidelity microphone has been greatly improved over the digital microphone of the HD-3000. And instead of a fixed webcam, the LifeCam Studio has a 360 degree view range.
The Microsoft LifeCam Cinema is a strong competitor to the many 720p webcams available. It has many of the same features as the LifeCam Studio. The major difference is HD 720p widescreen video versus Full HD 1080p video. For streaming, quality is the most important but since the Microsoft webcams do not support H.264 video compression. This might be a good webcam for people with less powerful PCs. Recording in 720p resolution decreases CPU demand dramatically compared to 1080p resolution.
A slight decrease in quality should not deter you from buying the LifeCam Cinema. It has many great features that are present in the LifeCam Studio. TrueColor technology that brings forward vivid colors is present on the LifeCam Cinema. The same features that make the LifeCam Studio great, like autofocus and 360-degree view range exists on the LifeCam Cinema. Most of the important features are the same, though there are slight differences.
The webcam is made of a glass element lens, while the lens on the LifeCam Studio is made of premium glass. The built-in microphone is a noise reduction microphone rather than a high-fidelity microphone on the Studio. Once again, the major difference is the 720p versus 1080p. This alone puts the LifeCam Studio significantly ahead of the Cinema. While the LifeCam Cinema is a worthy competitor in regards to 720p webcams, there are many 1080p Logitech webcams that are similar in terms of costs.
The Logitech C615 is an example of a 1080p webcam matched with affordable pricing. It is portable and capable of delivering crystal clear recording quality. It makes the C615 the perfect candidate for an affordable, yet powerful webcam for streaming. Record sharp and vibrant videos in Full HD 1080p and enjoy broadcasting HD 720p video to your audiences. The quality, portability, and affordability is all combined into a single device.
The webcam brings forward rich colors and is highly adjustable. It has a wide field of vision capable of capturing a larger area than other webcams. The photo quality has been vastly improved over the Logitech C310. The C615 captures images at 8 megapixels compared to the 5 megapixel C310. The automatic light correction records clear videos even in dim light and low-light settings.
In terms of features, the C615 is no slouch. Instead of the fixed focus type found on the C310, the Logitech C615 has a premium autofocus. The image will look sharp even in extreme close-ups (up to 10cm). A fold and go design makes this webcam the most portable webcam on this list. The portable design makes it easy to place it into your bag and take it with you. The webcam can rotate or swivel 360-degrees. A built-in microphone with noise reduction that ensures background noises are kept to a minimum. A small and portable webcam with a wide variety of features that make it a great choice for streamers and broadcasters.
The Bottom Line
The best webcams for streaming depends on the quality your stream is able to achieve. Most people want a Full HD 1080p webcam, but it can be too costly or too demanding for your PC. The most important aspect of your stream is the quality. Having a webcam should increase the number of people who tune in to watch your stream. But a low quality webcam can do the opposite and discourage loyal followers from continuing to watch.
Therefore, it is important to ensure your webcam fits the stream. By that, I mean a webcam that is compatible with your internet bandwidth and computer. Streaming by itself is quite demanding, so it is important to find the correct webcam.
Full High Definition 1080p webcams are very demanding for computers to process and it increases internet bandwidth usage. The high quality Logitech webcams mentioned in the beginning of the article (Logitech C920 and C930e) are equipped with an encoder chip to help mitigate the demand of 1080p streaming. I recommend the C920 for streaming in 1080p. It will guarantee the best quality and also the best performance.
Perhaps you want something more cost effective. There are many webcams that are perfect for people who are on a budget. They range between $20 and $30, but are all 720p webcams. The quality is certainly not as good as the 1080p webcams, but they’re absolutely worth the price. I recommend the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 webcam as a budget-friendly option.
There are certainly worthy competitors on this list. You should consider them if the other webcams are unavailable or you want an alternative.