In a previous article, we covered how to start streaming. One of the many things we covered was essential improvements. Of these, using a webcam was high on our priority list. However, we didn’t cover very well what exactly is worth buying when it comes to webcams. With a great many options on the market today, it can be rather difficult to find the right webcam for you.
Different sensors, different mounting hardware, different microphone types and so on. If you find yourself scratching your head at these things, or if you just want to know the best of the best in today’s market, then this guide is perfect for you!
Whether you’re streaming, video calling with friends or creating videos, we’ll cover a handful of webcams which should suit your every need. We’ll be sure to highlight their biggest pros and cons, as well as any other important information you’ll want to know before you purchase. With that out of the way, let’s get to it!
Best Webcams for streaming 2017
|Logitech C920||1080p30||USB 2.0||$62|
|Logitech C615||1080p30||USB 2.0||$39|
|Logitech C270||720p30||USB 2.0||$19|
|Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000||720p30||USB 2.0||$27|
|Microsoft LifeCam Studio||1080p30||USB 2.0||$58|
|Logitech C525||720p30||USB 2.0||$30|
Logitech C920 Webcam Review
Let’s be honest. Anyone who has done any level of research on webcams or has read any article relating to them has seen this coveted webcam before. For good reason, too.
The C920 is a phenomenal webcam from Logitech, and it has only gotten more and more affordable over time. The mounting mechanism is great for almost any display and use-case, the tripod mount is a great addition, the dual microphones are nice to have if you do not have access to an external mic, and the sensor is fantastic.
The C920 is capable of up to 1080p30 recording, it has great auto-focus, the low light performance is rather impressive for the price point, and it uses hardware-level h.264 encoding. This means you won’t need to worry about poor recording performance on lower-end machines.
Unless you’re looking for a 4K webcam, the C920 is likely the best on the market right now. Only succeeded by its streaming-centric successor, the C922, which currently costs roughly twice as much and only offer 720p60 recording. If you need that, opt for the C922. Otherwise, the two are almost identical.
If you’d like an in-depth review of the C920, considering check out this review.
Logitech C615 Review
The Logitech C615, while a step down from the C920, is still a very impressive webcam at a very comfortable price.
Its sensor is capable of 1080p30 recording, its auto-focus capabilities, while not as nice as the C920, are still impressive, and the built-in microphone is very impressive, even rivaling budget dedicated mics.
At its core, there isn’t much to be said about the C615 that doesn’t echo how it’s a slight step down from the C920. The camera itself can swivel in 360 degrees, it has a large range of tilt, it comes with a tripod mount, and it can be folded up and compacted for easier travel.
If you’re looking for a nice 1080p webcam and you don’t want to break the bank, the C615 is going to be your best friend. The only thing to note about it is that its cable is very short, so be sure to keep this in mind! It does come with an extension in the box, however.
Logitech C270 Review
When you’re looking at webcams, do you ever ask yourself, “Why do I need to spend over $30 on a webcam? I’m not a streamer; I’ll probably only use it once a week to talk to my mom!” If you have, the Logitech C270 may be your answer at under $20.
It has everything a basic webcam would need: a 5 foot USB cable, compact size, acceptable 720p video resolution, a workable microphone, and a fairly versatile mount. You may encounter problems balancing it on a laptop screen or a similarly thin monitor. You’ll also encounter problems with extremely thick monitors. The webcam works fine in all versions of Windows from Vista to 10.
The worst that can be said about this webcam is that it comes with a preset focus distance. If you do not like this setting, modifying it involves taking the webcam apart. The Logitech C270 won’t wow your audience or impress your friends, but it’ll get the job done at a fraction of the cost of some other webcams.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Review
The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 finds itself in a very similar position to the Logitech C270, and that’s not a bad thing.
Coming in right around the $20 mark, the LifeCam HD-3000 is a very nice option for those on a budget. Its sensor is decent, offering modest performance at a maximum of 720p30, and the built-in microphone is rather impressive for its size and cost. Unfortunately, the mounting mechanism for this webcam is rather lacking, allowing for very little flexibility overall. That being said, the mount is deep enough that it should fit most displays, laptops included.
Another nice feature, unlike the C270, is that the webcam offers decent autofocus and totes good color reproduction. Speaking from personal experience, I would say their claims are true, within reason. Of course, you shouldn’t expect much at this price point, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s nice to have decent options. This webcam is among those options.
Microsoft LifeCam Studio Review
The Microsoft LifeCam Studio would most accurately be considered Microsoft’s competition with Logitech’s C920. Priced similarly, the LifeCam Studio offers some nice features for those looking for a more high-end webcam.
The sensor and lens have a rather large field of view, and this can be ideal for things like conference calling, large room video calls, or giving you more flexibility with your facecam while streaming. The sensor also records at up to 1080p30, which is rather nice. This, coupled with Microsoft’s lighting and color technology, and you have yourself a very nice, very capable sensor. Additionally, the built-in microphone is phenomenal when you consider the formfactor of the webcam, as well as the price.
The webcam also allows for tripod mounting, and its mounting mechanism is a fair bit more versatile than its younger brother, the LifeCam HD-3000. Overall, it’s a very nice option if you’re looking at webcams in the $60~ range.
Logitech C525 Review
The Logitech C525 is in a very odd position, but one that many people may find themselves in at some point.
It targets a price point similar to the C270, but its design mirrors that of the C615. It is only capable of 720p30 recording, but it has a very versatile mount and can rotate in 360-degrees. It also offers autofocus, which is a feature missing from the C270.
If you’re unable to spend the extra $10 for the C615, but you need features like autofocus that the C270 lack, the C525 comes in as being a rather nice in-between. It’s only difficult to recommend this webcam because there are better options very close to its price point.
While this list may seem somewhat short, it’s difficult for us to add webcams that we simply cannot recommend. Webcams like the C922 cost almost twice as much as the C920 while offering relatively no useful features. Other webcams, like the Razer Stargazer, cost over $150 and are priced as such because of features a majority of users will never use. Furthermore, this specific webcam is plagued by negative reviews citing that one of its features — its selling point — doesn’t even work.
Overall, we hope you enjoyed our picks, and we’re positive you’re sure to find something that will suit your needs! If you have any suggestions or criticisms, feel free to share them in the comments.