Look Good, Stream Good
Twitch feels like a battlefield sometimes with all these competing streamers fighting for attention. As the old saying goes, “everything is fair in love and war,” and to gain even the slightest advantage, people would make use of any resource available; in this war, weapons come in the form of various tech pieces, such as microphones, cameras, capture cards, and other equipment.
Streaming cameras make it possible to connect to your audience on a more personal level, retain your fans, and increase the number of your viewers. That is a sufficient justification for placing good camera selection on the top of your to-do list.
In this article, I’ll go over multiple options to ramp up your streaming business and help you gain an advantage over your competitors as soon as you start your streamer career. Let’s dive in and choose the right one for your setup.
Webcam Cameras (Entry Level)
If you fall in the novice streamer category that tells me you are just starting out, and your videography expertise could use some boosting. If this is the case, webcams are good to take that first step with. The webcam is the basic and oldest tool for video streaming. And even though you can’t really expect it to be anywhere near movie-caliber, the results should be satisfactory for entry-level streaming purposes.
Logitech HD Pro C920
Upping the Webcam Game
The Logitech HD Pro C920 is a smart design. It is sturdy and chic, and it will not betray you in terms of performance.
I love it how the HD Pro C920 is able to shoot and stream 1080p video with a framerate of 30 fps with no framerate reduction. I was also impressed by the clarity and detail of the captured video. Unlike other cameras where plastic lenses are used, a Carl Zeiss lens is featured in this webcam, making it an ideal option.
The HD Pro C920 does also have Autofocus, this means that the camera automatically adjusts, so you’ll never have to bother re-adjusting. What makes this possible is the built-in face tracking technology. Most webcams on the market will adjust exposure and white balance based on the live feed, whereas the Logitech HD Pro C920 will capture video under the best conditions because it can track your face.
Personally, I would rather have a detachable stand because it would make transport easier. However, it can be used in a variety of ways including table-top or monitor mounting options. If you feel like going fancy you can put it on a tripod. It comes equipped with a mic but the recorded audio tends to sound a little muffled at times, I would therefore suggest that you skipped this feature and get yourself a dedicated mic. Check out our guide to help you choose one.
- Full HD 1080p video calling (upto 1920 x 1080 pixels) with the latest version of Skype for Windows; Webcam with 5 foot cable
- 720p HD video calling (upto 1280 x 720 pixels) with supported clients; Full HD video recording (upto 1920 x 1080 pixels). Max Resolution: 1080p/30fps 720p/30fps
- Video compression, Built in dual stereo mics with automatic noise reduction; Automatic low light correction, Tripod ready universal clip fits laptops, LCD or monitors
- Compatible with: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or later;
Microsoft LifeCam Studio
Excellent Features and Great Design
The Microsoft LifeCam Studio is probably the best HD webcam in the LifeCam series. It offers a high-definition resolution, interesting extra features, and a convenient design that makes it simple to mount in multiple locations.
The Life Cam Studio is stylish with a black and silver aluminum design. The barrel-style camera sports a petal lens hood to limit unnecessary light above and below the lens. As webcams go, the LifeCam Studio is tastefully crafted. The flexible mount is handy, it has a threaded receiver so you could attach it to a tripod.
Unboxing reveals the Studio is bundled with a Microsoft software. I had fun playing with the different effects available, such as big eyes and stuff. I was a bit disappointed to find out that you cannot record at 1080p because it is capped at 720p. However, as a consolation, you can still take a 1080p photo.
LifeCam Studio is in the upper scale of the cost meter. But the value you will be getting is breakeven. The image quality in normal lighting conditions is high-grade, and while the Studio is prone to background noise, a dedicated mic will solve this problem.
- High-fidelity microphone - For more natural, detailed audio
- ClearFrame Technology - for smooth, detailed video
- TrueColor Technology - automatically delivers bright and colorful video, in virtually all lighting conditions
- 1080p HD widescreen sensor - for superior sharpness and 16:9 image quality
- Auto Focus and Advanced high-precision glass lens optics
Logitech Brio 4K Pro
For the Pro in You
The Logitech 4K Pro is dubbed as the world’s first ever 4K webcam. It is packaged really well with a minimalist design and compact frame. It’s not just a looker but a heavy-duty performer as well.
The Brio is rather slim considering all the features that it has. The color is quite sophisticated, furnishing a metallic-gray aluminum casing. The camera itself is lightweight. For your set-up, you can opt to let it stand freely on your desk. If you prefer a tripod you can attach it quite easily.
The Brio supports a range of resolutions and frame rates, including 4K Ultra HD at 30 fps, 1080p (Full HD) at 30 or 60 fps, and 720p (HD) at 30 or 60 fps.
