Investing in the best webcam is a surefire way to improve your streaming or home office setup. While they’re often viewed as a gaming PC peripheral, a standalone camera will often run circles around the built-in offerings found in the best gaming laptop.
Whatever the best webcam for your needs is, there are plenty of options available to you. While cameras from big-name brands like Elgato, Razer, and Logitech will typically offer the best specs such as high resolution and frame rates, there’s great value picks to be had from lesser-known boutique manufacturers.
If you’ve money to spare, a DSLR camera will offer a higher quality experience over even the best webcam, but for everyone else, the latter will do wonderfully with 1080p video capture at 60 frames per second and be decidedly cheaper. Some devices even support HDR, but the only streaming service that currently supports high-dynamic range is YouTube Gaming, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something for Twitch or Zoom calls.
Here is the best webcam in 2022:
- Razer Kiyo Pro
- Elgato Facecam
- VUPUMER 2K HD streaming camera
- Logitech Brio
- Sony Alpha a7 II
- Streamplify CAM
- Elgato Cam Link 4K
Razer Kiyo Pro
The best webcam is the Razer Kiyo Pro.
The Razer Kiyo Pro is the best webcam because it’s a fantastic all-rounder, with uncompressed 1080p video capture at a buttery-smooth 60 frames per second. It supports HDR too, providing you don’t mind the frame rate shifting down to 30fps. In place of the built-in ring-light found on the base version, the Kiyo Pro boasts an upgraded sensor that can handle harsh and dim lighting conditions with ease.
Field of view is set to a wide 103° by default, but you can turn this down as low as 80° via Razer’s Synapse software. If you’ve forgotten to pack your favourite gaming headset, the Razer Kiyo Pro can double up as a microphone too with omnidirectional chops. For those concerned about privacy can also reset easy, as it comes with a detachable cap for when you’re done showing off your face to your fans, friends, or colleagues.
|Razer Kiyo Pro|
|Image sensor||Starvis CMOS|
|Field of view||80-103°|
|Price||$199.99 / £199.99|
The best webcam for streaming is the Elgato Facecam.
The Elgato Facecam joins the company’s expansive range of dedicating streaming equipment, and it doesn’t disappoint. The webcam may be chonkier than a lot of its competition, but this allows the Facecam to pack some serious tech. It has its own heatsink, flash memory, and a Sony Starvis CMOS sensor you’ll find it in DSLRs – all of which leads to a crisp 1080p video at 60fps.
It’s backed by powerful and versatile Camera Hub software, which not only allows you to customise basic settings on the fly like FOV and contrast but gives you the means to tinker with white balance, shutter speed, and ISO. While it’s not quite as good as the Razer Kiyo Pro in certain lighting conditions, when paired with an Elgato Key Light it quickly ascends to best-in-class territory.
|Razer Kiyo Pro|
|Image sensor||Sony Starvis CMOS|
|Field of view||24-83°|
|Price||$169.99 / £149.99|
VUPUMER 2K HD streaming camera
The best cheap webcam is the VUPUMER 2K HD streaming camera.
If you want to save some money with a cheap webcam, so you can budget for the best gaming keyboard, then this option fits perfectly, coming in at less than $20. Unlike the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000’s lower 720p, the VUPUMER 2K HD has the same 1080p resolution as the Razer Kiyo Pro, just at a lower 30fps. It still has a decent image quality in low lighting, although you can improve it with the use of an additional ring or key light.
There’s also a sliding privacy shutter, LED indicator to notify you when the camera is on, and stereo microphones, so you won’t have to worry about picking up a standalone microphone either.
|VUPUMER 2K HD Streaming Camera|
|Field of view||70°|
The best 4K webcam is the Logitech Brio.
Webcams rarely stand up to the quality of a fully-fledged DSLR camera, but the Logitech Brio’s high resolution, HDR-powered, 13-megapixel sensor bridges the gap nicely. It’s quite versatile depending on your needs, with 4K resolution at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, or even 720p at a whopping 90fps.
There’s a wide 90° field of view, although a digital 5x zoom can reduce that if needed. It also comes with a flip-down privacy shutter that attaches above the lens, a carrying bag, and Windows Hello facial recognition support for super-fast authentication when logging in.
|Resolution||up to 4K|
|Frame rate||4K/30fps, 1080p/60fps, 720p/90fps|
|Field of view||65-90°|
|Price||$199 / £209|
Sony Alpha a7 II
The best DSLR camera for streaming is the Sony Alpha a7 II.
