We tested 18 webcams among the most popular models. For Youtube, Twitch, Skype or recordings, the best webcam is without question the Logitech C920 .
Take a look at our buying guide at the end of the comparison for more tips on choosing the best webcams to stream.
The best cheap webcams
It is rather simple to find webcams under 50 €. But while most models are similar, we found some ultra-competitive webcams.
And if they are often too discreet in a saturated market, we found them. Comfortable viewing angle, good resolution, good ergonomics for a small budget? It exists.
Some sacrifices are necessary; the built-in audio will never be worth an independent microphone, and the recording is capped at 30fps. But you are promised a picture without grains, clean, clear, balanced, and whatever the brightness.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000: the best price step
Skype, Youtube, and conferences? HD becomes indispensable. Avoiding noise, blurry images and noise is a branding, especially if you make your webcam a professional one.
The Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 is the most economical option that offers at least 720p and a comfortable 30fps. Let’s see what it’s made of.
This little webcam does not have the best finish. It is very light, with a simple plastic shell that contrasts slightly with the Lifecam ranges, usually stronger. We still appreciate the small adjustable support, with a rubber coating, which allows easy installation on a screen.
We can also use this support as a single foot, but we found that the stability was not optimal. The ergonomics are correct, but it lacks some essentials. For example, you can rotate the webcam from left to right – and it’s still convenient – but not up and down.
Laptop users will be bothered by this gap since this webcam poses the same problem as that integrated into the device. To adjust, you can only tilt the screen.
But enough about his faults. Microsoft has sold it as the best webcam for image quality in a competitive price range. It’s time to plug it into a USB 2.0 port and see what it’s worth. As a reminder, 2GB of RAM minimum are recommended to stream videos to 720p in good conditions. The Microsoft LifeCam firmware only works (of course) on Windows. The opposite would have surprised us. The Chromebook OS and other operating systems, however, recognize the webcam as an imaging device for the different chat software.
The image quality is indeed very advantageous. In 16: 9, we easily reach the promised 30 frames per second and 720p resolution. However, these performances are often restrained by Skype or Facebook servers. Regarding the angle of view, the LifeCam 3000 does not work miracles. 70 degrees is above average for entry-level webcams. This is sufficient for a stream with a single interlocutor, but we will see that multiple conferences require a larger field width.
The color balance is close to perfection, with automatic correction of the bluish effect often attributed to the return of the screen. Similarly, the webcam automatically balances the brightness, without loss of quality, for recordings in the dark. Result: it is indeed an excellent rendering for a webcam of this price.
The audio is, of course, integrated, however, for the entry-level webcams, it will not expect much. The microphone is, however, equipped with a relatively effective noise suppressor. It is omnidirectional and well calibrated for the tone of the voice, even if we regret a volume a little weak. It remains a good alternative to the integrated hardware of your PC.
Logitech C615: Full HD Champion
In a price bracket that is still around 50 €, we found a champion unbeatable. The opportunity also to start talking about Logitech, champion of peripherals for PC. Since late 2015, the C615 is undoubtedly the best quality-price ratio for entry-level products.
Three watchwords have made the C615 one of the world’s top-selling products: portability, flexibility, and full HD.
The first point is the transportability. Light, small, and yet devilishly effective. It can be folded to protect the lens and slip into a bag with its included 95cm cable.
The second point is flexibility. Ergonomics is very, very well thought on this small Logitech webcam. Some of the features are even bitterly regretted on some new models of the brand.
For example, it rotates 360 degrees on a horizontal axis, one of the only ones to offer this advantage. We can also tilt the webcam on a vertical axis, and even if this movement is a little limited it can effectively compensate for the inclination of the screen.
And the third point is, of course, Full HD. The photos are impeccable, with 8Mpx. In video recording, we reach 1080p promised and 35 frames per second In the stream, we reach 720p, more than the Microsoft LifeCam, and a steady average of 30 frames per second. The angle of view, it is 74 degrees, a performance a little reduced enough for a single interlocutor.
The color is correct, and if the auto-focus lacks a little responsiveness, we have noted some good points. In the dark, the color balance turns a little blue, but there is a correct level of contrast that ensures good readability of the image.
And the good news? Logitech has one of the most compatible OS firmware. Chromebook is one of them since the brand has made a point of honor to ensure the compatibility of this operating system with its peripherals.
