Whether you stream for fun or it’s a vital part of your business profile, you need the best camera for streaming. There’s a huge difference between a good camera and the best, it’s not just in the features available to you, it’s in the finished images and your ability to use the camera.
It should be noted that there are actually three main types of camera for streaming:
- The traditional webcam
You’ll find this built into your laptop or available as a plug-in accessory, it’s a good option if funds are limited and it’s certainly one of the easiest to use. Of course, you will need good light levels and may not be able to stray too far more your laptop.
The DSLR camera is a quality digital camera which can be used as a video camera, allowing you to stream the video. These are generally high-quality cameras that are great for beginners, but, they aren’t primarily designed for streaming which can give rise to connectivity problems.
Not all DSLR cameras are missing US video interfaces and they may not even have a HDMI option. Even if they do, you may find the picture doesn’t go at full quality, reducing the look and feel of your streaming video.
- Camcorder or Video Camera
These may seem like the obvious choice as they are dedicated to creating video footage. In fact, they are definitely the best option for long-duration streaming and high-quality images. They are generally as easy as webcams to get started with although they have many more functions you can learn about.
However, camcorders are only part of your streaming solution, you’ll probably need a HDMI video capture device and cables to connect your camcorder to your computer. Direct connection options are unusual.
All 3 types of device can be used, you’ll need to see which you like best and your budget, as well as a buying guide before you, commit to purchasing your best camera for streaming.
Here are some of the best camera for streaming options currently available:
The 8 Best Cameras For Streaming 2020
1. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 – Best Budget Option
The first offering on our best camera for streaming list is a webcam, ideal for standing on top of your monitor and getting straight on with it.
The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 uses True Color technology to ensure the images are bright and colorful. Of course, technically this is not an exact replication of the colors you’re using but it does create a nice looking image.
It offers 720 pixels in HD at 30fps with a noise-reducing microphone and a universal attachment that allows you to use the webcam with your desktop, laptop, or even a notebook. You’ll also appreciate the sensitivity of the microphone, it’s surprisingly effective at picking up your voice, even with background noise.
As a point of reference the microphone is on the top right of the camera. You may find it frustrating that the picture blurs whenever you move your head, but, for a budget price this camera offers a lot of potential.
It’s not just the best camera for streaming on a budget, it’s one of the best you can choose as a beginner to creating videos.
- Budget Price
- Universal base attachment
- 720 pixel HD image
- Noise-reducing microphone
- Colors are vivid but not necessarily a match for the originals
- Good for casual calls but it business call standard
2. Logitech HD Pro C920 – Best Value Webcam
This isn’t a new webcam, it first arrived on the scene in 2012. However, it is still one of the best on the market and very easy for anyone to use.
The camera offers 1080 pixels with 30fps, a HD display, dual microphones, and is very well built, it should last you for years.
This webcam is instantly compatible with Windows 7 or higher and is a plug and play, allowing you to instantly engage in calls, live recordings, or even start your own vlog. It can also be used with Mac computers and has a privacy shutter, allowing you to stop viewers seeing everything if you wish.
The included cable is 5ft long and the camera does all the work, reducing the load on your computer.
- Attractive Price
- Full 1080HD image recording
- Durable and stylish
- Slips securely on top of your monitor
- 78° Field of view, should be suitable for most applications but you may find t limiting
Canon have created the EOS M50 with vloggers in mind. It has a flip-out screen and offers 4K video, making it an attractive option for almost all businesses.
It should be noted that this camera is not perfect, but it is a great starting point.
The image is 1080 pixels and 60 frames per second with autofocus in dual pixel. However, if you change from 60fps to 4k you’ll no longer need or be able to access the dual-pixel function and you’ll need to reduce the frame rate from 60fps to 24fps.
The EOS M50 does offer the option of 120fps but the image will only be 720 pixels, that may be more than you’re willing to drop.
This offering from Canon also features a clean HDMI out, avoiding issues with streaming the images to your screen.
- Excellent quality images
- Easy to use controls
- Touch screen to help monitor and adjust filming
- An array of options when shooting
- Expensive, this is significantly more than any webcam.
- Low battery life
The latest offering from Panasonic is stylish, easy to use, full of features, and not a budget option. At over $1,500 this is one piece of equipment you need to be certain about buying before you part with your cash.
It offers professional quality pictures with 4K as standard and a 203mp sensor. You can create videos with frame rates up to 60fps and allows internal recording at 4k/60 fps, alongside a variable frame rate feature.
- 2-inch touch screen to ensure you know what you’re doing
- High-quality images
- Feels like a video camera pretending to be a standard camera
- Offers 6K photo still extraction
- Cost – it’s certainly not a cheap option
The latest version of the Blackmagic pocket cinema camera comes with an impressive 6k resolution and the potential to rival the best camera for streaming available. In fact, this has become a popular option for indie producers and even small studios.
At just 7 inches wide, 4 inches deep, and 3.8 inches tall, it’s easy to carry anywhere with you. It has a wide array of functions, including autofocus, autoexposure, focus assist, high frame rate, and playback options.
Alongside a standard lens cap and camera strap, the Pocket cinema camera has an EF mount; 35-sized HDR sensor and impressive battery life.
It may be a more expensive option but it is worth considering.
