This is the most thorough guide to live stream cameras.
In this guide you will learn 3 main types of live stream cameras most people use, and the pros and cons of each.
We know that the best live stream camera for a pro user is probably 1 million miles from the best live stream cam for an amateur. That’s why we picked out the best options available for each type.
Depending on what you intend to use your live stream camera for, there are webcams, IP cameras and professional quality cameras.
Here is a comprehensive list of the best 10 cameras for live streaming that are available in the market.
|Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam||5.8 ounces||1080p 30 fps,720p 60 fps||Stereo Microphone|
|Logitech C615||5.6 ounces||Full HD 1080p||Noise Reduction Microphone|
|Microsoft LifeCam Studio||3.7 ounces||1080p||High-Fidelity Microphone|
|NETGEAR Arlo Q||1.1 pounds||1080p||2 Way Audio – Built in mic and speaker|
|Nest Cam||0.45 pounds||1080p||built-in speaker and microphone|
|Canon XA10 Camcorder||1.7 pounds||1080p_hd||built-in stereo microphone|
|Canon XA30||2.54 pounds||1080p||built-in stereo microphone|
|Canon XF100||2.25 pounds||1080p||built-in stereo microphone|
|Panasonic AG-AC130A||10 pounds||1080p||built-in stereo microphone|
|Canon XF105||6.7 pounds||1080p||built-in microphone, optional external microphone|
Entry level: Webcams
Webcams are the most basic forms of live streaming and the oldest at that. Even though it may not deliver high image and voice quality, it is one of the easiest devices to use and get your job done. Of course if your requirement calls for better image and voice quality, there are other options. Pros and cons of using webcams for live streaming.
1. Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam – Best Webcam
Logitech has been almost like a brand ambassador for webcams, and with the C920 being in the top list for a while, its successor, the C922 has overtaken it. This one is specially built for the live stream target market and it is definitely one that does the job well.
The design is similar to the C920 except for a few changes like, the logo, a white glow instead of the blue when in use, and a glossy black finish. It has a good length of USB cable to allow comfortable adjustment.
With omni-directional stereo microphones, it does a good job compared to other when sending your voice over the internet. The video recording options are 60fps at 720p and 1080p full HD. With good lighting the video quality is quiet fantastic, and the software has the option for adjusting brightness and contrast to give an additional focus to your video. It is able to handle low light correction quiet well.
The software used in the C922 is clever and can detect your head and shoulders and give you a clear background by eliminating everything around it. You can either leave your image on the green screen as it is or add in a replacement background. However; you need your system to help it run properly. It works best on laptops with Skylake Core i7 processor to get you that background clearing effect or the green screen. For live streamers another add on that Logitech had graciously provided is the tripod stand that accompanies it. It is not always possible to get your best shot with the camera mounted on the monitor, so this tripod with the adjustable head,and the ample USB cable length will let you get your best shot from another setting.
2.Logitech C615– Best Portable Webcam
For those looking for a great resolution-framerate combination, the Logitech C615 is the best choice. The image quality and design are one of the best and that makes it quiet a desirable webcam. It can record sharp, vibrant 1080p HD videos, including the smallest details.
The fold and go design of this webcam makes it very easy to carry around. The webcam is compatible with tripods so you can rotate it 360° to get the entire scene into your live stream. The webcam looks great with the compact design that it has.
The built in premium auto focus gives sharp images even at close ups up to 10 cm. the automatic light correction allows you to record clear videos even in dim light. Its shoots videos at 1080p, but to keep the framerate at 30fps most prefer shooting at 720p. The accompanying audio is one of the best qualities in webcams. It reduces buzzing, hissing and other ambient noises at a minimum with its noise cancelling microphone.
Some great features that the Logitech C615 has, is its premium auto focus, glass lens, automatic light correction, pan, tilt, and zoom controls, face tracking, motion detection, photo capture, and its tripod compatibility. Bringing images to sharp focus is quick and accurate.
3. Microsoft LifeCam Studio – Best Webcam for Pro people
Compared to its predecessor, the Life Cam Studio looks beautiful with its combination of silver and black aluminum and a canon shape structure. It works well in low light and has a glass lens with high precision auto focus sensor, which helps to bring in more light while shooting. This enables users to work in low light without increasing external light. A shade over the lens prevents overhead light from hitting the sensor and spoiling the image.
Setting up the software for this webcam is pretty easy and does not take up much time but only takes snapshots and videos. It has some fun effects like distorting live image.
The Live Cam Studio comes with some enhancements that improve live picture by tracking facial movements and changing exposure to compensate for excess or less light. The maximum frame rate is 30 per second at 1280 by 720p. The frame rate adjusts itself depending on the available light. The frame rate per second is lower when the lighting is dim because the camera has to work on bringing in more light. The audio is better than the Life Cam Cinema with an improvement in the tinny audio to a warmer more rounded voice effect. There is no noise cancelling feature so background noise can get in the way
More flexible entry-level camera for live stream –IP Cameras
The next level to have a better experience with live streaming is using IP cameras.