Logitech software is one of the best designed. It is common to almost every model since 2015-2016. Among the interesting features, we find the sharing options Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, very intuitive. A battery of post-production options – including some basic editing features – allows you to prepare your video and upload it in a few clicks.
Integrated audio still does not compete with more expensive models. But the built-in mono microphone is perfectly functional, with a good calibration of noise suppression.
In conclusion, we can say that the Logitech C615 is one of the best low budget options for professional use. Despite a solid firmware, we are still far from a good webcam for Youtube. For that, we find ourselves in the mid-range category.
The best mid-range webcams
It must be said: the market is tight. If you have a budget a bit wide, put 20 or 25 € more compared to an entry-level webcam can change the deal.
The models we have selected in the mid-range combine advantages that are suitable for all situations. We wanted a flawless image quality, of course, but also a conference-friendly angle of view, good transportability options, and well thought-out ergonomics.
Deal! Two webcams stand out, and it turns out that these are two improved versions of our entry-level selection. Let’s take a look!
Logitech HD Pro C920: the best midrange
The undisputed champion of the webcam since 2012. The C920 has revolutionized the market, and no other webcam has since offered such a value for money. Top sales in Europe, streamers favorite webcam, recommended for beginner Youtubers – while waiting for a connected camera …
What makes the Logitech C920 such a success?
Let’s talk about design. At the opening of the box, we were charmed by the ergonomic choice of a rectangular webcam in length. The 90-degree wide angle webcam is framed by two microphone sensors.
If most of the device is plastic – unlike the Lifecam Studio – the lens is covered with a glass plate that limits the dust deposit.
We regret a small point: the webcam does not rotate on a horizontal axis. Its wide angle of view compensates for this defect, but it will be necessary to turn to the Logitech C930e – much more expensive – to benefit from this option of ergnomy.
Under the webcam, there is a screw thread to fix it on a support. The tripod is not included, but as the entire Logitech accessory battery, it is inexpensive. We can, therefore, find a flexible arm, an adjustable metal tencro or a monopod. Surprised, for a webcam? Not when we know that it offers a photo capture of no less than 15 megapixels.
One of the great strengths of this webcam is the integrated compression. On most models, the webcam boasts HD or FHD, then hot potatoes to your computer which, if its performance does not allow it to stream at this rate, will take care of compressing the image. A series of tasks that can impact the number of frames per second, so.
With the C920 Pro, you get built-in compression in H.264. The information sent via USB is stable, ready to be unpacked and streamed without additional work for the computer. The first noticeable result is impeccable stability of 1080 on Skype, even in WiFi.
The value ips (images per second) displays a good average between 25 and 30, for a visually comfortable stream. In declining brightness, we find that the integrated software hurts its work. It is better still pass yourself by the parameters of the webcam to increase the gain. If we give ourselves this pain, the image offers, however, one of the best qualities in the dark, with a colorimetry which remains balanced and an ips which does not fall below 20.
The software offer we talked about in our C615 test is the same. There’s plenty of sharing, setting, and post-production options, including editing capabilities. If these are obviously limited, it is enough to assemble video samples and export directly to Youtube.
This quality of streaming makes it a very good option for platforms like Twitch or Youtube. Best webcam for gamers and streamers? At this price, there is no doubt.
Microsoft LifeCam Studio: The solid and pro webcam
During the eight months that separated the release of the Lifecam 3000 and the Studio, we can say that Microsoft has not been idle. And at the same time, old faults seem to have a hard time.
Let’s talk about design first because it’s the first thing that surprises. With its dystopian surveillance camera tunes, the Lifecam Studio is a little intimidating. But in terms of design, it is impeccable. Compact but solid, with an aluminum coating, it looks more like a miniature camera than a webcam.
And its patibular appearance gives it many advantages: at the time, it offered one of the widest viewing angles and very good video quality. In addition, it is one of the first to offer a tripod mounting option!
As for the quality of the image, the Full HD that Microsoft offers with this product is already more revolutionary. For two years, this is the norm at Logitech. But the price of Lifecam Studio have fallen sharply, and what was the high end of then is now more than affordable.
Especially since this webcam embeds Truecolor technology, a small colorimetric correction software. The reduced brightness performance is therefore very satisfactory from this point of view, even if we perceive the effort of the device. In a really dark room, light capture compensation impacts the frame rate, which drops to 20. That’s not enough.
