Updated: April 10, 2020 7:14:52 pm
With lockdowns across the world forcing millions of people to stay at home, video calling apps such as Zoom and Skype have become popular and in a way replacement of the meeting rooms in the office. This has placed greater demand for external web cameras, leaving many people who use desktops frustrated.
The demand has been so much that in the US standalone web cameras are out of stock in Amazon and other major retailers like Best Buy, Walmart and Target, according to The Verge. Logitech, perhaps the best web camera maker, told the publication that the company is ramping up production and distribution of webcams. The demand for external web cameras is so high that many third-party sellers are charging unreasonably high prices for entry-level web cameras.
In short, it is hard to get a web camera in the US. It’s the indication that an external web camera is still an important accessory, especially when most laptops come with a built-in webcam. This shows that people see value in buying a standalone camera, thanks to the growing culture of vlogging and the popularity of platforms like Twitch. But for those who are working at home from a desktop, a web camera is a must-have accessory.
Standalone web cameras are in short supply but in case you find them, these options are best
At $70, Logitech C920S is a solid web camera. It supports Full HD resolution (30fps) and works with a variety of video conferencing platforms including Skype and Zoom. The web camera comes with two integrated microphones with automatic noise cancellation, and a 78-degree field of view. In case you are worried about your privacy, there’s a physical shutter that you can flip down when the web camera is not in use. The C920S can be connected to the top of a monitor or laptop or can be used with a tripod.
The $170 Logitech StreamCam is made for content creators, a Vlogger or a Twitch streamer. The StreamCam lets you record 1080p videos at 60fps and has autofocus capabilities as well as a built-in stabilisation. You can clasp the cam on top of the monitor, or attach it to a tripod. The camera can also be rotated to shoot vertical videos, a format that is gaining massive popularity on social media. The StreamCam also has two built-in mics for both stereo and dual-mono support, plus it’s also the first USB-C webcam from the company. The streaming-friendly webcam works with Logitech’s Capture video-editing software.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
For about $25 the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is a no-frills web camera. The LifeCam HD-3000 is for those who simply want to log in to a conference call from their desk, without worrying too much about the video quality. They just need a web camera that offers HD video capture and is easy to set up. The good thing about the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is that it also works with Windows XP-powered PCs.
The Logitech Brio offers a lot of features we would expect from a top-tier web camera in 2020. These include 4K ultra high-def, an external “privacy” shutter, built-in omnidirectional microphones with noise cancellation, a 5x digital zoom when using the Full HD resolution, auto-focus, and an image resolution of up to 9MP. The Brio is one of the few web cameras that supports Windows Hello facial recognition. While it’s true most people don’t need to spend $200 on a 4K web camera, there is a segment that is ready to pay a huge premium for those features.
Logitech HD C310
Logitech HD C310 is another web camera for budget-conscious consumers. The $50 C310 is an affordable way to begin your vlogging journey. It supports 720p resolution and works across major video conferencing platforms such as Skype. Even though the Logitech HD C310 is a low-end web camera, rest assured you are not wasting your money.
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