The first webcam we know of dates back to 1991, just a year before the first commercial webcam appeared. Since then a lot of water has passed under the bridge. The development of the Internet and new technologies have led us to a society where cameras are ubiquitous in our environment.
Currently, many devices have integrated photo/video cameras. These generally have everything you need. However, webcams continue to enjoy great popularity. Their main use is to be able to unite friends, family, and collaborators from all over the world via video conferencing.
The most important things in a nutshell
- Webcams are commonly used to make video calls, both personal and professional.
- In general, they don’t differ much from the rest of the digital video cameras available on the market.
- One of their great advantages is that they can be used with different devices. Also, because they are small and light, they can be easily transported.
The best webcams on the market: our selection
Below we present the ranking we have created with the five best webcams available on the market today. Each is distinguished above all by some characteristic. Of course, they all offer excellent value for money. We hope this way helps you choose the one that best suits your needs.
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- Logitech C920 HD Pro
- AUKEY FullHD
- Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam
- Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
- Logitech C270
Logitech C920 HD Pro
This webcam integrates an HD glass lens and has a fast autofocus system. With it, you can enjoy clear, smooth images and a 78º field of view. Besides, it incorporates two microphones with which to record audio in stereo mode. Record videos in Full HD, 1080p at 30fps (or 720p at 60fps) and take photos with a resolution of 15MP.
It is specially designed for live streaming and the value for money is among the best on the market. Reviews say that the quality of the images and the materials with which it is made are excellent. Simple to use, it is recommended to download the Logitech software to make the most of it.
A webcam that thanks to the 1/3 CMOS image sensor offers clear videos even in poorly lit environments. It has a built-in dual microphone that reduces background noise. No installation driver is required, it has a design that allows you to place it on different devices. 1080p 30fps HD video and 2MP photos. 55 ° viewing angle.
Those who bought it testify that it works excellently even in Full HD without transmission drops. Excellent performance also for streaming. It cannot be taken into consideration for professional needs, but for many other uses, it is more than recommended.
Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam
Logitech offers us a video conferencing solution for private offices, home offices, and almost any semi-private space. With an all-in-one design, this webcam is easy to use and saves space. Full HD 1080p video transmission at 30fps with 78 ° field of view, 1.8X HD zoom, and remote control to manage the webcam.
The full-duplex speaker has a function to cancel acoustic echo and background noise. Suitable for professional use for small group video conferencing. According to reviews, video transmission is excellent and the microphone is powerful even from a distance. Among the best webcams of the genre.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
Microsoft webcam with bright video capture in true 720p (1280 x 720) HD quality. Take photos in 4MP resolution and integrate a digital noise-canceling microphone. Glass lens and autofocus. The field of view is 68.5 °.
Reviews say the images are sharp, the webcam is stable, and has good focus. There are many enthusiastic opinions. However, someone complains about the microphone, which is not exceptional, and in any case, it is recommended for ‘home’ use.
If you need a webcam for video conferencing and don’t want to make a big economic investment, don’t hesitate, the Logitech C270 HD webcam is what you’re looking for. For a truly unbeatable price, you can enjoy a webcam that offers 720p HD video quality and a built-in microphone.
Besides, the camera has a system that allows you to automatically adjust the image according to the lighting conditions. Of course, it has no autofocus and its field of view is only 60º. As for photos, it offers a resolution of 3 MP. You can’t ask for much more for such a low price.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about webcams
When buying a webcam, there are some important things to consider. Don’t forget that there are many webcam models, each with specific characteristics. In this section, we answer the most common questions asked by those who, like you, are looking for a webcam to buy.
What is a webcam exactly?
A webcam is a small digital video camera connected to a computer with which you can make videos and broadcast them on the web. These videos can be streamed both on a site and directly on another device through the use of some programs.
In general, webcams are composed of a lens, an image sensor, and the electronic circuits necessary for their correct functioning. Broadly speaking, we can say that they do not differ too much from other digital video cameras. Often one way to differentiate them is the software that is used with them.
The first known webcam was used by the Department of Computer Science and Science of the University of Cambridge in 1991. A year later, in 1992, the first commercial webcam called XCam came out. There is no doubt that their performance has improved significantly since then.
What are the main uses of webcams?
The most common use of a webcam is to make video calls via Skype or similar programs. Although, as you can imagine, this is not the only application. Besides, it is often used to record YouTube videos in a more or less professional way, like a surveillance camera or to broadcast live video.
But that is not all. Its use in some areas of scientific research such as astronomy, cognitive psychology, or neuromarketing is usual. And, of course, they are used extensively in the video game world, to the point that there are specific models for it.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of webcams?
First of all, having a quality webcam allows you to have a better function camera than most cameras offered as standard on laptops. Also, because they are a standalone device, they can be used with various equipment and in different locations.
With webcams, you can make video calls, broadcast live videos, or even perform surveillance tasks at home or in the office. In this sense, you can choose one with the features you need. They offer much more flexibility than cameras built into laptops, smartphones, or tablets.