The stream in Full HD is available, even if it requires a lot of CPU and a good internet connection. The embedded software of this webcam have indeed a disadvantage: they are quite heavy. But if you do not play too much with 3D effects – but who still does that? – it holds the road on just about every support.
In terms of audio, we have a cardioid microphone with surprising efficiency. Noise removal is very effective and goes as far as smothering the keyboard. Voice calibration is optimized to increase capture around 100Hz. The result, the stamp comes out very well, with a lot of clarity. Hat!
Recap: we have a Full HD – capped at 8 Mpx in photography -, an automatic calibration of colorimetry and brightness, good ergonomic options, all for less than 75 €.
But we found even better.
The best high-end webcams
Beyond 100 €, the webcam is transformed. It is a feat of miniaturization of the characteristics of a camera.
Logitech BRIO: the best high-end
A real versatile model who knows how to give the best for a job interview as for a gaming session; it was missing. The real option for Twitcher, which offers comparable performance to a connected camera, is the BRIO Gaming, which is comparable. But for half the price, we find that the BRIO “business” is already quite powerful with its 60 fps and its Ultra HD.
It was supposed to be the 2015 dream option for Youtubers. And if the launch of the BRIO was not done without some scratches, it remains an excellent option in this area.
Ergonomics and design is a feat of miniaturization. The outer coating is smooth, elegant with an excellent finish. But what is still remarkable is its very small size. It is not much bigger than the C920 for example. Yet, it embodies sacred performances.
4K! At this stage, it is difficult even to find a recording platform that supports such a format. Most conferencing software is capped at Full HD. Logitech takes the built-in compression job already in place in the C920 to the extreme.
As a result, if your internet connection holds up well, you can expect 35-40 fps with 1080p streaming, and of course 4K quality in delayed recording.
The webcam is also equipped with a 5x digital zoom – however, it is noted that the quality deteriorates greatly beyond 3x.
For the first time, the generic Logitech firmware seems a bit limited. We, therefore, prefer to complete the suite with Broadcasting Software for example, which allows you to play more with video options and get control over the sharpness of the image to the height of its native quality.
Be careful though to have a computer powerful enough to support the 4K, otherwise, you face two scenarios disaster. The first is to have to cap the stream at 1080p: in this case, you could have bought the C920 for the same performance and you lost a hundred euros. The second is to have a video 4K badly encoded, with regular jerks.
We advise the BRIO on computers that can allocate at least 3GB of RAM, not to mention the extra power that may require some editing software pro.
But if you are properly equipped, there is no picture. The Logitech BRIO is the only webcam on the market to seriously compete with digital cameras.
In terms of additional features, we regret a webcam that is versatile and goes in all directions. We still welcome the first webcam equipped with HDR – infrared sensor to correct the brightness. Background detection is also fun since it allows you to replace the scenery with any chosen image. We can blur the background, or put the Eiffel Tower. The result is nice, but not enough to hide the pizza boxes at the HRD of your future box.
However, we question the relevance of a 3D facial recognition system, supposed to ensure compatibility with the unlocking system via facial recognition. But we probably spent too much time on Chromebook to really appreciate this type of very Windows 10 tool.
It also offers the option – superfluous and frankly scary – to be activated in motion detection to use as a security camera. But in the absence of integrated software support to alert you if activated, this is the best way to accidentally record 18 hours of videos of your cat in Ultra HD. Said like that, why not?
In short, BRIO is greedy and expensive. If you think you have the necessary equipment to allow you such a jewel, do not hesitate. Otherwise, we strongly advise the C920, more flexible.
Razer Stargazer: The best webcam for gamers
She is not given. But Razer’s Stargazer is no less a champion of the stream. Designed to edit gaming videos or live streamer, it offers the ideal format. It is surprising to see that it is so little known in Europe: in the United States, it is torn.
This is the most recent model of this comparison, in a market centered on Logitech which has stagnated a lot in recent years. Released at the end of 2016 and launched in 2017 in France, it was greatly inspired by the successes of BRIO and the C920 to offer a more specific experience. Warning, it is only compatible with Windows 10. Installing it on a Chromebook or Linux requires a number of manipulations.
Ergonomically, we can only adore this 3D camera with two microphones sensors at the ends. It is small, light, and the connection USB 3.0 is very simple. In addition, the cable can be completely replaced, unlike all other models tested so far. It can be mounted on all conventional media thanks to a dedicated screw thread.
