During a shortage of USB webcams, a Raspberry Pi camera module is a great available alternative to a PC camera. It’s easy to install the Raspberry Pi video camera module and connect your Pi to the Windows PC, according to a guideline from Tom’s HARDWARE.
1. Consider the intended use for your webcam, just an external video camera for general video calls, serious video conferences or streaming?
2. Think about how much you are intended for investing in a webcam, and buy an affordable webcam on your budget. There are webcam price under $10, $20, $50, $100, $200 and over $200 to choose from.
3. Choose a webcam of your preferred brand if you care more about the brand than the price.
Logitech webcam is an industry-leading webcam brand in the market for its high quality and reasonable price. It offers a collection of webcam for video conferencing, streaming, recording, gaming and business. Logitech C920 as a mid-range webcam is the most popular video camera in all Logitech webcams, and the Logitech C270 is the best budget webcam for video chat. If you have enough budget, Logitech Brio will be your best bet for the live stream. Besides, C930e, C925e and C922 1080p webcam are also perfect for creating an HD video.
Razer webcam, especially for the Razer Kiyo, is regarded as the best webcam for live streaming. Featured with a good image quality and ring light, Razer Kiyo webcam is well welcome to game streamers and YouTube vloggers. However, Razer Kiyo is out of stock on nearly all the online shopping platform.
Microsoft webcam thanks to the fame of Microsoft brand, has taken a place in the webcam market. Teamed up with other Microsoft web products, Microsoft LifeCam is a decent choice for working from home.
Spedal webcam though is not that famous as Logitech webcam, it has the most features as Logitech webcam but costs less than Logitech. The Spedal webcam is well built of high quality, you could feel at ease to invest in it. There are Spedal C927, 920, S928, 920 Pro and 931 Pro webcam for you to choose from, it’s incredible to see a webcam priced under $50 works like the one of $100 or over. If you are hunting for Logitech webcam, I would recommend you have a try on Spedal webcam.
HXSJ webcam is a brand offering the best cheap webcams like S1, S2, S3, and S80 video cameras. With the highest price under $30, you could get a 1080p HD webcam featured with autofocus, 5MP resolution, a built-in noise-canceling mic, auto light correction, 100-degrees field of view, tripod-ready universal clip. For such an affordable USB webcam, you won’t go wrong with HXSJ whether for video conferencing, group chat, streaming or distant learning.
4. Which kinds of PC is the webcam used for? Considering the compatibility will help you get the right webcam.
5. Which webcam feature is your most concerning? If you require a better video quality for streaming, consider an HD webcam with 4K or 1080p. For ease of use, the feature of autofocus, clip-on, built-in mic, LED night vision light or tripod will be a plus.
① Image quality or video quality (resolution): a basic webcam records up to 640 x 480 resolution(480p webcam), and a high-end video camera reaches up to 1280 x 720 (720p webcam), 1920 x 1080 (1080p webcam), 4096 x 2160 (Ultra HD webcam), 4096 x 2160 (4K webcam) or higher resolution. Generally, High Definition (HD) webcam also means a resolution of 720p or more. If a video quality or image quality is important to you, an HD webcam of 720p or more might be your best bet.
HD webcam: Short for High Definition webcam. An HD webcam means a resolution of 720p or more to display a clear image, including 720p HD, 1080p Full HD, and 4K Ultra HD webcams.
1080p webcam: With a resolution of 1920 x 1080, 1080p webcam offers an HD video quality to show clear details. As most people stream video online at 1080p, so a 1080p webcam has been the most cost-effective video camera to create YouTube videos. If you are looking for a 1080p webcam, you won’t go wrong with the Logitech C930 or C920 full HD 1080p webcam for both the features and price.
4K webcam: Obviously, a 4K webcam of 4096 x 2160 resolution displays more details in the image even in a zoom. However, with larger and more powerful sensors, 4K webcams are heavier and pricier than 1080p webcams. If you are hunting for a webcam just for business meetings or streaming online, there’s no need for a 4K webcam, a 1080p webcam is far more enough. If you’ve decided on a 4K webcam, Logitech Brio 4K webcam or Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic webcam with the most features would be a great choice for a reasonable price.
② Autofocus: designed to adjust the focus automatically when the webcam captures a moving object, and make the object look sharper. If you want to focus in on your face for video chat, just wave your hand in front of the webcam, this autofocus webcam will do what you want and save your trouble to adjust the focus manually.
③ Setup: Almost all the webcams are easy to mount wherever you want it to go, as some webcams come with a stand, universal clip, swivel, a threaded base, or a tripod.
Clip-on webcam (aka clamp mount webcam): Comes with a universal clip (some are removable) for easy mounting on laptops, LCD or monitors. A clamp mount design also allows you to clip the webcam onto a lamp or set on a windowsill, and anywhere you want it to go. Where there is support, there is your webcam.
