webcam leaderboard 2017:
the best webcams for streaming in comparison
A direct look at the streamer is often the first incentive for new viewers to open an unknown channel. If there are mostly identical games in the search for new channels, the streamer shown in the webcam is often the only way to distinguish the identical offers. In addition, our faces and body language often say more than our voice alone. If you don’t use a webcam, you miss out on a very important communication channel, which can make an essential contribution to build an emotional attachment with the viewers. In the following guide we want to take a closer look at the topic and introduce some webcam models.
A webcam is very import for every professional stream. Fortunately, it is the cheapest part of the whole equipment. Even Logitech’s top model only costs a maximum of 100€.
Note: There are actually good reasons to intentionally waive the use of a webcam for certain games. Survival horror games in particular always pose the question if it is good or bad for the atmosphere of the game to show the shocked face of an emotional streamer. A very popular game series that often does not use a webcam would be X-COM.
Webcams for streamers The favourites of the streamer community
At least the streamer community agrees on which webcam is best for streaming on Twitch and Co. With the C920, Logitech has released a model that meets almost all criteria. We also tested two further models for a smaller budget, which we would like to present in more detail below and which may be a cheaper alternative for newcomers.
Let’s first get an overview of the presented devices:
|Logitech C920||Logitech C270||HP HD 4310||Creative Live! Cam Chat HD|
|Light conditions||Quick adjustment||Quick adjustment||Quick adjustment||Problems with little light|
|Integrated data compression||Yes||No||No||No|
|Focus||Autofocus||Fixed focus point||Autofocus||Fixed focus point|
|Cable length||1,80m||1,50m||Not specified by the manufacturer||1,50m|
|Price||~ EUR 100,-||~ EUR 35,-||~ EUR 60,-||~ EUR 30,-|
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 EUR 69,95
If someone on Reddit, Twitch and Co. asks what the best webcam for streaming is, then you only get one answer: Logitech C920. But what features lead to this clear recommendation?
The Logitech C920 is easy to use
The HD Pro Webcam C920 is particularly easy to install and use. The camera also reacts quickly and reliably to changes in light and delivers a sharp image even under low light conditions. Furthermore, it is compatible with almost any operating system. Other positive aspects are:
The included universal clip allows you to take pictures from almost any angle→ Often it is not ideal for streamers to mount a webcam on the monitor!
Thanks to the integrated data compression, VODs can be quickly uploaded to YouTube or other platforms!
The camera also works perfectly with Skype→ Especially when the webcam image is transferred to a different stream, almost all professionals use the Skype Video chat!
Logitech HD Webcam C270 EUR 25,87
In a way the Logitech HD Webcam C270 is the little sister of the C920. It is perfect for streaming newcomers who don’t want to spend 100€ on a webcam, but don’t have the patience or time to wait for a discount offer of the C920. Even though the Logitech C270 is not as good as the C920 , you only have to pay one-third of the price for a device at the same level of quality and processing.
Like the C920, the C270 provides high compatibility with a wide range of systems. However, it only films in a resolution of 720p and has no integrated data compression. But it is more than sufficient for the start as a streamer, especially since the webcam is often used by professionals as a backup in case the C920 doesn’t work or you expect the visit of a streamer. So if you want to be economical in the beginning, you will still have a replacement device in the house for later.
HP HD 4310 Webcam EUR 58,92
The HP HD 4310 webcam has a very low price of about 60 euros and it competes (at least on paper) with the market leader Logitech. We took a closer look at the webcam by HP. Although the performance of the C720 is better, the HD 4310 is still able to keep up.
The HD 4310 by HP is designed specifically for video calls and does an excellent job in this field. But it is also interesting for streamers, as it can take pictures with Full HD at an affordable price. Thanks to the universal clip, it can be mounted in almost any position.
It also offers some additional features that may not be that interesting for streamers, but should be mentioned anyway:
- Widescreen recordings
- Directional microphone cuts down on background noises
- Desktop sharing at the push of a button
All in all, you get a lot for a reasonable price. The HP HD 4310 isn’t our absolute favorite, but it’s definitely a good choice for beginners or as a cheap replacement webcam.
Creative Live! Cam Chat HD EUR 22,98
Very economical streamers use this webcam by Creative, a company which is usually associated with good sound. Of course, the Live! Cam Chat HD also has a built-in microphone, but since professional streamers usually use a separate device for audio input, this is hardly an argument for this camera. In many ways the Chat HD reminds us of the Logitech C270 and is even a little bit cheaper.
The most important key data of the Creative Live! Cam Chat HD
Of course, Creative also emphasizes similar advantages to those offered by Logitech, but especially in limited light conditions, the video technology is not quite able to keep up. Even with regard to fast movements in front of the camera, the Chat HD stutters a little more often. Nevertheless, the product can convince with some qualities and provides a favourable alternative, especially for new streamers.
Note: Because of the low price, you can already guess that this is hardly a serious competitor to Logitech. Due to the larger focus of Creative Live! Cam Chat HD on video chats with Skype, Hangouts or Facebook, it is possible that there is already a model in the household! This webcam can also be used for an easy start to your streaming career, but an upgrade to the Logitech C920 should be made sooner or later.
Webcam etiquette What is allowed in front of the camera?
So we now have agreed on a model for the beginning, but what do we do with it? What is allowed in front of the camera on Twitch? The answer is actually quite simple: Anything you enjoy, as long as it doesn’t violate the law or the Twitch Terms of Service. This includes:
Insulting certain persons or groups of persons
Instigation of crime
Excessive nudity or pornography
However, these and similar standards should have been clear from the beginning. You should also make sure that you stick to the topic of your stream. In most cases this may be the game you are currently playing, but also applies if you are doing a cooking or baking stream. Some anecdotes about you or your equipment are of course no problem.
Note: There are indeed some “Female Boob Streamer”, who show a little too much and play little, but try to make donations with erotic dances and gymnastics. Twitch quickly bans you for such behavior.
In fact, it is easier for female streamers to communicate their emotions via webcam. If male streamers are very emotional, it often seems a little exaggerated. Which of course does not mean that you have to sit there showing no emotions. You have to find a balance and stay authentic in order to impress the audience.
The background The environment is important
Of course, not only the behaviour of the streamer in front of the camera is important, but also the visible environment. Set up your background in a way that it leaves a tidy and professional impression. If this is not possible, you can buy a green screen as an alternative. This gives your channel a professional touch. To learn more have a look at our Ultimate Green Screen Guide.