- Stylish looking
- Excellent image quality
- Range of lenses compatible with it
- 5-inch touchscreen
- Battery life is terrible
- Price is high although it’s a budget offering if you’re after a true cinema camera
Panasonic has been making cameras and other electronic gadgets for many years, making it unsurprising that they are at the forefront of new technology, especially the best camera for streaming.
The HC-V770 is a good-quality camcorder with 20X optical zoom, long 20X zoom, HDR movie features, a 1/2.3 inch BSI sensor and remote shooting functions. The remote shooting is controlled via your cell phone, allowing you to control it from a distance as long as you have Wi-Fi enabled. You can even broadcast instantly if you wish.
It also can connect to your smartphone, allowing you to use the camera on your phone as a second camera.
- 4K as standard
- Supports Wi-Fi opening up an array of possibilities
- Records in 5.1 surround sound
- Inbuilt microphone with option to add one
- Needs software and cables before you can stream
7. Canon XA40
Canon is another very well established manufacturer that specializes in a wide array of electronic gadgets, including some excellent cameras.
This camcorder offers 4k UHD 30 fps recording capabilities and a 20x optical zoom along with a 3 inch LCD touch screen and double SD card sockets, assuring you that you won’t run out of memory space when filming and streaming.
There’s also an image stabilization feature, making this is powerful and extremely portable option. It’s also worth noting the array of automatic features, allowing you to focus on your web streaming activity. These include autofocus, auto exposure, auto white balance, and a host of other automatic settings
- Small and very portable
- Image quality
- Auto everything –great for beginners
- Price Tag is enough to scare many off
- You’ll need additional equipment to connect to your computer
The final camcorder offering as a best camera for streaming is the Zoom Q8. It has a slightly dated look, but it’s full of features and may just be the right choice for you.
With this camera, you have the choice of recording directly to an SD card or another memory source. It can also offer a full-color rotating LCD touchscreen and frame rates as high as 60fps. You can also change the viewing angles depending on what suits your needs best.
The camera also comes with a handy clip that will allow you to secure it in the right position and use it according to what you need. As well as the standard built-in microphone, you’ll find there are several options available with this camcorder. These include shotgun mics, mid-sides, or even on top mics. You can even rotate the 2.7inch color screen to help ensure you can see what you’re filming, even when you’re stood in front of the camera.
This camera has a huge list of features including self-timer, HDMU output, phantom power, detachable XY stereo mic, 2.7-inch color CD screen, and a USB 2.0 data transfer port.
This is often seen as a rival to the GoPro range but the Zoom Q is really in a different league, it’s an excellent option for streaming.
- Impressive 1296pixel recording ability at 60fps
- Powers XLR microphones via phantom power source
- Excellent sound quality
- Digital zoom and 160° wide Lens
- Battery Drains Fast
Buying Guide To Choose The Right Streaming Camera
There are several things you should consider when deciding the best type of streaming camera for your needs:
It’s essential to set your budget before you choose your camera. Your budget will be based on the amount of funds you have spare to buy a streaming camera. If you’re getting it for business it is worth pushing your budget and even looking at a small loan, you simply need to make sure the payment remains affordable.
Once you‘ve set your budget you’ll be able to decide which cameras are an option.
The better the image quality the better you’ll look to your viewers. That’s important if you want to retain their attention and provide high-quality images and advice.
The best streaming rate is at 1080 pixels with a rate of 30 frames per second, although it is possible to have a rate of 60 frames per second.
The closer you are to these specs the better.
If you’re planning on live streaming or creating several video sequences you need a streaming camera that will last the distance. The best camera for streaming will be one that has a good battery life and can be plugged into the mains to continue your filming, if necessary.
Don’t forget live streaming sessions can last for hours, you need to know the camera is still recording.
Low-Level Light Performance
You’re probably not going to be in a studio with perfect conditions. In other words, you need to be aware that sometimes you’ll be filming in low light levels. Ideally, your camera will have its own source of illumination or be designed to provide high-quality images even in low-light levels.
Check before you buy.
A webcam hooks directly into your computer, allowing instant and smooth streaming. However, a camcorder doesn’t, you’ll need a capture device and that means ensuring the HDMI output is clean. If it isn’t, then you’ll have the camcorder menu on your HDMI feed, this will be visible to anyone watching your feed.
The result is a poor quality image and a loss of viewers. That’s not a good idea just because you didn’t invest in the right connections.
It’s essential that you consider the reputation of the manufacturer and the specific product. A manufacturer’s reputation is usually known by people in the industry, in fact, you’re probably aware of whether the manufacturer is well-known and worth dealing with.
However, even the best manufacturer’s can create lower-quality products in error. That’s why it’s worth checking online forums and social media sites. These will tell you if the product is as good as you think it is.
People who have actually used the camera will post their comments and you’ll be able to read them. The idea is that the camera you’re considering has mainly positive comments, it’s highly unusual for every comment to be positive. This will give you an honest indication of what it’s like using a specific camera and will help you to make the right decision regarding the best camera for streaming.
My personal preference is the Zoom Q8 because it has an array of features that can be used in the future as you build and establish your streaming site. At the same time, it’s very easy to use straight away and the price is reasonable. But, perhaps most importantly, it looks the part and can rival all the other camcorders currently available.
Of course, that’s just my preference. You need to consider your budget and which type of camera you want, that will make it much easier for you to narrow down your choices and select the best camera for streaming for you personally.