When was the last time you went a day without Facetiming, YouTubing, or Zooming? Bet you can’t remember. In this technological era one thing rings true: video reigns supreme. When Twitch is raking in around 40 million users per year, and Tiktok is estimated to have somewhere over 1.1 billion users, it’s only natural to want to get into the video sharing game yourself.
Thankfully, trendy gaming sites and funny video platforms aren’t the only options for integration into the live streaming stratosphere. Even adult cam sites have seen an estimated 36% of adults in the US flocking to their sites, and popular reddit threads promote highly visited nature, animal, and landmark streams.
If any of these options seem to spark your true inner streaming desire, get up and get excited! We’ve got you covered with the best HD cams for live streaming.
How to set up your HD cam for live streaming
Before you greet your audience, there are a couple things you should know. Make sure your camera is set up for success in terms of video quality!
Exposure and FPS (frames per second)
Live streaming usually calls for a fps of about 30/60; 30 for non-broadcast video in the U.S. and elsewhere, and 60 for high frame rate in non-broadcast applications.
You’ll also want to double check your camera’s aperture. Streaming rule of thumb is that an open aperture makes for good video. The more like your camera is able to capture, the better your overall image will look!
Checking that your camera is set on the highest possible resolution will also help out with video quality. You’ll most likely see at least one of these options from least to greatest; 720p60, 1080p30, or 4K30. If you don’t see an option for 4K40, simply set it to the next best option available to you.
Types of HD cams for live streaming
Webcams are small video cameras that either connect directly to your computer via a USB cord or are built into your system. They are one of the most user-friendly cameras for live streaming on the market, as their plug-and-play capability make them easy to master.
While webcams rank highest in terms of being easy to use, they also come in as the lowest in terms of overall quality. Especially if you’re using the one that came with your laptop.
This is not to say that your webcam will produce bad video. In fact, the webcam has been so modernized, many have the ability to zoom, recognize facial movement, and produce high quality video. However, once you graduate to camcorders and DSLR cameras, you’re playing with a whole other beast.
One of the main reasons camcorders are among the first products video streamers turn to when they’re starting out, is that camcorders were literally made to capture quality video. The market for camcorders is a wide one for sure.
There are beginner camcorders under 200$ that will get the job done (though not as well as a DSLR), and there are pro-camcorders well over 1000$ that are used in live broadcasting.
When it comes to navigating the vast camcorder market, price point is your best friend. If your budget sits in the 300-400 range, you might be better off filming with a DSLR that captures better quality video until you feel you can upgrade.
DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera. While this acronym has become synonymous with digital cameras everywhere, there is a difference. However, what separates a DSLR from a digital camera might not be a make-or-break feature for many looking to stream.
DSLR cameras capture images by allowing light to create a reflection of what the photographer is seeing thanks to a mirror inside of the camera’s body. As soon as the photo is taken, the mirror swings out of the way and allows the light to pass through.
What DSLR users love most is the ability to change out the lens on their cameras. As well, thanks to the large image sensor placed in these cameras, the image quality is extremely good. If you’re a webcam or camcorder user looking to up your quality game, invest in a DSLR.
The 8 best HD cams for live streaming
1) Best HD cam for beginners: Logitech C920
The Logitech C920 is a good beginner’s camera for individuals looking for a dual-purpose piece. It is ideal for those just beginning to live stream who want a great camera to stream, but who need a good option for use in their office, daily life, or extra-curricular activities.
While the quality on this webcam is great for the price, it only supports 720p60 streaming, which isn’t ideal for most invested live streamers.
On the plus side, this webcam has great lighting detection, color display, an easy attachment, and an affordable price. If you’re on a video budget, but want a camera that will let you test your streaming wings, the Logitech C920 is the one for you!
2) Best HD cam for live streaming on a budget: Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam
The Razer Kiyo webcam is a great option for beginner and intermediate streamers who are on a budget. Thanks to its built-in adjustable 12-light LED ring, you can trust that every video you take will be perfectly lit.
The lights offer up to 10 lux of brightness at a distance of one meter, with a color temperature of 5600K. For streaming specs, this Razer Kiyo streams at 1080p30 and 720p60, and advanced autofocus ensures quality videos wherever you are.
