Buying a webcam is like buying a used car. It can turn out to be a lemon or your “old reliable”. Even if you bought a used cam, my list of the best webcams will not include any lemons.
In the last decade, video chatting and video publishing has skyrocketed. And although most online videos must be downloaded before viewing, live streaming videos are also very popular.
So I started thinking about what are the best webcams for streaming and not just for recording. I’m not referring to Camcorders, but specifically about cameras made for live broadcasting.
The biggest problems with webcams is video quality and hardware encoding. This is even more important when considering live streaming video. Often the specific problems include speckling and color gradient inconsistencies. There is also potential USB compatibility and performance issues.
Community streaming websites like Twitch often require h.264 encoding for improved framerates, which cams like the C920 listed below may be perfect for – read more about this here.
The top webcams on the market can do 720+ pixel HD Video at 15-30fps. And computers have live firewire and live USB inputs to receive the video data.
Remember, it takes lots of CPU power to encode videos in real time for good quality streams. You can review the detailed technical specifications of cameras on retail websites to make the best choice for your situation.
So here they are, and in no particular order:
1. HP HD 5210 Webcam
It also has 13 megapixel photo capture, face tracking and HP TrueVision technology. It’s Skype Certified for it’s HD 720P resolution, weighs 6 ounces and rated 3.8/5 stars. -> Buy on Amazon
2. Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam
It also has a high-fidelity microphone and is Skype certified. This cam is also Microsoft Lync ready and has 4 GB of Ram for fast streaming. It’s rated 4.1 out of 5 stars. -> Buy on Amazon
3. Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam
It allows uploading to Facebook and YouTube with a single click. It also has 15 megapixels photo capture and is Skype, Yahoo, Live compatible. -> Buy on Amazon
4. Logitech B910 Hd Webcam
This webcam is made by Logitech. It’s video resolution is (720 x 1280p) at 30 fps. It has a 78-degree wide-angle field of view. It also has 5 megapixel photo capture capabilities. -> Buy on Amazon
5. Apple iSight Video Conferencing Webcam
This webcam is made by Apple. It’s video resolution is 640 x 480p at 30fps. It has a Built-in noise-suppressing microphone. It only weighs 2.3 ounces. -> Buy on Amazon
6. uCorder IRDC250 Wearable Video Camera
This webcam is made by uCorder. This is more of a portable device. It’s video resolution is (640 x 480p) at 25 fps. It comes with a built-in Flash memory of 2 GB. It weighs only 1 pound.
7. iHome MyLife Notebook Webcam
This webcam is made by LifeWorks. It has a 5.0 megapixel max resolution. It also can track motion and comes with a built-In microphone. It weighs 1/4 of a pound. -> Buy on Amazon
8. Logitech B990 HD Webcam
This webcam is made by Logitech. It’s video resolution is 720p at 30fps. It has a 78-degree wide-angle field of view. It comes with dual mics for natural wide band audio. It weighs 14 ounces. -> Buy on Amazon
9. Logitech 2Mp Hd Webcam Pro 9000
This webcam is made by Logitech. It’s video resolution is 720p. It has 8 mega pixel photo capture capabilities. It also has a 75 inch wide-angle lens. It has RightLight2, RightSound and AutoFocus Technology. -> Buy on Amazon
10. Logitech HD Webcam C310
This webcam is made by Logitech. It’s video resolution is 1280 X 720p. It comes with a built-in mic with Logitech RightSound technology. It can do up to 5MP photo capture. Another feature is 1-click Facebook and YouTube HD-upload. -> Buy on Amazon
These are some of the best webcams for streaming, but there may be better cams on the market. I didn’t personally try these webcams. But based on the specs and user feedback, they stack up well against lesser quality/cheaper devices.
The device you choose to go with is based on your situation. I guess the only way to find out is with trial and error. Remember, choose a cam that is compatible with the provided input of your computer. H.264 video compression is the popular encoding format today, so make sure your camera can do this as well.