10 Best Live Stream Camera Reviews 2017 Buyers Guide

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.

Webcams come inbuilt in most computers and needs a network connection to process the image to be streamed. It is simple to use and cheap but the image quality is not very high.

An IP camera can link to the internet using its IP address without a computer. It is wireless and can be placed anywhere.

The professional quality cameras use HDMI or SDI output. It needs a capture card to enable live streaming. It is the most expensive but the best option for live streaming quality videos, with all the goodness of a professional quality camera.

Here is a comprehensive list of the best 10 cameras for live streaming that are available in the market.

ProductWeightResolutionMicrophone
Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam5.8 ounces1080p 30 fps,720p 60 fpsStereo Microphone
Logitech C6155.6 ouncesFull HD 1080pNoise Reduction Microphone
Microsoft LifeCam Studio 3.7 ounces1080pHigh-Fidelity Microphone
NETGEAR Arlo Q1.1 pounds1080p 2 Way Audio – Built in mic and speaker
Nest Cam0.45 pounds1080pbuilt-in speaker and microphone
Canon XA10 Camcorder1.7 pounds1080p_hd built-in stereo microphone
Canon XA302.54 pounds1080pbuilt-in stereo microphone
Canon XF100 2.25 pounds1080pbuilt-in stereo microphone
Panasonic AG-AC130A10 pounds1080pbuilt-in stereo microphone
Canon XF1056.7 pounds1080pbuilt-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.

Pros
  •  Built into computers and laptops
  • Separate units can be connected to the system via USB
  • Simple to use & affordable
  • No separate power source required
  • No capture card is required
  • No additional tools required other than the basic webcam software
Cons
  • Doesn’t have its own internet connection or IP address
  • Cannot work without a computer
  • Image quality is not very high
  • Separate mic is needed to enhance voice and sound quality
  • They cannot store images and hence cannot work without a computer
  • It has no zoom, variable focus or image customization ability

1. Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam – Best Webcam

Logitech C922x Pro Stream WebcamLogitech 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.

Pros
  • Great for vloggers, live streamers, and those talking over the internet
  • Omni-directional stereo microphones
  • Video recording 60fps at 720p and 1080p full HD
  • Removes background with only you on the green screen
  • Option of adding a replacement background
  • A long USB cord for easy portability
Cons
  • Works well on Skylake Core 17 processor
  • In PC and OBS, there are bits of cuts when someone moves around
  • Beta software that doesn’t have the best signal transmission for the cost
  • Works only on 32 bit apps for the background removal
  • Difficult to stream in low light
When choosing between Logitech C922x, and Logitech C920, the C922 gives a better deal than its predecessor for the price and the software. It lets you look like a pro with the green screen background especially when you are into gaming. Unlike the other the C922 comes with a tripod and 360° swivel. The sound and video quality of both the webcams are great but when it comes to gaming and live streaming with background removal or insertion the C922 is definitely the better choice.

2.Logitech C615– Best Portable Webcam

For those looking for a great resolution-framerate Logitech C615 Best Portable Webcamcombination, 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.

Pros
  • Easy portability with the fold and go design
  • Tripod compatible
  • 360° maneuverability
  • Pans left to right and tilt up and down
  • Glass lens reduces gives better optical quality
Cons
  •  Short USB cable
  • No digital zoom
  • When frame rate is drastically reduced it can shoot only in 1080p
  • Video is sluggish at 1080p and shoots better at 30fps at 720p
  • 8 mega pixel camera specification by interpolation where extra pixels are added using algorithm

3. Microsoft LifeCam Studio – Best Webcam for Pro people

It is the latest webcam by Microsoft and offersMicrosoft LifeCam Studio  great quality video recording and chats for a reasonable price. It has a better design, and a flexible mount to give you the best recording experience.

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

Pros
  • Natural color balance compared to any other webcam
  • Sharp video and image recording
  • TrueColor and auto light correction
  • Works well in dim light
  • Tripod compatible mount
  • Good vocal reproduction
Cons
  • Has a mono mic
  • No background noise cancellation
  • 15 fps at 720p is maximum recording speed unless additional software is installed
  • Buggy live effects

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.

Pros
  • Has its own IP address and can link to the internet without a computer
  • It is versatile and gives is great where multiple perspectives are required
  • Can be positioned anywhere you need it to be
  • It can run 24/7 because of its power over Ethernet (POE)
  • With wireless connection to a remote computer you can have gerater freedom of moving it around
Cons
  •  It is more complicated than using a webcam
  • The protocol used isn’t suitable for live streaming and hence requires an encoder
  • Much more expensive than a webcam

1. NETGEAR Arlo Q – Best IP camera

Manufactured by Netgear, the Arlo-Q is the latest NETGEAR Arlo Qwebcam 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.

Pros
  • Easy to set up and easy user interface
  • Can be magnetically stuck or wall mounted
  • Good control level over motion and sound detection
  • Great video quality making it one of the best for security cameras
  • Generous cloud plan for storage
Cons
  • Single user interface
  • Expensive subscription for Timeline
  • Audio quality vacillates
  • Custom mode setup is little difficult

2. Nest Cam  – Most advanced IP camera

The Nest Cam is another great option for settingNest Cam 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.

Pros
  • Easy set up and user interface
  • Image quality is excellent whether day or night
  • Dependable motion and sound detector
  • Integrates with other Nest prodcuts
Cons
  • You need a Nest Learning Thermostat to activate ‘Auto Away’
  • Full potential can be unlocked only with Nest Aware Subscription
  • Requires good internet connection

Professional Options – HDMI output Digital Cameras

There are some advantages and disadvantages to using HDMI output digital cameras for live streaming.

Pros
  • They are less expensive than HDI cameras but perform better
  • Many models available that can shoot and record in HD
  • It’s a great option for multi-level camera live streaming
Cons
  • To use with some switchers and encoders, conversion to SDI may be required
  • Has shorter cable lengths compared to SDI
  • Cables get easily disconnected
  • Built in copy protection may prevent signal transfer in some HDMI connections

1. Canon XA10 Camcorder – Best HDMI Camera

This small sized, high end control camcorder can shoot Canon XA10great 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 Canon XA30that 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 Canon XF100makes 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 Panasonic AG-AC130Acomes 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.

2.Canon XF105

The Canon XF105 is one of the most lightweight and compactCanon XF105 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.

The above list is quiet comprehensive in itself and should give you a fair idea of what you should look for in a camera for live streaming. Make a study of your needs and what you intend to use it for, whether personal or professional. This will help you narrow down your choice and make it easier to understand what camera best suits your particular need. While buying a camera is not difficult, choosing the right one is challenging. To make it easier for you, we have provided this compact list of amateur and professional webcams that you can study before you pick on one to buy online.