Webcam with tripod thread: Some webcams are tripod-ready for a video chat or stream so that you could easily place the webcam properly at the best spot. A balanced tripod will help your webcam sit securely to capture a better and clearer video.
Webcam with omnidirectional mic vs with stereo mic vs without mic: More and more webcams come with dual omnidirectional mics to reduce the noise all around and make your voice sound natural and clear. Generally, the omnidirectional mic has a better noise-canceling performance than the stereo mic. If the webcam without a built-in microphone, you will need an external condenser microphone or a headset with a mic. If possible, choosing a studio condenser microphone kit as your best bet for professional streaming.
④ Night vision: Most webcams work poorly in the low light condition, so it’s crucial to get a webcam with ring light or built-in LED light. If you don’t want a washed off video, please make sure that you are recording the videos in the best light condition. For better video quality, you won’t go wrong with a webcam featured LED light or auto light correction.
⑤ Privacy protection: a webcam with privacy shutter makes it convenient to cover the camera lens and protect your privacy, you don’t have to worry about your naked body being watched through the webcam. Just flip the camera slider down to assure privacy.
6. Consider an extra camera lens cover, tripod, or studio microphone kit when you buy a webcam without privacy shutter, tripod or microphone.
A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams an image or video in real-time to or through a computer to a computer network, such as the Internet.
Typically the webcam could be classified into an external webcam or built-in webcam. External webcams are generally small cameras that sit on a desk or clip on a monitor or are built into the hardware like a Raspberry Pi camera module.
Most laptop computers are equipped with a low-resolution built-in webcam for instant video calls.
A PC webcam is used widely in video calls, video conferencing, online business meetings, or YouTube video blogs for clearer video quality.
During live audio or video of online training or distant learning, a PC webcam will keep you activated and productive.
A USB webcam is a camera that connects to a computer, usually through plugging it into a USB port on the computer. Whereas an IP camera (also called a network camera) connects directly to the network, router or modem with no PC involved, and sends video through the network.
|Specs||USB webcam||IP webcam|
|Price||+ Fairly affordable, starting at around $10||- High cost, starting at around $100|
|Ease of use||+ Easy to set up, no worry for network bandwidth or processing power||- Not that easy to set up, requires connecting to the network|
|Connectivity||- Must be connected to the computer||+ Connect wirelessly to a WiFi network (if there is a strong WiFi signal)|
|Intended use||Used for video chat, IM, Chatroulette, Skype, Google Talk, and Zoom meetings.||Used for remote monitoring purposes - nanny-cam, surveillance, asset protection, like watching the baby from work or keeping an eye on the house when you’re on vacation.|
|Hacking threat||+ Low||- High|
You might never know how worse is the embedded webcam of your Macbook until you have to work from home and require video conferencing every day during this quarantine.
It’s hard to believe that the built-in laptop camera of the top-end laptop keeps only 1MP resolution but a top-notch smartphone has a 108 MP camera, whereas most of the desktop computers have no embedded webcam.
According to a study of Logitech webcam - Beyond Built-in: Why a Better Webcam Matters, an embedded webcam is useful but performance-limited by technical and cost factors when compared to external or plug-and-play webcams.
|Factors||External webcam||Built-in webcam|
|Summary||Extra cost; Resolution up to 1MP, Autofocus; Wider Field of View for group video chat; Adjustable angle; Works with most video meeting platform||Basic cost; Resolution up to 4K/1080P/2MP; Narrow Field of View for one-on-one video chat; Fixed angle|
|Cost||While they necessitate expense beyond a laptop or PC, external webcams are apt to have higher quality components that allow for fine-tuning.||As the laptop/PC market is highly competitive, built-in webcams are likely to be basic.|
|Size of components||Since their design is not dictated by space constraints, external webcams typically have higher quality components, providing for better resolution, speed, fluidity, color balance, and noise reduction.||Embedded webcams are typically small; small components directly impact the level of camera performance and image quality.|
|Lens||Some external webcams have a multi-piece lens stack, greatly enhancing their level of image quality.||Embedded webcams do not have room for a multipiece lens stack, so image quality may not be the best.|
|Focal Length||Higher quality external webcams have autofocus and can adjust the focal length for near or far so that the subject is always in focus.||As embedded cameras typically don’t have multiple lens components, the focal length is limited, making images in shorter distances not as crisp.|
|Field of view||The field of view offered by embedded webcams is most suitable for one-on-one communications.||The field of view offered by embedded webcams is most suitable for one-on-one communications.|
|Light sensitivity||Some webcams can fine-tune in lower light environments to generate better quality images.||Embedded webcams may not adjust or fine-tune in lower light environments, causing reduced image quality.|
|Ability to position||Being able to position and adjust a webcam as desired is integral to business-grade video calling. External webcams typically provide this functionality with varying clip technologies.||Embedded webcams provide little freedom to adjust the camera position and minimize the scene to one view, such as a face.|
|Heat||External webcams are usually larger, with space around the circuit board to allow heat to disperse.||The heat generated by a laptop can affect the sensor of an embedded webcam or increase the noise in an image.|
|Stereo quality sound||Some external webcams have built-in stereo microphones offering a high definition-like audio experience.||The quality of microphones embedded in computers varies, according to microphone location and the overall computer solution.|
|Certifications||Some external webcams are built to work seamlessly with top video calling platforms. The resulting certifications help ensure that cameras offer speed, performance, quality, and other enhanced features to enable a quality experience.||Embedded webcams are often not designed to perform to certification standards for video calling platforms.|
From the above comparison, we could see the external webcam is far better than a built-in webcam.