How do you use a webcam?
To get started, you need to place the camera at your convenience. If you use it on a laptop, you can place it in the middle or on one of the sides of the screen. Of course, connect the camera to the computer and turn it on. If your webcam requires specific software, you need to install it before you start using it.
If necessary, you will need to configure some technical aspects of the webcam. Although, perhaps, it will be enough to adjust more basic parameters such as brightness, contrast, resolution level, or the number of frames per second (fps). It is also advisable to perform a test before starting to use it.
Who is buying a webcam recommended for?
You may need an external webcam because the laptop webcam does not offer you the necessary features. Or because you have a desktop computer, which doesn’t have it integrated like laptops. You may need a webcam to record YouTube videos. Or even to use it as a security camera.
What are the best webcam programs?
There are many and various programs to take advantage of your webcam. Of course, if you are planning on video conferencing with her, you will be using Skype or some similar program. If you want to record videos and take photos, you may be interested in YouCam, as it allows you to add a large number of effects. For streaming, you might consider OBS studio.
For surveillance tasks, you can use Vitamin D. Of course, if you want to edit your video to a much more professional level, Photoshop, a powerful and comprehensive editing tool, is available.
What care does the webcam require?
One of the issues you should pay close attention to with webcams is the security of your computer equipment. It is advisable to have a good antivirus to avoid being hacked by the webcam signal which can be used to spy on you. Likewise, it is convenient to turn it on only when in use.
Below we break down some important criteria that you need to consider before buying a webcam. Some are common when making a purchase. Others, however, are specific to this type of device and are often unknown to the general public.
- What use you will make of it
- Design and quality of materials
- Opening f
- Lens quality and field of view
- Frame per second
What use you will make of it
This is the first question you should ask yourself. You won’t need the same camera for video conferencing as you do for live streaming. In the first case, a low-end product from a recognized brand will suffice. For the second, you have to choose a high-end webcam.
For streaming, you need at least a Full HD resolution, 1080p at 30 fps. Also, it would be useful if the camera had the widest possible field of view. In any case, ideally, it should reach 4K resolutions at 30 fps. However, as you can imagine, better performance equates to a higher price.
Design and quality of materials
We live in times where the image prevails over many other aspects. The tech sector is no stranger to this trend. For this, webcam manufacturers try to pay attention to the design of their devices. They try not only to be practical and functional but also to be attractive to the eye.
As for the quality of the materials, this is an aspect that you cannot ignore. Above all, it will affect the lifespan of the device you will buy. Remember the proverb that says: “who spends more spends less”. So our advice is, as far as possible, to look for a good quality product.
The webcam you are capturing must have a high resolution, as the lower it is, the more grainy the image will be. Our recommendation is to opt for a video capture resolution higher than 720p. Although, for more professional uses, you can choose models with resolutions up to 4K.
The opening f of the chamber is the hole through which the light passes. So it determines much of the brightness that ends up arriving at a camera’s sensor. A larger aperture, which is represented by a smaller value of the f-number, will allow more light to pass through. Logically, a less open passage, less light.
Lens quality and field of view
The type of lens affects the performance of the webcam. Although it is possible to find webcams with plastic lenses on the market, it is advisable to opt for a glass one. This way, you will get significantly better performance without it implying a noticeable increase in the webcam price.
The field of view of the objective is related to the width of the plane that the camera acquires. In general, it is usually between 90º and 180º. If you need the camera to make video calls with friends and family, 90 degrees is more than enough. However, to record streaming video, you will need a much larger range.
Usually, the focus of webcams is automatic. However, as you can imagine, some perform better than others. The focus must be fast and accurate. Furthermore, in high-end devices, you will be able to configure it, being able to adapt it to your needs.
Frame per second
When it comes to recording video with the webcam, it is important to take into account the number of frames per second. We recommend that the webcam you purchase allows you to record at least 30 fps at 1080p. However, don’t forget that generally with higher resolution, the frame rate per second is usually lower.
One of the great advantages of the webcam is that you can use it on different devices. For this reason, it is important to have several connection options.
Likewise, you may be interested in having a webcam connected via WiFi and Bluetooth. Although the transfer speed is much lower than that via USB, in return you will be able to connect the camera even with devices that do not have USB available.
The presence of the microphone is becoming a standard for webcams. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to make sure it has one and check its specs as well. After all, whatever use you want to make of the webcam, yes or yes you will need a microphone.
Before buying a webcam, make sure it is compatible with your operating system. And not only that, check that its specifications are not limited by the hardware or software of your computer. It won’t do you any good to buy a high-end webcam if your computer won’t be able to exploit all its possibilities.
At the same time, Plug and Play devices are much more practical, allowing you to use them as soon as you plug them in. This way, you will free yourself from having to install drivers or perform tedious configurations. You plug it in and use it. Of course, if you are going to make professional use of the webcam, you will need to make some adjustments.