Learn More About Webcams
Your lights can be flawless, your hair and makeup can be on point, and your audio can be crystal clear, but without a good webcam, the overall quality of your video conferences can leave much to be desired. Here at Moment, we want the people on the other side of the video to wonder what the heck kind of big-budget studio you could possibly be using as a conference room -- your secret, of course, being just a great webcam.
Read on to learn about webcams, why they’re vital for video conferencing & content creation at large, then shop our selection of the best webcams in the market for your needs. Let’s jump right in.
Webcams: Improved Video Quality
Back in the days of old only the fanciest of computers had a native camera, let alone an HD webcam. Today, most laptops come loaded with a webcam to facilitate video calls. However, as much as native webcams have improved in quality through updated generations of computer hardware, they’re no match for the capacity and versatility of external webcams. So for that reason, content creators and business folk alike should invest in a webcam separate from the subpar ones embodied in your device.
Before we show you our favorite models in our shop and teach you some tricks to look your best, we’ll briefly define the kind of webcam to which we’re referring.
What Is an External Webcam?
Webcams are cameras used for streaming images and videos in real-time. They’re communication tools used by people to chat remotely via the power of the internet. Think of the concept of making a FaceTime call. But, instead of the built-in camera that tends to be grainy & distort the way you look, an external webcam is specialized, higher in quality, giving the subject facing the camera a much better look -- such as accurate color, exposure, and aspect ratio.
What To Look For in a Webcam for Video Calls
Like other home & studio gear you invest in for content creation, you want to make sure your hard-earned dollars go towards a webcam that’s high in quality and value, meeting certain industry standards at the least and blowing away the competition at best.
Though there’s a long list of potential attributes you want from your webcam, from microphones to controls, portability, and more, we’ll stick to visual features for the sake of cutting to the chase.
One of the advantages of an external webcam is its capacity for higher resolution. If you purchase a low-res webcam, you won’t look your best no matter how well-dressed or well-groomed you are. We’d go as far as to say you’re no better off than using your computer’s built-in webcam if your external cam’s resolution isn’t up to snuff.
These days, you’d have to go out of your way to buy a cam under 720p, but we insist you buy 1080p at the least -- in our shop, you’ll find incredible webcams able to capture images in 4K.
A higher resolution webcam will make business professionals look more, well, professional during calls, and content creators look more masterful while keeping audience attention where you want it.
In the same family, your camera’s frame rate is an important feature to pay attention to, or again, you might as well keep using your computer’s below-average cam. The higher the frame rate, the smoother you’ll appear on camera. Nothing’s more annoying than watching someone looking like a flipbook gone wrong. You want 30 to 60 fps for smooth top-notch content.
Other visual features to look for in a great webcam includes the field of view (high-quality webcams have different settings from about 60 to 90 degrees), performance capabilities in different lighting (you want to look your best even if you didn’t have the luxury of nice, bright lighting), HDR, zoom capabilities, and lens type (glass is better than plastic).
Tips for Looking Incredible On Your Next Video Stream
Now that you’ve got a solid idea of what to look for in a webcam, here are some quick tips on how to use your tool in your favor.
Though we mentioned that a high-quality webcam gives you some flexibility to look good regardless of lighting, if you want to look your absolute best, you’ll want to stack as many chips in your favor -- including lighting. Find a well-lit room. If you’re near a window, make sure it’s in front of you or next to you and not behind you. Get more tips on how to incorporate video conferencing lights more effectively here (pick up some new ones while you’re at it too).
External webcams are typically super portable and adjustable, so you’ll also want to get your camera at about eye level so that you appear to be speaking directly to the subjects on the other side -- whether a single person, a group, or a large audience. You don’t want to be the guy or gal who’s looking down into the camera while it's expertly pointed at your double-chin.
Lastly, play with your laptop and webcam’s settings (whether by its native controls or a third-party app) such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and more to find your sweet spot to look how you want.
Now, let’s check out our fav webcams in our shop handpicked by pros.
Our Top Webcam Picks
Here is Moment’s top webcam picks for content creators of every level and video stream sessions of any kind.
If you’re simply looking for a way to enhance the quality of your online meetings, look no further than the Live!Cam Sync 1080P by Creative Labs. This is a great webcam that supports full HD videos at 30 fps, so that you can look like the professional you are in any scenario. The Live!Cam is inexpensive, easy to set up, and UVC compliant.
For those who want to produce the best live video content ever, Logitech’s BRIO Webcam is a force to be reckoned with. The BRIO is a 4K webcam with HDR that supports the biometrics-based Windows Hello. As one of the world’s most powerful and advanced webcams, the BRIO is packed to the brim with features beyond its impressive smooth video clarity. To name a few, the BRIO is equipped with Omni-directional mics, autofocus capabilities, and an external privacy shutter.
Looking for an all-in-one webcam package? Buy Moment’s own Webcam Kit. The bundle includes our best-selling Wide Lens that captures razor-sharp images + M-Series Lens Mount that you can securely attach to your laptop and other devices like your iPhone -- learn more about the M-Series Lens Mount here.
We learned what webcams were, why they’re important, features to look for before purchasing one, how to ensure you look incredible during live streaming, PLUS introduced you to our fav webcams in our shop handpicked by creatives. We’ll answer some of your most common questions before we wrap up.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which is the best webcam to buy?
The best webcam to buy depends on your preferences and needs. We recommend the Live!Cam Sync 1080P by Creative Labs for folks who want professional-grade video conferencing and the Logitech BRIO Webcam for creators who desire the best webcam they can get their hands on.
Are webcams better than laptop cameras?
Yes. Depending on which one you buy, an external webcam beats your laptop's internal camera any day of the week. The best webcams have high resolutions, support higher shutter speeds, have lenses made from glass rather than plastic, and are loaded with features while being simple to use.
Can I add a webcam to my computer?
Yes. Though most laptops come with decent cameras, they don’t come close to the advantages you get when you add a webcam to your computer. External webcams are easy to set up (usually just requiring a simple connector like a USB), they’re mountable and moveable, providing you the ultimate video conferencing experience.
How do I add a webcam to my computer?
To add a webcam to your computer, all you need to do is plug in one end of your connector to your webcam and the other to your computer, then mount or clamp on your webcam to the device. Moment’s Webcam Kit comes with everything you need to get set up ASAP and can be used on your laptop, iPhone, Samsung phones, etc.
So what’s it going to be? Will you stick to the pixely, low frame rate, low-res internal camera on your computer, or will you invest in a highly affordable webcam guaranteed to take your interviews, presentations, conversations, and other video stream needs to rich, buttery smooth levels that connect subjects and audience as nothing else can? Most content creators and professionals choose the latter. If you need help making a decision, reach out to an expert Gear Guide who’ll help you make the switch.