Moreover, it’s always suggested to use a post-it to cover the embedded laptop camera in case that someone hacks into your computer to spy on your privacy, for example, the FBI agent “look at you stumbling into your room naked with 1/2 a gallon of ice cream”.
However, the USB webcam is a single-use camera that turns off when the computer is off. And thanks to its plug-and-play, you could feel at ease to use.
The cost of a webcam starts around $10, and you could pay more for a better webcam featured with more functions and higher performance.
As for a popular Logitech webcam, the lowest-price C270 costs at around $40, the mid-range C920 HD Pro webcam starts at around $80, and the top-end 4K PRO MAGNETIC webcam and Brio Ultra HD Pro webcam is priced at around $200.
If you are working from home and busy in web meetings or live streams, buying a webcam at the price ranged from $20 to $200 is worth it, especially for YouTube vloggers or streamers.
Obviously, an HD webcam of clearer image quality will better entertain your followers and subscribers, helping you produce more popular videos.
For a businessman or teacher, it’s crucial to own an HD webcam to make a vivid online course. And the high-quality videos would bring both fame and fortune to you.
Before using a webcam to start a web meeting, video chat with friends or family, or just record a webcast or video diary, you have to connect the webcam to your computer.
Here’s a brief instruction for a webcam used with a PC that has Windows 10 installed.
① Install the webcam software on your computer. Generally speaking, the webcam will come with a CD driver or with instructions to find the drivers online.
② Plug in the webcam via the USB port in the monitor or the computer host.
③ Keep the webcam on a flat surface. It’s suggested to use a stack of books or a tripod to align the standing webcam to get the best spot for a video shooting.
④ Clip the webcam to your monitor and position it. It’s easy to make your clamp-mount desktop PC webcam sit securely on top of the monitor and take it off or just place it where you want it to go.
⑤ Once connected, turn on your webcam software and webcam.
Here’s a quick start guide for Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam.
You could use this guide to set yo your webcam and get started with video calling. When using your webcam with Windows 8, there are detailed instructions for you understanding the camera app, adjusting your camera settings and sharing your photos and videos.
Also, you will learn how to capture video and snap pictures, view and share the video, and learn how to use motion detection and fine-tune your webcam during a video call, while using your webcam with Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Step-by-step instruction of Logitech webcam to make using your webcam software to create videos pretty quick and simple.
1. Open the Logitech Webcam Software and Select Quick Capture.
2. If you do not see the “Controls” as shown below click “Controls” in the bottom right area below the video capture.
3. Click the Green Video button below your video image to start your recording.
4. Click the Red Video button below your video image to stop your recording.
5. Yours most recently created video will be on your far left.
6. Click this video image to preview your video.
7. Click “Go to File” if you want to save this MP4 file and upload it to YouTube.
8. Logon to your YouTube Account
9. Upload your video by selecting your video file, or dragging and dropping the file.
10. Caption on YouTube!
2. Place your webcam properly. It’s better to make sure that the camera lens sits at or above eye level, no higher than your hairline. A webcam with a 360-degree swivel or clamp mount would be a good choice.
3. Use soft lighting from the front to capture a better-looking video. If you don’t want your video looking washed out, avoid locations with low light or too much backlighting. Of course, a webcam with a ring light will be the best bet to improve the lighting condition.
4. Check what is behind you when you’re on camera. Try to keep your background simple by avoiding anything cluttered and maintain some distance between you and the background.
5. Use a microphone to make your voice sound clear. As good sound makes the video look better, it’s worthwhile investing in a webcam with mics, or a single USB condenser microphone, or a headset with mic.
6. Make eye contact with your audience and smile. Also, a humorous blink will enhance your charm.
7. Do a test video and practice with your webcam setup. It will help to make sure your setup is giving you the look and sound quality you want, and make you adjust to feel at ease in front of the live camera.