For utilizing its recording capability of Ultra HD, I suggest that you used the Windows 10 Camera app. There’s no argument in terms what the Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam can offer to the up-and-coming streamers, with its unparalleled picture and video quality. The end product is sure to wow your audience.
- Ultra 4K HD resolution: 4 times the resolution of a typical HD webcam; look your best and enjoy professional video experience wherever you are with 5x HD zoom.
- Auto light adjustment: Logitech RightLight 3 uses HDR technology to show you in the best light, even in low-light and backlit situations.
- Noise-canceling technology: Dual omni-directional mics suppress background sound so you can be heard clearly.
- 3 field of view presets: Choose 90°, 78° or 65° dFOV via Logi Tune to include more of your environment or narrow the focus on you.
- Up to 90 fps: Create high-quality video recording or streaming in any light condition.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Excellent image quality, innovative light ring, and compact design. It seems that Razer really wants to dip its fingers in everyone’s pie. The Razer Kiyo is a webcam that is laser pointed towards streaming. It takes vivid and lucid video by providing its own light source.
Bad lighting is an issue for most streamers. Razer Kiyo provide a possible solution by building a webcam with a built-in ring light. Now you can enjoy good lighting without any extra equipment. In line with Razer’s dedication to good design, the Kiyo’s build is well thought out and meticulously put together. My only complaint concerning the design is the 4.9-foot braided USB 2.0 cable which is not detachable and I consider too short for my taste.
The Kiyo quality is superb. I would also like to note the camera’s 81.6-degree field of view, it’s wide and crisp. During my testing, I loved how the front panel of my t-shirt is vividly captured. Small details, like the wallpaper behind me, is seen well too. Razer Kiyo is one of the most thoughtfully designed cameras ever.
It fulfills basic requirement and adds several professional features which is definitely a plus. A single light ring, though not as good as a full setup, will make a difference. Without a doubt, the Kiyo is dedicated to aspiring streamers and this will add to anyone’s production value. Bottom line is if you want an amazing picture quality and lighting features, then the Razer Kiyo is the one you are looking for.
- Full HD Resolution: Experience crisp, detailed video and audio recording in 720p 60 FPS / 1080p 30 FPS – Works great for streaming, gaming, recording, video calling, conferencing and online school
- Convenient, Built-In Lighting: Features a 5600K daylight-balanced ring light around the camera that provides even lighting without the hassle of additional lighting equipment
- Adjustable Brightness: Make quick adjustments to the brightness level by simply rotating the built-in ring light – there's no need to configure software settings
- Superior Low-Light Performance: Reduces graininess and brings out details to show you in the best light even in darker environments
- Compact, Folding Design: Sleek look for any gaming setup or office, and perfect for on-the-go content creators
Okay, so you want a better, high-res, top-notch video quality and won’t mind the additional setup? Then, choosing a professional camera is the way to go. Here is a list of cameras that will answer your streaming requirements.
Canon XA10 Camcorder
Great Things in Small Packages
So small! That was my initial reaction unboxing the Canon XA10. The body of the XA10 is tiny compared to other competitors’, yet the external features allow for it to be ranked with the giants in the trade.
The detachable handle is a nice inclusion. What truly makes the detachable handle striking are the two phantom-powered XLR ports plus manual audio controls and an external microphone mount. Being able to detach the handle is a freebie when packing and transporting. Let’s face it, in the world of videography, something this small might not turn heads or be taken seriously. However, the XA10 is larger than life in terms of features, functions, and quality.
Compact in size it still records in full 1920 x 1080 Full HD (1080p). Files can be stored to SDHC/SDXC memory cards. This camcorder has 2 memory slots available. However, if you don’t have any extra card to spare its built-in 64GB flash drive will serve you well. The 10X zoom HD Video Lens produces outstanding quality. The SuperRange optical image stabilization manages to keep video sharp even in the absence of premium light. An external microphone jack for excellent sound options is included too. The XA10 records at up to 24mbps which is the AVHCD best bit rate. Canon’s Instant AF focusing system greatly enhances autofocus speed and precision and decreases the time to lock in focus, and I noticed that even in low light conditions this camera still delivers.
- 64GB internal flash drive and 2 SDXC-compatible memory card slots
- Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens with 8-blade Iris and manual focus ring
- Canon native 1920 x 1080 CMOS image sensor
- Canon DIGIC DV III image processor
- Dynamic SuperRange OIS with powered IS,Video Recording system MPEG4-AVC / H.264
Budget Ok 4K!
Trendsetters are promoting 4K products like crazy but the HC-V770 is still a worthy contender. It supports several Wi-Fi capabilities and it delivers impressive colors and image detail.