If you’re an on-the-go content creator working from a budget, this camera has it all. The compact, foldable design allows for quick and easy storage, and the built-in microphone means you get to carry as little as possible! For this price range, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better webcam.
3) Best HD cam for live streaming webcam style: Logitech StreamCam
This webcam has been named by many as the best webcam for content creation. The Logitech StreamCam is a creation beginner’s wet dream, with versatile positioning possibilities and handy bonus features. Capable of 1080p60, this camera also includes autofocus, smart exposure, and facial tracking.
If you want to get a little variety in your shots, you’re in luck! The StreamCam is capable of switching from landscape to portrait mode with full HD vertical video. If you find that the laptop attachment set-up isn’t working for you, try the camera’s dual-mount capability and switch to a tripod.
The Logitech StreamCam is a great place to find your middle ground between entry-level cameras and full-on pro models.
4) Best HD cam for live streaming with entry-level bells and whistles: Logitech BRIO 4K Pro
As you can see, Logitech knows what they’re doing when it comes to quality webcams. The BRIO 4K pro is everything an active streamer and webcam user could want. With 4K options, a high dynamic range, integrated optical and infrared sensors, and three field-of-view presets, you won’t need to shell out for an upgrade for some time.
Beyond the typical laptop setup, this webcam also comes with its own tripod. This, coupled with its omnidirectional mics and noise-canceling technology, makes it a great product to try different settings with.
5) Best HD cam for live streaming for intermediates: Mevo Start
Moving up along the price tag, here comes the worth-every-penny Mevo Start. With a field of view of 84 degrees and 1080p30 HD video quality, this camera straddles the worlds of webcam and camcorder. This camera’s main purpose is to stream high-quality video. It’s compact, easy to carry, and easily attaches to a base wherever you need to set it up.
This isn’t just a regular camera. You can wirelessly pan, tilt, and zoom the Mevo Start during your recordings using its comprehensive app. For streamers, the ability to simultaneously stream to your favorite platform is a huge bonus.
Need a little extra production juice? If you have a paid subscription to the app, you’ll be able to stream to multiple platforms at once and add in live graphics. If you’re serious about live streaming and want an intermediate product at a great price point, the Mevo Start is the way to go!
6) Best HD cam for live streaming your adventures: GoPro Hero9 Black
Go Pro: need we say more? The brand name synonymous with great video capture built for any adventure has done it again! The Hero9 Black comes with even more bells and whistles. You’ve got a front-facing camera with LCD, and a touch rear screen. This baby is capable of everything from 2.7K, to 5K HD, and comes with 30% more battery life.
If all that isn’t enough for you, how about the waterproof design and variety of attachment options? Bike riding, surfing, skateboarding; it’s never been easier to capture your most exciting moments than with the Go Pro Hero9 Black.
7) Best HD cam for live streaming for semi-pros: Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III
Here’s a real powerhouse suited for almost all of your quality live streaming needs. The Canon Powershot G7 Mark III is made for live streamers with a set-up. This device shoots full 4K HD video and can interchange between a mid-range point and shoot camera to a camcorder. It comes with both Bluetooth and WiFi compatibility, and has intelligent IS image stabilization.
36 color-corrected, cool-running LED lights even give you natural lighting, in a slim design. The live streaming capabilities make it an amazing partner in content and video creation. The only downfall is also one of its highlights.
While the compact body of the camera allows for easy maneuverability, it makes it so that you can’t interchange lenses like with a DSLR. Nevertheless, this is a tried-and-true gem for live streaming and a favorite among the bunch.
8) Best HD cam for live streaming for pros: Canon Vixia HF G50
Calling all pro-streamers, vloggers, and video specialists; the Canon Vixia HF G50 camcorder is here to answer your prayers. This bad boy is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. Of course, if you’ve got a good chunk of money to blow and want to snag this monster up for the fun of it, who are we to judge?
Strictly speaking, however, this camcorder would do best in the hands of an experienced videographer. Equipped with night vision, anti-shake, time-lapse, and 1080p60 streaming, Canon has set this product up for success.
The image display is quite large, and the image sensor is highly intuitive. Your range of control is close to maximum capacity, with aperture, brightness, focus, exposure, and more options at your fingertips.
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