If it does not offer 4K, its Full HD resolution is already more reasonable. Indeed, it requires less CPU and shows more compatibility with interfaces like Twitch or Skype. However, compression at the source allows more frame per second (up to 60, with an average measured at 52).
We personally preferred FHD video quality with a really stable and high fps than a 4K a bit choppy that put our computer in trouble.
The colorimetry is neat, especially thanks to an infrared sensor that adjusts the brightness and scales. The spectrum that the user can handle is wide enough, we can make very sensitive settings with great freedom.
Because in terms of firmware, the Stargazer software is not very complete. We regret the lack of sharing tools like the Logitech BRIO. In addition to the classic setting options, there is no access to post-production tools: the removal of the background is done upstream.
Note: this system is more efficient than the BRIO. This is the best alternative to a green background that exists to this day, moreover for that price. The 3D cutting is so precise that you can see strands of hair individually.
The result? An ultra-simple video editing for streamers who do not want to clutter the screenshot – a game for example – with a superfluous frame. Our bust floats in one corner of our Assassin’s Creed III capture, with full HD quality at 50 fps.
It is, therefore, an expensive but effective option. The target audience is a little reduced, but it is undoubtedly the best webcam for youtubeurs and streamers.
How to choose a good webcam?
Webcams mounted on laptops are becoming more and more efficient. The many alternatives – tablets, smartphones … – have undermined the market.
Hence the few new models on the market, after the years 2000 / early 2010 that had seen the appearance of thousands of webcams.
The increase in demand from youtubers, streamers, and the gradual dematerialization of work has revived some brands. The market is globally divided into two poles: one that focuses on the business world, with more and more sophisticated objects for multi-conference, and one that focuses on the world of streaming and gaming.
Here is a little buying guide to understanding the issues of the webcams market today.
What are the technical characteristics to check?
Before buying a webcam, here are a few things to consider.
Native video quality – This value is – strangely – not the most important. Indeed, most streaming platforms are capped in Full HD (1080p), and that’s more than enough. Beware of models that offer too much: on the one hand a computer powerful enough to support this device, and secondly a compatible platform. At present, a model that is not Full HD should not cost you more than 20 €.
Frames per second – The value announced by the seller was recorded under ideal conditions. If you do not have the required minimum performance, it may be lower. From 30 fps, it is considered that the image is of good quality.
Microphone – The quality of the built-in microphones varies a lot. Below 100 €, it is often insufficient to satisfy your audience Youtube or Twitch. In general, we recommend the use of a headset with a microphone or an independent microphone. In this area, USB capacitors are the most comfortable option. We had already done a comparison of the best microphones for streamers and YouTubers !
Field of vision – is it so important? It all depends on your use. Professional use is most often targeted. If you are alone in front of your camera, a field a little narrow is not embarrassing. But if you often communicate with others, there is nothing more annoying than having to huddle together to avoid being out of bounds. A 60-degree field is a minimum for one person. 90 degrees becomes comfortable for two speakers. Only conference cameras exceed 100 degrees, until reaching a wide angle of 180 for some.
Stream with a camera or webcam?
Is the webcam still the best option for a streamer? The question is a serious one in professional circles. If some models have evolved, you will find that few nowadays offers a really satisfactory video quality. Most good quality Youtube videos use a camera and export the video after post-production. But what option for streamers?
The webcams have their advantage! They are less expensive, it’s the first point. They are obviously easy to install and can be connected to any computer without the need for a specific power supply.
But they have their disadvantage. You can not decorate the lens with accessories or filters, the zoom is often very limited, and the settings options are not many. There is nothing in a webcam that can really satisfy a professional video capture.
What you need, if anything, is an HDMI camera. A camera that has an HDMI output connects directly to a computer. An encoder box must be used to compress and format the content while streaming it. The recorded latency is usually half a second if you use recognized encoders. At the entry level, Globmall provides 60fps and maintains a full HD quality. The high end is the Blackmagic Shuttle, used by professionals, including in the field of journalism.
The advantage is that for about 200 € you can have a professional stream set-up, which ends up competing with the high-end webcams. They are suitable for both capture and stream, provide a more stable ip (if your encoding box is good), and incomparable video quality.
They will, however, be more difficult to configure for mainstream platforms like Skype or Facebook.
The intermediate solution that many YouTubers have adopted? The action cams. They are inexpensive and their performance is growing! We did an article on this, and several are equipped with an HDMI output. Take a look!
If you want a comparison of the best streamer-friendly HDMI cameras, let us know in the comments!