While Logitech’s Brio 4K camera gives the best image quality out of the small sensors found on a conventional webcam, there’s nothing quite like a full mirrorless or DSLR camera for broadcast-quality video.
By downloading Sony’s Imaging Edge Webcam software and connecting the camera via USB, you’ve got the camera turned into a fully functioning webcam, with unrivalled image quality. You can even take things up a notch by adding with Sony’s 18-135mm zoom lens too.
|Sony Alpha a7 II w/ 18-135mm zoom lens|
|Image sensor||24.3MP CMOS|
|Field of view||N/A|
|Price||$1,799 / £1,200|
The best webcam under $100 is the Streamplify CAM
The Streamplify CAM is a fantastic budget webcam that doesn’t compromise on spec, and it’s designed with Twitch streamers in mind. Not only does it hit that 1080p 60fps sweet spot, but its form factor makes it an affordable alternative to its more expensive kin.
Streamplify’s electric eye comes with a few neat extras you won’t see on many other webcams in this price range. It’s got two built-in microphones and a 90-degree field of view, meaning you won’t need to cram your streaming backdrop into a tiny frame.
There’s also something to be said about the Streamplify CAM’s built-in lens shutter, as it both blocks its gaze and cuts audio capture with a physical off switch for security. Y’know, just in case you’d rather keep any cyber creepers from watching you eat a sandwich or something.
|Image sensor||2MP CMOS|
|Field of view||up to 90°|
|Price||$69.99 / £59.99|
The best camera capture card is the Elgato Cam Link 4K.
If you already have a camera lying around and want to turn it into a webcam, the Elgato Cam Link 4K is just what you need. If your camera has an HDMI output, it’ll plug right into this dongle which Windows recognises as a dedicated camera.
In terms of specs, it’ll support 4K video output at 30 frames per second or 1080p at 60 fps.
webcam buying guide
It can be a maze finding out which solution is best for you, with such a range of prices. On one end of the spectrum, you have the budget Jelly Comb webcam, which offers decent image quality for a low price. Then, you’ve got the option of a standalone camera for top-tier quality, if price is no issue. It entirely depends on your budget and what kind of quality you’re wanting out of your capture device. We recommend starting small if you’re a content creator, though, upgrading later down the line.
WHAT WEBCAM SHOULD I BUY FOR STREAMING?
Webcams are a vital streaming component, as they let you interact in person with your Twitch or YouTube viewers. While resolution and frame rate are important, you’ll want to invest in a decent cam with a high-quality lens. Yet, even a cheaper option can look great when used with the best streaming setup, as lighting can make all the difference when it comes to image quality.
CAN I USE A CAMERA AS A WEBCAM?
Dedicated webcams are a default option for anyone wishing to video call or live stream on a gaming PC or laptop, but it’s now possible to use some cameras and camcorders as a cam alternative. By plugging in your camera’s video output to the likes of Elgato’s Cam Link, you can use its live video feed to stream footage over the internet.
It’s worth noting that not every camera out there is compatible with Cam Link, but many mirrorless DLSR devices, like the Sony Alpha 6600, should play nice with Elgato’s capture card gadget. While this kind of setup is admittedly more elaborate than using a webcam, it’s a great solution for anyone looking to achieve the best streaming setup for Twitch or YouTube.
how to improve webcam quality
Even with the budget options on this list, you can improve image quality in a couple of ways. First, if you’ve got the best graphics card from Nvidia, you can download Nvidia broadcast. This lets you remove video noise in poor lighting environments, remove or blur your background, and auto frame to your face as you shuffle in the best gaming chair.
You’ll need one of Nvidia’s RTX cards for this, however. If you’ve got an Nvidia GeForce GTX or AMD Radeon GPU instead, you can always improve lighting in your environment with the addition of a light ring or Nanoleaf wall lights, helping to reduce video noise.
do webcams have microphones?
All the options listed here have a microphone built-in, although that’s not the case for every webcam out there. Of course, none are a match for the best gaming microphone or even those found on a budget headset, but they’re still a useful stopgap if you’re still saving for a standalone mic.