I like the HDR Movie Feature Exclusive, its high-dynamic range feature stifles blown highlights and shadows for firmer and sharper videos. A studio-grade lighting system is a rather sophisticated piece of equipment which is rarely a part of mortal folk’s arsenal, so thank Heavens for the 1/2.3-Inch BSI Sensor. The Back Side Illumination Sensor can limit noise even when shooting in poor lighting conditions.
The Panasonic HC-V770 can utilize the Panasonic Image App. It will allow you to use a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to control the device. For the aspiring streamer like yourself the Wi-Fi functions will enable real-time broadcasting.
Bottom line is the Panasonic HC-V770 will not break the bank, especially considering the performance it can deliver. Its outstanding image quality and the price range make this product a great pick.
- KIT INCLUDES 12 PRODUCTS -- All BRAND NEW Items with all Manufacturer-supplied Accessories + Full USA Warranties:
-  Panasonic HC-V770 Wireless Smartphone Twin Recording Wi-Fi HD Video Camera Camcorder +  Transcend 64GB SDXC U3 Card +  Vidpro TL-50 Camera Case +
-  Vidpro Condenser Mic +  PD LED Video Light w/ Bracket +  PD 50" Compact Travel Tripod +
-  PD 2.5x Tele & .45x Wide Lens +  49mm (UV/CPL/ND8) Filters +  PD SD & MicroSD Card Reader +
-  PD 5pc Complete Cleaning Kit +  PD 8 SD Card Memory Card Case +  LCD Screen Protectors
The Canon XA11
Look Great All Stream Long
Do you want a camera that has a good battery, good lens, and offers easy portability? You might be interested in the Canon XA11. If you are not quite ready to jump on the 4k train this camera is a hot choice among streamers looking for a compact HD camcorder.
Streamers stream so that they can have better connection with their community. If you have an important message to deliver you should go for clarity in order to be understood. I was satisfied with the Canon XA11’s capabilities in full HD 1920×1080. Besides the high quality of capturing video, it also offers long battery life and portability.
Good audio is as important as good visuals, you can connect 2 channels of XLR professional mics without an adaptor into this camcorder, so say goodbye to add-ons. The Canon XA11 has a 20x optical zoom lens which is beneficial because you get a good lens without coughing up extra dough. You need to make sure you have good lighting though, as its sensor is smaller compared to other cameras on the market. That means that low-light settings will lead to worse results.
Sony A7 III
The Sony A7R III is an outstanding device that is worth looking into. Despite Sony calling it a ‘basic’ model, the A7 III is a top performer and can be classified as a full frame camera.
If you are truly looking for a camera that will level-up your equipment and are keen to provide studio grade and professional looking live-feed, then this camera is your best bet. The Sony A7R III is quite pricey but as promised, you will not be disappointed with the result.
The autofocus feature works like a charm, so you can be sure that your viewers can follow all your reactions on point. This camera features a full-frame sensor and if you’re filming in dimmed-light conditions or if you don’t own any big-time lighting equipment, this camera will still cover your back.
- SONY USA AUTHORIZED - Includes Full SONY USA WARRANTY
- Sony a7III Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera with FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
- 24.2MP 35mm full-frame back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 4K HDR movie recording capability
- INCLUDED IN THE BOX: Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera with 35mm Full-Frame Image Sensor (Body) - Sony FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS | SEL2870 Lens - Rechargeable Battery NP-FZ100 - AC Adaptor - Shoulder strap - Body cap - Accessory shoe cap - Eyepiece cup - Micro USB cable - Sony USA Warranty
- BUNDLE INCLUDES: 64GB Class 10 UHS-1 SDXC Memory Card - Deco Gear Soft Carrying Case - 67" Digital Camera Monopod - 12" Rubberized Spider Tripod - SLR Photo/Video Rechargeable LED Light
- Much more
Factors to Consider in the Camera Selection Process
I have provided you with my extra special selection of camera options but I do somehow feel that you might use some more push. I know how these choices can be hard on your brain, and to avoid frying them cells, I have decided to further facilitate you by listing the factors that you need to consider before pulling the trigger.
Choosing a camera that can record in high definition (HD) is a crucial requirement. HD has heightened the criterion for all forms of video, including streaming, so your viewers will demand nothing short. Picking an HD camera will give you a sharp and crisp image in return. Streaming HD video was but a distant dream in the days of data limitations and crippled Internet speed, but now you have no excuse for failing to provide a top-notch image.
A webcam is just a plug-and-play device. Turn it on and voila – you are in. Professional cameras will always sound the business but should you opt for one be prepared for a really complicated set-up. I’m talking cables, adaptors and the like just to get your set-up running. This might be overwhelming and shift your focus from what really matters. Nothing wrong with going easy at first and opting for the basic stuff.
Kit mics might seem like a good deal at first glance but this is a matter of actual live streaming with real viewers. Built-in mics will always be a compromise. It is better to have a dedicated mic for streaming purposes.