1. NETGEAR Arlo Q – Best IP camera
Manufactured by Netgear, the Arlo-Q is the latest webcam based security camera. It has higher video resolution, does not need a base station and needs no batteries but can work continuously. It is one of the cameras for security purposes because of superior video quality, strong sound and motion detectors, and a free cloud storage plan.
The Arlo Q has a cute design and is almost entirely white except for the lens and bevel. It is mounted on a ball head and has great maneuverability. The base is magnetic and can be mounted on your refrigerator or can be wall mounted with screws with the metal bracket provided. The bezel contains the microphone and a status light that turns blue when live. It can be powered by AC current or a computer using the USB port at the back.
The Arlo Q connects to the mobile app via a QR code and connects easily to the home wifi network. The installation is easy and trouble free.
The IP camera is compatible with iOS, Android, and Amazon FireOS, and the app has simple and user friendly interface to access homepage, recordings, notifications, and settings. It has interactive zoom and pan options in both the playback and live view. The user interface is single which means if you log in from a device you will be logged out of the other device or computer. Sharing access with family members will require them to have their own Arlo accounts.
The Arlo Q has a 4 MP, 1/3 inch glass lens with image sensor. The colors are rich and vivid with good contrast. The audio quality vacillates between great and not so great. While the speech for remote live feeds was mostly clear and audible, there were some instances of delays, dropouts, and indistinct speech.
2. Nest Cam – Most advanced IP camera
The Nest Cam is another great option for setting up your security camera at home. It is easy to use and has many great features such as action zones, zooming, enhancing, etc. However; to gain full advantage of the product you need an expensive Nest Aware subscription.
To set up this IP camera, all you need to do is download the Nest App, scan the QR code and you’re good to go. It comes with a cradle from which you can easily pop it out or in and in which it has tilt angle of 180°. It also has the option of wall mounting if you need to be discreet about the camera and can view through 130° which is good enough for a room.
It records at 720p even though it can record in 1080p, to save on bandwidth. The camera can be configured to alert you when motion or sound is detected. It can also be programmed to turn on when you are away and the status light can be turned on or off but that needs a Nest Learning Thermostat that detects your presence.
Professional Options – HDMI output Digital Cameras
There are some advantages and disadvantages to using HDMI output digital cameras for live streaming.
1. Canon XA10 Camcorder – Best HDMI Camera
This small sized, high end control camcorder can shoot great videos just like a professional model, while having a more comfortable weight, and size. The Canon XA10 has 64 GB internal memory and has full manual controls. It is capable of accepting XLR audio inputs from pro microphones. The storage capacity can be increased up to 4 TB with the SDHC/ SDXC cards. Essential buttons are scattered appropriately on the body of the camcorder, while the other lesser used options can be accessed by touchscreen. However; white balance and exposure also has to be accessed via touchscreen.
2. Runnerup: Canon XA30 Professional Camcorder
The Canon XA30 is a professional camcorder that retain all the key features and portable design of its predecessors but with improved features like better low light performance, 1/ 2.84 inch HD CMOS Pro image sensor with +3dB boost in the signal to noise ratio, interval recording function, wide DR and highlight priority gamma modes. These cameras are great whether you’re using it for making a film or you are covering an event. It has an integrated 20x zoom with an focal range of 26.8 to 576 mm. it has frame rates of 24, 30 or 60 fps and resolution up to 1080p.
3. Runnerup: Canon XF100
The canon XF100 is lightweight and compact in size which makes it handy and portable for video shooting and event coverage. The stability technology will give you the perfect shot in any shaky circumstance. It has a 10x HD video lens with a 1920×1080 CMOS native image sensor that delivers amazing images. Reduces post production work because of smooth flow of footage while editing. However; you need to adjust your setting before you take your camera out for shooting.
SDI output Digital CamerasBest Quality Professional Options
The SDI cameras are the best when it comes to live streaming and it has only advantages over its counterparts like the HDMI. Some of them are:
a. Cameras with SDI output is the best option for professional level, live video streaming
b. Come with locking cable connectors giving stable uninterrupted streams
c. It has a longer cable run without worry of intervention
1. Panasonic AG-AC130A – Best SDI output Camera
A truly professional camcorder, the Panasonic AG-AC130A comes with a base chip of 1/3” MOS 2.2 MP High Sensitivity Chips which makes it excellent for shooting events taking place in low lights, 22x optical zoom on wide angle 28-616 mm lens, 4 HD recording modes for shooting quick and easy training and web videos, independent rings for zoom, focus, and iris to make minor adjustments for getting the right shot. Focus assist allows for rapid focusing operations while shooting. It has dual SDXC cards for continuous shooting, backups or just for client copy. It also comes with dual XLR adapters.
The Canon XF105 is one of the most lightweight and compact versions compared to other cameras with similar features, that you will ever find, and to believe it, you need to handle it. It is perfect for longer shooting durations where fatigue can set in. The daylight recording is better than most larger and expensive models. It has features like multiple auto focus, face recognition, can record in an MPEG-2 Long GOP format, enhanced 4:2:2 color space, etc. However; the indoor video recording quality though great can be greatly affected if the gain is set above 9dB which introduces excess noise reducing the overall quality of the video.