Some cameras can still function well under poor lighting conditions. But to be on the safe side make sure to invest in a ring light or provide a well-lighted area for filming.
If you want to level-up your streaming setup, here is some additional equipment to further improve your overall production.
Ring Light / Additional Lighting
Light can make or break a broadcast. It can make you stand out or look really pixelated and your face dim thus making the production quality poor. Check out these lighting solutions for your setup.
HD External Capture Card
While PC users can utilize lots of various software such as OBS or Wirecast to record gameplay straight on their rigs, console owners don’t have this option. If you own a console, a capture card will enable you to record and save video externally as well as transfer it to your PC with no fuss. Look here to find the best for you.
- Stream and record Xbox, PlayStation, WiiU, Nintendo Switch, or NES Classic Edition console gameplay. TimeShift – Record retroactively
- Capture in full HD 1080p with H.264 hardware encoder. Windows 10 , Windows 8.1 , Windows 7 , Mac OS X 10.7 or later
- Stream or share directly to YouTube, Twitch, and more with built-in commentary and RECentral software
- Note-LGP Lite does not support viewing, recording and streaming of HDCP protected signals. Recentral for Mac, does not support video streaming it only support video recording
- Record Format: MPEG 4 (H.264+AAC); Graphics Card - VGA card with support for DirectX 10.0c or above
- RECORD AND CONVERT: A capture card that has the ability to record videos or audio files.
- STREAM LIVE: This video game capture device has the ability to instantly stream live on social media and YouTube while playing.
- HOT BUTTON RECORDING: Manage recorded media easily and post to social media like YouTube. It has an on-board hot button for one-click recording and screenshot capture abilit
- Input: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (unencrypted HDMI)
- Output: HDMI (lag-free pass-through) up to 1080p60
- Supported resolutions: 1080p60, 1080p30, 1080i, 720p60, 720p30, 576p, 576i, 480p
- Dimensions: 112 x 75 x 19 mm / 4.4 x 3 x 0.75 in.
- Weight: 106 gm / 3.7 oz
- CONVENIENT: From 19’’ to 77’’ Flexible Adjustment.4-section column legs with quick release flip-locks allows you to adjust the working height from 19’’ to 77’ in seconds.Winner in height!
- FLEXIBLE: 360°PANORAMA AND BALL JOINT: The specially designed ball-head can rotate 360° and get free angles
- TRAVEL/OUTDOOR: 19’’ compact storage size and easily carried with bag.
- TRANSFORM: This tripod can be quickly disassembled with the central axis screw and transform into a monopod, providing an alternative way of shooting with ease.
- PORTABLE：3.37lbs / 1.53kg tripod weight and 17.6lbs / 8kg maximum load weight.
- ➽LOW ANGLE AND MACRO VIEW ENABLED: With an included short attachment(3.6”/9cm), you can shoot at a height of 7.87”(20cm).
- ➽DETACHABLE MONOPOD: Our TYCKA Rangers Tripod also features a removable leg (with foam grip) that can be used as an alpenstock for hiking or walking.
- ➽EASY SET-UP AND PORTABLE: Four-segment poles with quick release flip-locks allow you to adjust the tripod’s height from 14" up to 55" in seconds.
- ➽360° PANORAMA AND ULTRA STABLE: With two independent control knobs, the specially designed ball-head can rotate 360° allowing you to get that perfect shot every time.
- ➽GUARANTEE: Backed by our industry-leading 24-Month warranty.
- UPGRADED DESIGN: The unique design of the center column consisted of 2 sections enables the maximum height of the tripod and monopod to be higher; 4-section legs with quick pull flip type locking buckle allow you to adjust the working height from 24-inch to 77-inch in seconds
- 360 DEGREES PANORAMA BALL HEAD: The specially designed ball-head can rotate 360 degrees which will allow you to get the perfect shooting angle to create stunning panoramas every time. It has 2 independent control knobs to facilitate the adjustment of each precise angle
- PRACTICAL AND ADJUSTABLE: The tripod can be folded to 19 inches compact storage size and 3.53 pounds net weight for easy carrying with bag; 3 levels of opening angle to stabilize on varying uneven grounds and incline levels; The inverted centre column can realize macro photography
It is a necessity for professional cameras but webcams are a different story. Almost all webcams have their own dedicated stand. However, if you want to go the extra mile, having a tripod is a good idea. This is a good investment. A tripod will make the footage more stable.
This article is considerably informative and should give you a decent impression of what you should look for when purchasing a camera. You will have easier choice to make if you have targeted the appropriate segment for your own needs. Narrowing down your options would best be based on clear understanding on your behalf as to what exact purpose your camera will serve.